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karira

RTI Act being misused, CIC directs probe

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hkdubey

Many times it is coming to my notice, that there is misuse of RTI. Right to information is a fundamental Right. Can any one clarify "where there is no misuse of powers? Is a bureaucrat, politician or press is not misusing the power conferred to them." The hue and cry of misuse of RTI Act is made by such persons only who are affected and are unable misuse there powers as they were doing before enactment of this act. If at all there is misuse, whts the problem? There is no problems to common citizen. IN MY OPINION THOSE WHO ARE MAKING HUE AND CRY OF MISUSE OF RTI SHOULD STOP IT. AT LEAST IN THIS FORUM.

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Dr. M. Faiyazuddin

I agree with HK Dubey. Other fundamental rights are being misused, such as freedom of speech whish spreads hatred in the society but no one raises his voice against it. In fact RTI is in the interest of those people who do not know how to use it.

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vijendra singh

RTI Act is misused by Info Comissioners /public authorities & Political leaders. They unwarrantedly ask the rti applicants to tell reasons of asking the informations; they appoint their beloved bureucrates in cic/ sic; theydeny the info on one pretext or other ; they are not respecting the written mandates of rti act 05 ; they are amending or deleting the rti (mgt) rules as & when wished as per their convenience; they hate to penalize the erring PIOs ; they hate to take disciplinary action on guilty officers; they provide the info after 20--36 months ; they ask Rs. 2 lakhs for a small info; & many more such misuses. Govt recruited bureucrates in info commissions ; who are found in 99 % cases to be misusing their positions to harrass the citizens. One & the strong example of misuse is that the CIC unwarrantedly amended the cic(mgt) rules 2007 to delete the clause of errors-removal in decision . Thus CIC now onwards shall not be responsible for its deficient ; defective; mindless decisions. If rti appellants are aggrieved on its decisions; they are free to spend Rs 1 lakh to get their cases Reviwed in High/ Supreme Court.

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hkdubey
RTI Act is misused by Info Comissioners /public authorities & Political leaders. They unwarrantedly ask the rti applicants to tell reasons of asking the informations; they appoint their beloved bureucrates in cic/ sic; theydeny the info on one pretext or other ; they are not respecting the written mandates of rti act 05 ; they are amending or deleting the rti (mgt) rules as & when wished as per their convenience; they hate to penalize the erring PIOs ; they hate to take disciplinary action on guilty officers; they provide the info after 20--36 months ; they ask Rs. 2 lakhs for a small info; & many more such misuses. Govt recruited bureucrates in info commissions ; who are found in 99 % cases to be misusing their positions to harrass the citizens. One & the strong example of misuse is that the CIC unwarrantedly amended the cic(mgt) rules 2007 to delete the clause of errors-removal in decision . Thus CIC now onwards shall not be responsible for its deficient ; defective; mindless decisions. If rti appellants are aggrieved on its decisions; they are free to spend Rs 1 lakh to get their cases Reviwed in High/ Supreme Court.

Rightly pointed out The act is Misused by the persons who should interpret it properly. There improper interpretation causing problems to the citizens and they have to appeal various authority which is time consuming as well as they have to waste money. Those PIO/FAA who are interpreting it wrongly to save there colleagues should be punished heavily with monetary fine and disciplinary action as they are playing with the fundamental right of a citizen.

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thiagaraju

I have a case of misuse. A dismissed employee is again and again approaching through RTI seeking information on all disciplinary cases right from the inception of the company and tries to equate his case with others to gain reentry . It is a well settled law that each disciplinary case is unique and no comparison be made , Despite this he puts atleast 50 questions each time in different forms. Reply was given to him that questions have already been answered. Does RTI act need be amended to curb such practices.

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chanda_s

Now a classic example of my case would show how capable and worthy are the said Tehsildar Sanjeev Deshmukh and the First Appellate Authority Tanaji Shinde, the Sub Divisional officer, Haveli and superior of the PIO Deshmukh.

 

 

interesting episode (i was in a mood for gossip today).

 

frankly, i'm not very well conversant with the ethics of this website but normally on such responsible websites, one doesn't discuss another's misdeeds quoting names in such graphic detail. the logic is simply that the other person doesn't have a chance to defend himself while his name gets maligned, rightly or wrongly.

 

why blame the "caliber of young journalist"? it appears he is not the only one quoting his personal experience.

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sandeepbaheti

Isn't he paying for the information each time?

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rajub
I have a case of misuse. A dismissed employee is again and again approaching through RTI seeking information on all disciplinary cases right from the inception of the company and tries to equate his case with others to gain reentry . It is a well settled law that each disciplinary case is unique and no comparison be made , Despite this he puts at least 50 questions each time in different forms. Reply was given to him that questions have already been answered. Does RTI act need be amended to curb such practices.

 

The answer is firm "no".

 

There is no harm supplying the information.

 

If the dismissal is legally correct the authorities need not worry about the reentry of the employee.

 

Suppose the employee receives all the information he demanded what at the most will he do? He will start a fresh litigation? Is the starting a litigation so simple considering the costs involved? If the dismissal is correct the employee will be defeated. What is the problem?

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Atul Patankar

thiagaraju,

 

This may be administrative irritant, but it is certainly not misuse of RTI. Why not give him all the information he is asking? Ultimately he will have to prove his point on some other forum, where RTI is not useful.

 

If he gets all this information, and uses it to his advantage in front of a labour court, it should be considered very proper use of RTI. You do not like it because you are on the other side of this dispute

 

Do not extend your dislike of this person to RTI Act

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Atul Patankar
interesting episode (i was in a mood for gossip today).

 

frankly, i'm not very well conversant with the ethics of this website but normally on such responsible websites, one doesn't discuss another's misdeeds quoting names in such graphic detail. the logic is simply that the other person doesn't have a chance to defend himself while his name gets maligned, rightly or wrongly.

 

why blame the "caliber of young journalist"? it appears he is not the only one quoting his personal experience.

 

Please note that this thread started with news report, which mentions these PIO/ FAAs with name, and portrays them to be 'victims of RTI'. And, the whole RTI activists community was the 'accused' of misusing RTI. Therefore, an activist in the area, had to take up the defense, which included a better rounded picture of these 'RTI affected' officers.

 

Also please note that most of the discussion in this thread has gone from specific case to a more general concept of misuse of RTI, and its potential damage to the mechanisms put in place presently by RTI. Those contributors who do not have the domain knowledge (Of Mulshi/ haveli Talukas in Pune District, or of these officers) have not written about specifics of the case.

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raka1972

my submission is that RTI Act is actually misused by the CIC/PIO/AA. it is clearly mentioned in the act that if a PIO is unable to provide the complete & true information to the appellant within prescribed period of 30 days, then under which authority the CIC does not take action under Section 20 of the act and give only direction to the PIO to provide the incomplete information. Is it not misusing the Act and favouritsm of CIC for the PIOs. I ahve also to know what is the meaning of wrong information in terms of RTI Act?

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sandeepbaheti

The CIC/PIO/AA are not using RTI for any wrong purpose. True that many of them are not abiding by the provisions of the Act and not implementing the Act in its letter and spirit, but that cannot be termed as misuse. I reiterate the statement of Col Sir: "the cry of misuse of RTI Act whoever makes it is a farce."

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taurus
thiagaraju,

 

This may be administrative irritant, but it is certainly not misuse of RTI. Why not give him all the information he is asking? Ultimately he will have to prove his point on some other forum, where RTI is not useful.

 

If he gets all this information, and uses it to his advantage in front of a labour court, it should be considered very proper use of RTI. You do not like it because you are on the other side of this dispute

 

Do not extend your dislike of this person to RTI Act

 

This is a very practical dilemma faced by many PIOs. The PIOs are not whole time PIOs. They do the job in addition to their normal duties. They dont even have separate staff to assist them. Only those staff who are already doing something else assist the PIOs as additional responsibility without any additional remuneration. If you view the problem in this backdrop you can understand the agony and dilemma of the PIOs. However convinced about the RTI, the PIOs may be, they still get exasperated by such infructuous requests for information. You can neither blame the seekers of information nor the PIOs for this. You cant also blame the RTI Act and call for banning such requests or amending the Act. These are prices to be paid for the freedom that we want in a democracy. It should be endure. The malady cannot be erradicated.

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nukebomb

no under staff problem . if PIO and his staff has enough time for tea breaks /lunch and gossip breaks . if he can afford to come late and go back early . i think he can spent few minutes for RTI also without any difficulty

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chanda_s
Therefore, an activist in the area, had to take up the defense, which included a better rounded picture of these 'RTI affected' officers.

 

Those contributors who do not have the domain knowledge (Of Mulshi/ haveli Talukas in Pune District, or of these officers) have not written about specifics of the case.

 

i would be really disappointed if this is the established and accepted norm in the website as is being projected in the quoted post.

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MOHANDAS

The act should be used not abused. One should bear in mind by paying a paltry sum of Rs.10/- per RTI application how many inforamtion can be sought ? No stipulation in this regard. So taking shelter of the vague clause no one should venture to abuse the Act and its relevant provisions. Culture cannot be purchased by paying. Its an inherent quality of an individual by tradition. So, one should bear in mind the workload of a CPIO/PIO/AA & CIC/SIC ( seriatum of authorities involved) in disposaling an RTI matter to its finality. What I mean really here, one should make use of the act in a justifiable way rather should not initiate RTI application on flimsy grounds in order to score up difference of opinion prevalent.

 

MOHANDAS

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MOHANDAS

The act should be used not abused. One should bear in mind by paying a paltry sum of Rs.10/- per RTI application how many inforamtion can be sought ? No stipulation in this regard. So taking shelter of the vague clause no one should venture to abuse the Act and its relevant provisions. Culture cannot be purchased by paying. Its an inherent quality of an individual by tradition. So, one should bear in mind the workload of a CPIO/PIO/AA & CIC/SIC ( seriatum of authorities involved) in disposaling an RTI matter to its finality. What I mean really here, one should make use of the act in a justifiable way rather should not initiate RTI application on flimsy grounds in order to score up difference of opinion prevalent.

 

MOHANDAS

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sandeepbaheti

It's not the applicant but the PA who is supposed to bother about the workload of PIO. If the PIO is overburdened, the PA is at liberty to designate more of its officers as PIOs. Further Sec 5(4) provides that the PIO is authorized to seek assistance from other officers.

The applicant pays for all the information he takes. It's not just the application fee, every page of information is obtained after payment.

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sandeepbaheti

It's not the applicant but the PA who is supposed to bother about the workload of PIO. If the PIO is overburdened, the PA is at liberty to designate more of its officers as PIOs. Further Sec 5(4) provides that the PIO is authorized to seek assistance from other officers.

The applicant pays for all the information he takes. It's not just the application fee, every page of information is obtained after payment.

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nk agarwal

Mr. Mohandas,

Your concern is appreciated on the matter, but your generalization and statement that "One should bear in mind by paying a paltry sum of Rs.10/- per RTI application how many information can be sought ?" is beyond comprehension.

In the first place information should be freely and easily available to any citizen, since this was not happening, the parliament enacted RTI Act-2005. providing info is not a commercial activity therefore the number of information sought and "paltry fee of Rs10/ " have no mutual correlation.

Abuse of anything cannot be justified no doubt about it and this includes RTI ACt-2005.

But the situation is jut opposite, inspite of RTI Act- 2005 coming in force, getting info has not become any easier. The abuse of provisions of RTI ACt-2005 is more by PIOs and AAs than the common citizen. PL. check the long pendency of Appeals.

Democracy needs well informed citizens and RTI ACt-2005 envisages the same.

thnks

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nk agarwal

Mr. Mohandas,

Your concern is appreciated on the matter, but your generalization and statement that "One should bear in mind by paying a paltry sum of Rs.10/- per RTI application how many information can be sought ?" is beyond comprehension.

In the first place information should be freely and easily available to any citizen, since this was not happening, the parliament enacted RTI Act-2005. providing info is not a commercial activity therefore the number of information sought and "paltry fee of Rs10/ " have no mutual correlation.

Abuse of anything cannot be justified no doubt about it and this includes RTI ACt-2005.

But the situation is jut opposite, inspite of RTI Act- 2005 coming in force, getting info has not become any easier. The abuse of provisions of RTI ACt-2005 is more by PIOs and AAs than the common citizen. PL. check the long pendency of Appeals.

Democracy needs well informed citizens and RTI ACt-2005 envisages the same.

thnks

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rajub

The term "misuse or abuse" is absolute misnomer so far as RTI Act is concerned.

 

The very purpose of the Act is to provide "practical regime for the fundamental right of getting information enshrined in the constitution".

 

The Governments (both central and state) are widely publicising the Act and encouraging the people to use it.

 

As a matter of fact governments are concerned that the Act is still not used extensively. The data also confirms this fact. What is the percentage of population that has used this Act? It is in decimal fraction (much less than 1 percent).

 

So far as "flimsy grounds", "frivolous applications" are concerned they are relative terms. What one person thinks "flimsy", the other person may think as a matter of life and death.

 

So far as culture is concerned. What is the work culture in India? It is no secret that corruption, nepotism, red tapism etc. have become omnipresent and omnipotent too. I think those who have genuine concern about "misuse" would also not deny this fact.

 

Though slightly off topic I cannot hold back myself from putting in following points.

 

Is there any difference in the work culture of USA and India?

 

There was one 9/11 in USA and there after no such incidence took place? Is it attributable only to the policies of the Govt (USA)? Is it not true that their work culture made it impossible for the miscreants to repeat the 9/11?

 

In the sharp contrast what is the situation in India?

 

To sum up I would say if the Act is used (be it misused or abused) and the PAs are frightened to do anything wrong (morally or legally) we will be super power. A day may come (ideally) when there is no reason for any aggrieved person to resort to RTI. Till then the PIOs may have to overburden themselves. But this will be a little price we must pay for larger good.

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rajub

The term "misuse or abuse" is absolute misnomer so far as RTI Act is concerned.

 

The very purpose of the Act is to provide "practical regime for the fundamental right of getting information enshrined in the constitution".

 

The Governments (both central and state) are widely publicising the Act and encouraging the people to use it.

 

As a matter of fact governments are concerned that the Act is still not used extensively. The data also confirms this fact. What is the percentage of population that has used this Act? It is in decimal fraction (much less than 1 percent).

 

So far as "flimsy grounds", "frivolous applications" are concerned they are relative terms. What one person thinks "flimsy", the other person may think as a matter of life and death.

 

So far as culture is concerned. What is the work culture in India? It is no secret that corruption, nepotism, red tapism etc. have become omnipresent and omnipotent too. I think those who have genuine concern about "misuse" would also not deny this fact.

 

Though slightly off topic I cannot hold back myself from putting in following points.

 

Is there any difference in the work culture of USA and India?

 

There was one 9/11 in USA and there after no such incidence took place? Is it attributable only to the policies of the Govt (USA)? Is it not true that their work culture made it impossible for the miscreants to repeat the 9/11?

 

In the sharp contrast what is the situation in India?

 

To sum up I would say if the Act is used (be it misused or abused) and the PAs are frightened to do anything wrong (morally or legally) we will be super power. A day may come (ideally) when there is no reason for any aggrieved person to resort to RTI. Till then the PIOs may have to overburden themselves. But this will be a little price we must pay for larger good.

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Shaheen

Since some people are scared of PIO, they use different names for one address. Hence the PIOs are at fault and the information seekers. It is a common knowledge that PIOs harass and victimise if the applicant belongs to their own department. Hence, the misuse is on the part of PIOs and of course not the information seekers.

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Shaheen

Since some people are scared of PIO, they use different names for one address. Hence the PIOs are at fault and the information seekers. It is a common knowledge that PIOs harass and victimise if the applicant belongs to their own department. Hence, the misuse is on the part of PIOs and of course not the information seekers.

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      By Shrawan
      There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.
    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION




      Appeal No.ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006


      Right to Information Act – Sections 6/18

      Name of Appellant : Satyapal
      Name of Public Authority : CPIO, TCIL

      DECISION


      Decisions appealed against :
       
       
      The CPIO, TCIL has declined to supply a copy of a document on the ground that the same forms part of “file Noting” which, according to CPIO is exempt under the RTI Act. Appellate authority also has confirmed the decision of the CPIO. The appellant contents that he has the right to seek information contained in the “File Notings”.
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      Shri Satyapal – appellant, a resident of Delhi, applied to the CPIO, TCIL seeking for copies of certain documents by a letter dated 17th October, 2005. By a letter dated 14th November, 2005, CPIO, TCIL furnished copies of certain documents, however, stating that a particular document sought for was a file noting in the Department of Telecom and as such it was exempt from disclosure. By a letter dated 17th Nov. 2005, Shri Satyapal again wrote to the CPIO, TCIL pointing out that the information sought for by him did not fall within the ambit of Section 8 of the RTI Act and as such the same should be supplied. He also brought to the notice of CPIO, TCIL that in respect of information already furnished, a copy of a bill in respect of advertisement relating to independence day 1996 had not been supplied. By a letter dated 28th Nov. 2005, the CPIO, TCIL while furnishing a copy of the bill, once again reiterated that file notings are exempt from disclosure in terms of the clarification given by the Department of Personnel in their website. Aggrieved by this decision, Shri Satyapaul preferred an appeal to the appellate authority by a letter dated 14th Dec. 2005 stating that file notings are not exempt from disclosure in terms of Section 8 of the RTI Act. He followed up the same by letters dated 14th Dec., 31st Dec. 2005 and 5th January, 2006. The appellate authority by a letter dated 5.1.2006 rejected the appeal stating “The information sought by you pertains to the file notings of the Department of Telecommunication as also that of TCIL. I am of the view that TCIL is exempted from disclosing the information sought by you under Section 8(1)(d)&(e) of the RTI Act. UO No.7-17/95-PP dated 4.10.1995 is a part of file notings. You have mentioned in your appeal that the information has been denied misconstruing it as “file notings” by CPIO, TCIL. I confirm that these are notings in the file”. Aggrieved with the decision of the appellate authority, Shri Satyapal has filed this appeal before this Commission. According to Shri Satyapal, there is no specific exemption from disclosure as far as file notings are concerned in Section 8 of RTI Act.
      Commission’s Decision :
      It is seen that while the CPIO declined to furnish the information sought for on the ground that file notings are exempt from disclosure, the appellate authority, without confirming or rejecting the stand of CPIO that file notings are exempt from disclosure, has relied on Section 8(1)(d) and (e) of the RTI Act to deny the information.
      As is evident from the Preamble to the RTI Act, the Act has been enacted to vest with the citizens, the right of access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of any public authority. Conscious of the fact that access to certain information may not be in the public interest, the Act also provides certain exemptions from disclosure. Whether file notings fall within the exempted class is the issue for consideration.
      Section 2(f) defines information as “Any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinion, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law or the time being in force”.
      Section 2(j) reads : “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 document or records; (iii) …… (iv) …. “. In terms of Section 2(i) “Record” includes (a) any documents, manuscript and file;
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      Sd/-




      (Padma Balasubramanian)




      Information Commissioner




      Sd/-




      (Wajahat Habibullah)



      Chief Information Commissioner


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