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karira

Amendment to RTI Rules in Karnataka

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karira

The Government of Karnataka has issued a amendment to the RTI Rules:

 

COPY OF THE NOTIFICATION ISSUED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT IS REPRODUCED BELOW:

 

GOVERNMENT OF KARNATAKA

 

NO.DPAR;14:RTI: 2008 Karnataka Government Secretariat

DPAR (Janaspandana Cell)

3rd Floor. Podium Block, V V Towers

BANGALORE DT.17.3.2008.

 

 

NOTIFICATION

 

In exercise of the Powers conferred by Sub-Section (1) and (2) of Section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (Central Act 22 of 2005), The Government of Karnataka hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Karnataka Right to Information Rules, 2005, namely:

 

 

Title and Commencement: (1) These rules may be called the Karnataka Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2008.

(2) They shall come into force from the date of their publication in Official Gazette.

 

 

Insertion of new rule 14: In the Karnataka Right to Information Rules, 2005, after rule 13, the following shall be inserted, namely:

 

“14. Request relate only to single subject matter: A request in writing for information under section 6 of the Act shall relate to one subject matter and it shall not ordinarily exceed one hundred and fifty words. If an applicant wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter, he shall make separate applications;

 

Provided that in case, the request made relates to more than one subject matter, the Public Information Officer may respond to the request relating to the first subject matter only and may advise the applicant to make separate application for each of the other subject matters.”

 

 

By Order and in the name of the

President of India

Sd/-

( B. SHIVARUDRA SWAMY)

Under Secretary to Government, I/C

DPAR (JANASPANDANA CELL –RTI)

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karira

Important points to be noted are:

 

1. Single RTI application for a single subject.

 

(Who will decide if subject is one or more than one ?

More room for ambiguity and more room for arguments between applicant and PIO.

SIC will be unnecessary burdened with more complaints.)

 

2. Application to be in not more than 150 words.

(Please hone your precis writing skills !)

 

(This will restrict the number of points on which information can be asked.

Does 150 words include all the mandatory data in the application also...like

address, contact numbers, designation and address of SPIO, date, application fee payment details, etc.... ?)

What new and ingenious ways can one think of to kill the spirit of the RTI Act.

 

Next we will have RTI rules prescribing the size and type of paper, the colour of the ink, etc...

 

 

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karira

This is real funny.

 

Even the Notification for amendment has more than 150 words !

 

The new Rule 14 is also 100 words.

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karira

As reported by Nidhi Sharma in dailypioneer.com on 17 April 2008:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives2/default12.asp?main_variable=NATION&file_name=nt5%2Etxt&counter_img=5&phy_path_it=D%3A%5CWebSites%5CDailyPioneer%5Carchives2%5Capr1708

Amendment to Karnataka RTI rules draws flak

 

Want to file an RTI application? If it is to seek information from Karnataka Government or its departments and organisations, brush up on your précis writing skills and get ready to shell out a good amount of dough. The State Government has amended the RTI rules and asked all applicants to draft questions in not more than 150 words.

 

The notification issued by Karnataka Government's Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms' Janspandana Cell has amended the Karnataka RTI Rules 2005. Through this amendment the Government has also cracked down on the queries of the applicants. Through this amendment it has laid down that the queries in an RTI application would pertain to only one subject. If it is on more than one subject, the public information officer (PIO) would reply to only the first subject and then return the application asking the applicant to apply again to seek information on the remaining subjects.

A new Rule 14 has been inserted which reads: "14. Request relate only to single subject matter: A request in writing for information under Section 6 of the Act shall relate to one subject matter and it shall not ordinarily exceed 150 words. If an applicant wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter, he shall make separate applications."

The amendment, the only one to be passed during the present President's Rule in Karnataka, has come under a lot of flak from RTI activists, especially for the word limit set. Chief Information Commissioner of the Central Information Commission Wajahat Habibullah said: "If rules are to be amended then they should be placed in public domain because RTI is a public Act."

Speaking to The Pioneer from Bangalore, State Chief Information Commissioner KK Misra said: "We do not want to talk about this issue. We do not want to be drawn in any controversy." When asked if the Information Commission was consulted before the rules were drafted, Misra said: "No. It is for the State Government to draft and notify these rules." Misra said that the commission had not taken up the matter with the State Government so far.

The amendment has been notified under Section 27 (1) of the RTI Act, which empowers the States to frame rules to facilitate the implementation of RTI. Magsaysay award winner and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal pointed out: "The State Governments can make rules only to facilitate the Act not to restrict it. While the Act says that a PIO has to assist a person who cannot read and write, the rules have put a word limit. In a way these rules have killed the spirit of the Act.

There should have been sufficient public discussion before the rules were amended." Though Habibullah refused to be drawn into the controversy saying it is not his jurisdiction, he echoed similar sentiments when he said: "The rules cannot override the Act."

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karira

As reported by Special Correspondent in hindu.com on 20 April 2008:

The Hindu : Front Page : RTI: new rule restricts quantum of information

 

RTI: new rule restricts quantum of information

 

It’s an unlawful limitation, says consumer rights activist

 

2008042057940101.jpg

 

BANGALORE: It has come to light that the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) recommended that the State Government amend the Karnataka Right to Information (RTI) Rules 2005 to restrict the quantum of information sought in a single application.

 

This was discovered by Y.G. Muralidharan, consumer rights activist and founder of Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT), who evoked the RTI Act only to receive this startling piece of information.

 

“Having grown in a culture of secrecy, the tendency to find reasons for denying information to the citizens is not surprising. But one never expected that the KIC would advise the Government to take the drastic step of amending the rules, which cuts the roots of citizens’ right to information,” Mr. Muralidharan told The Hindu.

 

Notification issued

 

Documents obtained by CREAT revealed that the KIC advised the Karnataka Government to amend the Karnataka RTI Rules 2005 with regard to imposing restrictions on the quantum of information applicants can seek. The Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) issued a notification to include this under Rule 14 on March 17 this year.

 

In December last, the KIC recommended that the Government amend the rules to restrict the number of questions and quantum of information sought in a single application.

 

Draft approved

 

Mr. Muralidharan said: “The KIC itself prepared the draft and the DPAR, Law Department, and the Government merely approved it with minor corrections, despite the RTI Under Secretary’s reservations about the State Government’s powers to issue such rules. Rule 14 not only goes against the spirit of the Act but also places restrictions on the citizens. It also gives the Public Information Officer (PIO) the authority to decide what a subject matter is under the Act.”

 

The amendment

 

According to the amendment, request for information should relate to one subject and not ordinarily exceed 150 words.

 

For information on more than one subject, a separate application should be made. Further, in the latter case, the PIO is expected to respond to the request relating to the first subject only and seek separate applications for each of the other subjects.

 

Mr. Muralidharan said: “The new rule places unlawful limitation on the fundamental right to information derived from the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution. The RTI Act itself imposes restrictions under Sections 8 and 9, which alone are valid. By requiring the PIO to deal only with one subject in an application effectively empowers him to reject the remaining requests,” he said.

 

Other ways

 

As regards applications that do not have any public interest, Mr. Muralidharan said the RTI Act provides for dealing with such requests in Section 7 (9).

 

Applicants may be asked to inspect the files, seek more time to provide the documents and so on.

 

Converting data into electronic form is another measure that could help handle requests for voluminous information, he said.

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karira

As reported by Staff Reporter in hindu.com on 20 April 2008:

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : BDA implements RTI Rules amendment

 

BDA implements RTI Rules amendment

 

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority has started to implement the amendment made to Karnataka Right to Information Rules and restrict providing of information to first 150 words of the application.

 

B.H. Veeresha, an RTI activist, filed an application before the Additional District Registrar, Bangalore Urban, seeking information about removal of two volunteers from the office.

 

He sought name and address of volunteers working between 2004 and 2007, the sub-registrars responsible for their appointment, nature of work entrusted, particulars of the salary, copies of all reports related to appointment submitted to controlling authorities and the volunteers working at present.

 

In his response on April 11, Additional District Registrar gave the name of one volunteer and said the information about the other was not available.

 

For the remaining information, he asked Mr. Veeresh to file separate applications for each question as laid down in the amendment.

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sidmis

Reconsider amendment to RTI Rules: Seshadri

As reported in Deccan Herald, Shimoga, UNI: Saturday, May 10, 2008

 

 

Forum for Information Awareness Convener S Sheshadri on Saturday urged the Karnataka government to reconsider the recent amendment to Right to Information Rules 2005,as the same was clear violation of Right to Information (RTI) Act and it was 'anti-people, retrograde, disparage and illegitimate'.

 

 

In a letter to the President and the Prime Minister, copy of which was released to the press here, Mr Sheshadri said that the amendment has restricted the information sought for shall not exceed

150 words on one subject and separate application should be made for different subjects.

Earlier there was no such restriction on quantum of information and fees required to be paid.

 

Alleging that the bureaucracy in Karnataka has pushed through the amendment by way of executive order when there was no popular government in the state, he said that the RTI has been enacted by Central Government which had never thought of bringing an amendment

of the sort to Central RTI (Regulation of Fees and Costs) Rules 2005 which has been copied while enacting the Karnataka RTI Rules 2005 as the amendment would be an affront to the very purpose and intent of the Act and Rules.

 

He said that the amendment was not only illegitimate or incestuous but also devoid of powers since Sec.29 of the RTI Act Prescribes that every rule made under the Act by a the state government shall be laid as soon as may be after it notified before the state legislature. Therefore the Amendment should have been got approved by the Parliament since according to the Article 356(1)(b) of the Indian Constitution the 'powers of the Legislature of the

state shall be exercisable by or under authority of the Parliament'.

 

By the amendment bureaucracy in Karnataka has usurped the powers of the legislature and committed misconduct, he charged.

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karira

As reported in business-standard.com on 23 May 2008:

RTI activists sore over curbs

 

Consumer activists across Karnataka are unhappy over an amendment brought about by the state government curbing the right to seek information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

Following a recommendation by the Karnataka Information Commission, a new rule has been inserted to the Karnataka RTI Rules 2005 limiting information to ‘one subject matter' and the request not to exceed 150 words.

 

Following the new Rule 14, which has come into effect from March 17, a person has to seek information on only one subject matter now and his poser should not exceed 150 words. If he wants information on more than one subject, he should make a separate application by paying fee of Rs 10 again.

 

Around 50 consumer activists working in the area of RTI in Karnataka discussed at a seminar in Bangalore on May 18 the impact of the amendment and strategies to keep RTI strong and campaign against Rule 14. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) of New Delhi and Bangalore's Consumer Rights Education & Awareness Trust (CREAT) had jointly organized the programme.

 

The RTI activists noted with concern that the recommendation to amend the rules has been made by the Karnataka Information Commission itself against its objective of protecting the interests of the information-seekers.

 

The reason given by the Commission was that the Public Information Officers (PIOs) are receiving a very large number of applications seeking voluminous information. The activists took strong exception to the Commission's recommendation to impose restrictions on the admissibility of questions. They criticized the Governor for amending the rule in the absence of an elected government in the State, and without inviting public objections.

 

CREAT's Y G Muralidharan said the new rule placed unlawful limitations on the fundamental right to information and had potential for misuse. He felt that measures to handle voluminous information could have been considered within the scope of the Act itself., under Section 7 (9) of the Act.

 

Bangalore's Kriya Katte Convener M V K Anil Kumar said the amendment came in the way of RTI objective of transparency. Chikmagalur's Save Western Ghat Movement organising secretary G Gorasukudige observed it imposed further burden on the PIOs and the Commission. K N Venktagiri Rao of Consumers' Education and Welfare Trust, Sagar, said limiting words to 150 was unscientific.

 

Explaining the legal situation, Bangalore's Vivekananda Law College Principal K B Kempe Gowda said the new rule curtailed the right to information, but did not take it away. However, the principles of natural justice was ignored.

 

The seminar unanimously demanded withdrawal of the amendment failing which it decided to initiate steps to oppose it.

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ganpat1956

The legality or otherwise of the amended rules needs to be tested through a PIL without any delay. The action of the karnataka SIC in recommending its implementation goes against the principle of natural justice that "No man shall be a judge in his own cause".

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opsharma

NEW DELHI: Even before the Right to Information Act has come into force,

newindpress.com

First RTI appointment runs into trouble

wednesday September 21 2005 00.00 IST

the very first and so far the only appointment made under it has provoked a controversy.

 

Karnataka is the first state to have appointed its chief information commissioner as part of the independent appellate machinery that is required to be in place by October 12 in the states as well as the Centre.

 

But questions are already being raised on the appointment of the commissioner by the Dharam Singh Government: K K Misra was appointed on July 30 immediately after his retirement as chief secretary of Karnataka.

 

A local NGO, Ella Kannada Vedike International (E-KAVI), called upon the state Governor to suspend Misra immediately and initiate the process of his removal from office.

 

Reason: Barely four months ago, the Karnataka High Court passed strictures on Misra in the PIL related to the Rs 2,250 crore Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project.

 

The irony is, in its judgment delivered on May 3, the High Court directed that a complaint of perjury be filed against Misra for ``knowingly withholding important facts and documents from the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka and making false statements in the affidavits filed in this Court.''

 

E-KAVI alleged that a person who ``lies'' to the High Court of Karnataka``cannot be called a person of eminence in public life'' as envisaged by the RTI Act as a qualification for the post.

 

Misra, when contacted in Bangalore, said: ``This is news to me. I didn't know these issues had been raised. I would like to comment only after seeing the representation.''

 

Misra could well say in his defence that, within 10 days of the High Court verdict, the Supreme Court passed a stay on his prosecution. The appeal filed by Misra is still pending before the apex court.

 

The NGO also questioned the wisdom of appointing a recently retired chief secretary as the chief information commissioner of the state.

 

Since the information that is sought could relate to the period when he was himself chief secretary, Misra cannot be, it said, ``considered independent enough to be the final appellate authority'' under the RTI Act. The NGO contended that Misra cannot ``legally or morally'' decide such disputes.

 

 

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nitinku5021a

Hi,

 

Can someone post any further news on this matter? This is insane if its still there.

 

After reading i got few Qs.

 

1) "These rules may be called the Karnataka Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2008." the title says this. What i suppose from this, is, that the law will be applicable only to the karnataka state Org. and not the union govt. org like EPF or LIC or whatever operating in Karnataka.

 

2) Next is, is the RTI Act, 2005 is also applicable to State run org. like BDA etc?

 

 

Thanks

nitin

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sandeepbaheti

Yes, this is still there. You and I may believe it to be unreasonable, but there are people who find this appreciable. Let's have respect for their opinion and not call this "insane".

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karira
Hi,

 

Can someone post any further news on this matter? This is insane if its still there.

 

After reading i got few Qs.

 

1) "These rules may be called the Karnataka Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2008." the title says this. What i suppose from this, is, that the law will be applicable only to the karnataka state Org. and not the union govt. org like EPF or LIC or whatever operating in Karnataka.

 

2) Next is, is the RTI Act, 2005 is also applicable to State run org. like BDA etc?

 

 

Thanks

nitin

 

1. Yes, this ammendment it is still applicable.

2. RTI Act is applicable to any Public Authority - under the Centre, State or the Legislature and Courts. Although the RTI Act is one and the same - each State, Legislature, Court have framed their own rules.

 

The RTI Rules and Fees area available in the Guide segment of the forum:

 

RTI Guide

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nitinku5021a

so this means if i file my 1st appeal for PF statement @ bangalore, i should keep in mind these amendment.:o

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sandeepbaheti

Yes. Before applying in any state, go through the RTI Rules of that state. For members' convenience, all such rules are available n the guide section.

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sidmis

For PF no state specific rules apply. EPFO is a Central PA.

 

Follow JPS's 'How to' blogs. RTI India - jps50

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prabha.hl

I think there is strong conflict between Central act ans State rules, rules being of procedural guidance, Act always remains strong. So if some one puts PIL, this will be quashed easily, since the present amendment is not with in the spirit of the RTI act.

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karira
I think there is strong conflict between Central act ans State rules, rules being of procedural guidance, Act always remains strong.

 

There is already a Punjab Information Commission order on these lines:

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/10115-rules-framed-under-right-information-cannot-inconsistent-parent-act-punjab-state-information-commission.html

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