Saturday, March 14, 2015

No access to Internet, prisoner demands PIN codes through RTI

NEW DELHI: A poor prisoner in Kolhapur in Maharashtra had to approach the  CIC for a simple piece of information - the PIN code directory of postal  department - as he did not have access to Internet to know the correct code for  sending letters to his family.

Taking cognisance of  humanitarian issues involved in the plea, Information Commissioner Basant Seth directed the postal department to  provide a printout of the PIN code directory  to Jitendra  Anandrao Chouhan free of cost.

In a sad commentary on the hassles faced by RTI  applicants while seeking information, Chauhan was not provided with All India PIN code directory by postal department  as it claimed that after digitisation it has done away with providing hard  copy.

Chauhan pleaded that he is a poor person who is lodged in jail and has no  access to computers but the postal department officials did not budge and kept  telling him that the only way he can access PIN codes is through  Internet.

He kept telling the postal department that great  hardships are being faced by him and other prisoners as many times the letters  mailed by them are returned undelivered for the want of PIN  codes.

Chauhan also told the postal department that poor prisoners have no means  for communicating with the family other than letters but postal authorities did  not furnish requisite information to him or find a way to solve the problem  faced by prisoners.

"The appellant has submitted that poor  prisoners face great hardships in sending letters to their family members as  they have no access to the PIN code directory displayed on India Post web site.  This is, therefore, a humanitarian issue concerning larger public interest since  the prisoners face hardship in communicating with their families," Seth said.
He asked the postal department to look into the issue  and take appropriate steps to provide access to PIN codes to prisoners lodged in  various jails.


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