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karira

Status of RTI at Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad - Am I Mad ?

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karira

The RPO in Hyderabad has the usual complaints against it - just like the other RPO's all over the country.

No response to communications, no response on telephone, no response to emails and most importantly, the applicants are treated like a bunch of cattle.

Every Newspaper in Hyderabad (English or Telugu) carries at least one letter everyday complaining about the Passport office - but as expected there has been no improvement.

 

To probe deeper into the functioning of the Passport Office, I filed a RTI Application on 03 May 2010. The copy of the RTI Application is attached.

The reply dated 25 May was received by me on 05 June 2010 in a envelope which clearly showed that the reply was actually sent by Speed Post on 04 June 2010. The tracking on Speed post website also showed that the reply had been sent on 04 June 2010. Both the envelope pictures and the speed post online tracking, are also attached to this post.

 

The reply was incorrect, incomplete and totally misleading. The CPIO was obviously beating around the bush and giving evasive information and some information which I had never requested.

 

I filed a First Appeal on 06 June 2010 with the FAA who happens to be the Chief Passport Officer and Joint Secretary in the MEA, New Delhi.

 

Since the PIO had said in his reply that I could inspect the name board of the PIO in the RPO Hyderabad on any working day, I decided that today would be a good day to walk into the RPO and do my inspection. Here is what literally happened:

 

1. At about 1230 Hrs, I tried to walk into the RPO and was rudely shooed away by the Security Guard on Duty. Sought out the Chief of security and tried in vain to convince him about my "inspection". Obviously no one had ever heard about something called RTI Act and inspection.

 

2. Some minor scuffle later a volley of choicest abuses in Hindi were hurled at me - cursing me, my mother, my sister and also my brother-in-law for good measure. When I refused to budge, a lady security guard even told me that I was mad because she sincerely thought that only mad people could walk into the RPO and ask for an on the spot "inspection".

 

3. Held my ground against all the assault and abuses (after all I had gone fully prepared) and finally was allowed to enter the premises and led to the Enquiry Counter. I refused to stand in line saying that I had no "enquiry" to make but was there only for "inspection". A minor conference took place between the security staff and the staff manning the counters - but with no result.

 

4. In all this confusion, I could spot the name board indicating the designated PIO and FAA. So I whipped out my mobile and started taking pictures. This led to a even longer conference between all the staff present who were totally lost as to what to do ?

 

5. Finally one clerk remembered me from one month ago since he had refused to accept my RTI application initially saying that RTI applications can only be accepted from those who have a file number - something the RPO gives for any services they render. It was beyond his understanding that someone who did not have anything pending with the RPO would be incredulous enough to file a application for information.

 

6. He cleared the air and said that I cannot go any further into the office since there were strict instruction from "Burra Saheb". However he convinced the others that I could continue taking pictures of the Name Board.

 

7. Attached are the Pictures of the Name Board and how it is placed in the RPO, Hyderabad.

 

8. Also note that the name of the CPIO and FAA are incorrect as compared to the reply given by the PIO. They are the names of officers who were the first PIO and FAA in RPO Hyderabad. Since then there have been 3 changes, but obviously the board has remained the same.

 

The best part is that the public (read citizens) are not allowed to enter the room where the Name Board is kept behind that computer (also long dead) !

 

Obviously I am going to take this to the logical conclusion.

Name Board Contact numbers and email webiste.doc

PIO RPO reply.pdf

PIO RPO Hyderabad Speed Post Date.pdf

PIO RPO envelope front and back.pdf

09062010.jpg

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karira

More pictures attached.....

09062010(004).jpg

09062010(011).jpg

09062010(010).jpg

09062010(014).jpg

09062010(013).jpg

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Pulivarthi Narasimhulu

Sri Karira Sir, Taking such risk with the people of that office may harm to our health and the people around us also treat us truly mad in the present culture. The same scene is being faced by the activists of RTI in many of the offices. The officers are seeing the activists as thieves who came to their office to take away their property. As an experienced person, you Sir, make 1st appeal/complaint to AA to attend within 48 hours quoting the incidents took place in their office.( I think that there is no such provision in the Act). It is the responsibility of the sub-ordinates to invite for inspection as the PIO requested to inspect their office. Thanks once again for taking such daring step.

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smbhappy

Mr. Karira,

 

Your was a heroic act at the RPO Office. This is the situation every where. You step is great, but it is still a mole in the hill. But only drop-by=drop the pitcher fill to the top. Please keep up such Valiant tasks and encourage others to do the same in their regions. I am going to file a similar application at RPO Chandigarh. I will revert to you soon with the result.

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amin4go

Dear Karira Sir,

 

In your attachment sent by PIO RPO reply it is mentioned CPIO is Shri Srinivas Gotru IFS,

but at the end of reply letter it is signed by A.T.Murthy, Deputy Passport Officer & PIO.

In the same letter both the PIO's mentioned are different for the same Passport Office.

 

Regards,

Amin

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karira
Dear Karira Sir,

 

In your attachment sent by PIO RPO reply it is mentioned CPIO is Shri Srinivas Gotru IFS,

but at the end of reply letter it is signed by A.T.Murthy, Deputy Passport Officer & PIO.

In the same letter both the PIO's mentioned are different for the same Passport Office.

 

Regards,

Amin

 

That also was a additional ground for First Appeal.

Who is the PIO in RPO Hyderabad ?

 

As per the Board - Mr Bala Bhaskar

As per information provided to me - Mr Srinivas Gotru

As per signature on the letter - Mr A T Murthy

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Ketan Modi

Respected Karira Sir,

 

I suggest while filing a FA before the FAA, why don't you contemplate filing a case before consumer form and seek compensation for the mental/physical harassment you had to undergo and for furnishing false and misleading information/s deliberatly and with malafide intentions. You can further send all the papers to the Minister External Affairs Office and also the Foreign Secretary's office in MEA and seek reasons from her for subordinate staff's disregard for the law of the land and misbehaviour with public. Ask for her reasons for posting insensitive persons in sensitive post/s whereby they are required to deal with common man directly. Ask for reasons if the incident did not merit administrative action against erring staff and even the security personnel whether they are appointed by MEA/Local Police/Some Private Security Company and in case of the last option ask them to furnish the contract between RPO and that company. Once the RTI application reaches the top it would be referred to the same office and next time they will behave. If some luck is on your side appropriate administravite action too would be taken. I salute you and your efforts from the core of my heart. Lets give them where it hurts the most. Happy information seeking.

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karira

Received the FAA's orders...

Orders passed without giving me an opportunity to be heard.

Orders are attached.

FAA agrees completely with PIO and says all the information available has been provided.

 

Now filing second appeal.

FAA Order RPO Hyderabad.pdf

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prasad.dhirendra

Pl. accept hearty congratulation for the task you have choosen for genrel mass.

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javaji321

Did you get a chance to take the case to the logical conclusion. What were ur experiences ?

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karira
Did you get a chance to take the case to the logical conclusion. What were ur experiences ?

 

The hearing of the second appeal is scheduled for 20th July at 1430 Hrs. Should be a very long and hard one.

 

In the meantime, on receiving the "Notice of Hearing" from the CIC, the RPO sent me another letter - nearly a year after my RTI application - asking me to come and inspect ! Sent them the strongest of replies to bring some sense into their heads.

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javaji321

Great to hear the pressure that your putting on them and trying to take it to the logical conclusion.

Hat's of to u and ur persistence....

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alphaalpha

Great job Kariraji, great job! One needs to go out of the zone of comfort to get anything done. Government servants forget that they are truly the servants of the people and behave as though they are navabs and the office is their little fiefdom. It is easy to get intimidated in such circumstances and stories such as yours give us an idea of how things are in government offices and how someone handled the situation.

 

Please keep us informed as to what happened at your second appeal hearing.

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karira

Letter sent to the CPIO in response to his invitation to conduct inspection after 1 year ! The CPIO is also the RPO, Secunderabad and an IFS Officer.

 

 

 

 

To:

Mr Srnivas Gotru, IFS

Regional Passport office

Ministry of External Affairs

Secunderabad – 500003

 

 

Date: 27 June 2011

 

Dear Sir,

 

Ref: 1. My RTI Application dated 03 May 2010

2. Reply from your office dated 28 May 2010

3. My First Appeal dated 06 June 2010

4. My visit to your office for “inspection” on 10 June 2010

5. My “Addendum to First Appeal” dated 13 June 2010

6. First Appellate Authority order dated 30 June 2010

7. My Second Appeal dated 10 July 2010

8. CIC Notice of hearing dated 08 June 2011

9. Your letter dated 21 June 2011

 

I am indeed surprised to receive your letter dated 21 June 2011 in connection to the above listed references.

 

It seems that neither you, nor the staff and officers of your public authority, are even aware of the basic provisions of the RTI Act !

 

The RTI application was filed on 03 May 2010 and you are asking me to come for inspection vide your letter dated 21 June 2011 – a full year after the mandated time limit was over !

 

Moreover, a Second Appeal, under Sec 19(3) of the RTI Act 2005 was already filed with the CIC on 10 July 2010 and a copy was served on both yourself and the First Appellate Authority by email. It is an established principle of Law that, once a matter had been raised to a higher quasi judicial body or a tribunal, no lower authority can pass comments or raise issues. Therefore the letter sent by you, inviting me for “inspection” is clearly infructuous. It is therefore very clear, that you have only woken up after receiving the notice of hearing from the CIC.

 

It is also quite evident that you have not even bothered to read the contents of my first appeal and the second appeal referred to above. If you would have done so, you would have realized that I did visit your office on 10 June 2010 for inspection but was humiliated, abused and my mother, my sister, my last two generations and my next two generations were given the choicest of abuses (galliis) in Hindi and Telugu.

 

Do you sincerely think that any RTI applicant is a fool to ever visit your office once again for inspection and subject himself to such a treatment one more time ?

 

For your information, the hearing for the Second Appeal was scheduled for 06 July 2011 at 1545 Hrs. During a recent visit to the CIC, I was verbally informed that the hearing has now been rescheduled for 20 July 2011 at 1430 Hrs and is to be conducted by Video Conferencing at the NIC centre located at A-Block, GO Complex, BRK Bhawan, Tank Bund Road, Hyderabad.

 

The CIC has directed you and the First Appellate Authority to appear for the hearing, in person.

 

You can therefore state whatever you have to say, during the above mentioned hearing, in front of the CIC.

 

It is sad and distressing that a senior officer like you has a scant regard and does not observe the RTI Act 2005, in both letter and spirit.

 

The RTI Act 2005 was passed by Parliament, the supreme legislative body in a democratic country like ours. It is the duty of each and every citizen, including a senior public servant like you, to obey and respect the law of the land.

 

 

Thanking You,

 

 

(C J Karira)

 

CC:

1. Mr G. Subramanian

Deputy Registrar

Central Information Commission

Request to kindly add this letter to the File Nr. CIC/AD/A/2011/901362

 

 

 

2. The Appellate Authority

Joint Secretary (CPV) and CPO

Ministry of External Affairs

For information and further action, if necessary

 

 

3. Smt. Nirupama Rao

Foreign Secretary

Ministry of External Affairs

For information and further action, if necessary

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karira

The hearing was held yeaterday.

The CPIO (the RPO Hyderabad) escaped the hearing because he had handed over his job due to transfer day before yesterday.

The new CPIO (that is the new RPO Secunderabad) was supposed to take over only today.

The public authority sent some junior officers for the hearing - who got it left, right and centre from me.

At first the IC was taking the whole issue very lightly. It was clear that she had not even read my second appeal properly - because at one time she mentioned that my second appeal was only 2 pages ! I had to then sternly remind her that it was in fact, 37 pages. Then I just launched into her and the public authority for the next 15 minutes. Finally she wanted to know from the PA as to where is the previous CPIO and when will the new CPIO join. She said she will pass the order soon.

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piklu1982

Karira garu, you are lucky that you are in Andhra, hence not manhandled, in some other states, the security at the gate would have shoved you off the premises... The government machinery with its share of grime, screeches more than working...

 

But I find something funny in these...

 

1. Government urges us to vote.

2. Government accepts PASSPORT as proof of our citizenship.

3. Government doesn't actually helps us in our quest to attain passport.

 

Can we conclude from the above 3 points that -

 

Our Government is eager not to let us be the official citizens of India and thereby prevent us from us taking part in the formation of the government...!!!

 

Just joking though... :)

 

Hearty Congratulation to you...

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karira

Attached is the order of the CIC in this matter.

 

CIC has ordered:

 

1. Supply of information

2. Show Cause notice to PIO for Penalty

3. I have to give break up of Rs 50,000 compensation sought

4. Enquiry by the FAA for the staff hurling abuses at me

5. Compliance of Sec 4(1)(b) by all passport offices

6. Training on RTI for all officers and staff in all passport offices in India

7. Advise to FAA to be more careful in disposal of first appeal

CIC order Passport office Hyderabad.pdf

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Ketan Modi

Karira Sir,

A fantastic order. Accept heartfelt congratulations from the entire RTI community. The CIC order is one of the most speaking order I have come across. Only a person like you could have done this for the benefit of the entire community, nay entire citizenry. Great work. Happy information seeking.

Ketan Modi

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Sunil Ahya

Dear Karira Sir,

 

My Heartiest Congratulations.

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Sunil Ahya

Sorry, Double Posting

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jps50

Just superb, Kariraji. this decision will be useful to all appellants. Well done

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smbhappy

Karira has great pleading power. Its a Yo-man feat. Please apprise the members as to how you will justify your demand of compensation of Rs. 50000.00!! We are keen!

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Atul Patankar

Great effort, Karira Sir. That people like you , who go thru all this effort when they have no personal interest whatsoever, are still there in our country is really hard to believe. But it is by such selfless efforts that the 'common' 'decent' people can win the war against rule of Jungle.

 

Hearty congratulations, sir.

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