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New File- MBombay HC: SIC has no powers under Sec 18 to strike down parts of University circular

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    • ganpat1956
      By ganpat1956
      Ludhiana, December 29: In its quest to create awareness on Right To Information (RTI) Act and churn out professionals on the act, the Information Commission has collaborated with the Panjab University to integrate RTI in the curriculum.
      As per the plan, the act will be taught as a part of curriculum to the law students. “The law students, future advocates, urgently need to be equipped with the nitty-gritty of RTI. Also keeping in mind the need to teach other students too — to make an intellectual group — we have proposed to the varsity to add RTI Act as an extra-paper or start diploma or degree courses on it,” said the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Punjab Rajan Kashyap today.
      Kashyap was here to preside over a seminar held on the RTI Act by the department of higher education, Punjab, at the SCD Government College for Boys.
      He said a special committee has been formed at the university level, which will be chaired by the vice-chancellor. Kashyap is one of the members of committee.
      The commission, he said, has so far got 1,200 applications under RTI, out of which 350 have been resolved. “Sixty per cent of our applications are personal complaints, 40 per cent comprise public woes. But with time, we are sure to get more applications public woes, which proves instrumental in improving the system,” he said.
      Kashyap said when an act similar to RTI was to be launched in the US, the government gave five years’ time (2000 to 2005) to the departments to upload their websites with all requisite information. “This resulted in better functioning and better implementation of the Act. However, in India we were given just five months — June 2005 to October 2005 — and hence there are a lot of problem in implementing it successfully. But with time, we will manage each and everything,” he added. Impressed with the divisional-level benches of commission set by the Maharashtra government, Punjab too may go in for divisional benches in order to make the act’s privileges accessible to each and everyone, he said.
      Venkesh Nayak, the project co-ordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, said the act is also being misued to settle personal scores and grudges. “But the beauty of this act is that it does not provide any kind of personal information of an individual, which is not in public interest and neither does it enable divulging any information, which may prove threat to security of nation,” he added. The seminar was an informative lecture for government colleges’ principals, meant to familiarise them with the RTI Act. The Commission is of the view that educational institutes play pivotal role in making masses aware of the act.
      Quest for RTI awareness: Act may be part of university curriculum
    • karira
      By karira
      Central Information commission vacation plan to cripple Right to Information 

      Just when the right to information (RTI) was turning into a revolution of sorts in India, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has decided to apply brakes. It notified new rules - Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2007 - on Thursday that make it more difficult for the common man to complain against errant Officers wrongfully withholding information.

      This is not all. Your right to information would have to take a vacation - twice a year. At a time when there is a raging debate over doing away with the judiciary's vacations, the CIC has gone ahead and granted itself two full vacations. During June-July the summer break would be between two and four weeks. This would be topped by a two-week winter vacation. Section 6 of Chapter III lays down: "The commission may have summer vacation of two to four weeks during June-July and a winter vacation of two weeks during December-January, as notified by the CIC... The Chief Information Commissioner may make appropriate arrangements to deal with matters of urgent nature during vacations." 

      It is Chapter IV "Registration, Abatement or Return of Appeal", however, that seems to have introduced a bureaucratic style in filing appeals and complaints. At a time when State Information Commissions are trying to make it simpler for the applicants to file appeals, CIC has made it more difficult. Now the applicants would have to "type, print or write neatly and legibly and in double line spacing" to file an appeal in the CIC. If there are any errors in the application, the registrar would point them out to the applicant and give him only two weeks to rectify them. In case, these are not rectified within the time period, the application would be considered withdrawn by the applicant and the CIC would not consider it. 

      RTI activist and Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal said: "This is a step backwards. With these rules, CIC has introduced a complicated way to file appeals. You need to be an advocate for this. Forget the common man, even we won't be able to file appeals." 

      There is more bad news. There is a long list of documents that would need to be attached with the appeal. The most peculiar requirement is that of "Service of Copies of Appeal/Complaint". Before submitting an appeal or complaint to CIC, an applicant would have to send its copy to the public information officer (PIO) and the appellate authority. He would need to attach a copy of the acknowledgement. Kejriwal said: "Why would a PIO who is refusing to accept an RTI application acknowledge this complaint or appeal? This is a system, which is in use in high courts. RTI is a tool for the common man. Why is the information being pushed away from him?" 

      Interestingly, Bihar State Information Commission has taken a revolutionary step in the field of RTI Act. In Bihar, the common man can file and appeal or complaint over the phone. The applicant's voice becomes his appeal. This has triggered an unprecedented response from the people as it has made the process simpler. 
      The Pioneer > Home
      Can someone please post the copy of this notice, since its still not available on the CIC website.


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