Defamation case against the Odisha Information Commissioner
On dated 04.6.2013, Smt. Rajalaxmi Das has filed a defamation case against Shri Jagadanand (Mohanty), Information Commissioner in the State Information Commission (SIC). Smt. Rajalaxmi Das, wife of Shri Jayanta Kumar Das, has filed a petition with the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha, with a prayer to punish him (Under Section 499 and 500 I.P.C) for using derogatory and defamatory languages in his decision in the Second Appeal case No.- 439/2011 dated Feb 9, 2012. In her petition, Smt. Rajalaxmi Das has mentioned that Sri Jagadanand (Mohanty), SIC has illegally and without any relevance reflected the version of PIO in the order that her husband is involved in fraudulent land deal with many persons and was arrested in criminal case. She has claimed that this decision of Shri Jagadanand (Mohanty) is illegal, perverse and non-application of judicial mind as it does not follow natural justice. Without hearing the case from Appellant Shri Jayanta Kumar Das, Shri Jagadanand (Mohanty) recorded the statement of the erring PIO and the same was also reflected on the order sheet which does not come within the domain of the commission. She has alleged that Shri Jagadanand (Mohanty) has passed the order with an oblique motive to malign the image of her husband.
On 1.8.2011, Shri Jayanta Kumar Das had filed an RTI Application to the PIO, office of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Odisha seeking information about copy of property statement of Dr. Sanat Mohapatra. On refusal, Shri Jayanta Kumar Das approached the First Appellate Authority who dropped the case without hearing because the appellant was not present during hearing. Then a second appeal S.A. No. 439/2011 was filed before the Odisha State Information Commission. It has been claimed that Shri Jagadanand (Mohanty) committed two blunders:-
i) He heard the case on 09.2.2012 and remanded the case again to the First Appellate Authority without ensuring information and without penalizing the Public Information Officer of Health & Family Welfare department as per Section 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. & (2) of RTI Act 2005 for not providing information to the appellant.
ii) In his decision, the objectionable version of the PIO was included which has damaged the social dignity of the appellant.
The case is likely to come up for hearing soon.