The observation of Chief Justice, S H Kapadia of Supreme Court of India, during his recent visit to Assam and Meghalaya, vindicates high level corruption in administration and allegations brought out by various Non- Government Organizations(NGOs), including the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) led by Akhil Gogoi, against the Assam government’s various departments based upon the information received under the Rights to Information (RTI) Act,2005, to be true. Justice Kapadia recently visited Guwahati and Shillong to have adequate knowledge and information about the pending cases and discuss the ways and means to reduce their numbers. He wished to know about the conditions of the smaller courts and the infrastructure provided to the judges, advocates and the litigants in these two states.
Unlike other senior officials of the government departments, he desired to personally visit and see the developmental works and existence of infrastructure facilities for judges, advocates and litigants in the lower courts. He had in his mind the rosy pictures about the infrastructure as claimed by the state governments. But he was surprised and disappointed while going through the papers shown to him about the development of infrastructure and their existence at the sites. The senior government officials were panicked when he decided to have on the spot verification of the facilities. Later the officials informed him that most of the facilities mentioned in the infrastructure status reports sent to the Apex court existed only on papers.
Various organizations in Assam are acquiring information regarding the misuse and misappropriation of funds for development in different sectors including health, education, food, roads and housing etc. Large number of illegal appointments of teachers have been set aside by the courts. Even defying the court orders the politicians with tainted image are reluctant to mend their way of working and adopt fair practice.
A number of corruption cases are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Economic offence directorate. Rupees one thousand crore scam of North Cachar Hills district is yet under investigation, which is going on very slow speed because of involvement of some high influential persons.
Mukhya Mantri Anna Suraksha Yojana meant for the people living below poverty line (BPL) are found the beneficiaries deprived of their legitimate rights. Fair price shops are busy in doing unfair distribution of rice, sugar, kerosene etc; under influence of administrative reluctance to stop them.
Labor department supposed to look after the welfare of the working class people is busy in working in the interest of the employers. The rules and regulations under the Shops and Establishments Act are not adhered to by the traders regarding the working periods, working environments and welfare of workers.
A number of complaints have come up about the appointment of teachers in different schools for the subject on which they have no adequate knowledge.
In government hospitals most of the medicines are not available and the patients are asked to bring the medicines from outside shops. As regards the functioning of home departments, it is found that the local police is not interested in registering cases against the influential people. They do not like to register even petty cases on different plea in order to avoid workload of investigations on themselves. Recently it has been noticed that the Assam State Electricity Board has also failed to provide information desired by an organization under the RTI Act.
A large number of check gates have been opened by different government departments where illegal collection of taxes are done. Black marketers and anti-social elements are busy in looting money under the blessing of corrupt politicians. These are to be checked immediately and it is hoped the CJIO’s observation would bring relief to aggrieved persons.