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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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darrylco

Investors information from Economic Offence Wing

Question

darrylco

An investment company duped it's investors on pretext of doubling the investment in short time. A police complaint was lodged and a case is going on in the court. At present the Economic offence wing(EOW) is handling the matter.

The EOW took the original documents and gave an acknowledgement to the investors. But the problem is that when any investor went with only his/her documents it was registered as 1 investor

and when any investor went with his/her and other family members, say 1 + 4, then also it was registered as 1 investor. If these 2 investors went it was registered as 2 investors instead of 1+(1+4)=6 investors.

I need help in filing RTI to

1. find the actual number of investors

2. Request for inspection of submitted documents to verify the number of investors

3. if found that the number provided by the EOW does not match with actual inspection, to have a valid/ certified proof to present in the court of law

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Prasad GLN

As far as the First query is concerned you can get information on number of investors, but as the documents and information submitted was personal to EOW, they may not provide you inspection.  If you wanted for the purpose of court, you can seek such documents by filing such petition in Court.

However, there is no section that prohibits any citizen in seeking any information.

Search website of EOW go through RTI Rules and regulations and file such application seeking all the information you require, come back after receiving PIO response.

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Sunil Ahya

Kindly file a RTI application as follows:

To,

The Public Information Officer (PIO),

Name of the Public Authority,

Address of the Public Authority.

 

Subject Matter of Information:

Information pertaining to XX Company.

 

Description of Information Required:

1. In-accordance with the provision of section 2(j)(i) of the RTI Act, kindly provide me with an inspection of all the documents pertaining to the XXXX.

Please note that, during the process of aforesaid inspection, I shall select the required information, kindly do provide me with a certified photocopy of such selected information on payment of prescribed fees.

 

Is the EOW from Maharashtra, then Maharashtra RTI Rules will apply?

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darrylco
As far as the First query is concerned you can get information on number of investors, but as the documents and information submitted was personal to EOW, they may not provide you inspection.  If you wanted for the purpose of court, you can seek such documents by filing such petition in Court.
However, there is no section that prohibits any citizen in seeking any information.
Search website of EOW go through RTI Rules and regulations and file such application seeking all the information you require, come back after receiving PIO response.
If I just ask for the number of investors registered the EOW will obviously provide the same number that they have provided to the Court which lower than the actual figure. My father had submitted documents of the family and received single registration number just saying X number of original documents received. We need to resubmit the xexox at EOW branch with registration number and they transfer 10000 per registration number.
The Court has attached the company accounts and given the EOW 20 crores to be distributed on basis of 10 thousand per investor as the documents seized shows 20 thousand investors. But claim of only 13 thousand has been received by the EOW. The Court has attached other properties which are yet to be sold. As per Supreme Court order the investors are supposed to get first 10000,than 25000,than 40000 installments.Request made to the court to distribute the remaining amount to the registered investors has been declined saying that it is for the remaining 7000 investors.
So getting the actual number may get us close to the 20000 Mark.
Fron my previous RTI experience I feel that we get 2 proper chances to get the required information, once from the PIO and second time from First appellate authority.Secobd appeal take 2 to 3 years and very short time in front of the SIO.

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darrylco
Kindly file a RTI application as follows:
To,
The Public Information Officer (PIO),
Name of the Public Authority,
Address of the Public Authority.
 
Subject Matter of Information:
Information pertaining to XX Company.
 
Description of Information Required:
1. In-accordance with the provision of section 2(j)(i) of the RTI Act, kindly provide me with an inspection of all the documents pertaining to the XXXX.
Please note that, during the process of aforesaid inspection, I shall select the required information, kindly do provide me with a certified photocopy of such selected information on payment of prescribed fees.
 
Is the EOW from Maharashtra, then Maharashtra RTI Rules will apply?
Yes it's EOW of Maharashtra. Just an inspection of the documents and requesting for the copy is not a proof of getting and presenting the actual count in the Court. Need this actual count to be provided or certified by the EOW during inspection.

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Prasad GLN

First decide and focus on the exact point of information.

Solicit the basis on which number of investors are taken into account when there are several investors in the same family or in that way.  Seek that copy of circular/directive basing on which they arrive to total investors.

Get that copy of directive and then decide further course of action.

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darrylco
First decide and focus on the exact point of information.
Solicit the basis on which number of investors are taken into account when there are several investors in the same family or in that way.  Seek that copy of circular/directive basing on which they arrive to total investors.
Get that copy of directive and then decide further course of action.
Can you please elaborate? What exactly do I request the PIO?

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Prasad GLN

The following is your post as doubt.

when any investor went with his/her and other family members, say 1 + 4, then also it was registered as 1 investor. If these 2 investors went it was registered as 2 investors instead of 1+(1+4)=6 investors.

 

The information you require must be considering total number of investors in a family by EOW.

Seek that information though EOW considers the amount to be refund by the CC to public and not the number of investors.

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darrylco
The following is your post as doubt.
when any investor went with his/her and other family members, say 1 + 4, then also it was registered as 1 investor. If these 2 investors went it was registered as 2 investors instead of 1+(1+4)=6 investors.
 
The information you require must be considering total number of investors in a family by EOW.
Seek that information though EOW considers the amount to be refund by the CC to public and not the number of investors.
That's not the case. The EOW has not registered as the total members of the family that invested but clubbed it as documents received by one person as single investor. My father submitted his documents along with four of family members and received single registration number. The EOW is paying 10000 per registration number

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Sunil Ahya

If it is Mumbai Maharashtra the second appeal hearing takes place within a month or two and not two years!

When you go in for inspection, select the required information and if you require certification, specifically ask the PIO to certify the required information and he should do it for you.

Kindly refer to the definition of 'right to information' given under section 2(j) of the RTI Act, please find the same quoted below:

Quote

 

Section 2 (j) "right to information" means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to—

(i) inspection of work, documents, records;
(ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) taking certified samples of material;
(iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;

 

 

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Prasad GLN

Unless you know the directions given to them, it is not proper to judge.  When a guidance is given, kindly go through it thoroughly and do not jump into conclusion and repeat what all was posted already.

First learn the instructions given to them.  Then fight for implementing such clause, if it is not correct.  The implementing agency is bound to carry on the work as entrusted to him and within frame work of such directives.

You have already received enough guidance and it is better if you jump into actions and come back doing some thing practically.

Atleast the members of the forum can not decide as to whether EOW is following proper procedure or not, without knowing the directions given by them.

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