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maestro25i

information from cantonment board regarding illegal constructions and building plans

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whackpack

dear maestro

 

to start with, you must make a simple application to the head of MCGM stating that you are a resident of cantonment, and fear that the work going on at [address] is not complying with the regulatory provisions for development. send it by speed post AD. request him for complete inquiry into the matter, with a request for copy of the investigation be provided to you.

 

you must also make a separate RTI application (in your name itself) to MCGM as advised in post#22, and ask for the information outlined therein. in this application, do mention that you are a resident of the cantonment, and as the information is relating to your life and liberty, the information should be provided to you in 48 hours as per the provisions of Section 7(1) of the RTI Act 2005. (they may not accept this request, but you never know)

 

as for cantonment, i see no point in you making a separate application in a different name.

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maestro25i

this cantonment tho in maharashtra, does not come under the mumbai jurisdiction .. dont think i can apply to them :/

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whackpack

what exactly is the name of the cantonment area we are talking about? i could find pune and nashik cantonment areas, even kamptee & khadkee, but nothing near mumbai. do they have a website?

 

can we get a copy of their bye-laws? these should usually be available at a prescribed fees (if not their website) from the cantonment office.

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maestro25i

its the nashik cantonment... , i dont think they have seperate bye laws... same rules as the others

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karira

Any Cantonment has to operate under the Cantonment Act. It is available in the Directory segment of the forum.

Cantonments are under the Defence Estate Services.

They are Public Authorities under the centre and not under the State where they are located.

 

Maestro,

 

Please visit CIC and search for "cantonment" and you will get many useful threads dealing with the same issue you are raising. The orders of those second appeal / complaints will be helpful to you in the future.

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maestro25i
The orders of those second appeal / complaints will be helpful to you in the future.

 

 

:) i hope not ,hopefully it doesnt come to that !!!

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whackpack

deolali cantonment board clearly lays down their engineering approval procedures here (though the bye laws are missing):

 

Welcome to Deolali Cantonment Board

 

let us wait if they supply you the copy of the approved plan. otherwise you will have to go for first appeal.

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maestro25i

hi, this is in continuance to previous thread

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/16511-information-cantonment-board-regarding-illegal-constructions-building-plans.html

 

 

Bad news

got rejected.

 

let me post the reasons they gave here. please do advice:( i do believe the body does not want to give the report , they are involved and they know the property is illegal.

 

they say the owners were invited to make an a submission whether the information shoudl be disclosed . they refused.

hence im told

your request via ur letter cannot be considered under section 7(7) , section 8(1) (j) and section 11 of the rti act since the information is pertaining to the third party and not in larger public interest.

and that i can make an appeal to the appelate authority which is hte same cantonment board.

 

what do i do now. everyone who was kind enough to help me earlier, pls do advice on how i can appeal in a manner that they are not able to refuse. the building plan is a public document after all.

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Sunil Ahya

Dear Maestro,

 

 

The flow of a RTI application goes like this:

 

1) PIO gives incomplete, misleading, false or no information , PIO has passed his/her decision. (Even giving no reply means he has passed his/her decision not to reply). File a First Appeal .

 

2) FAA through PIO or himself/herself gives incomplete, misleading, false or no information , FAA has passed his/her decision. File a Second Appeal .

 

To summarize PIO > FAA > SIC/CIC.

 

Similar to Lower Court > High Court > Supreme Court.

 

If a Lower Court has passed a decision unfavorable to you, there is no provision to go back to Lower Court, one can only take forward and challenge the decision in a High Court.

 

The only difference here is that Lower Court has to pass a decision without which one cannot take the case to High Court.

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maestro25i

yes abhi, i get that, first person the application went to was the pio of hte cantonment board.

now in their reply they tell me i have 30 days to file an appeal to the appelate authority which IS the cantonment board according to his reply.

 

im sure they also will try and skirt over my letter , can i apply to next higher appelate authority than the cantonment board directly ?

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maestro25i

thank you all for your support, but i regret to inform you all that they have rejected my application . the details of which i have mentioned here..

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/19567-part-2-right-information-building-plan-regarding-illegal-construction-cantoment-area.html

 

i just realized that since i started a new thread all of you not being suscribed to it would not get the update, hence this post. i would much appreciate if u guys help me pursue this matter till i get this information , which im sure they will try to prevent me from getting using any loophole possible, u guys are my only defence .

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Sunil Ahya

Dear Maestro,

 

I understand and respect your feelings, but the procedure needs to be followed.

 

One can always complain directly to the SIC/CIC under sec. 18 of the RTI Act, but ideally one should exhaust the possibility of obtaining the information through the FAA and then go to SIC/CIC

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maestro25i

thts what ill do then, apply to the appelate authority mentioned in their reply , the cantonment board, and then head to the sic/cic if required, but now ill need very strong reasons to refute their rejection, as the cantonment board will try and find any loophole or reason to reject the appeal, they have vested interests..

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sandeepbaheti

maestro,

You are absolutely correct in deciding to file a first appeal. Some of the grounds for appeal can be:

 

1) PIO has incorrectly applied Sec 11 (please refer to post # 21 of the original thread for some good and valid arguments)

2) Sec 7(7) and 11 only prescribe a procedure to be followed by the PIO in peculiar circumstances. Neither section has any provision for rejection of information. The PIO has denied information purely under Sec 8(1)(j).

3) While rejecting information, the PIO cannot merely mention a section number and end the matter. He has to explain how a particular exemption clause is applicable in the case at hand. The PIO has failed to do that.

4) Sec 8(1)(j) can be used to deny information only such information:

a) which has no relation to any public activity or interest; or

b) which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual

The information asked was about building plans of cantonment which is definitely a public activity (try to add a few points about how it is related to public activity/interest)

Now the question to be asked is whether disclosing such information would cause invasion of privacy of an individual and if so, whether such invasion of privacy is unwarranted.

Either the PIO should give the information asked for, or he should clearly explain how disclosure of this information would result in unwarranted invasion of privacy.

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maestro25i

thats indeed very helpful sandeep :) ,

 

what i am thinking of doing thus far is this.

first i file an appeal against the rejection with the various points im able to raise from the advice i get here and what i can come up with.

 

i then also file a fresh rti application under a different name requesting the same information from the pio, pre-empting the objections he has raised now with reasons such as the one uve given saying that Sec 7 vbglossarlink.gif(7) and 11 are only procedural aspects and cannot be quoted to not give the information etc etc , so basically if he wants to reject my application he must either show me a argument breaking my argument or come up with a fresh reason to not give the info .

 

what i do need is more points i can raise , so he cannot hide behind the interpretation of the act to not give the info,

 

and again they are stalling for time, they keep delaying, so i have no proof to take further action and by then they can complete construction and give possession ...

time is becoming of essense here

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sandeepbaheti

I don't think repeating the RTI application would be of any use.

Focus more on drafting your first appeal tactfully. If you want you can draft your first appeal and post it here for further suggestions from active members.

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whackpack

dear maestro

 

you are exactly right - they are buying time, and you should not let that happen, because once construction is done, it will not be easy for you to get it demolished (virtually impossible)

 

so while you may make a fresh application on the lines thought by you, proceed expeditiously with first appeal. i suggest you prepare you draft of first appeal promptly and post it here.

 

in your first appeal, you must impress upon the FAA that even if the given information can be considered as third party information, disclosing of the information is in the larger public interest for the following reasons:

 

bye laws are framed to achieve good cohesive development, not merely of the property but of the locality. while imposing of some bye laws may restrict the rights that the owner enjoys over the property / may restrict the manner in which the owner is able to use the property, the same is necessary for for the sustainable development of the neighborhood.

 

a building is not an entity in itself, detached from the surrounds, but a part of the environs, and thus unlawful construction on each and any property of the cantonment endangers the well-being of each and every cantonment occupant and visitor in particular, and the area, city, state and country in general.

 

it thus is clear that the information should be released in larger public interest.

 

and at the end, put in the litmus test.

 

As per Section *(1)(j):

the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

 

also, in the fresh RTI application that you make, you may add questions like:

 

  1. has the builder obtained approval from the cantonment board
  2. is the cantonment supposed to check at any stage, if the construction is in confirmity with the approval obtained? if so, at what stage.
  3. has the cantonment at any time checked if the construction is in confirmity with the approval obtained. if so, at what all stages, and a copy of the findings and the action taken

besides this, make a seperate application to the head of the cantonment claiming that you fear that the construction work progressing at so and so location is not in confirmity with the applicable bye laws and that the action is endangering the ethos and environment of the campus, and immediate inquiry be conducted in the matter, with copy of the report being provided to you.

 

all this together should work

 

just for your reference, take a look at the following decision of CIC:

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/PB-12082008-05.pdf

 

Refer

File No. CIC/PBA/2008/301: The appellant by his RTI application dated 28.8.2007 has asked the PIO, Town and Country Planning, Yanam for copy of the approved plan...It is definitely a third party information, which cannot be given to the appellant. However...the appeal is rejected.

 

bad news. but let us try and change it!

 

most importantly, assume a air of importance around you, and smile all the time... :cool:

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karira

Merged the two threads

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karira

Besides what others have mentioned for your First Appeal, the PIO has got himself into a bind by quoting section 8(1)(j).

 

In your first appeal, one of the grounds for the appeal should be that if at all the PIO was to apply Sec 8(1)(j), he should have first applied the acid test given at the end of Sec 8(1)(j):

 

Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

 

Have you asked for any information which the Cantonment Board can also deny to Parliament or State Legislature ?

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maestro25i

that is exactly what i was thinking,, about the legislature and parliament point, will draft an appeal tommorow and post it on here for suggestions ,

 

when they say larger public interest, can i mention, i believe there are gross violations in construction and misuse of fsi norms , which are against the interest of others residing in the cantonment etc...

 

that isnt such good news bout cic decision tho, i guess this law is very subjective in certain regards.

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karira

when they say larger public interest, can i mention, i believe there are gross violations in construction and misuse of fsi norms , which are against the interest of others residing in the cantonment etc...

 

About "larger public interest" the only thing you need to mention in your First Appeal is that nowhere in the RTI Act it is said that information will not be disclosed unless it is in "larger public interest". In fact Sec 8(1)(d), (e) and (j) say exactly the opposite.

 

Even if information is deniable under Sec 8(1)(d), (e) and (j), it must be disclosed if larger public interest is served.

 

In support of your above argument, please cite the CIC decision in this thread:

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/16601-no-larger-public-interest-reason-denial-information.html

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karira

Please use the following decision of the CIC for disclosure of building plans:

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/LS-02122008-02.pdf

 

This following order specifically asks for disclosure of building plan by Cantonment Board, Dehu Road:

 

http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SM-05012009-08.pdf

 

There are many many more - but citing those which are straight forward and relevant to your matter.

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maestro25i

thank you , im incorporating all this information and have a letter formally drafted by a professional. will post it here for everyones benefit as soon as its done .

hopefully it will also serve as a template for others who might have similar appeals to file in the future

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maestro25i

i might have some good news ;)

the faa has directed the reverify the original application and provide teh information requested positively within ten days.

i dont know wot reverify means but i can only assume the information will now have to be provided.

 

here is the appeal we used, very simple really, the counsel i had hired made it simple, didnt let me use any of the previous judgements or arguments i had framed based on wot info i got here...

ill paste both , the one i used, and the one i was going to use ...

 

here is the appeal i used

 

Sir,

 

I had submitted an application dated asking for the information pertaining to. The information has been denied to me by the CPIO vide his letter quoting section 7(7), 8(1)j and section 11 stating this information is pertaining to the third party and not in larger public interest. They have further stated that owners of property have taken an objection for disclosing the information.

 

The project of ****** is under construction by one builder who is constructing the bungalows for selling. There is no question of any privacy or causing harm to anyone by disclosing the information. The CPIO is probably right, by disclosing the information, the corrupt practices by violating FSI and other unlawful construction will be revealed and the builder may be put to hardship. Further in number of case laws and appeals it has been held that there is nothing wrong in disclosing the information to the third party. There is no prejudice caused to the owner and the application is made with sole motive to disclose as to how the unlawful and blatant violation of the Fsi in building construction is prevailing by vested builders. Hence the information is in larger public interest.

 

In view of my submission you are requested to direct CPIO to supply information without further delay, failing which face the legal punitive action

 

Thanking you,

 

quite simple and to the point, i had spent a lot of time drafting this which i am posting below, this could have been used in the appeal originally and is actually a letter i was intending to write in the middle as a complaint and also use with a few modifications as an appeal. but the lawyer suggested to go with the above one as to the point and simple.

 

there were a few points i mentioend bout the contruction which i cant repeat here, it was followed by ..

 

Considering the above points I had also applied for the sanctioned building plan of the construction on these plots vide letter dated under Sec 6(1) of the RTI act 2005. I was denied the information , the reason being stated that it is third party information and the information requested is not in larger public interest i.e under section Sec 8 (1)(j).

Denying such an information the on ground that it is personal information covered under 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act 2005 is baseless and untenable under the provisions of the act. I am in the process of filing an appeal with the concerned body with justifications for the same Citing many previous judgements of the cic/sic in such matters. However I am very concerned that the information will still not be forthcoming and further excuses will be made, It is my humble request to you to please monitor the proceeding and ensure that the law is respected and followed and the process is not a sham.

 

since in the first place the sanctioned building plan is a public document. Furthermore the provision can only be used if the information requested has no relation to any public activity or interest, this basis is completely untenable as a part of the construction is taking place on land considered as an openspace. Furthermore the information pertains to construction which has been done for the purpose of resale and the disclosure of such information is not causing any unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual.Also the plan was not submitted to the cantonment In confidence and that such plan has to be approved by a government body and comes under the ambit of the RTI act. The withhodling of such information serves no larger public interest. The law also states that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. It is then unfathomable that the PIO can use his arbitrary judgement to pass a decision flying in the face of the law.

 

While going over the previous judgements under the RTI act in similar situations, we have observed that in many cases the local bodies deny or delay the information using such tactics and arbitrary interpretation of the law . However when the issue is taken in appeal to the SIC/CIC they usually issue orders to provide the information as they follow the law not only in letter but also in spirit and have no vested interest.

 

I can state previous judgements such as

 

1) Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2007/00826 dated 02/12/2008 where the pio was ordered to provide the applicant with the architectural drawings and sanctioned building plan as requested under the RTI Act. It may be noted that the pio initially provided the appellant only with the lay-out plan of the complex. He further submitted that he has checked up his records and no such architectural drawings and building plans are available in the records. However, he did admit that such drawings are permanent record of DDA and are required to be maintained for a long period of time. In the judgement, the Additional Commissioner (Plg) was directed to constitute a team of responsible officers to trace out records/documents required by the Appellant if the relevant documents are traced out, furnish copies thereof to him. It was also decided that the order of the Commission should be complied with in six weeks time. It is worthwhile noting that the PIO at no time suggested that the building plan was a third party information or covered under section Sec 8 (1)(j) of the RTI act or tried to refuse the information under any other provision.

 

2) Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2008/00411-SM dated 21.01.2008 where the CPIO of the Cantonment Board, Dehuroad, Pune, MOD was instructed to provide the Appellant with copy of the Building Plan with the seal/stamp of the sanctioning authority. The Appellate Authority was also directed to communicate to the Appellant clearly if the terms and conditions of development laid down in the sanctioned order had been carried out by the developer concerned and if not, what action the Cantonment Board had taken or proposes to take against the developer. He also directed the CPIO to allow the Applicant inspection of the information such as the original Building Plan.

 

Inspite of such precedent in a cantonment we were denied the information and that too on the 30th day of the RTI application, i.e the last possible day for the reply to be made, this even though we made repeated visits to enquire about the status of our application. We were also denied the right to inspect the records , the reason being given that our request was vague. I find the use of semantics to not provide access to the information which is my right under the constitution, incredulous.

 

 

one of the major achievements of RTI Act 2005 has been to evolve informed citizenry and promote transparency and accountability in administration which is vital and fundamental for the functioning of the democracy by holding government and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed. However such arbitrary judgements strike at the very heart and purpose of the law.

 

I believe that the sanctioned building plan which is a public document should not have been denied to me, and that too under the guise of my request not being in larger public interest, when given the above mentioned facts it is obvious that major manipulation could be taking place, and it is not just my right, but infact my duty to investigate and bring such blatant activities to the public eye.

 

The government is by the people, of the people and for the people. The officials being public servants, it is their duty to check on the construction activity taking place. I would not be surprised if there is some nexus here. Records could be manipulated or are being surpressed to suit some people.

 

 

When there is a fire and someone informs the firebrigade, it is their duty to immediately respond, when there is a theft and the police are informed, it is their duty to investigate. Failure to do so constitutes extreme apathy at best and criminal negligence at worst.

 

It is your duty as public servants and caretakers of the nation to see that action is taken to prevent such illegal activities and serve as a deterrent to future occurences.

 

Inaction would result in continued violation of the law and would cause certain elements to consider the cantonment as their personal fiefdom. Please treat this letter as very important. It is a question of national security and pride. If such activities can take place in an Army area, I shudder to think the of the plight elsewhere.

 

 

We will have no choice but to pursue this matter through the courts and the media and other investigation agencies if justice is not provided through the regular channels. You will have to answer all these agencies as to why action was not taken when it was bought to ur attention.

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