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vtexeira

RTI FAA Unfair Hearing Venue

Question

vtexeira

I am a senior citizen from Mangalore trying to investigate suspected to be a major land scam by a Asylum Society Institution now more than 130 years old. I have written about it in this forum before see: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/116239-asylum-land-scam.html

 

So, a couple of month before, I submitted RTI to the Sub-Registrar PIO seeking for the Society registration document of the Asylum during the period 1879 to 1890.The PIO replied ‘The society registration started in this office only since 1900-09 before which no society have been registered’. I find this reply malafide and misleading. Apart from that I find the manner of the reply totally disrespectful (if not contemptuous) to the RTI Act including Section7(8). For the reasons given in the following.

 

1.There is no name of the PIO below the signature or anywhere else in the reply.

2. Absolutely no mention of the period within which I should file my First Appeal to the First Appellate Authority (FAA).

3. The information about the FAA not given in the main reply but relegated to the end as a Foot note in bracket way below the signature, in the section of official use.

However the most shocking was the 4the point;

4. The office address of the FAA given was of Bangalore which is some 365 Kilometer far from my city.

 

I sent my First appeal to the FAA among other things requested the FAA hearing should be held in Mangalore.

However received the FAA reply that I should attend to the FA hearing in their office Bangalore on 23rd April 2014.

 

Immediately again I sent a “grievance” letter to the FAA mentioning the following:-- “I am a senior citizen retired and with health problems also no income of my own. At this stage I cannot afford to come to such a long distance place to attend my FAA Appeal hearing , neither afford a lawyer to do so. I believe it is totally discouraging and unacceptable to impose such a heavy financial burden on the poor lower-middle class people like me by asking them to attend their FAA Appeal hearing in such unaffordable costly way. It is unfair, I believe it goes entirely against the fundamental objective of the RTI Act2005”.--Thereby I asked the FAA to hold the hearing in Mangalore where the issue and PIO belong.

I also suggested to the FAA if possible to instruct the PIO to be co-operative and settle the issue with me amicably so no need of any further Appeal . However no reply from them so far.

 

Here are my main Inquiry/question to the forum:

1.Can the FAA hold the RTI First Appeal hearing in such a long distance place without giving the Appellate any option (despite the request) which make the appellant unable to attend the FAA hearing.

2. Is it necessary to mention the name of the PIO in his reply.

3. Is the mentioning of the period within which to apply FAA important in the PIO reply? Will the SIC consider all this as a serious violation of the RTI act?

 

Anxiously waiting for your reply.

Valerian Texeira

Date: 25-4-2014

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7 answers to this question

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G.R.Vidyaranya

1. FAA can hold the hearing in his chambers, wherever his office is located. Your having to attend is not compulsory. You can excuse your self and send (by post) your written arguments and ask him to decide the case on merits.

2. It is not necessary to mention the name of PIO but if the signature is legible it is preferable to write the name. But he/she must mention the rank/desgnation and whether he/she is PIO.

3. It is mandatory and also basic courtesy to mention the details of FAA and time within which to make an appeal.

However the SIC will not consider any or all of this as serious violation and will not even reprimand the PIO.

 

Now coming your grievance, any society in Karnataka must have re-registered under the Karnataka Registration of Societies Act 1960 (even if registered earlier under any other Act in force at that time) and must have received a registration no. with certificate. Kindly find out this no. and ask for details. The document in District Registrar of Societies is NOT digitized and hence the staff is unable to retrieve any old data.

 

Your persuing the course of Second Appeal will not get you any relief as SIC is also located in Bangalore and the waiting period for a case to come up is atleast eight months. If your FAA hearing is already over and orders have been passed against you. File fresh RTI with the Registered No. of the organisation. If there is time for the FAA hearing, please write to him immediately and if possible, send any of your relative/friend (with an authorization letter) to attend the hearing and explain your case.

 

I presume that information is more important than finding out procedural lapses, though they are quite important.

 

Associations run by minority institutions have several exemptions and the society you have mentioned may not have been registered in India at all in which case, the Registrar of Societies will not be able to help you. In such a case your hope will be the new Lokpal Act which brings all NGOs which have received any kind of Govt. support under the Lokpal and you can complain to them.

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Prasad GLN

Initiator can get complete guidance from Shri Vidyaranya by directly speaking/corresponding with him as he is well versed and expert in dealing such old land / society matters of Karnataka. He is undoubtedly authority and more a good samaritan.

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jps50

It is not binding on you to attend hearing of FAA or even SIC. Mostly FAA concurs with PIO and there are very few cases where FAA has objectively decided appeal. You may request for hearing by contacting you on mobile or landline during hearing. This is at discretion of FAA. If you have submitted detailed first appeal, there is no need to attend or depute some representative or even go for audio conference. FAA has to decide on the basis of material on record.

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Prasad GLN

I feel it is relevant to share my experience here. One applicant could not get as to how a document was registered a sale deed when a status quo order was issued by Hon.Court, For last three years PIO has not been providing misleading information, first he said that no registration was done, next time he stated that he has not received the order from court, like this several applications were just not provided needed information. Though, it is not my wish to appear for FAA Hearing, in view of the urgency and complacency, I have represented applicant.

The first thing is FAA has made me wait for one hour, after that he has stated that instead of going for second appeal before SIC why hearing was solicited, next he said that he knows everything about RTI and attended training with collectors (Administrative Staff College of India,Hyd), then he lectured that no one can do him any thing, and applicant may do what ever he wants and he will not provide any information. (The problem is he has personally received status quo order, he has registered sale deed, when information was solicited he has transferred application to other PIO who sits within him in the same office and his subordinate stating Sec.6.3(?) and he has received First appeal, sent hearing notice signing as Public Information Officer hearing first appeal. There was never any argument, just listening. After two hours, he has called all his subordinate officers offered tea/snacks for second time,and assured that he is prepared to provide any information immediately, and in future asked representative to personally call him. There is certainly a difference in personal hearing of first appeals in normal circumstances, even hearing fails, the arguments filed before FAA strengthens second appeal grounds. Experiences may differ but ultimate aim is to get information with less cost and at the earliest and all efforts irrespective of end result must be tried to create it on record.

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vtexeira

My reply on 26the April 2014

Here I am happy to announce an happy ending at least on this issue.

 

To make the story short, some times after my FAA the PIO called. Agreed to provide the Society registration document if it available. Presented me with the big log books from the year 1879 on words (but I have to search any registration entry of the institution myself) I think it is a big achievement from our (my community) part. Although so far I could not find any thing usful I will be visiting there in the following days to find more.

 

I believe it is the RTI FAA and the complaint that made the PIO stand soft or I would not have got access to the document.

By the way I had also filed RTI to Town Planning PIO there was a long delay and the time lapse in the response however when I went to file my FAA the clerk turned very cooperative and provided me some of the valuable document of the institution.

I find it hard to believe but it is true

I along with like minded people in my community will carry forward in this RTIanti-corruption struggle. Thank you once more for the kind responses

 

Regards

vtexeira

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RAVEENA_O

Please visit this forum regularly, share your RTI experience with our members and guests. You can also learn experiences of other members. Please post further developments in present issue.

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karira

Now that you understand the RTI process and how it can be useful, please help and guide others also in RTI related matters. RTI will be of great use to them also !

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