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karira

TN: RTI activist arrested in Chennai

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Sajib Nandi

Ramadoss seeks immediate release of RTI activist arrested in Chennai

Reported by Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 8, 2015

Ramadoss seeks immediate release of RTI activist arrested in Chennai - The Times of India

CHENNAI: PMK chief S Ramadoss on Thursday condemned the arrest of RTI activist and Satta Panchayat Iyakkam president Siva Elango for remaining seated during a hearing in the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) in Chennai on Wednesday.

 

The PMK leader sought the immediate release of Elango. He said the Chennai police arrested the RTI activist without ascertaining the facts.

 

In a statement, Ramadoss said Elango went to the TNSIC office to seek details of an RTI plea about expenses incurred by the state government on advertisements.

 

"During the hearing, he sat on a chair and chief information commissioner K S Sripathi and commissioner S F Akbar lodged a complaint with the police alleging obstruction of duty by Elango, and based on the charge, he was arrested," Ramadoss said.

 

"Elango was not a criminal and the information commission is not a criminal court. He wanted to know whether public money is wasted by the government on advertisements. After this incident, anyone seeking information through RTI in any government office will be treated as a criminal," said Ramadoss.

Ramadoss said the TNSIC had not furnished annual reports since it was established nine years ago.

 

 

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GUNASELVAM_V

I have also attended TNSIC chaired by Mr.S.F Akbar. It was exact setup as explained by Ms Grija.Yes there are chairs, but no one (petitioner/PIO sits). I don't know why. I did not even sit. Hearing was completed in 10min. In that appeal SIC was cordial and mediated/directed PA to get required information and even informed PA to give the information immediately as I can look for legal remedies. but treating RTI activist (the Satta panchayat Iyakkam) in this manner is sad.

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Sajib Nandi

Protesting RTI activists detained in Chennai

 

Reported by Christin Mathew Philip in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 9, 2015

Protesting RTI activists detained in Chennai - The Times of India

 

The Chennai police on Friday detained several RTI activists who staged a demonstration near the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) headquarters at Teynampet to protest against the arrest of Satta Panchayat Iyakkam president Siva Elango.

 

RTI activist Elango was arrested on Wednesday for taking a seat during a hearing before a two member bench of chief information commissioner K S Sripathi and commissioner S F Akbar.

 

Members of Aam Aadmi Party and Lok Satta Party also participated in the protest against the arrest of Elango. The police detained the protesters at a marriage hall.

 

"RTI applicants are not politicians to prostrate in front of party leaders and commission. The government should disband TNSIC and appoint a humane person as the chief of the RTI body," said an RTI activist.

 

SPI general secretary Senthil Arumugam said demonstrations were held in several places in the state. "TNSIC has been harassing applicants and they are killing the RTI Act. The commission has even neglected the basic right of activists to sit during a hearing."

 

He said the government should dismiss the commission. "We will intensify the protests across the state if the present commission continues to harass applicants."

 

Journalist T N Gopalan said the action of the TNSIC was highly condemnable. "Tamil Nadu has not seen such an outrage in the recent past. The only job of the TNSIC is to reject RTI applications."

 

M Sambath, an RTI activist from Ambattur, said he had also been denied a seat during a hearing in the TNSIC. "The commission allows government officials to sit during the hearings, but they insist RTI applicants to stand till the proceedings ends."

 

Activists allege the commission goes easy on public information officers (PIOs) who delay and deny information.

 

The commission can impose a penalty of up to Rs 25,000 on a PIO for failing to furnish information within 30 days and for deliberately providing incorrect, incomplete and misleading information.

 

V Gopalakrishnan, another RTI activist, said: "I am scared to go for the first appeal proceedings in TNSIC as they may lodge cases against us. The government should appoint an honest officer to protect the RTI Act."

 

David Manohar, a member of the Aam Aadmi Party, said TNSIC was trying to enforce slavery on RTI activists and common people. "Government officers are here to serve people. However, unfortunately, TNSIC has been harassing the RTI applicants."

 

Meanwhile, former central chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi launched an online petition to urge the National Human Rights Commission to take cognizance of the incident and to issue directions to all judicial and quasi-judicial bodies in the country to offer a chair.

RTI activists in the state have been conducting a series of protests since 2010 after K S Sripathi was appointed as the state chief information commissioner.

 

They campaigned against his appointment, saying Sripathi, as vigilance commissioner, had pushed for exempting the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) and the Tamil Nadu Vigilance Commission from the purview of the RTI Act.

 

When he was the chief secretary, Sripathi had challenged the order of the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission, which had directed the government to disclose details as to whether IAS and IPS officers had disclosed their assets.

 

Sripathi was also under the scanner for allegedly availing a Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) flat at Nerkundram.

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karira
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karira
chair.jpg

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Prasad GLN

Is this a suggestion that appellant should necessarily carry a chair while appearing for hearing, but whether Chair is permitted or appellant can be booked for bringing a material without permission and even if we take our own chair, Hon IC may not permit us to sit.

 

To me what Hon.SG has done is the right thing and proper remedy.

However, one of our members should have posted copy of FIR and copy of complaint, so that those who can not at present raise voice without knowing full facts can contribute some thing.

If I remember well, one of our member has first time brought to the notice of our forum the discreet ways Hon.Sripathi is resorting to and raised it in several forums and in HC also.

Now I have not seen his response or replies and could not immediately recollect his name.

He warned of the appointment of Hon.Sripathi well in advance.

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Prasad GLN

Please delete duplicate post immediately and avoid posting in wrong threads. Create a new thread.

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Sajib Nandi

RTI activists protest, but panel sticks to 'stand'

 

Reported by Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 10, 2015

RTI activists protest, but panel sticks to 'stand' - The Times of India

 

ctivists on Friday stepped up protests against the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) for having RTI applicant Siva Elango arrested for pulling a chair to sit down during the hearing of an appeal, but the commission doggedly held on to its perverse stance despite the fact that no rule obliges an applicant to stand during a hearing.

 

More than 100 protesters, including members of Aam Aadmi Party and Lok Satta Party, gathered outside the TNSIC headquarters in Teynampet in the afternoon to protest against the arrest of the Satta Panchayat Iyakkam (SPI) president. Police detained the protesters at a marriage hall and released them in the evening.

 

Armed with placards and chairs, activists raised slogans against TNSIC and urged the city police to withdraw the "false case against Elango". They demanded that chief information commissioner K S Sripathi be relieved of the post with immediate effect.

 

"RTI applicants are not politicians who prostrate in front of their party leaders and the commission is not a court of law," one protester said.

 

The Teynampet police arrested Elango after CIC Sripathi and commissioner S F Akbar called them in when the SPI president refused to stand during a hearing.

 

Members of TNSIC said they would not change their policy even if information commissions in other states do not follow the stand-during-hearing practice.

 

Information commissioner Christopher Nelson told TOI that he heard 20 appeals on Friday. "All applicants stood during the proceedings. Activists should understand that an information commission is equivalent to a court," he said.

 

Asked about information commissions in other states allowing applicants to sit during proceedings, Nelson said: "I am not the authorised to comment on this. You can talk to our chief." Sripathi, however, was not available for comment.

 

RTI activists from across the country have reacted with outrage to Elango's arrest and SPI general secretary Senthil Arumugam said protesters held demonstrations in several places in the state on Friday. "RTI applicants should be given a chair and should be treated with respect. Sripathi is against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. He has not changed his attitude towards RTI applicants despite the protests" he said.

 

Journalists like T N Gopalan panned TNSIC's decision to have Elango arrested. "There has not been such an outrage in TN in the past. The only job of the TNSIC is to look at the validity of RTI applications," he said.

 

M Sambath, an RTI activist from Ambattur, said: he had also been denied a seat during TNSIC hearings.

 

"The commission allows government officials to sit during the hearings, but they insist that RTI applicants stand."

 

Activists allege the commission goes easy on public information officers (PIOs) who delay and deny information. The commission can impose a penalty of up to 25,000 on a PIO for failing to furnish information within 30 days or for deliberately providing incorrect, and incomplete information.

 

RTI activist V Gopalakrishnan said he's scared to attend appeal proceedings because TNSIC could lodge cases against him. "The government should appoint an honest officer to enforce the RTI Act," he said.

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karira

Information commissioner Christopher Nelson told TOI that he heard 20 appeals on Friday. "All applicants stood during the proceedings. Activists should understand that an information commission is equivalent to a court," he said.

 

Information Commissioner Nelson should resign and go home for making statements like this !

 

Hasn't he read the Namit Sharma 2 (revised) judgment from the Apex Court ?

It clearly says that Info Commissions are just administrative bodies and not even quasi judicial bodies !

 

The state of TNSIC is like this because of incompetent and ignorant Commissioners like Mr Nelson are appointed by the Government.

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CTFORGK2

QUASI word in itself literally means ``NOT EXACTLY .''

And honourable courts means FULLY.

LOTS OF DIFFERENCES but may some cite similarities.

 

Actually its an administrative honble post ONLY DUE TO/AS TO HELP HEARTILY seeker and MAKE ACCESSIBILITY.power OVER P.A.

 

just imagine countless no of quasi in india. If/is/yes/may max view or think same.

 

There is honble Bombay High

Court judgment of 2009 which gives some needed

lines on due process to be followed by

quasi-judicial authorities. If you feel something not according to it , may be one can challenge wrong in honble High Court .also useful for citing in 2 and appeals.

 

Honble Smt. Savitri Chandrakesh Pal. V/s. State of

Maharashtra & others 2009

Smt.Savitri Chandrakesh Pal vs State Of Maharashtra on 24 March, 2009

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Prasad GLN

With due respects to Hon.Karira,

Our culture commands for giving respect to elders. Though one is not in official position, we stand up before elders as a mark of respect.

So sitting or kneeling is not the point and procedure as laid down and practiced has to be taken into account.

It is just a matter of courtesy, to offer a seat to visitor/guest/elder and a citizen is entitled atleast to that least decency of getting an offer of seat during visits to Public Authorities. A citizen is not a subject, servant or criminal to stand before any one with folded hands.

 

What is the purpose of the visit of the accused ? Is it for hearing ? What are the rules and discipline that has to be observed within the premises as per laid down norms ?

Is sitting before an official has been defined as a crime and even in Courts, either they are warned, fined or admolished but no Judge has ever filed complaint against a litigant/witness for standing.

No body is a God and can not expect others to stand before him with folded hands. (Even in temples we sit before God, while God is standing)

Why some Govt. Authority should not advise Hon Chief to stop this rucus that is disturbing not only their own functioning and being talked in entire Country. Why should not they formulate a clear cut policy without giving scope for such ugly turns.

Hope some body should upload copy of complaint and FIR to understand facts.

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karira
With due respects to Hon.Karira,

Our culture commands for giving respect to elders. Though one is not in official position, we stand up before elders as a mark of respect.

So sitting or kneeling is not the point and procedure as laid down and practiced has to be taken into account.

It is just a matter of courtesy, to offer a seat to visitor/guest/elder and a citizen is entitled atleast to that least decency of getting an offer of seat during visits to Public Authorities. A citizen is not a subject, servant or criminal to stand before any one with folded hands.

 

This is an emotional and personal issue for me !

 

The first RTI I filed was because a very senior officer did not offer me a seat and behave in a polite/courteous manner.

 

I also respect elders, but that does not mean I will blindly agree with whatever they say or want me to do. The Commissioner will win even more respect if he behaves properly.

 

Just read some of the comments of Commissioners in TNSIC, in the news reports....you will realise they have still not understood the importance of this issue.

 

By the way, I already mentioned in an earlier post that there is no "prescribed" procedure.

 

Even in Courts, Judges are trying to convince lawyers not to use "my lordship".

 

Once in a hearing in CIC, the PAs advocate concluded with "Much obliged my Lordship".

Then it was my turn to speak and I simply asked "Sir have you decided the matter already ? Then why is the learned advocate so obliged to you? Do you want me to address you also as Lordship?". Immediately, the Commissioner realised where the whole thing was heading and told the advocate that not to use outdated language like this.

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Prasad GLN

Sir,

Please do not misunderstand the reply, and if I could not express my self I am sorry for that.

What I mean to say is that respect should be commanded and not begged.

Irrespective of any one's status and position, as a mark of respect we stand and that is our culture.

But commanding some others to show respect to them by standing is some thing new. Generally either we ignore or some keep it in mind while delivering a decision. (Yes many times even a body chemistry, assuming that appellant is arrogant etc., also make a difference irrespective of facts of the case, and decisions go against that appellant.)

What I wish to submit is that, Why should TN Govt., allow all this and formulate a policy/procedure and put up a full stop, by satisfying both the parties.

I have seen in many incidents, after some time, both parties in the issue compromise and become friends, whereas those who agitated in the name of a cause/justice becomes fools.

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Sajib Nandi

 

Information Commissioner Nelson should resign and go home for making statements like this !

 

Why resign?

 

Why we, the Citizenry, won't compel the Governor to remove these officials on the ground of proven misbehaviour?

 

This is our country. We pay their salaries and allowances.

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harinder dhingra

Kindly see undersigned post # 5.

 

seeing all this, I recollect one incident which happened to me in 12th March 1998.

 

Our family was in Export business. We were not getting duty drawback for months together against the mandated week/fortnight time.

 

I went to Custom Office. Finding no reply from D C Export went to the office of Commissioner of Customs ( who was heading the department) and entered his chamber after knocking and seeking permission. There were 8-10 chairs and I sat in one of them to talk to the Commissioner.

 

He objected to my sitting on Chair without his permission. He shouted at me. I was taken aback. He asked me to leave immediately but I insisted on knowing as to what harm I have done by sitting on a chair. He made a issue and called his constables(Custom & Excise) and later on PCR also. The Police Officer asked me why I had entered forcibly to which I replied that public timing is 3-4PM as mentioned on the door of the officer and I am public and time is 3.30 PM.

 

The Commissioner was dam annoyed and wanted Police Officer (SI rank) officer to arrest me but Police Officer refused to oblige him by stating that "public man" has not done anything illegal. His sitting on chair is perfectly legal.

 

Feeling insulted in front of so many staffers, he called up the then D C (P) airport (upright IPS officer) who happened to know the Commissioner. Here again, the DC(P) replied that the so called trespasser has not done any crime and did not oblige the Commissioner.

 

In the meantime on hearing this issue, around 700 workers who were working in one of our unit came to airport cargo complex (which is 7 KMs from our then Unit) and gheroaed the Commissioner. I did not let workers take law in their own hand and helped the Police to disperse them. The result was, the Commissioner apologized and We became friends for life after the Commissioner realized that he is our "servant" not malik.

 

Wish government sewaks (servant) learn this now. This s meant for everyone be it my child or yours.

 

Sorry for taking your time.

 

harinder dhingra

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harinder dhingra

I hear our friend arrested for "sitting" on a chair has been granted conditional bail. He has to report to Police Station daily till further orders. He shall be released today.

 

hd

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m_deka

same on TNSIC.

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Prasad GLN

Your intention in posting may be S h a m e (and not same on TNSIC as stated ) and if it insane, may be opt.

If a Commissioner behaves like that why should we accuse TNSIC.

Those should be addressed to the concerned official and the persons who identified and selected him to head a prestigious and committed post that only gives guiding citizens directly for entire state.

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akhilesh yadav

[h=1]Info panel chief refused to hear me as I was sitting: RTI activist[/h]Chennai: “I staged a sit-in protest in the hearing hall of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) after Chief State Information Commissioner K.S. Sripathi refused to hear my case as I remained seated during the proceedings,” RTI activist and Satta Panchayat Iyakkam president Siva Elango said.

 

After being released on conditional bail on Saturday morning from Puzhal prison, he spoke to DC at the SPI office in T. Nagar. Excerpts from the interview:

 

Read more at: Info panel chief refused to hear me as I was sitting: RTI activist

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Prasad GLN

Now another issue to be made clear is as to whether Hearing before Commission is a Public Hearing like in a Court or private hearing one at a time. If Hon IC compared himself with a Court, even in Court parties occupy the Chairs and only when have to depose/submit they stand up or go to a proper place fixed for deposition so that oath can be administered audible to Judge and he can be heard from near.

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harinder dhingra

Learned Mr. G L N Prasad Sir,

 

It has been made very clear by Hon'ble SC in Namit Sharma case that CIC/SIC/s are administrative tribunals and as such the basic premise of Hon'ble TNSIC is wrong, malafie & illegal.

 

As mentioned by undersigned earlier, I hang my head in shame that I live in a country which has a CIC of SIC who is treating Citizens as subjects. Are we in 2015 or pre 1947?

 

 

hd

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Prasad GLN

Hon. HD sir,

No man with self respect agree with IC. That is a closed issue now to be decided by Court. (if it is the case and treatment to a known leader and regular appellant who is well known, one can compare attitude of Hon IC towards a common man)

Now fresh issue is whether the hearing is treated as Public or not (As IC has asked appellant to go out to hear another appeal. IF Appeal hearing is public, any body can sit and observe proceedings (Though she is not party)

If IC treats it as a Court (Let him have his illusion), then hearing should be public, and he is not expected to ask a citizen to go out as he has the right to observe proceedings.

If the hearing is not public, then IC may take the case as citizen obstructing proceedings in the hearing of another case ( Obstructing public servant performing his duty)

Matter is simple. But there are several things to be taken into consideration for valid arguments.

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harinder dhingra

Learned Mr G L N Prasad Sir,

 

I agree with you Sir as far as the technicalities are concerned.

 

But I am on larger issue and the issue is whether this is the way one should treat his fellow citizen. The issue here is whether the Hon'ble IC/s acted in anger and frustration. Were they venting their frustration on the RTI appellant for seeking information which it annoyed these Hon'ble IC/s of TNSIC.

 

Whatever the factor is but this behavior of Hon'ble IC/s is condemnable and shameful.

 

Pray that better sense prevails on these Hon'ble IC/s of TNSIC and they tender unqualified apology and seek forgiveness from our friend in TN.

 

harinder dhingra

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