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Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India

According to a “Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India” prepared by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES), transparency is a key to promoting peoples’ trust in public institutions. The assessment found that several ICs were non-functional or were functioning at reduced capacity, despite large backlogs, as the posts of commissioners, including that of the chief information commissioner (CIC), were vacant during the period under review. In many cases, the appointments of information commissioners were found to be set aside by courts due to lack of transparency in the process of appointment and for being in violation of the provisions of the RTI Act and directions of the Supreme Court.
In addition, the Report, says, “By failing to disclose information on their functioning, ICs continue to evade real accountability to the people of the country whom they are supposed to serve. The legal requirement for the central and state information commissions to submit annual reports every year to Parliament and state legislatures respectively, is to make, among other things, their activities transparent and available for public scrutiny. However, very few ICs fulfil this obligation, and even fewer do it in time”. 
As part of the assessment, and in order to access information about the functioning of information commissions, both SNS and CES filed RTI applications with the 28 state information commissions (SIC) and the Central Information Commission (CIC). A total of 169 RTI applications were filed seeking identical information from all the 29 information commissions. The RTI applications were tracked to assess how each information commission performed as a public authority, in terms of maintaining and disclosing information. Three information commissions from Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu did not respond to, or even acknowledge, the RTI applications filed within stipulated time.
"Several ICs, like from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh rejected requests for information invoking provisions seemingly in violation of the RTI Act. In all these cases, an appeal was filed against the denial of information. However, till the time of publication of this report, the requisite information had not been disclosed," the report says.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, three State Information Commissions (SICs), Odisha, Sikkim and Kerala returned the RTI applications citing procedural deficiencies.
Only 13 out of 29 ICs provided full information in response to the RTI applications filed as part of this assessment. Of the 107 chief information commissioners for whom data was obtained, the overwhelming majority (84%) were retired government servants including 67% retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and another 17% from other services. Of the remainder, 10% had a background in law (5% former judges and 5% lawyers or judicial officers).
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Resistance from banks in revealing Loan details to corporate entities

The RTI query, sent to the Ministry of Finance, sought details on individual exposure of various PSBs to corporate borrowers. The questions that were asked in the RTI query sought information on the loans given to the Reliance Industries, Adani Group, GVK Group, GMR and Jaypee Group. The RTI was first directed to the Finance Ministry, which then forwarded the RTI request to various banks asking them to provide the information. The RTI had questions on the money loaned to big industrial houses by government-run banks. However, all public sector banks except Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have refused to divulge information citing either the 'personal nature' of questions or how they don't fit under the provisions of the RTI Act. 
In their reply to the RTI query, the banks have said that the information available with banks under "fiduciary relationship" is exempted from disclosure.
Read about: Fiduciary Relationship under RTI
While Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have disclosed the loans given to big corporates, all other lenders refused to do so. Banks which did not disclose any detail in their reply to the RTI query include State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Maharashtra, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Canara Bank, UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of India and Syndicate Bank. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha that loans worth Rs 81,683 crore were written-off by public sector banks (PSBs) in 2016-17.
Country's largest public sector lender, the SBI, said, "The information sought by you under point number three to eight is the third party personal information held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity, the disclosure of which is not warranted for any larger public interest and as such is exempted from disclosure."
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Upper limit of Rs 50 imposed on RTI Fee by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court fixed on Tuesday an upper limit of Rs 50 as application fee that government authorities can charge those seeking information under the right to information (RTI) act, the country’s transparency law.
Also, a bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said public authorities cannot ask for more than Rs 5 for each page as photocopying charge, and an applicant need not mention the “motive” while filling out the application form.
The order came on petitions challenging high fees set by different public bodies, including high courts and state assemblies.
The decision can be downloaded from here:
 
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43 years for RTI case finalisation in West Bengal- study

A biennial study conducted by Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Centre for Equity Studies has revealed a grim picture of RTI Act implementation with waiting time at information commissions running in years and commissions in several states becoming non-functional owing to unfilled vacancies. The study has found that if an RTI appeal were to be filed in West Bengal state information commission on November 1, 2017, it would be disposed of in 2060 – after 43 years. In Kerala, it would take six years six months and Odisha 5 years 3 months. The main reason for such a long waiting time is the reduced number of information commissioners that commissions are working with. 
The report has brought out, what it calls a “concerning trend”. The information commissions, which are the last resort for the common man to complain against wrongful denial of information, are increasingly returning cases. The highest number of cases have been returned by CIC, followed by Gujarat, Assam and Uttarakhand.
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rightsaid

Can I get the name and designation of the officials who have put their signature endorsing a government document before it is finally signed by the concerned official?

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rightsaid

Every government document before it is dispatched to a person, it is prepared by the clerical staff and endorse the contents of the letter. Finally the letter is signed under and sent to the recipient person. Can I get the name and designation of the officials who had prepared those documents by signing & endorsing the facts of the document?

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Prasad GLN

As per Secretariat Manual, there is a laid down procedure of signing any letter and document, and one need not ask for such favour.

The laid down procedure stipulates that every officer has to state his capacity/designation and the name of such public authority that employed him and signing.

If your question is that PIO providing the information it is within their practices as those who reply may be initialing on the office copy invariably.

As RTI Act stipulates responsibility only to PIO, in turn if the information is incorrect, it is the PIO responsibility to explain reasons for such incorrect information, making those who compiled the information accountable.

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Priya De

Indeed, why not. Knowing who signed, who decided is fundamental to RTI Principles.

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rightsaid
20 hours ago, Prasad GLN said:

As per Secretariat Manual, there is a laid down procedure of signing any letter and document, and one need not ask for such favour.

The laid down procedure stipulates that every officer has to state his capacity/designation and the name of such public authority that employed him and signing.

If your question is that PIO providing the information it is within their practices as those who reply may be initialing on the office copy invariably.

As RTI Act stipulates responsibility only to PIO, in turn if the information is incorrect, it is the PIO responsibility to explain reasons for such incorrect information, making those who compiled the information accountable.

Thanks to everyone for responding. It is claimed that a letter was dispatched to me quoting information on decision over my promotion, which actually such letter never exists nor posted. 

This informal letter was prepared by 3 clerical staff with specimen signature of each and finally signed by Director of institute. The whole thing is a sham. It was a mischief by all those concerned with signature. I want to bring it to fore and get them to task.

Presently the Director is posted in another institution, the fraudulent clerks are influencing that information should not be given to me lest I get them punished. They are also liable for any falsified information given to me.

Now they claim, that information on the clerks name and designation cannot be provided under RTI to me. This is under Karnataka state. They are trying to shield traunt and protect corrupt officials.

 

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Sunil Ahya

You need to file a RTI application addressed to the Public Information Officer and seek a photocopy of the required documents.

Please note that, a requested information can be denied only and only under the exemptions given under section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act and for no other reason.

In case the PIO denies your request or does not reply within 30 days of the receipt of your RTI application, you need to file a first appeal within next 30 days (i.e. 30 days from the date on which the PIO ought to have replied or 30 days from the date of receipt of PIO's reply).

Therefore go ahead and file your RTI application without any further doubts or worries and come back to the forum as and when PIO replies or in case PIO does not reply within 30 days of the date of receipt of your RTI application and the forum will guide you further.

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rightsaid
2 hours ago, Sunil Ahya said:

You need to file a RTI application addressed to the Public Information Officer and seek a photocopy of the required documents.

Please note that, a requested information can be denied only and only under the exemptions given under section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act and for no other reason.

In case the PIO denies your request or does not reply within 30 days of the receipt of your RTI application, you need to file a first appeal within next 30 days (i.e. 30 days from the date on which the PIO ought to have replied or 30 days from the date of receipt of PIO's reply).

Therefore go ahead and file your RTI application without any further doubts or worries and come back to the forum as and when PIO replies or in case PIO does not reply within 30 days of the date of receipt of your RTI application and the forum will guide you further.

Thanks Sunil sir

I have provided them the document and have been asking for those signature identity. They are not providing. They claim that it is prohibited under under 8 j of RTI. It has already been ordered by state commissioner himself under 2nd appeal. They never had replied to first time application or even to first appeal. Now they are trying to reply as prohibited to me as well as to state commissioner. The next date of hearing is end of June 2018.

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manjun_papanna

"Can I get the name and designation of the officials who had prepared those documents by signing & endorsing the facts of the document?"

Alternative way of collecting required information would be: (their may be multiple alternatives)

For every govt activity on it's employee, being it promotion, de, complaint, inquiry, etc... they would first make separate file called  movement-sheet or movement-register in which every movement of the file would be recorded and signed/countersigned including case-worker who put-up file, etc... Once this activity is completed the file shall be closed and final decision of the same shall be entered into the employee service book.

You can seek movement-sheet with respect to your promotion letter/document that you have received under RTI. In this those who put-up the file like clerk, decision of the DPC about promotion, comments of the respective departments employee, those who counter signed the documents, you can find the signatures.

Also get the Attendance sheet (movement-sheet period) for that department without naming (separate RTI to be filed, preferentially different person) in which you would notice signatures. (If you are from the same department)

With these 2 documents should help you identify who prepared the documents and for your future course of action, etc...

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Sunil Ahya

Next date of which hearing? Second Appeal hearing?

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rightsaid
45 minutes ago, Sunil Ahya said:

Next date of which hearing? Second Appeal hearing?

It is second appeal hearing. Postponed by SIC for 7 months. Last hearing was in first week January.

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rightsaid
47 minutes ago, manjun_papanna said:

"Can I get the name and designation of the officials who had prepared those documents by signing & endorsing the facts of the document?"

Alternative way of collecting required information would be: (their may be multiple alternatives)

For every govt activity on it's employee, being it promotion, de, complaint, inquiry, etc... they would first make separate file called  movement-sheet or movement-register in which every movement of the file would be recorded and signed/countersigned including case-worker who put-up file, etc... Once this activity is completed the file shall be closed and final decision of the same shall be entered into the employee service book.

You can seek movement-sheet with respect to your promotion letter/document that you have received under RTI. In this those who put-up the file like clerk, decision of the DPC about promotion, comments of the respective departments employee, those who counter signed the documents, you can find the signatures.

Also get the Attendance sheet (movement-sheet period) for that department without naming (separate RTI to be filed, preferentially different person) in which you would notice signatures. (If you are from the same department)

With these 2 documents should help you identify who prepared the documents and for your future course of action, etc...

They are hell bent upon not providing any information. I had filled another RTI to provide the said document. They say it is missing and untraceable. They are hinting that they will reply that document is not available with them outrightly.

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Prasad GLN

If it is a prank or funny game within colleagues just forget if you are employee of the same organisation. 

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rightsaid
9 minutes ago, Prasad GLN said:

If it is a prank or funny game within colleagues just forget if you are employee of the same organisation. 

No sir. It's not a prank or funny game. Yes, I am employee of same organisation. I have been humiliated by delaying promotion by totally more than 4 yrs. It is a case of corruption incognito added with lazy working of administration compounded by frequent change of administrators. Money talks.

Many are in similar condition more or less, but not dare enough to go against administrators.

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Prasad GLN

Second appeal was already filed and you are waiting for SIC decision and nothing can be done at this point of time, and there is no two opinions that the requested information must be provided by your employer.

(But I fail to understand as to how that favourable decision can better your prospects of promotion, as I think that this will further complicate your chances of promotion, as fighting with employer was never taken as proper by any employer, however noble he may be.Out of my  personal interest, after knowing such names..what is your further plan of action with such favourable decision ))

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Sunil Ahya
11 hours ago, rightsaid said:

They are hell bent upon not providing any information. I had filled another RTI to provide the said document. They say it is missing and untraceable. They are hinting that they will reply that document is not available with them outrightly.

File another RTI application by referring to the blog on the following link:

RTI for missing / untraceable records.

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rightsaid
6 hours ago, Prasad GLN said:

Second appeal was already filed and you are waiting for SIC decision and nothing can be done at this point of time, and there is no two opinions that the requested information must be provided by your employer.

(But I fail to understand as to how that favourable decision can better your prospects of promotion, as I think that this will further complicate your chances of promotion, as fighting with employer was never taken as proper by any employer, however noble he may be.Out of my  personal interest, after knowing such names..what is your further plan of action with such favourable decision ))

Yes. Sir. In one way... You are right. I am lost in this long un-fruitful fight. I give up. I am now contemplating to go their way. Give bribe if they are looking for it. Or just shut myself. Since it is not yeilding any results.

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manjun_papanna

I doubt if government delays or goes beyond promotion rules. Few points to be checked:

1. Did you check seniority list where you stand

2. Is the vacancies available to which you were to be promoted (rule-32)

3. Did your juniors get promotion before you? If yes

4. Is their any pending DE, etc...

In-case, deliberately they denied your promotion means based on the available vacancies, or promotion of juniors before you, their are many HC/SC judgement comes-in favor of you. In this case, you may only loose grade but not the benefits that you are entitled from the promotion due date or against available vacancy.

It is a fact that having heated arguments/fight with administrative clerks, staffs etc... may spoil relationship which may end-up similar to this.  In this those staff/clerks are noting to loose they can always escape citing one or other reasons.

it's difficult to deal with the same department thru RTI.  Infact, the some staff colluded with outside agents to malign my family member who is the govt employee and due for promotion for which we had to struggle many long years without solution as they were all hand-in glove.. Later by filing several RTI in serial manner, I could nail the culprit and filed Criminal Case. Now entire my case stands on RTI documents.

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rightsaid
2 hours ago, manjun_papanna said:

I doubt if government delays or goes beyond promotion rules. Few points to be checked:

1. Did you check seniority list where you stand

2. Is the vacancies available to which you were to be promoted (rule-32)

3. Did your juniors get promotion before you? If yes

4. Is their any pending DE, etc...

In-case, deliberately they denied your promotion means based on the available vacancies, or promotion of juniors before you, their are many HC/SC judgement comes-in favor of you. In this case, you may only loose grade but not the benefits that you are entitled from the promotion due date or against available vacancy.

It is a fact that having heated arguments/fight with administrative clerks, staffs etc... may spoil relationship which may end-up similar to this.  In this those staff/clerks are noting to loose they can always escape citing one or other reasons.

it's difficult to deal with the same department thru RTI.  Infact, the some staff colluded with outside agents to malign my family member who is the govt employee and due for promotion for which we had to struggle many long years without solution as they were all hand-in glove.. Later by filing several RTI in serial manner, I could nail the culprit and filed Criminal Case. Now entire my case stands on RTI documents.

Thanks papanna,

The answer to your question 1,2,& 3 is yes.Seniority list - i am above my juniors who were promoted. There are and were clear cut vacancy existing till date since the date even before i was eligible. i meant, there is no issue of vacancy. And my juniors were given promotion before me ignoring my seniority with no reason,

Your 4th question, NO DE pending, or any issue hampering my prospects to promotion exists.

Yes, They deliberately denied me promotion though available vacancies present, also promotion of juniors before me too...I do have some judgements surfed on net, if possible sent me the same. The reason i am struggling with RTI is, the court takes a long time to persue the case and involves a lot of time & money, also inconvenient to attend a distance of more than 300 kms to attend the hearings. So i had not chosen the court for relief. 

Earlier, a separately I had filed RTI seeking the same for ignoring my candidature for promotion. They are giving some related documents which do not serve much purpose in my struggle. They are simply passing the buck to higher/ state authorities and they unable to reply are again sending back the RTI query back to my institutional authorities. 

It is a fact that having heated arguments/fight with administrative clerks, staffs etc... may spoil relationship which may end-up similar to this.  In this those staff/clerks are noting to loose they can always escape citing one or other reasons, Yes .. you are right, They get away easily.... and yes.. i agree, it's difficult to deal with the same department thru RTI. They are like pigs in slime, it is only we who get dirty in the end.

 

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rightsaid
4 hours ago, Sunil Ahya said:

File another RTI application by referring to the blog on the following link:

RTI for missing / untraceable records.

Thanks Sunil sir,

I could file another RTI as suggested by you, but i will be only locking horns with the administrators which is not good. Also, they will only give evading answers as given in my earlier RTI's. They are all hand -in- glove, My fighting spirit which i had maintained since inception almost 7 years ago....I am very much disappointed now and have lost all hope. ☹️

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Prasad GLN

While taking up any issue, just think a while whether such step is contributing for betterment of any status and can bring  mental peace.  Once you decide on this you can have peace of mind.  There is no use in fighting when end results are known and one can not find a solution ultimately after all these struggles.

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manjun_papanna

As far as I know, without marking any remarks in the DPC file, govt does not with-hold promotion to senior in the list. Their must be some strong reasons behind. You will know these only by looking at your movement-register or DPC file.

If you have strong evidence that your juniors promoted by with-holding your seniority, best is to submit application to your HOD or Govt depending on your grade while explaining your seniority, # of years services, etc... Most likely the application will not receive any response from them. After expiry of application time of 3 months, you could file a case with KAT (if in karnataka) thru your advocate to get the earlier DPC quashed in which your juniors were promoted. KAT would help to re-fix seniority list for promotion and benefits from the date when posts were vacancy to which you were eligible to be promoted.

One point I would like to mention here is, donot loose hopes in the system. Ywe have to fight it out to get the required status. Recent one judgement from KAT, in which one dept staffs (about 12) who joined dept only in 2013 have filed a case for seniority to be re-considered for their promotion against the senior staff who are working since 1995 and their promotion is due in year 2017. This is how they are and we have to deal with these only by way of legal system. It is a sad state that promotion in the govt department is considered as high-profile fight for every employee. One wants to out-shine other and move-up in the ladder much quicker by any means. I have nothing to say further. Thx.

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Sunil Ahya
19 hours ago, rightsaid said:

Thanks Sunil sir,

I could file another RTI as suggested by you, but i will be only locking horns with the administrators which is not good. Also, they will only give evading answers as given in my earlier RTI's. They are all hand -in- glove, My fighting spirit which i had maintained since inception almost 7 years ago....I am very much disappointed now and have lost all hope. ☹️

It is not so easy to give evasive answers to the said draft RTI application, however, the other considerations that you have put forth is your personal take as to how you wish to take it forward, but let me reiterate, it is not so easy to give evasive answers to the said draft RTI application, it is just a matter of patience and perseverance!

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RTI_indian

No pain no gain

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using RTI INDIA mobile app

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