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karira

Karnataka: Attempts to dilute the RTI Act

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karira

Karnataka: Attempts to dilute the RTI Act

 

(Recd. this email from an RTI activist in Karnataka)

 

Karnataka Information commission is in the process of diluting RTI act by proposing certain amendments.

 

1. Postage to be borne by applicants.

2. Black listing of RTI Applicants.

3. Posting of Police Constables in court halls.

 

Please see attachment which is in Kannada.

RTI_proceed_22092014.pdf

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Sure, will take up with local activists and see whatever I can do.

 

Thanks

Vidyaranya

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karira
Sure, will take up with local activists and see whatever I can do.

 

Thanks

Vidyaranya

 

Can you please translate the salient points of the attached document - which is in Kannada.

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RAVEENA_O

The mandate and duty cast upon the commission u/s 25 is to implement the provisions and objects of the Act and facilitate smooth flow of information. It is the soverign duty of the state to disseminate max information to the citizens. Creating obstruction in such process is clearly a misbehaviour. If the commission (or the commissioners) exceed in its jurisdiction, it defeats the very purpose for which they are appointed. Their acts contrary to the behaviour expected from them is clearly misbehaviour on their part, liable for action u/s 17 of the Act.

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Prasad GLN

Have they the Authority to do all this ?

Hon.Vidyaranya kindly file RTI Application as to the correness of such move and all correspondence relating to the subject through copies, and seek specific section that empowers them to resort to such procedure under RTI Act. (They my do for benefit of citizens but they can not curtail the rights)

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koteswararaonerella

Every state govt.have enacted their own RTI rules on the basis of main central act and prhaps they may take shelter under that act and if there is resistence then only true picture of their competency or otherwise will emerge out

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Prasad GLN

State Govt has the option in fixing of RTI fee alone and they can not touch any other stipulations in Statutory Act.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

I will need suggestions/ideas as to what I can include in a petition to the concerned Dept.

The postal charges are acceptable since it was there in many states.

Posting a policeman in a court hall is not very serious since there can be law & order issues.

Black listing of applicants could be an issue and we need more ideas here.

 

The attached document is actually the minutes of a high power committee meeting held on 6.9.2014 and the three items posted above are the negative points but there are some very good suggestion made there in too. I will post all of them as soon as I get some time over the weekend.

 

Kindly bear with me.

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Prasad GLN

You are absolutely right sir. The Black listing of citizens for seeking information is not their job. Even without such powers, when ICs are doing the same, how many challenged it in the Court as affected parties ?

At least as there is no such stipulations, ICs are exercising restraint, otherwise, they may reign (May be a fear or assumption) when appointment is politically motivated.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Since all of you are so eager to know what was in the annexure to the first mail,

 

here is a peek:

1. Own Building for KIC

2. Provision of column in Karnataka Civil Service Annual Report to mention disciplinary action taken/fines imposed by FAA against defaulting PIOs

3. RTI training programme in Vikas Soudha (Dist HQs)

4. Allowing BPL applicants to file affidavit instead of copies of Income & Caste certificate. BPL card copies should also be made acceptable.

5. Laminating the permanent records of Revenue Dept.

6. Setting up of Jaankaari Kendra and starting of online RTI service in Bengaluru Municipal Corporation to begin with and monitoring the system so that whole state could go online at the earliest.

7. Allowing people to file RTI thorugh Post Offices as in Central Govt.

8. Postal charges to be borne by applicants

9. To exempt the Police & CID from RTI

10. Allowing PAs to retain additional fee collected from RTI applicants instead of remitting same to Govt. treasury.

11. Taking stock of all pending 4(1)a, 4(1)b, 5(1), 5(3) and 19 cases and ensuring their compliance

12. Strengthening Information Kisok by recruitng staff

13. Considering/reconsidering Cooperative Societies, where Govt. share holding is in excess of 51%, as PA based on court rulings after legal opinion

14. Allowing NGOs to discuss issues with Dept. level instead making them attend high power committee meeting

15. Cataloguing and Indexing of records of Rural Dev & Panchati Raj Dept.

16. Creation of separate fund for RTI

17. Increasing allowance for RTI work for staff

18. Depts to include report on implementation of RTI in their annual reports.

19. Outsouorced saff working on RTI work be allowed to claim TA/DA

20. About opening of benches of KIC

21. Retrain all PIOs on RTI and Sakala

22. Recruitment of more staff for RTI work

23. Recovery of fines imposed on PIOs by KIC through eGovernance by various methodes by treaury Dept.

24. to 29. repition of earlier points

30. Black listing of misusers of RTI

34. Providing security in court halls.

Other Issues: Education Dept (Primary & Secondary) have not filed Annual Reports. Women & Child Welfare, Power & Water Depts have not filed Annual Reports but claim that they have done so.

 

If any specific clarification needed, please ask.

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Prasad GLN

It appears that all suggestions/recommendations were just included as a list without hurting the person who suggested and to please all. (S.L.No.31 ,32 & 33 deleted ?)

Any practical suggestion to improve the internal functioning and expeditious disposal of appeals ?

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MANOJ B. PATEL

There is no any practical suggestion which can improve disposal of appeals, a main function of IC.

 

 

Sent from RTI INDIA Mobile App

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karira

Serial Nr. 9 is also objectionable.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Prasad ji - No practical suggestions were included to improve working but increasing staff etc. may help (?)

31-34 and several others were repeat points and hence I did not include them.

 

Karira ji - Yes No. 9 is definitely objectionable. As per the minutes "The Principal Secretary has said that order has been issued to exempt all matters, other than Administrative and service related matters, of Police Department". We will need to take this up.

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Prasad GLN

Wishful thinking and not to displease any one but every one knows as to how many really deserves to be amended and who can only do it and how it can only be done.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Have spoken to some activists in Bangalore and they want to go and meet the Law Minister. Here actually the Rules are not being official amended but by a GO (backdoor entry) rules are being modified, which is more worrisome. I have told them that by exempting the Police & CID the under-trials and those falsely implicated will lose thier inherent fundamental right to get any information regarding their cases.

Will see how it goes.

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karira
Have spoken to some activists in Bangalore and they want to go and meet the Law Minister. Here actually the Rules are not being official amended but by a GO (backdoor entry) rules are being modified, which is more worrisome.

 

Only the "appropriate government" has power to make RTI Rules under Sec 27 and those rules have to be tabled in the Legislature under Sec 29.

 

Please make sure that if they do anything, they follow the proper procedure.

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Prasad GLN

Any second opinion, they may frame rules and can not amend / add stipulations/exemptions in RTI Act

If there is a chance, AP should have done it long back.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Thanks @karira ji. will discuss this too.

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akhilesh yadav

The State government is contemplating some drastic changes in the RTI rules, which include keeping the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) out of the ambit of the RTI and imposing postal charges on the applicants.

 

 

On September 22 last year, a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Additional Chief Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms V Umesh had suggested some major changes. Now, the State government is learnt to have moved ahead to implement the decision.

 

 

Read at: CID's probe task may be taken out of RTI ambit

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karira

Look at the double standards of the Karnataka Info Commission !

 

Attached is a year old order of the SIC where it looked as if they are totally against postal charges to be charged to applicants.

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G.R.Vidyaranya

Dear friends,

 

Good News: There are many versions going around but my usally reliable sources have clarified that only Item No. 8 - Postage to be borne by applicant stays.

 

Item No.9 - only Intelligence, NSA and Forensic Labs have been exempted from the ambit of RTI Act but not CID of Police Department, even though they may be investigating terrorist related activities, as pressed by their department representative. (overruled by Presiding officer)

 

Item No. 30 - The balck-listing of RTI Activists has been dropped due to no provision in the Act.

 

Item No. 34 -The posting of Police personnel inside court halls has been dropped due to shortage of personnel and Group D employees have been asked to look after the securtiy aspect and ask for local police station help whenever needed.

 

In any case we need to be on guard and shout from rooftops if there is any attempt to weaken the act.

 

Thank Goodness.

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Prasad GLN

Good. This is exactly what it should be and appears quite reasonable.

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G.R.Vidyaranya
Look at the double standards of the Karnataka Info Commission !

 

Attached is a year old order of the SIC where it looked as if they are totally against postal charges to be charged to applicants.

@karira ji, nothing attached with the post. Pls re-attach. Thanks.

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umapathi.s

dear Friends,

in this connection , all Activist are assembling tomorrow near KIC at about 11 to discuss on the future course of action including other measures initiated by the Govt to dilute the Act and threat to RTI Activist by filing false FIRs .

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