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shri8131

Harrasing offices throught RTI

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shri8131

I am reproducing a news item from our local daily 'Herald' today.

 

Some post office staff, I have come to know are also using this tactics to ask frevilious quires.

 

Should there be some restriction on asking

quiries? If yes what it can be?

 

oHERALDo :: Retired headmaster accused of harassing officials under RTI

 

Retired headmaster accused of harassing officials under RTI

HERALD REPORTER

PANJIM, APRIL 1

Some of the officials at the Directorate of Education, here, are saddled with answering a flood of RTI queries from a retired headmaster who they allege was causing them unnecessary trouble.

The DoE has approached the Law Department in an effort to find a legal solution to the matter to restrain the retired headmaster from making such vague applications “clearly meant to harass” them.

Officials said the retired headmaster, Cajetan Perreira, of Peter Alvares Memorial High School, Morjim, has filed more than 150 applications under the RTI Act. This school was taken over by the Government for the second time in 2007, they mentioned.

They said when Perreira was the headmaster of Peter Alvares School he was known for his dictatorial ways of functioning.

The teachers, who were fed-up with the style of functioning of Perreira, had filed a writ petition in the High Court after which the school was handed over the DoE for the first time.

Officials said Perreira was holding a grudge against DoE as the Department had also rejected his plea for a Government loan some years back and hence was making regular visits to the Department to submit RTI queries basically meant to harass some of the officers.

DoE has now cited a case heard by the Central Information Commission in 2006 wherein a dismissed employee’s request for information was found overlapping and not in tune with the RTI Act.

The sacked employee of Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University K Gopinath, like Perreira, had within a period of three to four months made as many as 67 applications to JNTU asking for diverse information.

On perusing the replies of the respondent the Commission was satisfied that pains had been taken to answer the queries of Gopinath. It ordered such applicants to desist from using the RTI to harass public authorities without fulfilling the basic objectives of the Act.

While the DoE now feels it has a chance of getting rid of the frivolous RTI queries after citing the CIC directive, an official said Perreira had today made eight separate applications for information under the Act.

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nukebomb

dear sir .

if some one is making 67 rti applications , he must have been made victim by the officers thats why now he got the chance through rti to get information that has been denied to him under normal course .

 

in govt departments curruption is deep rooted . it needs a deeper cut to get it unearthed.

i think every citizen must make atleast 67 rti applications in diff govt departments .

 

rti zindabaad

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shri8131

nukebomb,

I agree with your point that every one should file atleast one RTI every year. Filing one RTI and following that matter to the end will bring down good percentage of curruption.

 

However if only one person files many RTI one one issue, It may be termed as harrasement. Court may bring some restriction on RTI.

 

That will harm us the most.

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colnrkurup

The need of the day is people like old Masterjies like Cajetan Perriera and our curse is survival of media like Herald, The Hindu etc., who refuse to understand the RTI Act and the ground realities other than spreading disinformation. The Headmaster made more than 150 RTI applications means that he might have spent at least Rs.75000/- (one has to spent at least Rs.50/- per application - all inclusive) plus unending harassement. This is the same way the man who has taken loan from a moneylender complaining that the money lender is harassing him instead of paying back the money he has taken on loan.

 

What made the Masterji to resort to such a step? Of cource the information sought by the Masterji must be causing inconvenience likely to expose corruption. What is the logic of bringing in the past history and biography of Masterji instead of telling which part of the information the Masterji has sought is unlawful. If he has sought frivelous information, why can't the DEO give it ? After all he is paying for it and not begging or seeking anyone's mercy.

 

Unless our media meant their ways, things are likely to be like this only unless more Maserjies emerge. I wish I could be of any help to the Masterji.

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rajub

The term "harrassment" by info seeker is misnomer.

 

The cited decision of the CIC that a sacked employee is harrassing the authorities by using RTI must be totally illegal.

 

The jurisdiction of IC is well defined in the Act.

 

The IC has to see whether the information sought is disclosable or not. Nothing more nothing less. (of course imposition of penalty on authorities who refuse to uphold the letter and spirit of the Act also comes under the jurisdiction of IC).

 

If IC finds the information is non disclosable it should rule accordingly. The matter ends there.

 

But it appears just like PIOs and AAs the ICs are resorting to illogical and illegal tactics of damning the applicants with the words "harrassment to authorities etc." when they cannot justify the non disclosure of information.

 

As rightly pointed out by Col saheb the applicant is spending his own money in making applications and pursuing it all the way upto IC. If he is doing it for frevolous information he must be a "psychic" case. The best way for the PIOs/AAs/ICs to reject the information citing the appropriate provisions of the Act.

 

The authorities (including ICs) use these tactics of damning the applicant illegally is itself harrassment to the applicant and misuse of the Act.

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Atul Patankar

There seems to be a system to this madness. After every few days, there is a different case which is made out as example of 'harassment' and 'frivelous' queries. Instead of crying foul, and trying to find out ways to stop them, easiest way is to answer all his frivelous queries, request him to inspect records, hand him copies of whatever he wants, and finish the matter.

 

I am sure if the man finds that all government record is flawless, he will find better things to do. And if he finds out corruption, he should be encouraged to ask even more frivelous and harassing questions.

 

There are similar absurd claims like mumbai terrorists using RTI to get floor plans of Taj, or BPL card holders living off sale of paper received free from government by raising numerous queries etc.

 

Colonel sir, in case of BPL applicants getting too much paper, I wrote a letter to editor pointing out the absurd calculation. However, it was totally ignored. My comments are available elsewhere on this forum.

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Pradeep Devi

Any system/law when introduced such types of problems arises. Asking numerous questions, flawless or may be harassing the concern officers, does not prove that they are observing the duties properly. I believe the applicant should always keep in mind that, the RTI is made for the betterment of the society and not for the personal grudges.

It is my own experience that the matter was in the Supreme Court and the Hon. Justice passed an order for filling the further documents.Director of Higher education and the State Govt. who were parties did not file the papers in time. The matter was not coming up on the board, when I wrote a letter asking the detail information about the Court matter, the whole department started moving around and the papers were filed after a delay of 200 days. RTI helped much in this matter. I know the Govt. officers are not serious about the people but you can wake them up with the help of the RTI.

I feel we should utilize the rights given by the law properly, we will get the justice.

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SatyamevaJayate

Hi Shri,

 

Thanks for bringing this matter to this forum. First of all the ruling of harrassment is illogical. Will the authorities rule it harrassment if 1000 applications asking the same information is posted by 1000 different people? I mean each application has to be treated on its merit and responded to adequately. We need more persons like the headmaster in our country.

 

Regards

SatyamevaJayate

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colnrkurup

There are certain terminologies the officials use to get away from their inaction or refusal to act etc., etc., . Unfortunate WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA had to lump it due to disinformaion on the issue spread by thier media. (I have stopped calling the media as our media) They are, harrassement, misuse, nuisance, litigant, blackmail, revenge etc., etc., It is high time for us to retort strongly telling them "SO WHAT ?" We are paying for what we are asking. You, the public servants are paid for your life for serving us. Better do it or we will see that you are not paid or whatever is paid is taken back. It is high itime for us to boycot the people hostile mediaalso making them to behave.

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revribhav

RTI is my self- defence. I have written about 100 applications to my employer and I continue to right the same,I gathered enough information

to challenge my employer in court whenever they complete and punish me for the "Inquiries" which they say are "Major penalty".

Though I am not accused of any theft,forgery or any sort of misbehaviour.

In the process of seeking information I had to confront not only the lethargic and negative attitude of various authorities,but also the commissioner himself thretened to get me arrested in February 08.

However,In March 30,I succeeded to convice the same Commissioner some of the points and he passed some orders to my satisfaction.

Being branded a "serial petitioner" by CIC I am happy and proud of being a serial petitioner.

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shri8131

Shrigopal,

Carry on good work. Fight till last. But if you can, use your knowledge of RTI to help others.

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rajub
RTI is my self- defence. I have written about 100 applications to my employer and I continue to right the same,I gathered enough information

to challenge my employer in court whenever they complete and punish me for the "Inquiries" which they say are "Major penalty".

Though I am not accused of any theft,forgery or any sort of misbehaviour.

In the process of seeking information I had to confront not only the lethargic and negative attitude of various authorities,but also the commissioner himself thretened to get me arrested in February 08.

However,In March 30,I succeeded to convice the same Commissioner some of the points and he passed some orders to my satisfaction.

Being branded a "serial petitioner" by CIC I am happy and proud of being a serial petitioner.

 

I am curious to know how did the IC who branded you "serial petitioner" passed order to your satisfaction.

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harriers_mi27

Are the person who are dealing with RTI not paid by the organisation?And if somebody is making them work then it becomes harassment?This word makes it very much clear how much this Act is effective.Cajetan Perreira is standing alone against the whole department.If the department is clean then they shouldnt have complained about his Rights.One man is exercising his right and the whole department stands againt him.The "Herald" should have made him a hero instead of standing by the side of the department.

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revribhav

Dear rajub,

It was by sheer luck,when I was face-to-face with him during February he was not ready to listen,this time ,through video conferencing,I think the good wishes of my friends and blessings of Him helped me,though the CPIO of my employer kept harping in similar tone that I was making frivolous applications on daily basis,this time the commissioner did what was expected by him under RTI,to concentrate on the application.I thank God and remember,He saved the dignity of Draupadi.There is a force which makes justice to common men, failing which the earth might be ruled by only those who have the power.

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rajub
Dear rajub,

It was by sheer luck,when I was face-to-face with him during February he was not ready to listen,this time ,through video conferencing,I think the good wishes of my friends and blessings of Him helped me,though the CPIO of my employer kept harping in similar tone that I was making frivolous applications on daily basis,this time the commissioner did what was expected by him under RTI,to concentrate on the application.I thank God and remember,He saved the dignity of Draupadi.There is a force which makes justice to common men, failing which the earth might be ruled by only those who have the power.

 

Dear revribhav,

 

Do you remember in some other thread when you posted your experiences about "serial petitioner" col kurup, myself and some other members strongly denounced the action of the IC.

 

This portal has a wide viewership. I think putting forth our strong feelings about any illegal and objectionable actions of the authorities does put pressure on the authorities forcing them to act correctly.

Taking clue from your example (a "serial petitioner" getting the justice) the members should be post their feelings here about anything objectionable they notice.

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harriers_mi27

Dear Rajendra,

I second your thought!

I have more than 100 applications conecrning various fields in my department and the last reply was both amusing and astonishing where the concerned PIO made "me" feel like a PIO and that happened only because of this forum.Let me quote the few lines of the PIO

"efforts have been made to search the copy of CIC order against appeal no xyz from the CIC's website but in response nothing was found.It will be conviniet if a copy of the same can be made available with thsi office in return to process the case further as directed by CIC"

I had sent a ruling which was posted by Karira Sir, in my first appeal to FAA.It has worked.

Now I am waiting for the PIO's reply.

The "thanks" for this forum comes not from the keyboard or click of the mouse but from the heart!!!

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colnrkurup

Shrigopal,

Please don't bother much about the "harrassement bogey". These are the little tricks to belittle your demand for inconvenient information. In my younger days I had such experience when I used to get hurt and demoralised. I used to complain to my Brigadier. He gave me an advice which has been sustaining me He said ".... these are pin-pricks. It might hurt you. With the pain of such pin-pricks if you jump, it is amusement to other person and others might also watch you jumping. Instead, you just ignore it as if nothing happened. The persons making pin-pricks will stop it automatically"

 

Sp please do not bother them. Keep on working. If you are right, you are bound to succeed.

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vijayK

Well said Mr. Rajub & Mr. Colnrkurup !

Saw the decisions of CIC on Revribhav's applications.

It seems that the CIC was bit prejudiced - particularly against those who file RTI against his/her own office.

It was sheer bad luck that our friend Revribhav's applications went before him.

Probably... superiors of him (REVRIBHAV) are bit worried as they expect - he would expose them.

Revribhav can get on with his legal formalities on the basis of the information he got.

All the best for his success.

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Arun Gumber

The RTI Act was brought into existence for unearthing the corruption,Non-transparency and unlawful activities from the Govt departments.At the same time,there should be measures to stop wasteful expenditure icurred by the staff in terms of Infrastructure and manpower cost in replying to certain Non-sense querries,I think the commision should be empowered to penalize the Information seeker also,if the intention to injure / target on account of personel vendetta.

 

Gernerally,the inside information is asked by inside people only in the forms of RTI to a particular department in Rs. 10/- and you cant even get a cup of tea in that amount.This should be increased to Rs. 100 so that these kind of absurd RTI does not cost the public exchequer,after all this our Icome tax money spent on replying this

 

With Neutral thoughts

 

Arun Gumber

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Atul Patankar

Arun Gumber,

 

  1. How do you define 'nonsense' queries?
  2. Who, in your opinion, should be given authority to decide weather a query makes sense??
  3. How do you define 'intention to injure / target on account of personel vendetta' ?
  4. Who, in your opinion, should be given authority to decide weather a query is made with 'intention to injure / target on account of personel vendetta'?
  5. How do you define wasteful expenditure?
  6. As of now, though the penal provisions against PIOs and PAs are compulsory (As per the majority opinion on this forum), it is hardly ever used. Di you think the penalty on information seeker should be made compulsory? Should a prison term introduced for 'serial petitioners' and 'habitual trouble makers'
  7. Why 100 Rs? You can't even get a decent lunch in that amount. Why should it not be 1,000 or 10,000?

 

If the whole idea is to make it impossible to seek information, I can give you some more ideas- Ask the person raising querry to get character certificate from a gazetted officer; ask him to submit a sworn affidavit declaring that he will not use the information obtained for any anti national or subversive or black mailing purposes; ask him to submit a bank guarantee of a certian amount as a proof that he can come up with cost of information as may be asked for by the PIO.

 

Please note that these are not my brain childs. Similar suggestions have already been made, and quite seriously. Also, the term 'serial petitioner' is not coined by me. Reportedly, the credit goes to a cetral information commissioner!

 

Why not cancel the RTI Act itself?

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vijayK

Well said Mr. Atul Patankar.

 

You were at your sarcastic best.

 

CPIOs should understand that it is their duty to provide information.

 

They should NOT investigate the reasons behind an RTI application or make insinuations at the information seeker.

 

It is very simple for CPIOs who are normally top level officers.

 

Work & take decisions as per rule.

 

Then there will NOT be any problem to give answers for any query under RTI.

 

But this happens very rarely.

 

However let us pray that the RTI act coerces to become HONEST.

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prabha.hl
We are paying for what we are asking. You, the public servants are paid for your life for serving us. Better do it or we will see that you are not paid or whatever is paid is taken back.

 

Sir are you making this comment on whole community or restricting to few individuals. You know better, if no civil servant work what will happen to the country. There will be always some odd. i feel we should restrict these comments to them.

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Arun Gumber

I think Prabha is making it a valid point,We are here to discuss and express our views ,I think the administrator should see that this is not encouraged.We will loose the purpose of this plateform.

 

Arun Gumber

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vijayK

Sorry Prabhaji.

 

It is a common perception that govt. servants never work & always ask for bribe.

 

One of our famous writers in Chennai wrote that in foreign countries, one has to bribe to do something WRONG, ILLEGAL. But in India ... even with RIGHT records one has to bribe to get anything from ration card to passport.

 

Even the courts have such perception. In this regard kindly note their observations in service matters.

 

I am posting this as an central govt. employee & son of an advocate.

In my career of 15 years, I have found such a perception is true.

I have a strong feeling that I have been paid by the govt. to serve people in spite of official handicaps. Let us honestly accept the reality and not get perturbed when some one points it out. Any honest worker will NOT get affected by the comments of Mr. Kurup. I feel he has the right to say as a tax payer and only such voices can cleanse the deteriorating system. Any honest govt. official will appreciate his comment and I am one among them.

Get on Mr. Kurup.

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prabha.hl

Dear Vijay

if this was the case as you refer, INDIA would not have been in the present shape, it would have become one more mob country. Luckily it is not. Because of many hard working civil servants.

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