On the background of assurance given by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that a report on Ratnakar Gaikwad's role in the Ambedkar Bhavan demolition will be sent to the Governor and on the background of surge of protest, an agitation and anger displayed by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's disciples recently , it appears that Chief State Information commissioner (CSIC) of Maharashtra has not left with any other option other than to resign .
Most irony part of the story is that Ratnakar Gaikwad himself has created the cause of action to remove himself from the post of CSIC under section 17 of RTI act. as per this section , Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the CSIC or a State Information Commissioner ( SIC) can be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.
As per section 17(3) (e) of RTI act CSIC or SIC can be removed If he has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner
And as per section 17(4) CSIC or SIC can be removed if he, in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehavior.
In a present case, Ratnakar Gaikwad has not only taken an active part in the demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan but also saw and defended the demolition of it in the midnight openly.
While talking to Mumbai Mirror Gaikwad admitted that he wasn't connected with the trust, and was merely "advising" the office bearers, like so many organizations and NGOs do, and I helped them." . But he was seen on television giving the reason for demolition in the midnight. He said earlier while structural audit there was a hugh protest and hence they had to demolish it in midnight. That definitely wasn't just advice. It was active participation and "Interest in action".
Ratnakar Gaikwads behavior in Ambedkar Bhawan demolition case clearly shows that he had taken a lot of interest in. It was not just a passive advice, it was definitely an active participation falls under the section 17 of the RTI act. There may be counter arguments on whether information commissioners while in office are allowed to give advice to NGO's or people. But definitely, they are not allowed to take an active part in any organizations matters directly or indirectly.
If Government reports Ratnakar Gaikawad's involvement in Ambedkar Bhawan demolition case to the Governor, the Governor may start his removal procedure. And looking it to the increasing pressure on Government and assurance given by chief minister in assembly Government will definitely send such report. In that case, Governor as per section 17 (2) may suspend him from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during an inquiry. To avoid all this embarrassment Ratnakar Gaikwad has an option of only to Resign immediately.
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