Ex-IAF officer bombards CIC with 3,500 RTI pleas

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Nov 2015 12:33:36


A FORMER Indian Air Force officer, who claims to be a
whistleblower in the force, has literally carpet bombed the Central Information Commission
with over 3,500 RTI petitions
and counting.
As a result of this, the Commission had to group his pleas under various common points before giving a verdict on each issue even as it underlined that there was a need to consider the feasibility of having some legal filter based on objective criteria to sift those applications that may appear to be needlessly repetitive. The Commission also said that this order be placed before the Chief Information Commissioner to device a mechanism to handle applications appearing to be ‘vexatious’ even as it highlighted that RTI Act has not defined the term.
To handle this load of applications from a single person, the Commission had to devote one person in the registry for only opening the envelops of appeals from Sanjeev Sharma, the ex-IAF officer who himself claims to have filed over 6,000 RTI applications with the IAF, CIC sources said.
“The appellant is a retired officer of the Indian Air Force... On July 15, 2015 when the hearing commenced, the number of appeals filed by the appellant as registered with the registry of this Commission, was 3,588,” Chief Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma noted.
He noted that the appellant indicated during the hearings that he was still filing RTI applications and will continue to file them. “The appellant was steadfast in underlining that much wrong has been done to him by the respondents and they should pay attention and do justice to him,” Sharma noted. The Commissioner pointed out that in one of the appeals, the appellant said that during his 24 years of service in the IAF, he had been fighting against corruption, financial irregularities by senior officers resulting in his harassment and humiliation to such an extent that he had to write a suicide note.
Quoting from his application, Sharma noted that following the incident he had submitted one personal application to Air Officer Commanding, 12 Wing AF, on November 4, 2010 for which response should have been provided but no reply has been given till now. In his pleas, Mohali-based Sharma, claimed that his complaints against corruption in the force were dismissed by officers without fair hearing.
“It is in this context that the appellant said that he was threatened and asked to cover up the cases of corruption and misuse of power by higher officers...,” CIC noted, adding that appellant claimed to have filed over 800 RTI applications with Punjab and Haryana High Court as well.
The IAF claimed that information was provided by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) in 137 RTI applications and that his applications were imposing heavy strain on its scarce resources. The force claimed that appellant had sought inane but voluminous information in respect of various conferences held at IAF and Non Public Fund venture administered by Air Headquarters, various Command Headquarters and IAF stations.