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Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India

According to a “Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India” prepared by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES), transparency is a key to promoting peoples’ trust in public institutions. The assessment found that several ICs were non-functional or were functioning at reduced capacity, despite large backlogs, as the posts of commissioners, including that of the chief information commissioner (CIC), were vacant during the period under review. In many cases, the appointments of information commissioners were found to be set aside by courts due to lack of transparency in the process of appointment and for being in violation of the provisions of the RTI Act and directions of the Supreme Court.
In addition, the Report, says, “By failing to disclose information on their functioning, ICs continue to evade real accountability to the people of the country whom they are supposed to serve. The legal requirement for the central and state information commissions to submit annual reports every year to Parliament and state legislatures respectively, is to make, among other things, their activities transparent and available for public scrutiny. However, very few ICs fulfil this obligation, and even fewer do it in time”. 
As part of the assessment, and in order to access information about the functioning of information commissions, both SNS and CES filed RTI applications with the 28 state information commissions (SIC) and the Central Information Commission (CIC). A total of 169 RTI applications were filed seeking identical information from all the 29 information commissions. The RTI applications were tracked to assess how each information commission performed as a public authority, in terms of maintaining and disclosing information. Three information commissions from Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu did not respond to, or even acknowledge, the RTI applications filed within stipulated time.
"Several ICs, like from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh rejected requests for information invoking provisions seemingly in violation of the RTI Act. In all these cases, an appeal was filed against the denial of information. However, till the time of publication of this report, the requisite information had not been disclosed," the report says.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, three State Information Commissions (SICs), Odisha, Sikkim and Kerala returned the RTI applications citing procedural deficiencies.
Only 13 out of 29 ICs provided full information in response to the RTI applications filed as part of this assessment. Of the 107 chief information commissioners for whom data was obtained, the overwhelming majority (84%) were retired government servants including 67% retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and another 17% from other services. Of the remainder, 10% had a background in law (5% former judges and 5% lawyers or judicial officers).
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Resistance from banks in revealing Loan details to corporate entities

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."
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Upper limit of Rs 50 imposed on RTI Fee by Supreme Court

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:
 
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43 years for RTI case finalisation in West Bengal- study

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.
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  1. Past hour
  2. Today
  3. Prasad GLN

    Don't want hearing

    There is no mention of Personal hearing in RTI Act for First Appeals. Yes. Certain CIC decisions do stated that as quasi judicial authorities, authorities should follow principles of natural justice and provide opportunity of personal hearing. So you can file First Appeal. If FAA states personal appeal hearing and fixes date, just write him a polite letter for your absence and ask him to take action as per facts on record. Attendance by Appellant is not mandatory either in First Appeal or Second Appeal. But, First appeal is a must, for going to second appeal if information is the only focus.
  4. preetkaurr03

    Don't want hearing

    I am a working women and have rti on municipal corporation but they haven't given any answers to my rti but I am scared to file first appeal as I heard they call for hearing so what point can I put not to have hearing? Sent from my A1601 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  5. Prasad GLN

    How to get copy of own will registered with Registrar?

    You can approach the sub registrar and seek facts. The will will generally be in a closed envelope and it can be disclosed only to those who claim with such original death certificate. Not RTI matter for the present . Irrespective of earlier wills, you can make fresh will stating that earlier wills cease to effect and the latest and fresh will only takes the effect. Contact Advoccate and get fresh will, if you wanted to get confirmation and the present will only be in force.
  6. Prasad GLN

    Plz help

    Go for first appeal. Also think as to how you wanted to use that information first. Seek that information that can help you to bring a logical conclusion. You have not indicated whether PIO has stated as such orally or in writing. If he has provided such denial in writing in response to RTI then only go for First Appeal. Grounds for Appeal: As per Sec. Sec 7, PIO can only for the reasons specified n Sec.8 and Sec.9 of RTI Act. The reason of "vast" and "suspicious" were invented by PIO on his own as exemptions to reject a valid record on Public works, which is against the objectives of RTI Act namely "transparency" and "Accountability". It was held in umpteen decisions of CIC and HC that PIO can only deny information on such exemptions as stated in RTI Act. Even after 13 years of enactment of RTI, if PIO is still stating the same reasons for providing information on work related financial matters, it appears that the information on works was never provided by Corporation till now to any citizen. If this information was provided to some other citizen in last 12 years, PIO can himself verify whether that information can be denied or not. Hence treating the information as deliberate and malafide (as PIO imputed /assumed Suspicious) denial this first appeal. PRAYER: Please go through Sec.7 of RTI Act and exemptions stated in Sec.8 & 9 of RTI Act, and direct PIO to provide the information as expeditiously as possible free of cost, as information was deliberately denied on invented exemptions and information was not provided within 30 days.
  7. Yesterday
  8. Pls. can you share delhi high court order copy.
  9. sayyed salim

    Plz help

    I submitted an application to municipal corporation under rti. In that application i demanded information related to progressive work done by corporation through various funds since 1 jan 2014 to 31 march 2018. Pio told me that my demanded information is very vast, Suspicious. On that point he Deny . Now what I do? Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using RTI INDIA mobile app Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  10. I am worried about registration of my will having betrayed signature when once upon a time I was close to death. I don't know if that will is registered or not. But with the help of RTI, I want to make it clear and want to get copy of that will. I want to know about the department in Punjab where I can apply for copy of that will and details of the PIO? Also, what to ask in RTI Application? Sent from my SM-J700F using RTI INDIA mobile app
  11. सदरची माहिती 4-5 वर्षांची व मोठ्या प्रमाणात आहे. तसेच हि माहिती संदिग्ध स्वरूपाची आहे. माहिती अधिकार कायद्यात माहितीचे संकलन,पृथःकरण करणे अभिप्रेत नाही असे उत्तर मला मिळाले आहे. याचा अर्थ काय? व याला पुढे काय करता येईल? Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  12. I submitted an application to municipal corporation under rti. In that application i demanded information related to progressive work done by corporation through various funds since 1 jan 2014 to 31 march 2018. Pio told me that my demanded information is very vast, Suspicious. On that point he Deny . Now what I do? Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  13. Last week
  14. Prasad GLN

    Information

    File RTI Application to DOPT and seek such information. Search website of DOPT to locate PIO. In what way you wanted to use this information further ?
  15. Samuthira Pandian T

    Information

    I want to know that, In indian population how many people are working in private sector, how many people are working in public sectors and how many dont have jobs in terms of percentage.. Sent from my BND-AL10 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  16. Sunil Ahya

    Road repairing work

    Yes, as suggested by Prasadji, wait for 30 days from the date of receipt of your RTI application by the PIO of PWD. Please note that, RTI is a time bound process : A PIO gets 30 days to reply to RTI Application. If the PIO has replied - within 30 days of his reply, a RTI applicant can file a first appeal. If the PIO has not replied - within 30 days on which a PIO ought to have replied, a RTI applicant can file a first appeal.
  17. Prasad GLN

    Road repairing work

    Don't worry, the application commenced it's travel and might have reached destination. Wait for a month and file First Appeal to PIO, PWD providing reference of the transferred application of NH.
  18. mrushabh

    Road repairing work

    Sir, B4 ur reply I filled application to MINISTRY OF ROAD TRANSPORT & HIGHWAYS but they have transferred the application to The chief Engineer (NH) & AS PWD, Gujarat, block no14 New sachivalaya Gandhinagar Is this in right process ? Regards. Rushabh Sent from my iPhone using RTI INDIA mobile app
  19. Sunil Ahya

    Guidelines on RTI application

    You can take an inspection of information and if you are not satisfied with the information offered / information received during the course of inspection then you can always file an "Addendum to First Appeal" (which means: add my new submissions to the already filed first appeal) and update the First Appellate Authority about the inspection taken after the first appeal was filed. Please find a sample addendum to first appeal attached herewith. (please note: you do not need to pay any RTI fees for filing an addendum; mail it by speed post or deliver it personally to the dispatch department of First Appellate Authority) Sample-Addendum-to-First-Appeal_Template.docx
  20. Prasad GLN

    Misleaded by PIO about Reply

    The burden of proof of providing that correct and complete information was provided within 30 days rests on PIO. Yes. There was a clear CIC decision by Hon.Shailesh Gandhi that PIO must provide information through speed post, but still some PIOs for reasons better known to them sends them only by ordinary post. There are street smart and cheap PIOs also that deliberately make mischief. Focus on information. Seek duplicate copy of such response either in person by paying copying fees . This is simple and fast. You can orally tell PIO non receipt and pay Rs.2/- per copy and get those copies. You have not mentioned about FAA orders. File addendum to First Appeal that you have not received the information and pray for issuing duplicate letter by PIO, and you can also enclose a self addressed envelope with required fees for registration.
  21. rv253

    rv253

    There are so many Security Agencies, Cyber Cafes, Unisex Salons operating without any license. Invite RTI Activists to File complaints.

  22. Everybody be alert of government officers who are playing games. When I filed RTI application no reply was received. So after 45days I filed first appeal in the hearing pio told me that reply was sent to you by ordinary post. In reply PIO mention that numbers of copies are 52 and you can come to office in between 10 to 01pm hrs. And after paying fees you will get information. But the copy of reply wasn't received or got myself. Even PIO showed me entry and dispatch details. Then were was my reply gone. I also asked to post man but he told me if the letter received by me I will certainly give it to you it is my duty. Now how can I find out my letter and secondly if PIO intentionally not dispatch the letter at this stage what we have to do. Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  23. Sunil Ahya

    Road repairing work

    Then in that case, you will have to file a RTI application with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Bhuj Nagarpalika. For format and fees of RTI application, please refer to the Gujarat RTI Rules following link: http://msubaroda.ac.in/RTI/GRTIRules2010.pdf
  24. mrushabh

    Road repairing work

    It’s internal state road and not the national highway in Kutch district of Gujarat state in bhuj taluka. Regards, Sent from my iPhone using RTI INDIA mobile app
  25. Sunil Ahya

    Appeal in high court against CIC decision.

    To begin with, you can do following things: 1. Visit the website of the concerned High Court and look for information on Rules, Manuals, Practice and Procedures, also look for information on Legal Aid / Legal Services Authority (legal services authority will provide you free information, guidance and assistance). 2. Personally visit the Registry of concerned High Court, seek a copy of similar writ petition so that you can prepare your petition by referring to the copy. 3. Contact a lawyer and seek his guidance.
  26. Sunil Ahya

    BBMP Rti

    BBMP has a website in English language too. Please refer to the following link for BBMP website information on RTI in English: http://bbmp.gov.in/rti;jsessionid=FF486A662809370692BBC68DC626AC66 Google search keyword: "BBMP website in English"
  27. Sunil Ahya

    Lokayukta power

    Kindly download the Lokayukta Act of respective State Government and read its provisions. Google for keywords " lokayukta XXXX" (replace XXXX with the name of your particular State, for example Maharashtra, Karnataka ...)
  28. Sunil Ahya

    Road repairing work

    Is it an internal state road or a national highway?
  29. Prasad GLN

    Guidelines on RTI application

    Shri Vidyaranya has tendered the best guidance possible. First visit for inspection, and get an idea of the documents you require. After inspection, as you have not received FAA orders, you can still file another addendum to first appeal stating the grounds that PIO has to provide the information in the form it is requested and when information is not requested in inspection form, PIO has himself thrusted such unwanted inspection after filing first appeal Though inspection may not bring in facts, appellant has utilized such inspection on................, Appellant is not satisfied with such inspection for the following reasons. PRAYER: Appellant prays for personal hearing of first appeal on principles of natural justice taking into account the grounds for further to first appeal this addendum to first appeal as FAA has not delivered the orders till date.
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