HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view at alleged ill-treatment and physical assault and obtaining thumb impression on blank papers by some government subordinate officers against mother of an applicant who sought information under the Right to Information Act, the Hyderabad High Court has recently directed the Hindupur Additional district judge of Anantapur district to conduct inquiry into the issue and submit a report within two weeks.
“The court is of the view that the accusations are not enquired and wants to find out whether the petitioner is exaggerating or the respondent officers have acted contrary to law,” the court observed.
Justice SV Bhatt was passing this order in a petition filed by Syed Barakatulla, a resident of Chilamathur village in Anantapur district in AP, seeking directions to the authorities concerned to furnish the information sought by him under the RTI Act.
As for the case, Syed Barakatulla had made a representation to the authorities seeking employment under compassionate grounds following death of his father Imam Saab. The revenue authorities, in their report, stated that the petitioner was not the son of Imam Saab, but grandson of the latter. In January this year, the petitioner filed an application to the office of Chilamathur mandal tahsildar seeking details of the concerned file under the RTI.
When there was no response, he first made an appeal before the Penukonda Revenue divisional officer-cum-Appellate authority and then before the AP Information Commission, and later moved the High Court for relief.
As the case was pending before the High Court, the staff of Tahsildar office had allegedly entered the house of the petitioner on July 25 when he and his wife went to Karnataka for treatment, and assaulted his 61-year old mother Fakrun Bee and took her thumb impression on some white papers.
Informing the same to the High Court, the petitioner submitted that the motive behind this was to create documents stating that the information sought was already submitted to him in the past.
The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that there was no need for the staff to visit the petitioner’s house in his absence instead of sending the information sought under the RTI through registered post.
Disputing with the petitioner’s allegations, the tahsildar concerned filed counter affidavit stating that in good faith the staff visited the petitioner’s house and handed over the information copy to his mother and she voluntarily given her thumb impression.
After hearing both sides, Justice Bhatt felt the need of ordering an inquiry into the issue. The judge suggested the Anantapur principal district judge to entrust the job of inquiry to the Hindupur additional district judge and that the latter conduct the inquiry within two weeks and submit a report to the High Court. The judge posted the matter to September 20 for further hearing.