February 8, 2023

Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir (SNS KASHMIR)

Reporting Facts That Matter The Most (www.snskashmir.com)

Delay by Tehsildar Bhalwal to provide info of State Land allegedly occupied by Ex. Dy CM

4 min read

CIC seeks explanation of then Tehsildar as to why Penal Action be not initiated against him

SNS KASHMIR Jammu: In a significant order, a Bench of the Central Information Commission, New Delhi headed by the Chief Information Commissioner Y. K. Sinha while disposing of a Second Appeal filed by Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed has taken a serious view against the conduct of the then Tehsildar Bhalwal, District Jammu namely Amit Upadhyay for delay in providing information to the Appellant who had sought the details of the State Land comprised in Khasra No. 1789 of Village Ghaink, Tehsil Bhalwal of District Jammu allegedly under the illegal occupation of Former Deputy Chief Minister of J&K, Kavinder Gupta S/o Sh. Bindraban Gupta R/o Indira Colony, Janipur, Jammu. The Chief Information Commissioner while taking serious note of the matter observed that no explanation has been submitted by the then Tehsildar Bhalwal, Amit Upadhyay for delay in supplying the information to the appellant and CIC directed that the then Tehsildar should submit a suitable explanation justifying the delay in complying with the order passed by the First Appellate Authority (SDM, Jammu North) dated June 26,2021 and why no penal action should be initiated for violation of the mandated timeline as provided under Right to Information Act, 2005. The CIC further directed that the explanation must reach the Commission by February 20, 2023 failing which appropriate action shall be initiated suo moto in terms of law.After hearing Advocate Muzzaffar Ali Shah appearing for Appellant Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed whereas Ashok Chakravarty, PIO/ Tehsildar Bhalwal, the Chief Information Commissioner observed that Advocate M. A. Shah appearing for appellant pointed out that there has been a delay of four months in furnishing the information to the appellant in violation of the order passed by the First Appellate Authority. Advocate Shah further submitted that the delay was intentional/deliberate as the information was directed against the Former Deputy Chief Minister of the erstwhile State of J&K who had allegedly grabbed a large chunk of State Land at village Ghaink, Tehsil Bhalwal of District Jammu. He further submitted that exemplary action under Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005 be initiated against then Tehsildar Bhalwal, Amit Upadhyay by imposing penalty and by recommending disciplinary action against the erring officer. The PIO/Tehsildar Bhalwal, Ashok Chakravarty appearing through Video Conferencing submitted that perusal of the record shows that the information was provided to the appellant on August 06,2021. On query by the Chief Information Commissioner regarding the delay of 04 months in providing the information, the Tehsildar Bhalwal submitted that the information was already supplied to the appellant before he joined as Tehsildar Bhalwal. Upon this, the Chief Information Commissioner ascertained from the incumbent Tehsildar Bhalwal about the present place of posting of the then Tehsildar Bhalwal, Amit Upadhyay and it was informed to the Bench that he is presently posted as Tehsildar Khari in District Ramban. After hearing both the sides through Video Conferencing, the Chief Information Commissioner, Y. K. Sinha while expressing displeasure over the dilatory tactics of then Tehslidar Bhalwal, took a serious view against his conduct for delay in providing information to the Appellant who had sought the details of the State Land comprised in Khasra No. 1789 of Village Ghaink, Tehsil Bhalwal of District Jammu allegedly under the illegal occupation of Former Deputy Chief Minister of J&K, Kavinder Gupta and observed that no explanation has been submitted by the then Tehsildar Bhalwal, Amit Upadhyay for delay in supplying the information to the appellant and directed that the then Tehsildar, Amit Upadhyay should submit a suitable explanation justifying the delay in complying with the order passed by the First Appellate Authority (SDM, Jammu North) dated June 26,2021 and why no penal action should be initiated for violation of the mandated timeline as provided under Right to Information Act, 2005. The CIC further directed that the explanation must reach the commission by February 20, 2023 failing which appropriate action shall be initiated suo moto in terms of law.With these observations and directions, the CIC disposed off the Second Appeal filed by Advocate S. S. Ahmed.

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