UP information commission issues arrest warrant against govt officials over 113-yr-old electricity connection

This is the first time that the commission has taken such a strong penal action

Representative image Representative image

In a rare move, the Uttar Pradesh Information Commission has issued an arrest warrant against officials of the electricity department of Varanasi for “deliberately ignoring” its summons and not providing information to an applicant under the Right to Information Act.

This is the first time that the UP Information Commission has taken such a strong penal action against erring officials ever since the RTI Act came into existence in 2005.

The warrant was issued by state information commissioner Ajaya Kumar Uprety against superintendent engineer Anil Verma, executive engineer R.K. Gautam, public information officer Sarvesh Anand and SDO Ravi Yadav under the provisions of Section 18 of the RTI Act and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Uprety has directed Deputy Commissioner of Police (Kashi Zone) Pramod Kumar to produce these officials before the commission on February 20 when the case will be heard again in Lucknow. The DSP has also been asked to inform the commission on how the warrant is being executed.

The matter pertains to an electric connection dated January 1, 1911 in the Kazakpura area of Varanasi in the name of one Uma Shankar Yadav. The electricity department had raised a bill of Rs 2.24 lakh against this connection. When Yadav disputed the bill and refused to pay it, the department issued a recovery challan against him.

Following this, Yadav took recourse to the RTI. While hearing the case, the information commission had asked the electricity department to respond to four questions: whether electricity was being given to consumers in Varanasi in 1911; how the bill was calculated and what was the cost per unit; which was the company that was transmitting power to the consumers; and whether the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd was in existence then.

Since the officials failed to respond despite many summonses, the commission issued an arrest warrant against them.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp