What happens to the petitions filed by the common man?
As per the reply provided by the office of the Chief Minister (CM) of Kerala, the CM Oommen Chandy, has received a 4,16,532 petitions since assuming office in 2011. When asked about the fate of the petitions, the CM office had little to say. It was informed that “The petitions received in the office were forwarded to the departments or offices concerned with necessary instructions for redress. Further processing of petitions is done there. Updated details of disbursements are not available at the office.”
The reply to the Right to Information (RTI) application further shows that the pendency position does not include those which were received through the annual Jana Samparka Paripadi (Mass Contact Programme). The Jana Samparka Paripadi bagged the UN Public Service Award and was held in the 14 districts of the Kerala.
Kannur: out of 16,505 petitions filed, action is required to be taken in 12,243 petitions.
Palakkad: Out of 37,761 petitions filed, 10,776 complaints are yet to be disposed.
Thrissur: Out of the 28,340 applications filed, 6,773 are still pending.
Idukki: Out of 17,451 petitions received, 4,683 are still pending.
Kottayam: Out of 11,473 applications received, 3,114 are still pending.
Wayanad: Out of 22,756 petitions received, 3,832 and still pending.
Kozhikode received 22,745 petitions and 2,810 are still pending.
Almost all the Chief Ministers and even the Prime Minister receive petitions / applications from the people who look forward to a solution to their problems. Most, if not all, petitions are hardly followed by the offices of the dignitaries. It raises a fundamental issue of whether the CM office should keep a track of each and every application received and what should be the degree of follow up, if at all any. In a democracy, the head of the elected party is the last hope of a common man who may have tried all other possible avenues without success. He would be shattered to know that there is little to expect from the system and his petition only ends up in a cold storage. The complaint redressal mechanism at CMO also works as an effective system to monitor the efficiency of bureaucracy and the programmes run by the government. To be fair to the CMO, with rising expectations of the citizens, there is inadequate manpower to deal with an ever increasing number of petitions and some of the petitioners directly approach the CMO without following the hierarchy. A few frivolous applications cannot be ruled out. This calls for a different approach to the process of receipt of applications by the senior dignitaries like CM and their follow up.