FIR against Karnataka officer for ‘insulting’ RTI activist


Accused is Information Commissioner K.E. Kumaraswamy

The Vidhana Soudha police have registered an FIR against State Information Commissioner K.E. Kumaraswamy under the SC,ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly insulting and abusing an RTI activist during the hearing of a case.

The police were allegedly reluctant to receive the complaint, following which the complainant had to approach senior police officers before approaching the court. Based on the directions of the court, the Vidhana Soudha police have taken up a case against Mr. Kumaraswamy on May 1.

Mr. Narayanaswamy, RTI applicant from Srinivasapura, filed an application before the Public Information Officer, District Manager Office, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation, Kolar, in January last year seeking information on the tender notifications issued for digging of borewells and supply of pumpsets under Ganga Kalyana scheme in all taluks of Kolar district.

As no information was provided, he filed a first appeal and thereafter, a second appeal before the Karnataka Information Commission in May last year. According to Mr. Narayanaswamy, during the hearing of the appeal, he was humiliated by the Commissioner and a detailed complaint was filed before the Vidana Soudha police in March. However, the inspector refused to receive the application, he alleged. Later, the complaint was sent by registered post. On March 6, about 50 activists of DSS and other social activists met the Chief Information Commissioner and submitted a memorandum and requested appropriate action.

Later, a delegation met the Additional Director General of Police, Civil Rights Enforcement Directorate, and requested action. They also visited the police station and filed a complaint. However, no case was registered. Instead, an FIR was registered against the RTI applicant on March 10 by the Secretary of Karnataka Information Commission based on the orders of the Information Commissioner.

Aggrieved, Mr. Narayanaswamy filed a private complaint before the jurisdictional magistrate and was later on referred to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Vidhana Soudha division, for investigation.

Although the post of State Information Commissioner is equivalent to the Chief Secretary, the FIR was earlier refused by the police stating that they cannot register an FIR against the Commissioner without prior approval of the High Court of Karnataka, he said in his complaint.

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