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  1. Days after receiving flak for restrictive use of the penalty clause, the Central Information Commission on Thursday levied maximum penalty under RTI Act against registrar of Benaras Hindu University. The commission found the Principal Information Officer (in this case the registrar) guilty of denying information to the applicant Dhananjay Tripathi, who sought the inquiry report into the death of his friend Yogesh Roy. A penalty of Rs 25,000 has been imposed. For the first time, the CIC invoked the penalty clause against the official who was not the original PIO. A junior level official was earlier the PIO but during the hearing of the case the university informed that the registrar is assisting the PIO in the case. Therefore, under the RTI Act, he became liable for punishment as an official senior of the original PIO. By imposing the maximum penalty allowed under RTI Act, the commission now wants to send the message loud and clear that quoting provisions of Section 8 of the RTI Act to deny the information requested without giving any justification as to how these provisions are applicable is “simply unacceptable and clearly amounts to malafide denial of legitimate information”. The CIC had earlier warned BHU in this regard. When even after a full bench hearing in presence of BHU Vice Chancellor Punjab Singh, the information was denied to Tripathi, the penalty clause was invoked. On Thursday, the Information Commissioner OP Kejriwal also asked the university to provide the copy of the inquiry report to Tripathi within a week. Roy had allegedly died due to medical negligence and the report is believed to have found merit in this view. However, the university debunked the report that it was not according to the terms of reference. That was done after Tripathi sought a copy of the report under RTI Act earlier this year. The CIC is also expected to issue an order into the inquiry conducted on the allegation of the application that he was discriminated by BHU for filing the application. Tripathi had alleged that he was denied promotion to the next class on malafide grounds. CIC sources said that the inquiry officer has finalized its report and an order can be expected on that by end of this week. RTI: CIC levies max penalty against BHU registrar : HindustanTimes.com
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    • सड़क निर्माण में भ्रष्टाचार ना हो और पारदर्शिता के लिए आप चाहे तो निर्माण स्थल से #RTI के तहत निर्माण कार्य का सैंपल लेकर लैब में टेस्टिंग के लिए दे सकते है। http://rtiindia.org

       

      : https://righttoinformation.wiki/guide/applicant/application/sample/road-work
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    • Instances that involve disclosure of sensitive information, it may be rationale for the CPIO to ask for citizenship proof
      Information Commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha held that seeking citizenship proof in case of demand of sensitive information is justified but seeking a signed copy of the application does not seem appropriate as the online portal does not mandate uploading of signatures.
       
      Sinha was hearing the plea of an Odisha-based RTI applicant who had sought from the Army information regarding implementation of rules under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in all defence establishments.
      The Army did not provide any information to the applicant, the CIC noted. Akhand approached the Commission with a complaint that the central public information officer (CPIO) of the Army has demanded a signed copy of his online RTI application as well as identity proof before providing him the records.
      “In this regard, it may be noted that as far as CPIO’s request for citizenship proof is concerned, the same is not questioned as Commission in its prior decision(s) has held the view that Armed Forces stand on a slightly different footing as there may be instances that involve disclosure of sensitive information, and for such reasons it may be rationale for the CPIO to ask for citizenship proof,” Sinha noted.
      Originally posted here!
       
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    • Some of you -- at least CJ Karira, who helped me years ago in one crucial step, getting SEBI to acknowledge its own circular! -- know of a 15-year quest among desi academics to get SEBI to release its stale masked FII data for academic research. At one point years ago a parliamentary query by Shyam Benegal, then Rajya Sabha MP, sought the release of this data for academic research. He then made a subsequent RTI query asking what had done about his complaint about the terrible answer he got to his parliamentary question. We thought we had succeeded when in response to that SEBI did put in public domain that FII data and promised to update. And to  their credit, they did update it from time to time, even if a bit fitfully. But thanks to a question by a curious IIT-Madras undergrad, we realized that what SEBI gave with one hand they took away with another. While the idea was that the FII IDs would be masked to preserve privacy, without telling anyone, SEBI changed the masks each month, drastically reducing the value for academic research (since you can't even tell how many distinct FIIs are there in the data base, and whether anyone traded over time). It also caused mistakes in academic research since no one imagined that SEBI would use changing masks, when no other regulator or exchange on the planet does so.

      To get SEBI to finally agree to not hide by changing masks, but to keep a stable mask, has taken many years. But at least per the ruling received yesterday, it has been achieved, with no violence to anyone. I attach the ruling. I can also post the various submissions made at the Second Appeal hearing if there is any interest (need to scrub email-IDs, per the policy of this site).

      Addendum_To_CIC_2nd_appeal_28th_February_2020.pdfThis RTI site, in particular Karira-ji, has been very helpful to me in the course of this long episode thru countless RTI queries. And I am grateful for that from the bottom of my heart. I am confident we will see quite a few PhD dissertations using this database within the next few years.

      Addendum_To_CIC_2nd_appeal_28th_February_2020.pdf
      Second_Addendum_w_Appendices_29th_Feb_2020.pdf
      CIC-SEBIH-A-2017-139953-BJ.pdf
      Third_Addendum to Additional Submission for RTI Second Appeal_2nd_March_2020.pdf
      To_CIC_2nd_appeal_27th_February_2020_Redacted.pdf
      Draft_Talking_Points_for_the_Hearing.pdf
      From_SEBI_Written Submiissions - Murugappa Krishnan 139953.pdf
      thanking_CIC_post_decision_Redacted.pdf
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    • There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.
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    • LUCKNOW: The Central government has provided categorized security cover to 308 persons, out of which 24 have been provided the highest Z-plus cover, according to the answer to an RTI query.


      As per information provided by S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry to city-based activist Nutan Thakur, two dozen persons have been given Z-plus security, 59 persons have been given Z security, 109 have been given Y-plus, 34 have been given Y and 82 persons have been given X category security.

       
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