Jump to content
Atul Patankar

Bureaucrats send RTI petition for a jaunt

Recommended Posts

Atul Patankar

As reported by S. Anandan at hindu.com on July 19, 2009

 

Kochi: Should you seek information from the Centre through a Right to Information (RTI) petition, you better be conversant in all Indian languages.

 

Even so, chances are you may still not get what you have asked for. M.K. Haridas of The Proper Channel petitioned the Election Commission of India (ECI) for information on the sum accrued by the government by way of forfeited security deposits of candidates in the 2004 and 2009 general elections.

 

For want of nation-wide data on the same, the ECI promptly forwarded the request, as per Section 6(3) of the RTI Act, to election commissions in all States and Union Territories.

 

They, in turn, forwarded it to district administrations from where it was dutifully passed on to tehsil headquarters. Each office took religious care to acknowledge Mr. Haridas’ application and he has received over 150 such missives from various States to date, many of them in unfamiliar lingo.

 

The money so far spent by these offices on postal stamp: Rs. 3,500.

 

A few of them contained local-level data, but he couldn’t decipher them as even the figures were in vernacular. Postmen at the local post office here, too, had a horrid time sorting the communiqués for delivery as more often than not the address on the envelope, scrawled in Oriya, Gujarati and the like, wouldn’t make any sense to them. Surprises just didn’t stop there.

 

While a letter from Himachal Pradesh demanded that Mr. Haridas remit Rs. 2 at the Shimla Treasury for the required information (they spent Rs. 35 on postal stamp to intimate him), a message from the Cabinet (Election) Department of Jharkhand was even more perplexing.

 

It asked him to pay Rs. 1,680 per man hour together put in by the 14 Returning Officers in the State for compiling the requisite data.

 

“One man day includes one full working day for an office staff bearing Pay Band-II (Rs. 9,300-Rs. 34,800) + Grade Pay (Rs. 4200) + DA-22%. Mean one day pay of 26 working days would be Rs. 940 per day or Rs. 120 per man hour of 8 hours working day. You may deposit the above estimated amount by demand draft,” read the letter in awful English.

 

This defeats the rationale of the RTI Act, argues Mr. Haridas.

 

Source: The Hindu : National : Bureaucrats send RTI petition for a jaunt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gurkirat.dhillon

This can be avoided by adding the following at the end of an RTI application:-

 

"Lastly, under Section 7(9) of the RTI Act 2005 please make sure that the answer(s) to my RTI application are provided:-

 

(a) in the form in which they have been sought.

(b) in the English language only . "

 

This is because, RTI Act 2005 supercedes every other Act .

 

In Punjab, the state govt has recently passed the Punjab Language Act under which it is mandatory for every govt office to use only Punjabi and

this includes all IAS and IPS officers too .

 

So much so that no IAS or IPS officer can make file notings in any language other than Punjabi and if they do so they can be punished.

The fact that an All India service officer does not belong to Punjab is irrelevant and they are expected to learn to read and write Punjabi for their own sake.

 

Only very selective correspondence related to Govt of India can be made

in English.

 

This creates a problem of :

 

1) mere convenience for people like me educated at convents , while i am

fully conversant in Punjabi , English is good for record keeping.

2) any document to be presented in court say High Court has to undergo

translation .

 

So the above clause in the application avoids that !

 

Ofcourse, it will not help if a certain document asked for exists in a vernacular language ,the photocopy will be of the original .

 

rgds ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported by Don Sebastian at dnaindia.com on July 20, 2009

 

All MK Haridas wanted to know was how much the government earned from and spent on the general elections. Instead, the RTI activist got dozens of letters in Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, and other dialects of Hindi. He is yet to decipher the scripts on the replies, but judging from whatever he could, every letter says someone has been told to reply to him.

 

Haridas, president of Proper Channel, a Kochi-based NGO that collects information through RTI, wanted to know the number of candidates that contested the 2004 and 2009 general elections. In his application to the Election Commission (EC) under RTI, he sought to know how much money the government spent on elections and how much it got through the forfeiture of deposits.

 

EC replied on the third day. In 2004, 5,433 candidates contested the elections, costing the government Rs1,093 crore. This year, the number of candidates was 9,867, but data on cost was not available. EC forwarded the query to electoral officers in 28 states and seven UTs, who in turn gave it to their subordinates.

 

According to Haridas, the “drama” started when “letters started pouring in from across the country. Most were written in regional languages. The postman was confused. The pincode, too, was written in the regional language”. When he got somebody to read the letters, it was found that his request has been forwarded to someone in the official hierarchy.

 

“This is a misuse of section 6(3) of the RTI Act, which says that the authority should inform the applicant if the application is being transferred to another authority. “What’s the point if I can’t read it? Officials are failing the Act,” he said. Had the authorities taken the RTI Act in spirit, the applicant would have got a one-page reply in English or Hindi.

 

Haridas spent Rs10 as application fee, but the stamps on the reply envelopes — 188 till Saturday — are worth Rs3750. Authorities in UP and HP spent Rs25 each on postage to ask Rs2 as extra fee for the information. “Authorities in Jharkhand have sent a rate card asking me to pay Rs1980 to 22 officials for 19 days to collect the information,” he said.

 

Haridas, who has filed 280 RTI applications so far, wishes he’d not undertaken the latest mission.

 

Source: RTI cannot get the better of red tape

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jps50

Since offices in districts are part of election commission, CPIO cannot transfer RTI appln to these offices. He has to collect information from other offices of same Public Authority and supply to the applicant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
prabha.hl

as reported in the following link

RTI cannot get the better of red tape

 

 

 

Kochi: All MK Haridas wanted to know was how much the government earned from and spent on the general elections. Instead, the RTI activist got dozens of letters in Kannada, Telugu, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, and other dialects of Hindi. He is yet to decipher the scripts on the replies, but judging from whatever he could, every letter says someone has been told to reply to him. Haridas, president of Proper Channel, a Kochi-based NGO that collects information through RTI, wanted to know the number of candidates that contested the 2004 and 2009 general elections. In his application to the Election Commission (EC) under RTI, he sought to know how much money the government spent on elections and how much it got through the forfeiture of deposits.

EC replied on the third day. In 2004, 5,433 candidates contested the elections, costing the government Rs1,093 crore. This year, the number of candidates was 9,867, but data on cost was not available. EC forwarded the query to electoral officers in 28 states and seven UTs, who in turn gave it to their subordinates.

According to Haridas, the "drama" started when "letters started pouring in from across the country. Most were written in regional languages. The postman was confused. The pincode, too, was written in the regional language". When he got somebody to read the letters, it was found that his request has been forwarded to someone in the official hierarchy.

"This is a misuse of section 6(3) of the RTI Act, which says that the authority should inform the applicant if the application is being transferred to another authority. "What's the point if I can't read it? Officials are failing the Act," he said. Had the authorities taken the RTI Act in spirit, the applicant would have got a one-page reply in English or Hindi.

Haridas spent Rs10 as application fee, but the stamps on the reply envelopes -- 188 till Saturday -- are worth Rs3750. Authorities in UP and HP spent Rs25 each on postageto ask Rs2 as extra fee for the information. "Authorities in Jharkhand have sent a rate card asking me to pay Rs1980 to 22 officials for 19 days to collect the information," he said.

Haridas, who has filed 280 RTI applications so far, wishes he'd not undertaken the latest mission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy