MP Info Panel Comes to Rescue of Retired PWD Employee Awaiting Arrears, Pension Benefits Since 10 Years
For over a decade, retired PWD employee Sriniwas Tiwari used every possible means, including RTI, legal intervention and departmental help, but to no avail.
Bhopal:Madhya Pradesh State Information Commissioner on Thursday slammed the state government while passing an order in favour of a retired Public Works Department (PWD) employee who, after completing his services, was deprived of arrears and pension benefits for almost a decade now.
All these years, retired PWD employee Sriniwas Tiwari used every possible means, including RTI, legal intervention and departmental help, but to no avail.
Tiwari was posted with the PWD department as a Timekeeper and retired in 2010.
The PWD department had never given him a promotion or tenure-based incentive throughout his service period. Since 2010, Tiwari has been running from pillar to post to get his dues from the department. He had approached senior officers of his department, high court, State Human Rights Commission and filed RTI numerous times, but all in vain.
Seeking justice, he had filed a writ petition before the Jabalpur High Court in 2010. The double bench of HC ruled in his favour and asked the government of Madhya Pradesh to settle all pending dues. Even the esteemed high court order got entangled in the bureaucratic maze.
When the high court order failed to work, Tiwari moved an RTI application asking details of his salary break up and benefits. Ironically, the Public Information Officer in this case turned out to be same executive engineer Hari Singh Thakur who had refused to act on the court order. He refused to even provide a reply, let alone give the information. Tiwari then moved for first appeal before the superintendent engineer.
The superintendent engineer had ordered the executive engineer to provide the information four times. But the executive engineer did not budge. Information commissioner Rahul Singh in his order points out that executive engineer was prejudiced towards the appellant, both while dealing with the grievance and later with deciding the RTI appeal.
Information commissioner Rahul Singh expressed surprise over the case stating that senior officer’s order, high court’s order and first appellant authority’s order seem to have had no bearing. Keeping all authorities’ orders in suspension, the responsible officer only sat on the file, making the ordeal even more painful for Tiwari, Singh noted.
The info commissioner has now appointed engineer in chief RK Mehra as the deemed Public Information Officer so that RTI provisions are implemented properly in the department in true spirit in future.
Singh also issued a show-cause notice for levying a penalty of Rs 25,000 and disciplinary action against executive engineers Hari Singh Thakur and Narayan Sharma.
The information commission in its order pointed out that the payment of arrears is a problem faced by government staffers at all levels and urged the department concerned to evolve a transparent and clean system so that no one faces such trouble in future.
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