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RTI Reply To Retired Airforce Sergeant Waiting For Land Since 35 Years: Don’t Ask Questions!

Retired Sergeant Pradip Solanki of Indian Air Force, 63 was in the shock of a lifetime when he received a reply on 23 March to this RTI plea from the collectorate refusing to provide information as the application contained questions. Pradip Solanki, a resident of Ghatlodia who retired from IAF in 1992 had applied in 1986 for 5 acres of land at his native Surendranagar out of 16 acres eligible to defence personnel from the wasteland to cultivate, as per prevalent rules.

Seeing no development in the matter, Pradip Solanki pursued the matter in 2006 and again in December 2021. Starngley, he received the reply from the authorities that he will have to apply for the land as and when Government issues a notification about allotment of land to the defence personnel.

Pradip Solanki, therefore, in his RTI plea dated 25 February sought information seeking to know the last date on which such notification was issued and how much land had been allotted to ex-defence personnel and if any such land allotment has been made since 2003. The collectorate has replied on 23 March 2022 that as per RTI Act,2005 reply to this RTI plea can not be furnished as it is in question format.

While it is true that Government can not be questioned about the implementation of a policy, questions to seek information can be surely asked. Previous rulings by the chief information commission and the Supreme Court also mentioned that information can be sought in question format.