Liability of Rs 33 crores over Housing Board

Jammu, February 02: In a reply to a RTI query, it has been exposed that there is a liability of Rs 33 crores in the JK Housing Board. This information has been denied earlier by the PIO of Housing Board to a Jammu based information seeker but after filing 1st appeal the information was revealed.

As per a local daily, a show cause notice has been issued by the State Information Commission (SIC)   against the PIO of Housing Board for withholding actual details and providing misleading/incorrect information.

The complaint was filed by one P Sulieman, a resident of Channi Himmat Jammu under Section 15 of the J&K State RTI Act, 2009 before the State Information Commission (SIC) wherein he alleged that PIO, J&K, Housing Board provided him incorrect information with respect to his two RTI applications.

As per his complainant, he has filed a RTI application on 19 03-2015 in order to seek information on a) appointment, placements, postings and promotions of Ram Pal, Secretary, J&K, Housing Board. B) Information on main objects for which the J&K Housing Board is established and incorporated and the activities that are to be perused by it c) with details about last audit report.

The PIO, J&K, Housing Board passed order on 24-04-2015 and provided the information to the complainant. However, complainant in his complaint before State Information Commission (SIC) submitted that information at point (a) above given was incomplete and wrong. State Information Commission (SIC) while going through the order of the PIO and information so provided found that PIO had provided information strictly in accordance with the RTI application. Complainant P Sulieman could not establish before the Commission how the information so provided on this point was wrong or incomplete. “Hence, no action is warranted on the PIO’s order on this point of information. Information provided at point (b) & (c) of the RTI application was also provided correctly and same was admitted by the complainant” said SIC in its earlier order.

Another RTI application was filed by the complainant, subsequently dated: 16-05-2015 before PIO, J&K, Housing Board to seeking following information;

  1. How many times present Secretary, J&K, Housing Board has officiated as the

Managing Director of the J&K, Housing Board. Provide date-wise details.

  1. As per the Accounts of the J&K, Housing Board, what is the present financial liability of the Board.
  2. How much of financial liability has been credited during the period present Secretary officiated as Managing Director. How much financial liability has been created other than the Housing schemes.
  3. How much expenditure the J&K Housing Board has incurred outside the budgetary provisions like installation of transformers, street lights, etc during the period present Secretary officiated as the Managing Director, J&K, Housing Board. Provide details and relevant documents of such expenditure.
  4. During the officiating period of present Secretary as Managing Director, how much funds the J&K Housing Board has received under the centrally sponsored scheme, RAY. How much money has been spent and how much is the financial liability created on this scheme.

The PIO, J&K, Housing Board while responding to this request of the complainant, passed an order on 16-06-2015 on the basis of assistance given by the Secretary, J&K, Housing Board and provided the information to the information seeker.

Being aggrieved with the incomplete information so provided at point 2,3 & 4 of the RTI application dated: 16-05- 2015, complainant P Sulieman filed first appeal before First Appellate Authority (FAA), J&K, Housing Board on 02-07-2015, pleading therein that information provided by the PIO on points 2,3 & 4 was misleading and incorrect. The FAA adjudicated the appeal on 14-08-2015, upheld the contention of the complainant that the information provided was incorrect. Therefore, FAA directed the PIO to provide the remaining information within 15 days. The PIO in compliance to the directions of the FAA passed another order on 28-08-2015, attaching therein remaining information obtained from the office of Financial Advisor, J&K, Housing Board, which the complainant acknowledged of having received the same.

SIC’s decision dated 19.1.2016:

“Commission while perusing earlier order of the PIO and the fresh order passed in consequences of the directions of FAA found that there was clear contradiction in both replies so provided. In his earlier order, PIO while replying to point 2 of the RTI application informed the information seeker that there was no financial liability of the Board, whereas in his 2nd order, PIO informed that there were about Rs. 33.00 crores liability of the Board, as per given break-up. Similarly, replies with regard to information sought at point 3&4 of the RTIapplication also varies in earlier and fresh order of the PIO. Thus, it is prima facie established before the Commission that information so given by the PIO in earlier order and in the order passed after directions of the FAA was incorrect and misleading”

Order further reads as :

“Therefore, Mr. Yogesh Sharma, Sr. Programmer-cum-PIO, J&K, Housing Board is directed to explain why penalty under section 17 of the J&K State RTI Act, 2009 may not be imposed on him for giving incorrect and misleading information. His reply, if any must reach the Commission within 15 days of the receipt of this order. The complaint is accordingly disposed of.”

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