Datia tragedy inquiry report not furnished under RTI despite SIC order
In 2006, 57 pilgrims, on their way to the Ratangarh Temple in Datia, Madhya Pradesh, had died due to flash floods on the River Sindh, caused by the sudden release of water from the Madikheda Dam. After this incident, the state government constructed a 500-metre-long bridge on the River Sindh to make it easier for devotees to reach the temple.
The state government had also set up S.K. Pandey Commission to look into the incident. The commission had submitted its report the next year. In this regard, an application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get a copy of the report. As the matter was brought before the then State Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner ordered the General Administration Department (GAD) of the state to furnish the information to the appellant.
The GAD, however, didn't provide the copy to the appellant and rather wrote to him that it was not mandated to release the report as it was still to be tabled in the legislative assembly following which the applicant approached the High Court contending that the delay in providing information was an attempt by the state to protect influential bureaucrats whose criminal negligence was responsible for the incident.
The High Court bench disposed of the case with a directive to approach the chief information commissioner under RTI provisions which led to a piquant situation as the post of SIC has been vacant since December, 2012. The bench has now directed the GAD to make the appointment of CIC of the state by January 31, 2014 and has also issued direction for the future CIC to take action upon the said RTI appeal within six weeks of the appointment.