Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu recently rapped postal authorities for issuing receipts without an official seal, observing that such practices were encouraging false receipts of legal notices to be issued.
“The Commission finds that it is a small level fraud widespread all over the country causing serious loss to the parties discrediting the system of law and adjudication only because of inaction of the administrators of Post office against falsification of service proof. The negligence and inaction of senior officers is reflected from the response to the RTI requests,” the CIC observed.
The Commission was hearing an Appeal filed by one Mr. Ashok Kumar, who had alleged that false receipts were being issued by the postal staff, producing false acknowledgments for proof of service of legal notices. He had produced before the Commission a Post Office receipt for a notice issued in a property dispute involving him, and contended that he had, in fact, not received any such notice. He had also pointed out that the receipt issued by the post office did not bear any official seal or signature.
Accepting such contentions, the Commission observed, “The public authority appears to have miserably failed in initiating any inquiry or action against its staff members who generated such fraudulent receipts. The Senior Superintendent of Post Office should understand that such activities will seriously affect the rights of parties and create hurdles in adjudication. The citizens have every right to raise RTI requests on such serious issues.”
The Commission thereafter directed the Postal authorities to provide details of the policy on weeding out of records, as well as the date on which the documents sought by Mr. Kumar were removed.
The Commission also directed the SSPO/CPIO, Delhi North Division to show-case as to why maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for issuing the responses without his name, and for failing to provide information on the policy on weeding out of records.
Read the Order here.