Should the applicant be expected to know the map number for seeking information?
A citizen had filed six applications with the building branch of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for some information related to six buildings in Zone A and D of the city.
All the applications were rejected by the building branch of LMC asking the applicant to mention the map number, date on which map was passed and the name of the owner of the building without which the reply could not be furnished. A building branch official said that the maps in the department are not kept area wise rather they are kept number wise which makes it difficult for the municipal corporation to reply to the RTI applications.
The map numbers and date of issuance of permission for any building in the city have not been put in the public domain by the LMC. Thus it is extremely difficult for the citizens to know the map numbers of the city. It is alleged that there are many illegal buildings in the city which are in violation of the construction laws but when details about them are asked through right to information, MC demands the map number. The applicant has alleged that the corporation is deliberately trying to evade RTI queries.
Should all the municipal corporations throughout the country be asked to put the approved maps on the website?