As reported by IANS in sify.com on 21 January 2011:
RTI Awards presented in Delhi
RTI Awards presented in Delhi
New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) From a sports teacher to widow of a slain cop, five people from various walks of life were felicitated here Thursday for effective use of the Right to Information Act.
The winners, including Vinita Kamte, widow of Mumbai Police officer Ashok Kamte who was killed in the Nov 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, were shortlisted from 726 applications received by the jury appointed by non-governmental organisation Public Cause Research Foundation, set up by RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal.
The jury included Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy, former chief justice of India J.S. Verma, former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh and journalist Madhu Trehan.
Manoj Kumar Karwasra, a sports teacher in Hisar district of Haryana, filed several RTI applications to expose how government land had been encroached by the panchayat members themselves.
'I have great feeling now. It will boost my morale,' Karwasra told IANS.
Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, a helpline service for RTI queries which was launched in May 2006 and claims that it has received more than 60,000 calls till now, was one of the winners.
Sadhna Pandya, coordinator of helpline, said the award will increase their responsibility.
'We receive calls from across the country in various languages,' she said.
Athar Shamsi, an advocate from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, was also honoured for fighting for the rights of the beedi workers who were not being paid their full wages by factory owners.
The workers were allegedly paid just Rs.27-34 per thousand beedis made, as against the minimum wage of Rs.60.
The other winners of the Best RTI Citizen award were Ramesh Kumar Verma from Haryana and Rajan Savlo Ghate from Goa. The Best RTI Journalist award went to Saikat Dutta of Outlook for exposing a Rs.2,500 crore-scam in rice exports.
Pradeep Kumar from Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh received the Best Public Information Officer award.
As reported by Gangadhar S Patil in expressbuzz.com on 21 January 2011:
Chennai: Open RTI hearing closed to scribe | | | Indian Express
Chennai: Open RTI hearing closed to scribe
CHENNAI: In a move that disagrees with the essence of the Right to Information Act, Tamil Nadu Chief Information Commissioner K S Sripathi on Wednesday asked a journalist to leave during an open hearing on an RTI appeal.
While refusing to provide any reason for doing so, Sripathi asked this reporter to leave forthwith his chamber, where the appeal proceedings were going on. When asked if there was any confidential matter being discussed, he said: “Nothing secret but you should leave. I don’t want to argue with you.” Repeated pleas from this reporter stating it was an open hearing went in vain.
Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, however, told Express that he usually allows all those interested in observing hearings to do so.
Sripathi was conducting the hearing based on an appeal filed by E Muralidharan in 2010 over the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s failure to furnish information on planning permission given for IIT-Madras’s multi-crore research centre.
This act of the State Information Commissioner drew flak from several quarters. Lawyer-rights activist N L Rajah said the law was very clear as far as hearings were concerned. “All hearings shall be open to any ordinary citizen. They cannot be forbidden from observing the hearing.” He said the Commission was established to ensure transparency in functioning of government rather than clamping on it.
RTI activists pointed out that Tamil Nadu was yet to frame rules governing RTI appeals procedure.