- GOVT VS GOVT SERVENT : STATE ASSEMBLES TO CRACKDOWN ON SERIAL LITIGATOR
GOVT VS GOVT SERVENT : STATE ASSEMBLES TO CRACKDOWN ON SERIAL LITIGATOR
13 Aug 2017 06:10am IST
13 Aug 2017 06:10am IST
A government junior engineer, Kashinath Shetye, upset the Government machinery by filing 195 cases against the State. SURAJ NANDREKAR discovers how Shetye has been a hot topic for discussion during the recently concluded Monsoon Assembly Session
The Goa Legislative Assembly, for a change, had a lengthy discussion about a government junior engineer Kashinath Shetye, who also doubles up as an RTI activist.
What has hurt the government was Shetye had filed around 195 cases in different courts.
As per the reply in the Assembly, Shetye has filed 195 cases related to environment and other issues against government departments before the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court and the National Green Tribunal in Pune.
The Assembly discussed how a government servant can get time to file 195 cases and replies said that he has submitted 459 leave applications to the parent department in the last five years.
However, Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar said that Shetye had not obtained any kind of approvals for filing the court cases.
Nilesh Cabral, armed with documents which he claimed prove number of violations and illegalities by Shetye, argues as to how the Electricity Department would accept all his leave applications. He demanded an inquiry against the officer concerned, to which Madkaikar assured to launch a departmental inquiry.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar too echoed the concern particularly on majority leaves being “half-day.”
Madkaikar said the department was unaware about any acquisition or disposal of any assets under his name or in the name of his spouse, as no such permission had been sought by him for the past 10 years as per available records, except intimation of vehicle purchase.
OUTRAGE AMONGST ACTIVISTS
The government’s move, however, does not seem to have gone well on the social platform, which has criticised the government saying it is trying to suppress the voices.
Social activist Sabina Martins said that whenever any RTIs are filed and information received benefitted this government politically, there was no action taken against the person but when the RTIs do not benefit or rather expose this government, action is initiated.
“BJP had once used Shetye to file RTIs. Parrikar and Shetye worked together to file RTIs. There is nothing wrong in filing RTIs or take up the matter to the court as it is the right of every person and an activist. But whatever procedure needs to be followed as a government servant, should be followed,” says Sabina.
Another social activist Aires Rodrigues also criticised government on Shetye issue.
“Manohar Parrikar has conveniently woken up too late against Kashinath Shetye,” he said.
The Congress in Goa has also come out in support of an RTI activist, against whom the state government has ordered an inquiry. The Opposition party slammed the BJP-led government for ordering an inquiry into the assets of the activist, Kashinath Shetye, and said he should have been instead rewarded for exposing “misdeeds” of the ruling coalition.
“I don’t agree the state government should initiate an inquiry against the whistleblower. In fact, he should be rewarded for exposing misdeeds of the government,” Congress leader Girish Chodankar said.