Guwahati, Sunday, August 12, 2012
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Senior citizen’s recourse to RTI yields dividends
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, Aug 11 – Corrupt Revenue Department officials made him run between the pillar and the post for a trifle matter. But this man despite his age, accepted the challenge, took recourse to the provision of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and finally, with the order of the State Information Commission on his side he could get justice.

This man – Bisweswar Sarma, a resident of Kheraikuchi area in the city, who is above 75 – was asked by the Mouzadar concerned to get the number of his patta (permanent settlement document) corrected from the Revenue Department. He hence went to the mandal (surveyor) concerned to get the number corrected. The mandal had confirmed that the number written on the patta was not correct and asked him to meet the Circle Officer concerned.

The old man met the Circle Officer and as per his advice submitted a written petition with the plea to do the needful to correct his patta number. But when the petition reached the mandal, Sarma was reprimanded by the former. He was virtually made to stand in front of the mandal for about an hour for no fault of his.

Some days passed by and Sarma met the mandal again to face a similar situation. A few months later, when Sarma approached the mandal, the latter told him that he would have to go for physical verification of the plot of land concerned. But it is the legal provision that after granting permanent settlement rights over a plot of land, the mandal has no authority without the consent of the patta holder to physically verify the plot of land concerned.

After about six months, Sarma again approached the mandal, but he had to face a similar arrogance from the latter.

Fortunately, some of his well wishers advised Sarma to take recourse to the RTI and get his grievances redressed. Sarma accordingly took recourse to the RTI proviso and finally, the State Information Commissioner directed the officials concerned to correct the patta number of Sarma and also to take action against the erring officials.

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