Should the RTI application be forwarded to the sarpanch?
An application was filed with the deputy commissioner's office in Mansa, Punjab under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information about the total amount of developmental grants disbursed to gram panchayat of Dhingar village between 2008 and 2013. It also sought to know the description of developmental works on which the grants have been used. Besides, the application also demanded the yearly income generated by gram panchayat since 2008 and the amount received by it under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The office of the deputy commissioner forwarded the application to the zila parishad. The zila parishad forwarded the application to the village sarpanch. It has been alleged that the same should have been sent to the panchayat secretary who should have collected the information from the sarpanch. The zila parishad officials asked the RTI applicant to collect the information from the village sarpanch personally as the information was held by the sarpanch.
The applicant stated that asking him to collect the information from sarpanch, who is not the prescribed authority under the RTI Act, is against the letter and spirit of the act. He has said that sending a copy of the application to his village sarpanch discloses his identity and can cause problems for him. Apprehensive of his disclosed identity, he plans to write a complaint to the Mansa deputy commissioner.