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karira

'Centre must add purpose clause to RTI Act'

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karira

As reported by Prafulla Marpakwar in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 17 February 2011:

'Centre must add purpose clause to RTI Act' - The Times of India

 

'Centre must add purpose clause to RTI Act'

 

MUMBAI: Given the doubts raised by a section of chief ministers, the Centre is planning to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act to curb its misuse.

 

"Our information is that a group of chief ministers has approached the Centre for amending the RTI Act. In several cases, it was used to settle personal scores by rival businessmen, builders and politicians," a senior information commissioner told TOI on Wednesday.

 

The information commissioner said that when the Congress-led Democratic Front government promulgated an ordinance in 2004 to provide for right to information, it was specifically mentioned that a person seeking information will have to state in the application the purpose for which the information is required. When the Centre enacted the RTI Act in 2005, this particular clause on purpose was removed. , as a result, now a person can seek information on any subject, without mentioning the purpose for which he requires the information. "We feel that If the Centre wants to curb misuse, it must include the purpose clause in the act, else, we will not be able to stop misuse of the legislation. It will have to move an amendment bill in the parliament for the purpose," he said.

 

The information commissioner said that in Mumbai, the maximum number of applications are filed by the same group of persons. "We are bound to provide information but we don't know how it will be used," he said.

 

In Pune, the commissioner said, of the 2,500-odd appeals pending before the information commission, 800 are filed by 30 persons, while of the 2,200 applications filed under the RTI Act, 1,400 are by one person. "If we know the purpose for which he requires the information, we can decide his case on merit," he said.

 

If the Centre is serious, the commissioner said, it should ask the states to follow Karnataka government's example. "Karnataka has made it clear that an application will not have more than 250 words and that in one letter the applicant will ask questions only about one issue. This has ensured that only genuine applicants seek information," he said. Secondly, the commissioner said, the act should allow for punitive action against mala fide applicants. "While hearing the appeals, we find that the intention of an applicant is mala fide. Under the existing law, we have no power to impose a fine, in my opinion, the RTI act should be suitably amended for the purpose," he said.

 

Information is provided free of cost to below poverty line (BPL) applicants. In a recent case, a BPL applicant sought information on a project, which comprises 50,000 pages A non-BPL person would have had to pay for these many page. "It seems that someone was using him to get the information free of cost. We don't have the budget to provide free information for BPL applicants. Special provision should be made for the purpose," he said.

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Atul Patankar

Coming from information commissioners and chief ministers, this is a very serious attack on the RTI Act. The commissioners are slowly getting convinced (if they were not convinced before taking the oath) that RTI is a draconian law, and their life mission is to protect the innocent bureaucracy from the thieves and murderers posing as rti applicants.

 

It seems the act will loose its teeth in near future, then no one will use it, and it will be given a silent burial.

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Prashantvikey

I Think this is a Backdoor Method to scuttle the power of RTI Act that empowers the citizens. Many a Scams and wrong doings have been brought in open by the power of RTI Act.

 

Proponents of the so called "Purpose Clause" should consider one little fact that there is nothing called as frivolous or mischievous in any RTI Application, as it is just a request for information. People with guilt are the ones who are worried about the disclosure of the said information and are the only ones who think it as Frivolous or mischievous.

 

Infact the proponents of "Purpose Clause" are the people who are worried that if the information about their wrong doings are brought in open, then they will be exposed.

 

We are facing a peculiar situation where in the CIC's or State Information Commission's have become law into themselves and are openly siding with PIOs or FAAs of their Bureaucratic fraternity. If the "Purpose Clause" is added then they will get power to reject genuine RTI Applications stating that the "Purpose mentioned is not enough or feasible that warrants disclosure of Information".

 

We as Citizens are the real owners of this country, In Democracy like ours, Government is of the People, by the People and for the People. Then why should any conditions be applied to our right to get information about the functioning of this Government.

 

Infact, i think one Purpose suits it all,... "I, as a tax paying Citizen is entitled to all and every Information that relates to the Functioning of the Government".

 

 

Team India of RTI-India, please do anything and everything in your power to block negative changes in RTI Act.

 

QUOTE: "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men" -Abraham Lincoln

Thanks

 

:) PRASHANT UIKEY:)

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dr.s.malhotra

I believe a list of "approved purposes" may be in the offing .

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lissing perme

it is greatest joke on RTI Act2005.

"In Pune, the commissioner said, of the 2,500-odd appeals pending before the information commission, 800 are filed by 30 persons, while of the 2,200 applications filed under the RTI Act, 1,400 are by one person. "If we know the purpose for which he requires the information, we can decide his case on merit," he said. "-can any one told this Commissioner that insist of criticizing this [b]ONE PERSON[/b] ,this [u]ONE PERSON[/u] should be award with all awards given to citizen by govt. of India.Because doing so he is supporting the very intent of RTI Act 2005 ,which purpose is to accountability, transparency in governance.

Let said Chief Ministers name should be come in public domain.

"Secondly, the commissioner said, the act should allow for punitive action against mala fide applicants. "While hearing the appeals, we find that the intention of an applicant is mala fide. "-what this commissioner means by "MALAFIDE APPLICANT" and GENUINE APPLICANTS .What may be the intent of applicant it is not a matter,may be applicant intent is personal scores but doing that he is indirectly helping the society.As by doing so at-least he bring the corruption and corrupt people in public domain.

PLIZ!!! someone convey this message to this COMMISSIONER that insist of this campaign he should campaign for the legislation for protection of RTI APPLICANT, MASSES EDUCATION OF RTI ACT 2005,VOLUNTARY DISCLOSED BY THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY ETC.Insist of this he should he should campaign for the reduction in application fee and additional fee formulated by some state government which made use of RTI Act 2005 unreachable by common people,like in Under Arunachal Pradesh RTI Rules the price of per xerox paper is Rs 10/-,whereas under Central rules it is Rs 2/- only.

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Prashantvikey

Malhotra Sir,

 

Trust me on this, the Government and the Bureaucratic Lobby now knows as to how dangerous the RTI Act is. They also know that scrapping the Act will bring a Tsunami of protests, so this is the most effective and least risky method to disarm the RTI Act.

 

We give in to this one and we can as well forget the RTI Act.

 

PRASHANT UIKEY

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skmishra1970

I think Prashant Ji is right, the main purpose of the act has already been defined in its preamble that "to make promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority" and it is enough clause to file application to demand information.

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dr.s.malhotra

Malafide Applicant :

how ? If the applicant pays fee per application and the PA supplies information as per RTI Act provisions , that is the end of the Application . Where is the question of malafide ? No Application is to be entertained without RTI Fee . So the only point of dispute remains with supply of information within time and as per provisions of the Act . So malafide can only be on the part of PAs .

 

DISCLOSE THE PURPOSE OF RTI APPLICATION

Why ? when the preamble of the Act clearly says "....in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority..." , which purpose they are talking about ? Every applicant should give this very purpose .

 

MOST OF APPLICATIONS AND APPEALS BY FEW CITIZENS

so what ? when they are paying fee per application and appeal where ever applicable , then why restrain and curb their individual rights . The main problem to corrupt minds is due to the fact that they see these citizens (let us call them Ardent RTI Activists) as a threat because these citizens are the fore-fathers of RTI Act movement , it is these very citizens who have made citizens aware of the power of the RTI Act . The powers at the moment want to stop unearthing of more Scams .

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kandaswamyc

you are all right. this will kill the very purpose of the act.the politicians and the bribery industry alone are to be benefitted. those corrupt government officials shall be more happy. we all have to raise our voice against such a move

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prasad.dhirendra

I endors the considered view/opinion given by brother prashantvikey.

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DineshK

Why none of these information commissioner and politician advocate for the section 4 of the RTI Act and make it more rigid so that there is no scope of filing of application. Why cant they provide penalty to the department which fail to implement it.

 

No, they will not support that section because that will be for the benefit of the applicants and not to the Bureaucracy they have come from.

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changethechangers
Why none of these information commissioner and politician advocate for the section 4 of the RTI Act and make it more rigid so that there is no scope of filing of application. Why cant they provide penalty to the department which fail to implement it.

 

Because the Information Commissions have no moral authority to do it. Have they themselves complied with Section 4 requirements? In an RTI application, the CPIO of CIC was asked whether CIC had ensured that it had complied with the requirements of Sec. 4 (1)(b) as on 15.11.2010 the date when it issued a directive to all the public authorities for the purpose? The CPIO replied that it had been complying with the requirements even prior to that date. It seems that he never sees the website of CIC. The link below shows the position of CIC's suo moto disclosures as on 26.11.2010. Please see the first declaration, i.e., particulars of organisation etc. It gives names of four ICs, out of whom two had already retired. Sh. Shailesh Gandhi did not find place in the list of Information Commissioners as on 26.11.2010. Please see second point, i.e., powers and duties of officers. Name of Smt. Anita Gupta, Additional Secretary does not find place. Please see the link "norms for discharge of functions". You will see that the declaration is false. Then see point number 6, i.e., categories of documents held by it - the link even today goes back to the point "norms for discharge of functions" so the categories of documents held by it is not so far displayed.

 

So the Information Commissions actually have no moral authority to recommend penalty provisions for non-compliance of Section 4.

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m_deka

Will these CM and IC will support the Lockpal & Lokyukta Bill drafted by Kiran*Bedi,* Justice*Santosh*Hegde,*Prashant*Bhushan,* J*M*Lyngdoh*and*others. if not then there intention is clear that they want so many aerodrome of corruption.

 

I ask them first to assent the lokyukta bill in there respective State showing the moral courage then speak about misuse of RTI act if any.

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jetley

Even if one were to believe the reported contention of the CM's that the Act is being misused by some, by their own admission (one man filing 1400 of the 2500 odd applications etc.), it is clear that it is misused by very few, rare cases only, if any.

 

In that case, the questions arise -

1. Which law isn't misused by anyone till date?

2. Why have the honourable critics of the RTI Act singled out the RTI Act only for bringing about amendments for alleged misuse? Why are they not advocating changes in all other laws that are actually, more frequently and more severely misused? (This actually exposes their real intention)

3. What damage has done to the public interest by 'misuse' of this Act?

 

The answers are obvious, aren't they?

 

Every forthright citizen should fight tooth and nail to oppose the proposed change. Don't forget, it is our freedom that is at stake!

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kandaswamyc

This is the only tool for the common man to get atleast something from the "something" longing and corrupt officials and the politicians.

we must fight tooth and nail to save this in the present structure, if not improve it

Even if one were to believe the reported contention of the CM's that the Act is being misused by some, by their own admission (one man filing 1400 of the 2500 odd applications etc.), it is clear that it is misused by very few, rare cases only, if any.

 

In that case, the questions arise -

1. Which law isn't misused by anyone till date?

2. Why have the honourable critics of the RTI Act singled out the RTI Act only for bringing about amendments for alleged misuse? Why are they not advocating changes in all other laws that are actually, more frequently and more severely misused? (This actually exposes their real intention)

3. What damage has done to the public interest by 'misuse' of this Act?

 

The answers are obvious, aren't they?

 

Every forthright citizen should fight tooth and nail to oppose the proposed change. Don't forget, it is our freedom that is at stake!

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