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    rohitab
    Information sought with regard to marks in Civil Services Exam cannot be directed to be furnished mechanically. Furnishing raw marks will cause problems as pleaded by the UPSC which will not be in public interest.
    The Supreme Court has held that raw and scaled marks awarded to candidates in Civil Services (Prelims) examination cannot be revealed under the Right to Information Act and set aside the Delhi high court order asking UPSC to disclose the marks. The Commission contended that the corrections made in the answer book would likely arouse doubt and perhaps even suspicion in the candidate’s mind and this would not only breed grievances, but would likely lead to litigation.

    Priya De
    The RTI query, sent to the Ministry of Finance, sought details on individual exposure of various PSBs to corporate borrowers. The questions that were asked in the RTI query sought information on the loans given to the Reliance Industries, Adani Group, GVK Group, GMR and Jaypee Group. The RTI was first directed to the Finance Ministry, which then forwarded the RTI request to various banks asking them to provide the information. The RTI had questions on the money loaned to big industrial houses by government-run banks. However, all public sector banks except Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have refused to divulge information citing either the 'personal nature' of questions or how they don't fit under the provisions of the RTI Act. 
    In their reply to the RTI query, the banks have said that the information available with banks under "fiduciary relationship" is exempted from disclosure.
    Read about: Fiduciary Relationship under RTI
    While Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have disclosed the loans given to big corporates, all other lenders refused to do so. Banks which did not disclose any detail in their reply to the RTI query include State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Maharashtra, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Canara Bank, UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of India and Syndicate Bank. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha that loans worth Rs 81,683 crore were written-off by public sector banks (PSBs) in 2016-17.
    Country's largest public sector lender, the SBI, said, "The information sought by you under point number three to eight is the third party personal information held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity, the disclosure of which is not warranted for any larger public interest and as such is exempted from disclosure."

    Priya De
    The Supreme Court fixed on Tuesday an upper limit of Rs 50 as application fee that government authorities can charge those seeking information under the right to information (RTI) act, the country’s transparency law.
    Also, a bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said public authorities cannot ask for more than Rs 5 for each page as photocopying charge, and an applicant need not mention the “motive” while filling out the application form.
    The order came on petitions challenging high fees set by different public bodies, including high courts and state assemblies.
    The decision can be downloaded from here:
     

    Priya De
    A biennial study conducted by Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Centre for Equity Studies has revealed a grim picture of RTI Act implementation with waiting time at information commissions running in years and commissions in several states becoming non-functional owing to unfilled vacancies. The study has found that if an RTI appeal were to be filed in West Bengal state information commission on November 1, 2017, it would be disposed of in 2060 – after 43 years. In Kerala, it would take six years six months and Odisha 5 years 3 months. The main reason for such a long waiting time is the reduced number of information commissioners that commissions are working with. 
    The report has brought out, what it calls a “concerning trend”. The information commissions, which are the last resort for the common man to complain against wrongful denial of information, are increasingly returning cases. The highest number of cases have been returned by CIC, followed by Gujarat, Assam and Uttarakhand.

    Priya De
    On Tuesday, March 20 this year, unknown assailants killed Right to Information activist Poipynhun Majaw in Meghalaya, making it the first RTI related death in the Meghalaya. This marked the 68th death of RTI activists across the country since the Right to Information was first passed.
    Perhaps nothing can capture this case better than that of Nanjibhai Sondarva, who, on the 9th of March was allegedly clubbed to death by 6 people in Manekvada village, Gujarat soon after filing an RTI application demanding fiscal transparency about the road construction in his village.
    Police said the body of Poipynhun Majaw, the president of Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF), was found on Rymbai Road near Khliehriat, the headquarters of East Jaintia Hills district bordering Bangladesh and a prime mining area in the State.
    “We found wounds on his head probably caused by a heavy iron object. This looks like a case of murder, but we are waiting for the post-mortem report to find the culprits and uncover the motive behind the murder,” Nazarius Lamare, the district’s Superintendent of Police told The Hindu.
    Rights activists say they suspect the 38-year-old Mr Majaw could have paid the price for exposing a nexus between heads of the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and cement companies that were allegedly allowed to mine limestone without permission.
    Read the Source

    Priya De
    It appears Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya are not the only fraudsters who have successfully managed to flee the country. Since 2015, there are hundreds of cases of financial scams registered with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Mumbai. According to information obtained by activist Jeetendra Ghadge through RTI request, 184 of the people accused in those scams are absconding.
    The EOW usually looks into high-profile swindlers because it investigates scams only over Rs 50 lakh. The total amount involved in cases for last three years are: Rs 5,560 crore in 2015, Rs 4,273 crore in 2016, and in 2017, it is 9,835 crore. In all, it is a whopping Rs 19,668 crore in three years. However, the refund investors have received from EOW stands at an abysmal Rs 2.5 crore among 74 investors.
    Ghadge said the main reason behind sluggish investigations is “the political intervention, corruption, short staff and lack of expert officers who can investigate complex financial frauds.” The same RTI information notes there are 79 vacant posts of PSI in the EOW.
    "There seems to be a tsunami of financial fraud in this country mainly because these fraudsters have no fear of the law,” said Ghadge. “With some political influence and by bribing officials, an accused can easily get away. We cannot blame the EOW or CBI, the government is ultimately responsible for not fixing the law and order machinery.”

    rohitab
    In Madhya Pradesh, which is in the throes of elections, the state government has denied the request of an anti-corruption activist and refused to share details of meetings of the state civil services board because they are “confidential” and barred under the RTI Act.
    Activist Ajay Dubey had filed an RTI application with the state government to know the details of proceedings of the board during the months of July, August and September last year.
    The civil services board is meant to be headed by the chief secretary state and has a seniormost additional chief secretary or chairman, the board of revenue, the financial commissioner or an officer of equivalent rank and status as a member. In addition, it has a principal secretary or secretary, department of personnel, in the state government as member secretary.

    rohitab
    Under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, the state information commissioner (SIC) imposed a total fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on 14 government officials who failed to provide information sought under the RTI.
    UP information commissioner Hafiz Usman on Friday imposed a penalty on 14 government officials, including the district magistrate of Sambhal and Moradabadchief development officer for not providing information sought under the Right to Information Act. 

    rohitab
    Once the RTI application is filed the records available with CPIO/respondent authority, cannot be destroyed as per the retention and removal schedule.- CIC
    CIC recorded that the PIO of Department of Posts without application of mind denied the information on points under section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act. The appellant had sought the copy of all cameras (CCTV) video recording of head post office Bhavnagar.
    Since video recording is covered under information as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act. If the CCTV footage is held by the respondent authority, it is his duty to share it, except when the denial is justified under any provisions of exemptions mentioned in Section 8 of the RTI Act.
    Once the RTI application is filed the records available with CPIO/respondent authority, cannot be destroyed as per the retention and removal schedule. In this case, the CPIO denied the information under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act, which means they have the CCTV footage with them. Therefore, commission recorded that the respondent authority is directed to provide CD with required CCTV footage and the information sought by the appellant.

    rohitab
    The High Court has struck down CIC order that file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note.
    High Court ruled that "Any noting made in the official records of the Government/public authority is information belonging to the concerned Government/public authority. The question whether the information relates to a third party is to be determined by the nature of the information and not its source."
    The reasoning, that the notings or information generated by an employee during the course of his employment is his information and thus has to be treated as relating to a third party, was considered flawed. 
    Court further stated that "Section 8 of the Act provides for exemption from disclosure of certain information and none of the provisions of Section 8 provides for a blanket exemption that entitles the respondent to withhold all notings on a file." 
    CIC has earlier made the decision on the basis that when the file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note. The file noting for a confidential and secret part would attract the provisions of Section 8(1)(e) as well as Section 11(1) of the RTI Act. 
    The contention of the CIC was struck down and the court directed CIC to take the decision within 3 months. Earlier, however, Central Information Commission (CIC) in their Decision No. ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006 dt.31.01.2006, has held that “file notings are not, as a matter of law, exempt from disclosure”.
     
    Usefulness of the High Court Order
    The above decision is highly relevant for users who are filing RTI to know the Status of their earlier RTI. RTI Applicant can now use following questions in their RTI application
    Complete details of file notings made on the above said file number as on date.  Separately the daily progress made in case of above said file till date i.e. when did it reach which officer/functionary, how long did it stay with that officer/functionary and what did that officer/functionary, do during that period on the said letter together with file noting and name and designation of each officer/functionary  List of the officers with their designation to whom before the said file is placed. Also, provide me with the noting made by them on the said file. 

    rohitab
    New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) The CIC should invite suggestions from various stake-holders including regulatory bodies on temporarily suspending indirect government-funding, such as tax rebate and subsidised offices, to six national political parties which are allegedly not following its order to come under the RTI Act, an activist has said.
    It was requested that at least invite comments from all concerned ones including concerned political parties, central and state governments, concerned government departments and other autonomous bodies including CBDT, CBEC, Prasar Bharti, Election Commission and Union Ministry of Urban Development seeking their views on interim suspension of indirect government-funding,

    rohitab
    Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is yet to pay their dues to Mumbai Police for the security provided in the last 17 matches played at the Wankhde Stadium in Mumbai.
    Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali had filed the query under RTI to Mumbai Police asking how much MCA owes to them for utilizing their services. Information provided to Galgali by the police department, raised everyone's eyebrows as amount has crossed Rs 13 crore.
    The Public Information Officer and Asst Police Commissioner (Coordination) Tanaji Surulkar provided the information compiled by the Bandobast Division that, including the 3 ICC World Twenty20, Women's World Cup, Test Match, Practice Match & One Day Match, 17 matches were played in Mumbai for which charged amounting to Rs 13,41,74,177, which is still pending for last 62 months.
    On top of it, police department has not charged interest to them. The working style of police department not charging interest to MCA has raised several questions.

    Shrawan
    The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) admitted in the Rajya Sabha that there is no central monitoring mechanism to ensure implementation of its directive on Right to Information (RTI) Act. Replying to a question whether major achievements, significant developments and important events of every ministry and department are  being uploaded on their respective websites, the DoPT said only 13% of the Union ministries are either fully or reasonably compliant with the order issued by Cabinet Secretariat on 23 June 2016.
    Section 25(1)(c) of the RTI Act obligates the Central government to require all public authorities under its control to publish accurate information about their activities from time to time. This is a statutory mandate. The CIC and abinet Secretariat’s transparency directives are the right steps in this direction. However, the evidence indicates a deficit of both political and bureaucratic will to ensure compliance with this transparency requirement. 
    The Central government is not committed to developing a mechanism to monitor compliance despite being reminded twice in the Parliament. Perhaps it is time to move the CIC again to issue a binding direction for establishing such a mechanism under the cabinet secretariat or the DoPT.

    Shrawan
    RTI used mostly to settle personal scores
    The number of people filing RTI applications asking about how government schemes are being implemented has shrunk, and it has largely become a weapon to dig out private details about people to settle personal scores, information commissioner Bimal Julka told state commissioners at a meeting on Saturday. 
    "It is unfortunate that most of the RTI applications are directed at private interests, matrimonial disputes, knowing salaries and leave records of rivals and settling personal scores. That was not the intent of RTI," a source quoted Julka as telling officials who had come to participate in a meeting of the National Federation of Information Commissioners. 

    Shrawan
    The prison headquarters where the administrative work of the jail is processed receives about two RTI queries every day. As reported by Hindustan Times, in December the prison administration got 70 RTI queries and in January the number was 59.
    As per the report, most inmates use the Right to Information to inquire about the number of days left of their sentence, food entitlements and missing facilities.
    Some inmates also persist if their initial RTI query is not answered and do not refrain from approaching information commission. A similar incident happened last year in January when an inmate did not get information on prescribed diet.

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