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compuser1973

Let's see if this gets Indian Embassy in Washington to accept RTI Applications

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compuser1973

I just filed an RTI with the Indian Embassy to force it answer some nagging questions regarding its stubborn refusal to accept RTI applications meant for other departments within the Govt. of India. My earlier emails to the PIO / Appellate Authority seeking to clarify how NRIs could file RTI applications and pay the fees have not resulted in any response or even an acknowledgement of the receipt of such emails.

 

I will keep the forum updated on the reply I receive.

 

Here is a text of the letter:

 

To

Public Information Officer

Mr. Rahul Chhabra

Minister (Press, Information & Culture)

Indian Embassy Washington DC

Sub: Application under RTI Act 2005

Dear Sir,

Please provide the following information pursuant to the RTI Act of 2005:

The Embassy of India in Washington DC has the following language on its website under the RTI section: “It may also be pointed out that as per section 6(1) (a) of the RTI Act, 2005, a person who desires to obtain information under the Act is required to submit the application to the Information Officer of the “concerned public authority”. Applicants are, therefore, advised to send their requests under the RTI Act to the Embassy only when the subject matter can reasonably be presumed to pertain to the Embassy. While section 6(3) provides for the transfer of an application by a receiving PIO to another [concerned] PIO, this is clearly meant to cover situations where the application is addressed to a PIO on the assumption that it has been directed to the concerned PIO. Where the information required obviously does not pertain to the Embassy, the application may be addressed to the concerned PIO directly. “

  • Please provide the legal rationale or opinion from the Chief Information Commission / any other officer of the Republic of India that was used by the Indian Embassy in Washington DC in putting up the language on its website in violation of literal reading of section 6(3) of the RTI Act of 2005.

Section 6 (3):

Where an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information,—

(i) which is held by another public authority; or

(ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer:

Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application.

  • Please provide the name of the individual in the Embassy who interpreted the statute and provide the file notings of the said action.
  • Please provide the number of RTI applications filed at the Embassy during June and July 2007 and the number of these applications that the Embassy PIO did not forward to the PIOs concerned based on the Embassy’s above said interpretation.

Yours Sincerely,

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ganpat1956

That is a well-drafted RTI Application covering an important area of interpretation!!! Please do keep us informed of the subsequent developments.

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karira

compuser1973,

 

That is excellent work.

Please permit me to use some parts of your RTI application.

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compuser1973
compuser1973,

 

That is excellent work.

Please permit me to use some parts of your RTI application.

 

Thanks for the compliments. Feel free to use any part of the text...

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karira

compuser1973,

 

You got company. Please see this.

 

NRI seeks info on SEZ under RTI Act

Tuesday August 14 2007 13:04 IST

HUBLI: A Non-Resident Indian from Hubli has filed an application with the Indian Embassy at Washington DC, USA, seeking information on the status of Karnataka Government’s decision on clearing the proposal of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Hubli under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

Nagesh Tavargere, California-based techie, who launched the online campaign to make Hubli-Dharwad an IT destination, appraoched the Government under the RTI Act to know what actually the Government is doing to implement its decision. Ever since the government evinced interest to develop tier-2 cities in the State, Tavargere and his friends abroad from the twin city set a mission for the development of Hubli-Dharwad in all aspects. They had even submitted an online petition to the President of India requesting the President to include Hubli-Dharwad under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. In the application submitted to the Public Information Officer at the Indian Embassy, Nagesh has stated that though the Cabinet of Karnataka gave its clearance for the SEZ by TCS Ltd on Aug 28, 2006, hardly has there been any progress in the pursuance of the said project.

 

Nagesh has sought information on following specific information:

 

What is the current status of the SEZ project granted to TCS, for Hubli-Dharwad?

 

Has the Department of Commerce and Industries forwarded the file pertaining to SEZ project granted to TCS, in Hubli-Dharwad, to the Board of Approval (BoA) for SEZ?

 

If the details of the project have not yet been submitted to the BoA SEZ, what is the reason for not submitting the same to Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry?

 

Who is the bureaucratic authority responsible for the undue delay caused in this regard?

 

If the same details have already been submitted to the BoA SEZ, I would like to have all the related details of such submission to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 

If the details of the project have not yet been submitted to the BoA SEZ, what steps are being taken by the authorities, to expedite the process with a sense of urgency?

 

 

NRI seeks info on SEZ under RTI Act - Newindpress.com

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compuser1973

I was digging around the web to see if there was anyone facing similar troubles and came across this online petition about precisely this issue:

AID - Petition to Indian Embassy on RTI

 

Hopefully all these efforts will lead the Embassy to do the right thing....

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karira

compuser1973,

 

Just thinking a bit ahead, I am wondering what will happen if any matter under RTI (in relation to a Indian living abroad) finally reaches the CIC or a SIC. How can a citizen get a chance to "appear" before the CIC or SIC from 8000 miles away ?

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karira

compuser1973,

 

Please have a look at the following.

These citations will help you in keeping your arguments ready for the future:

 

1. http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_12072006_2.pdf

(respondent was the Presidential Secretariat)

Section 6(3) requires the transfer of the application to the concerned public authority, not simply advice to the applicant to make a fresh application to that other authority. It is understandable that the DD would have been returned, because it was made in the name of Accounts Officer, President’s Secretariat and therefore, uncashable by the requisite public authority, although it would have been possible for the President’s Secretariat to encash the DD and transfer the funds, if required to the concerned Ministry. However, the application itself was required to be transferred under the law and not refused.

 

2.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_08092006_4.pdf

However, we find that even though the Directorate of Education has now

indicated vide letter dated 21.6.06, a copy of which has been presented before

us and is placed on record, that the applicant had been informed that the

information be sought from MHRD, the Directorate of Education is in violation of Sec. 6(3)(i). Under this section when an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information –(i) which is held by another public authority or (ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, “shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer;

provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to the sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application.”

Although there is no delay in responding to the initial application, even

though the appellant has found the response inadequate, and whereas delay in transfer of application does not render respondent liable for imposition of penalty u/s 20(1), PIO Smt. Ritu Marwah, Dy. Director, is cautioned that in matters of this nature care be taken to ensure that action mandated by the Act is taken within time limits prescribed so as not to inconvenience applicants ..............The Receipt and Response procedure in

the Department for applications under the RTI Act 2005, may therefore be

streamlined suitably towards this end.

 

3.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_23032007_05.pdf

For the sake of clarity and after hearing respondents it is specifically directed as follows:

i) When an application is received by the CPIO and found not to pertain

to the public authority in which that CPIO is located this must be

transferred within 5 days to the CPIO of the concerned authority under

intimation to the applicant in accordance with Section 6 (3).

ii) If on the other hand the information sought is found to pertain to a

separate wing of the same public authority the CPIO receiving the

information will seek the information required from the officer/ PIO

dealing with the subject u/s 5 (4) and either (a) provide that information

to the applicant or (b) direct the officer to whom it has been forwarded

to so provide.

 

4.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_15092006_5.pdf

The Law & Prosecution Dep’t., UT of Chandigarh is in clear violation of sec. 6(3)(i) and (ii) which reads as follows :

“(3) Where an application is made to a public authority

requesting for an information –

(i) Which is held by another public authority; or

(ii) The subject matter of which is more closely connected

with the functions of another public authority,

the public authority, to which such application is made, shall

transfer the application or such part of it, as may be appropriate to

that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately

about such transfer;

Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this

sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case

later than five days from the date of receipt of the application.”

In this case the public authority has neither transferred the application nor

even informed the applicant of the need for such a transfer within the time limit specified in proviso (2) of the above section..........................

However, the public authority in this case is cautioned that we have taken

adverse note of the deliberate flouting of the law as described above despite this fact having been brought to their notice by the appellant.

 

5.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_15052006.pdf

(respondent was the PMO)

“The PMO is indeed the repository of much information that concerns every

Ministry/Department of the Government of India. Does this then make it the

keeper of information as defined in Section 2(j)? In the normal course the

PMO is authorized under Sec 6 (3) (ii) to transfer an application to a public

authority more closely connected with the subject of the information sought.”

However in the present case the transfer having made on 24/2/’06 is in

violation of the proviso to Sec 6 (3) under which no more than five days from

the date of receipt of application are permitted.

 

Before examining the replies in regard to the queries, a decision needs to be taken regarding item No.7 in the RTI-request of the appellant / complainant. This query, according to CPIO & DCP (North West District), pertains to another CPIO, i.e. DCP (Vigilance). However, the CPIO & DCP (North West) failed to transfer the same to the CPIO & DCP (Vigilance) within the 5 days stipulated under Section 6(3)(ii) of the RTI Act. This is no doubt a mistake that should not have been allowed to occur and must be avoided in future, has been committed.

 

7. http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_12032007_19.pdf

Even if it was the view of the DDUH that the information sought was concerning the subject matter more closely associated to the functions of another public authority it was the duty of DDUH to transfer the application to the appropriate authority in this case the DUTS u/s 6 (3) (ii).

 

8.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_17082006_5.pdf

Under section 6 (3)(i) of the Act, there is a provision for transfer of RTI

application to the public authority, which is in possession of the information

sought. The CPIO should have transferred the application to the appropriate

public authority under intimation to the appellant. In this context, the CPIO has not acted properly as per the provisions of the Act.

 

9.

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_28022007_08.pdf

The response of PIO Shri A.K. Sharma who is also Chief Law Officer of

MCD is in complete violation of the law. If indeed the information sought by

appellant is not in the possession of the MCD, it was incumbent upon the PIO to transfer the application to the public authority holding the information u/s 6(3)(i). This has not been done.

 

We find that the information available with the DC Najafgarh Zone now stands provided with the initial response and subsequent response in compliance with the orders of the Appellate Authority. However, if some part of the information is not available with the particular PIO to whom application is made, it is the responsibility of the PIO either to transfer that information u/s 6(3) of the RTI Act if it concerns another public authority or, if it concerns another wing of the same public authority, obtain the information by seeking the assistance of the concerned official u/s 5(4).

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karira

compuser1973,

 

Just for your information, Nagesh has got a reply to his RTI Application.

 

Please see:

 

NRI’s query under RTI Act gets response

Friday August 17 2007 11:48 IST

 

HUBLI: Going by the facts revealed under the Right to Information Act by an official of the State Industries and Commerce Department, the proposed IT/ITeS Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Hubli by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) seems like a non-starter.

 

The company itself has shown lukewarm response and even the Central Government has stopped granting in-principle approval for IT SEZ projects.

 

The State Government had cleared the proposal of TCS to establish an IT/ITeS SEZ on 50 acres in Hubli-Dharwad with an investment of Rs 120 crore. The project was cleared at the State High Level Committee meeting held on Aug 28, 2006. Responding to an application filed by Nagesh Tavergere, an NRI from Hubli living in California, under the Right to Information Act seeking information on the status of the SEZ project granted to IT bellwether TCS, the Deputy Director (SEZ) has said that the company has to acquire the land to be allotted by Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation and Karntaka Industrial Area Development Board participating in the auction.

 

So far, the company has not informed the progress of land acquisition to the State Government. And till now, the company has not filed the SEZ Form A application with the Union Ministry of Commerce as the proposed land is not in possession of the company. ‘‘Submitting of SEZ Form A is prerequisite for the formal approval of IT SEZ,’’ the office said in a reply.

 

On the information sought on expediting the process, the reply is ‘the ball is in the TCS court.’ The officer said: ‘‘If the company takes possession of the land and submits the SEZ Form A application with Government of India, the State will recommend the proposal to the Centre for granting formal approval.’’

 

NRI’s query under RTI Act gets response - Newindpress.com

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compuser1973

Promising indded. Wonder how a similar situation results in different action by PIO - accept some and reject some others. I will see what comes of my application mentioned in this thread and I plan to also file appeal on non-acceptance of 3 earlier RTI applications..... As usual - will keep you all posted.

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mpai
Promising indded. Wonder how a similar situation results in different action by PIO - accept some and reject some others. I will see what comes of my application mentioned in this thread and I plan to also file appeal on non-acceptance of 3 earlier RTI applications..... As usual - will keep you all posted.

Hey, for a change why dont you ask a simple question and make the CPIO at the embassy comfortable? Try something, like how many Indian National Flags they have in custody. I bet they cannot deny this information.

 

Go easy on it, the folks at most embassies are a worried lot and pretty unsure.

 

Manoj

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karira

 

Go easy on it, the folks at most embassies are a worried lot and pretty unsure.

 

Manoj

 

Looking at the present "situation", this is true for the embassy in Washington !

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mpai
Looking at the present "situation", this is true for the embassy in Washington !

Thats it Karira. My heart goes out to those poor blokes sweating it out in the A/c rooms there. Very soon some of them would be led like lambs for slaughter.

 

The Nukes seem to have fallen there. I guess, RTI would only make them more scarred.

 

Wishes

 

Manoj

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