Filing RTI application can cost you your job

Delhi resident M K Gupta worked with AIR as a steno (casual) for six years

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Danish Raza | November 12, 2010



Filing RTI application can cost you your job. This was the lesson learned by Delhi resident Mahendra Kumar Gupta, who was a casual steno with the All India Radio (AIR) for six years.

Gupta, a resident Dwarka in West Delhi, discovered that AIR was not paying dues to its casual staff on time.

He filed RTI application with the AIR asking reasons for the same.

AIR informed Gupta that it was facing fund crunch because of which there were occasions when it could not pay its casual staff on time. 

However, soon after responding to his RTI query, AIR stopped calling Gupta for assignments.

The last time he reported to duty was on April 6, 2008.

“It was not a permanent job. They used to call me whenever they had work for me. They used to pay me Rs 250 for a day’s work,” said Gupta, 58, who retired from Engineering project India limited as a personal secretary after 15 years of service.

In August 2008, he filed RTI application with AIR asking the reason for not calling him anymore.

AIR told him that he did not deserve the job and it was its prerogative to assign casual job on its need, depending upon the job requirements from time to time.

When Gupta sought documents on the basis of which AIR declared him ‘undeserving’ for the job, he was told that according to the AIR, that information was not needed by him.

“I had worked with them as a steno for six years. I wanted to know if there was any sudden change in technology which had rendered me undeserving overnight. I had also asked them if any other casual steno was declared undeserving like me,” said the applicant.

The department also provided Gupta with a note written by the reporting unit in-charge saying “M K Gupta may not be put on duty in this unit in future.”

When AIR did not provide him with any other document to back its statement, Gupta moved the central information commission (CIC).

AIR submitted before the CIC that Gupta’s bonafide were doubtful and he did not operate computer properly. 

When CIC asked AIR to produce documents supporting its conclusion, the information watchdog was told that the documents were not traceable.

The CIC has issued show cause notices to AIR thrice this year- in April and May and August asking why penalty should not be imposed on the public information officer (PIO).

In the order passed in August, CIC directed the AIR to get a first information report registered on the lost record. 

“In his affidavit to the CIC the PIO stated that the copy of the FIR was enclosed, but there was no FIR. It was just a compliant written in a plane paper saying that the documents were missing.

Gupta, then filed RTI application with the parliament street police station asking if it has received any compliant from AIR regarding documents which went missing in March 2007.

Responding to his query, the PIO, parliament street police station, told him that it has received a complaint from AIR and it was inquiring the matter. 
 

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