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New Delhi, November 9: Former Youth Congress leader M S Bitta has written a letter to the Centre seeking information under the RTI Act as to why his security was withdrawn in 1993, two days before a bomb attack on him.
The former Punjab minister, who heads the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, has sought the assessment report of the security review committee from the Home Ministry in his case in September 1993. Nine people were killed and several others injured in the bomb attack at Delhiâ€™s Raisina Road.
â€œI feel there was some conspiracy behind the sudden issuance of the order of security withdrawal by the Ministry of Home Affairs in my case. ... I feel there had been deliberate attempts to expose me to terrorists,â€ he said in his letter to the VIP security director in the Ministry.
In the letter, he has sought whether the Centreâ€™s decision to withdraw security was prompted by some â€œpolitical pressureâ€ as he â€œrecalled he had faced a deadly attackâ€ in May 1992 in Amritsar.
He has also sought information on action taken against agencies involved in security arrangements for former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi before his assassination.
Gunraj Singh of Hoshiarpur in Punjab owns more than hundred acres and spends more than eight hours a day in the fields. It's no wonder that he has tasted success early since he is only 33 years old.
Gunraj is also driven by another passion, which is soil and forest conservation.
He showed NDTV team hundreds of acres of forestland that lie barren near Hoshiarpur.
Under the RTI Act, he has asked the Hoshiarpur district forest office for details of forest conversation measures and money spent on aforestation projects.
The details run into 11,900 pages and Gunraj had to spend Rs 24,000 for it.
"The environment and forest doesn't belong to me alone. It belongs to all of us and belongs to general public," he said.
"At least our child should have a bright future and if I have shelved this amount just for the sake of public, and according to me, it is a big amount. But a small part I have shelved, so that I can expose the on-going corruption and we should have some forest left in Punjab," he added.
Gunraj alleges that the DFO wasn't very keen to part with the information. He went to the RTI Commissioner in Chandigarh where he deposited the money.
The commissioner has asked the Hoshiarpur DFO to get all the documents on November 27.
This is so far the bulkiest information sought under the RTI Act in the region.
"They have asked for all irrelevant information. Even then we have no problems. They never paid us the money. We are ready with the information. They just have to give us the money and take away all the documents," said RR Kakkar, DFO forest, Hoshiarpur.
Ten years ago, Gunraj Singh surrendered his American green card. Ever since he has been working hard in his fields in Hoshiarpur and also fighting a lone battle for the cause of environment and against corruption.
It's been a tough going for him but now he feels Right to Information will definitely help him in his cause.
RTI turns costly for Punjab farmer
The heftiest penalty under the Right to Information (RTI) Act was imposed in Punjab Thursday when a government official was asked to deposit a fine of Rs.50,000 for failing to provide desired information to a citizen.
Manjit Singh, who works with in Punjab Housefed - the state federation of cooperative house building societies - as project officer and public information officer, was asked to deposit the penalty within 10 days.
If the officer fails to deposit the penalty, it would be deducted from his salary, state information commissioner P.K. Verma ordered.
Under the RTI Act, the maximum penalty that can be levied is Rs.25,000. But in this case, the officer was levied two fines of Rs.25,000 each for failing to provide information to a person within the time stipulated in the law.
Malkiat Singh had filed two separate applications seeking some information. Manjit Singh ignored both applications without assigning any reason. The delay was 126 days in one case and 173 days in another.
When the applicant approached the commission, the officer did not bother to appear before it. Following this, the commission imposed two penalties of Rs 25,000 each on the officer. It also recommended disciplinary action against the officer by his department.
Highest fine under RTI Act imposed in Punjab
This is strange. As a layman none of the research topics look like affecting "natiuonal security" !
NEW DELHI, APRIL 8 : The Government doesn’t want to explain why and how it decides to reject a research proposal by a foreign scholar.
Responding to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by The Indian Express — which first exposed how the Government is not only delaying clearances to US research scholars but also forcing some of them to change their subjects — the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry refused to part with any information.
Its response, signed by director Anupama Bhatnagar, cited the following as reasons: that this correspondent is “not an affected person” and that giving this information “would affect national security.”
“...Due to its sensitive nature,” she replied, “disclosure of the information sought by you would prejudicially affect the security of India and its strategic/economic interests and might have adverse implications on our relations with foreign states.”
The Home Ministry was a little more open.
It did list the nine research proposals of US Fulbright scholars that the Government rejected “after due consideration of the sensitivity of the research proposals.”
On the subject of why and how, the Home Ministry, too, declined to give any information other than saying: “(They were declined) after due consideration of the sensitivity of the research proposals.”
These are the “sensitive” proposals:
• Prospects and problems of outsourcing for India’s economic growth
• Is tourism a win-win for local livelihoods and forest eco-systems in the Central highlands of India
• The Imaginary Princess: A Muslim girl’s story
• Language ideologies in Mumbai schools
• India’s energy security
• Women’s struggle for empowerment
• Democratization in Kerala
• Political Empowerment and Biodiversity in Kerala
• Politics of land privatisation and access in Delhi.
The Indian Express had highlighted the problem of granting visas to the Fulbright scholars in February this year, where delays ranged between 5 to 21 months. In some cases, the research proposals were rejected and a fresh topic was granted approval. The Government then decided to put a “red channel” and “green channel” in place but no decision has been taken yet.
Jain case: disclose file, rules CIC
"Correspondence does not merit exemption under RTI Act"
He asked for copies of all file notings, opinions of the apex court collegium Law Ministry refused information on grounds of confidentiality, third party interests
NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Saturday directed the disclosure of the file containing, among other things, the correspondence between the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Law Minister on the controversial appointment of Justice Virender Jain as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah ruled that the correspondence contained in the file did not fall under Sec. 8 of the Right to Information Act, which gives exemption from disclosure to certain categories of sensitive information.
The CIC, however, held that Justice Y.K. Sabharwal's July 27, 2006 letter to Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj contained references to a number of persons who were "third parties" to the matter. It was through this letter that the Chief Justice conveyed the decision of the Supreme Court collegium on the appointment of Mr. Justice Jain to the Law Minister.
Mr. Habibullah directed the Principal Information Officer of the Ministry of Law & Justice to invite the third parties concerned to make written or oral submissions on the question of disclosure of information pertaining to them and ascertain if any them had valid objections against disclosure of information relating to them.
The CIC further directed that in the event a valid ground was established, the appellant "may be supplied" with information excluding "the objectionable portion." He ordered the exercise to be completed within a month from the date of his decision. Appellant Subhash Chander Agrawal originally sought the complete file relating to Mr. Justice Jain's appointment from the President's Secretariat.
He asked for copies of all file notings, the opinions of the members of the Supreme Court collegium as well as the correspondence between the President and the Prime Minister.
The President's Secretariat transferred the petition to the Ministry of Law & Justice, which refused the information on grounds of confidentiality and third party interests. In arriving at his decision, the CIC relied upon a judgment of Justice P.K. Bhagwati who had ruled against granting immunity from disclosure to the correspondence between the Law Minister, the Chief Justice of Delhi and the Chief Justice of India. Said Mr. Justice Bhagwati : "....Today the process of judicial appointments and transfers is shrouded in mystery. The exercise of the power of appointment and transfer remains a sacred ritual whose mystery is confined only to a handful of high priests, namely the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Chief Minister of the State, the Law Minister of the Central Government and the Chief Justice of India ... We do not see any reason why this process of appointment and transfer should be regarded as so sacrosanct that no one should be able to pry into it..."
The Hindu : National : Jain case: disclose file, rules CIC
02/21/2018 03:26 AM