For Vikas Choudhary and Manohar Lal, the response to their RTI query came as a rude shock.
The residents of Chani Badi in Bhadra tehsil of Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district got used condoms wrapped in old newspaper allegedly posted by the gram panchayat on the directions of State Information Commission.
Choudhary and Lal had filed two separate applications under the right to information act (RTI) with the gram panchayat on April 16 seeking details of the development projects undertaken since 2001.
“After opening the first envelope with used condoms folded in an old newspaper, we were quite apprehensive about the stuff in the second one so we called the block development officer (BDO) and requested his presence while opening the other,” Choudhary, who is preparing for state civil services examination in Delhi, said while speaking to the Hindustan Times over the phone.
“When the BDO refused our request, we decided to open it in the presence of some prominent persons of our village and filmed the whole episode. The material in the second envelope was the same as the first one,” he said.
Lal was also stunned when he received the same “answer” when he opened the envelope to check the reply.
“Is this how the panchayat runs its business? I cannot believe the civic body can reply in such a foul manner. I have been in constant mental agony and depression since I received the RTI reply,” Lal said.
When contacted, chief executive officer (CEO) of Hanumangarh Jila Parishad Navneet Kumar said it was a “mischievous act” after the condoms were posted in the reply.
“The regrettable and illegal act has been done by some unknown person who appears to have access in the official system,” Kumar said.
The CEO assured that all necessary steps will be taken to avert recurrence of such incidents and an investigation will be launched to bring the culprit to book.