By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 21: The Centre for Organisation Research and Education (CORE) has accused the State Home Department of deliberately impeding enforcement of the Right To Information (RTI) Act in the State. CORE also asserted that there has been no reformation in Manipur Police.
Speaking to media persons at its office here today, CORE programme co-ordinator Wahengbam Joy- kumar informed that he sub-mitted an appeal to the State Public Information Officer (SPIO) of the Home Depart-ment as an appellant on August 31 last year seeking certain details under the RTI Act.
The details sought under the RTI Act included names, addresses, educational qualifications, office addresses and functioning telephone numbers of the members of State Security Commission, State Level Police Complaint Authority and District Police Complaint Authority.
The appeal also sought functioning telephone numbers of Superintendents of Police, police stations inclu-ding mobile phone numbers if any and also the reason for non-functional tele-phone numbers of police stations, if there is any, Joykumar elaborated.
However, the details sought were denied by the SPIO saying that Manipur Police Department is exempted from the purview of RTI Act 2005 excepting matters related to corruption and human rights violation.
Subsequent upon the denial, another appeal was submitted to the Fast Appellate Authority on Octo- ber 23. But there was no response within the stipulated time.
This was followed by another appeal submitted to the Manipur Information Commission (MIC) on December 3 last year, Joyku- mar conveyed.
Later, after hearing both the parties, the MIC issued a ruling on March 25 this year. The ruling directed the SPIO to provide the information sought by the ap- pellant within two weeks. The SPIO was also served show cause notice seeking to impose a fine of Rs 1500 for not providing the sought after information in time, the CORE functionary said.
On May 19, the SPIO finally provided a response to the appellant. But most of the details sought were mis-sing in the response. It did not give the office addresses nor telephone num- bers of State Level Police Complaint Authority and District Level Police Com-plaint Authority. It did not contain telephone numbers of SPs and police stations either, Joykumar disclosed.
Against the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the Chief Secretary of Manipur on March 31 last year, information provided by the SPIO said that District Police Complaint Authority of Imphal West will function in all the four valley districts while District Police Complaint Authority of Senapati will function in all the remaining districts. But in a connection with a writ petition, the Chief Secretary on April 7, 2007 submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating that the State Government has already constituted the State Security Commission, State Level Police Complaint Authority and District Level Police complaint Authority in all districts, Joykumar quoted.
As the response of the SPIO was far from satisfactory, another appeal has been submitted, informed Joykumar while alleging that the State police have done nothing for the security of the people. There is no helpline including for fire mishaps. The State has failed miserably to materi-alise its assurance to reform the Manipur Police Dept, Joy- kumar asserted. In fact, the Home Dept is making a mockery of the RTI Act, he said. Under the prevailing circumstan-ces, human rights defenders in the State have reservations to make any criticism of the Government, he disclosed.
The Sangai Express