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The government does not know what it means by the term ‘Minorities’!

December 16, 2006

Every day in the newspapers we are bombarded with the term ‘Minorities.’ Its become official jargon, but strangely, the government itself has no idea what it means! Thanks to the well known journalistVeeresh Malik,  who filed an application dated 25.4.2006 to the PIO (Public Information Officer) of the NCM (National Commission for Minorities) Delhi, we know that the government doesn’t know.

1. Mr. Malik sought information relating to the definition of ‘Minorities’. Not getting a reply from the PIO after the expiry of 30 days from the date of filing the application, the appellant filed a First Appeal before the First Appellate Authority on 03.06.2006.
In response to this first Appeal the First Appellate Authority (vide an email on 13.06.2006) replied that the NCM had no knowledge and no records regarding the information sought for. Hence their comments may be treated as ‘Nil’. (!)
The Appellant being dissatisfied with the reply of the first appellate authority moved a second appeal before this Commission.

2. The comments of the PIO were called for and the case was fixed for hearing on 5th December 2006.
The bench of Dr. O.P. Kejariwal heard the matter.
Shri P. Sharma Legal officer & PIO appeared on behalf of the Respondents.
No one was present for the Appellant.

3. During the hearing, the Respondent reiterated his point by stating that they have no idea of the information sought for and hence the reply may be treated as ‘Nil’.
When the Commission wanted a clarification from the PIO as to why the application was not replied to within the stipulated period of 30 days, the PIO stated that since there was no information that could be furnished to the Appellant he did not reply.
Though the Commission after hearing the arguments of the PIO was satisfied that no information could have been furnished to the Appellant, it took it a serious view for not responding to the application of the Appellant.

4. As such the Commission directs the PIO to show cause in writing on or before 20th December 2006, as to why a penalty under section 20(1) @ Rs.250/- per day starting from the date of receiving the RTI (Right To Information) application till the actual date of replying to the application, should not be levied on him for his failure to furnish information within the time allowed under this Act.

The question that remained in the mind of Mr. Veeresh Malik was “What are we all talking about when we discuss “minorities”?

(This information has been provided by Veeresh Malik)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anil permalink
    December 17, 2006 6:48 am

    The government is obsessed with definitions but surprisingly they do not have one for minorities!

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