Allotment of a plot to ex-serviceman by the government
The appellant sought information regarding the allotment of a plot to ex-serviceman. The Public Information Officer (PIO) replied that the amount deposited by the appellant has been refunded as per the directions of Chandigarh Administration and the allotment of residential plot was not possible as there was no such scheme. During the hearing, the respondent stated that scheme for allotment of plots to Ex-servicemen in Industrial Area was announced in 1982 and appellant had deposited Rs. 3500/for allotment of one kanal plot. At the time of receiving this amount, the Government had taken an undertaking from the applicants that they would not ask for interest on the deposited amount. Subsequently in 2005, the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration advised the Estate Officer, U.T. Chandigarh to refund the amount deposited by the applicants without interest. Accordingly, the appellant was informed in response to the RTI application that no interest was due to him and the amount of Rs. 3500/deposited by him in 1982 was refunded to him without any interest payment on the said amount after a period of 23 years 4 months.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) was satisfied that information as held by the respondent has been provided to the appellant. However, the Commission observed that the appellant deposited the prescribed amount as per an existing scheme of the Government. After a lapse of over 23 years and without giving any reasons, the Government closed the scheme and refunded the basic amount thereby depriving him of the opportunity to invest this amount in another avenue, which would have given him income/ housing shelter. The appellant is now a senior citizen, well past his prime has been put to great disadvantage by this arbitrary action of the Government to close the scheme after over two decades during which period the Government continued to allot plots to other citizens and ex-servicemen through the same scheme.
The RTI Act was enacted in 2005 with the objective of holding the Governments and their instrumentalities accountable. The instant case has brought into light the stark fact of the level of accountability in the working of many institutions of the government. As the RTI Act is nearing 7 years of coming into existence, the pertinent question is whether there would be a change in the working?
Citation: Sh. Hardayal Singh v. CIA.II, Estate Office in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/002243
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/375
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