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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/22/2006 in Entries

  1. 5 points
    The High Court has struck down CIC order that file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note. High Court ruled that "Any noting made in the official records of the Government/public authority is information belonging to the concerned Government/public authority. The question whether the information relates to a third party is to be determined by the nature of the information and not its source." The reasoning, that the notings or information generated by an employee during the course of his employment is his information and thus has to be treated as relating to a third party, was considered flawed. Court further stated that "Section 8 of the Act provides for exemption from disclosure of certain information and none of the provisions of Section 8 provides for a blanket exemption that entitles the respondent to withhold all notings on a file." CIC has earlier made the decision on the basis that when the file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note. The file noting for a confidential and secret part would attract the provisions of Section 8(1)(e) as well as Section 11(1) of the RTI Act. The contention of the CIC was struck down and the court directed CIC to take the decision within 3 months. Earlier, however, Central Information Commission (CIC) in their Decision No. ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006 dt.31.01.2006, has held that “file notings are not, as a matter of law, exempt from disclosure”. Usefulness of the High Court Order The above decision is highly relevant for users who are filing RTI to know the Status of their earlier RTI. RTI Applicant can now use following questions in their RTI application Complete details of file notings made on the above said file number as on date. Separately the daily progress made in case of above said file till date i.e. when did it reach which officer/functionary, how long did it stay with that officer/functionary and what did that officer/functionary, do during that period on the said letter together with file noting and name and designation of each officer/functionary List of the officers with their designation to whom before the said file is placed. Also, provide me with the noting made by them on the said file.
  2. 4 points
    Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and Lok Sabha MP from Varanasi, has not spent a single rupee from his MPLADS funds in all the four villages adopted under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). The fact came in a response to an application filed under Right to Information (RTI), the response to which was sent on June 30, 2018. The response addressed to applicant Anuj Verma from Kannauj district of Uttar Pradesh, stated that no development works conducted in the four villages adopted by Narendra Modi have been budgeted from the funds allocated under Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana website is here. He first adopted Jayapur on November 7, 2014, then Nagepur on February 16, 2016, Kakarahiya on October 23, 2017, and lastly Domri on April 6, 2018. All of the works in four villages have been done by the private authorities, government banks, state-level institutions, and some central government bodies, locals informed TwoCircles.net. For instance, a Gujarat-based firm has constructed all the bio-toilets in Jayapur, and Vedanta group has constructed one Anganbadi Centre in Nagepur village. The solar street lights have been installed by various public banks. The MPLADS fund, worth Rs 5 Crore per year, can be utilised anywhere in the constituency of an elected MP. But the opposition voices in Varanasi are accusing Modi of not setting an example before other MPs by not spending his own fund for development.
  3. 3 points
    According to information obtained under RTI by Desai, the central government has spent Rs 632.18 crore on print media, Rs 475.11 crore on electronic media and Rs 208.54 crore on outdoor media. The information on how much money spent on the advertisement on foreign media is not available with the Bureau of Outreach and Communication. "It is shocking to see that central government spent almost Rs 1315.83 crore. Which means the government spends Rs 3.65 crore per day. That's a huge amount but they have given just Rs 600 crore to Kerala state which is in distress due to floods," said Desai.
  4. 3 points
    ‘No expenditure has been incurred on (the) filming of the video posted by Shri Narendra Modi. The video was filmed at the Prime Minister’s Residence. The videography was done by the PMO cameraman. Nothing has been procured for the video,’ the PMO said. The 'Fitness Challenge' was started by Rathore on Twitter as part of the 'Hum Fit Toh India Fit' campaign on May 22.While taking up star cricketer Virat Kohli's 'Fitness Challenge', the Prime Minister on June 13 shared a video of him performing yoga on Twitter. Later, some reports said that Rs 35 lakh were spent on making the video.
  5. 3 points
    It was touted as a sign of changing social mores. In May this year, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), under the Maneka Gandhi-led Ministry of Women and Child Development, claimed that since 2012, nearly 60 per cent of those adopted across the country were girl children. CARA CEO, Lt. Col. Deepak Kumar, even went on record to say that this had nothing to do with more girls being given away for adoption. He instead asserted that Indian couples were “preferring” girls. According to the response, there were 4,170 children available for adoption in 2017-18 — 2,547 girls and 1,623 boys. Of these, 3,846 children were adopted, while 324 were not. Even if these 324 children were all girls, it would still mean that more girls were adopted. “If 10,000 people want to adopt boys, there are 15,000 who want to adopt girls,” he said. “The registration is a more accurate indication of people’s preferences than the availability of children,” he added.
  6. 3 points
    Strongly advocating the need for political parties to willingly come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005, Sridhar Acharyulu, Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission said parties in power must be answerable to the people. “On the use of the RTI Act in our country, a lot to be done as the Act can be used much more effectively by the people,” he said. Mr. Acharyulu was addressing a workshop organised by RTI warriors from the All India Professionals Congress (AIPC) and Belson and Belson Advocates. Highlighting the features of the RTI Act 2005, he said it was the Congress government that introduced the Act, but it was the Bharatiya Janata Party that had used it effectively. “Information procured through the RTI Act exposed scandals across various levels in the functioning of the State before the elections,” he said. He initially spoke about the lack of knowledge among people about knowing and being aware of their rights. “We also need to examine the access to critical information available and the mechanisms in place to disseminate it to the people,” he noted. The workshop was attended by law students, IAS aspirants, members of the general public and activists. Swapna Sundar, a member of the AIPC, said that while the RTI Act was a good tool, it was necessary to help people learn the nuances and pertinence of the requests for documents “With awareness of the Act being the key, workshops like these need to go more out into rural spaces as well. The mechanism in place as a part of the RTI Act too needs to be made easier for people — both to file petitions and receive information,” he said.
  7. 2 points
    If a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, then payment has to be sought under the RTI Rules. The question before the Supreme Court was which Guidelines/Rules will govern the prescription of fee for copies of answer sheets and their inspection. The Court held that while the ICSI is governed by the Companies Secretaries Act, 1980 and the Examination Committee formed under the statute prescribes a certain fee, the RTI Rules also lay down a fee structure for procurement of answer sheets. The Court held, “In our opinion, the existence of these two avenues is not mutually exclusive and it is up to the candidate to choose either of the routes. Thus, if a candidate seeks information under the provisions of the Right to Information, then payment has to be sought under the Rules therein, however, if the information is sought under the Guidelines of the appellant, then the appellant is at liberty to charge the candidates as per its guidelines.” The decision was rendered by a Bench of Justices NV Ramana and S Abdul Nazeer, which made it clear that if there are other avenues to procure answer sheets, the applicant can choose which one to route her request through. The RTI Rules entitle a student to seek inspection and certified copies of their answer scripts. When this right is exercised, Rule 4 will govern the levy of the required charges. This Rule stipulates a fee of Rs. 2 for each page of the answer script. For inspection, no fee is prescribed for the first hour. For every subsequent hour of inspection, the fee is Rs. 5 per hour. The order came in an appeal filed by the Institute of Companies Secretaries of India (ICSI) against a decision of a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. The respondent, Advocate Paras Jain, had sought from ICSI certified copies of answer sheets and their inspection under RTI. He was charged a fee for the same as per Guideline No. 3 notified by the Statutory Council of the ICSI. As per the ICSI Guidelines, the fee for the supply of certified copies was Rs. 500 per answer sheet, and the charge for inspection was Rs. 450 per answer book. Download the decision here.15222_2014_Order_11-Apr-2019.pdf
  8. 2 points
    Replying to an RTI query, ministry’s central public information officer (CPIO) Anand Prakash, also the deputy secretary, informed that he had directed the department of school education to take necessary action on the issues related to MHRD urgently, as directed by Madras HC. He also sent a copy of his reply to Dr Indrajit Khandekar, professor and in-charge of Clinical Forensic Medicine Unit (CFMU) at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sevagram. In the order, justice N Kirubalan had directed the central government to take a decision to introduce free and compulsory comprehensive sexuality education at the high school level. It should be done to enable students to understand gender identity, sexuality, age-related physical changes and problems, and to protect themselves from sexual advances and abuses. “India has its commitment under United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Agenda 1994, affirming the sexual and reproductive rights (SRRs) of adolescents and young people as per Article 253 of the Constitution of India,” the judge had said.
  9. 2 points
    In response to a number of grievances/Right to Information applications received in the ministry where citizens have complained that the documents available in DigiLocker or the mParivahan app are not considered valid by the traffic police or the motor vehicles department,” the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Thursday issuedan advisory to all states to accept driving licence, vehicle registration certificate and other documents in electronic form, if presented through the Centre’s DigiLocker or mParivahan online platforms. These documents are to be considered the same as certificates issued by transport authorities. The advisory said that DigiLocker and mParivahan have the ability to pull a citizen’s documents into electronic form. The ministry added that the state authorities do not need to physically seize documents when they have to be impounded. The agencies can simply have the impounding reflected in the electronic database.
  10. 2 points
    Divya, who was lauded by the Commission for making “constructive use of RTI for larger public interest” and for scripting “one of the success stories of the RTI”, had submitted before the Commission that the villagers were facing a serious problem because of the difference in spelling used for the name of the village by the post office and the revenue authorities. The CIC reprimanded the Department of Posts for insisting without any logic that the name was actually “Harha” and for demanding that the villagers get it changed in all their other documents accordingly. In his order, Acharyulu held that the Hadha post office was “duty-bound” to write the correct spelling of every town or village, because a name is the only way of identification and it should therefore be in sync the with revenue and other records. Subsequently, R.K. Mishra of National Informatics Centre, Unnao submitted to the Commission that as per the directions of the CIC, the Postmaster General, Kanpur on July 6 ordered the change in spelling of Harha to the correct “Hadha” in accordance with all the revenue and other official records. He also submitted that a new nameboard has been fixed with the correct spelling in the post office.
  11. 2 points
    Nearly 600 of Delhi's government schools are running headless and some of them for the past six years, according to an RTI reply. According to the information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, there are 918 posts of principals in 1,024 Delhi government schools. Some 106 schools don't have such posts. Out of 918 posts of principals, 595 are lying vacant, the reply revealed. It said 768 vice principals are holding the charge of the head of the school "due to principals not physically working or some schools have(ing) no post of principal". "As on July 12, 595 posts of principals are vacant out of 918," it said. And of 323 principals, 71 have been re-employed after their superannuation. In most of the schools, the post is vacant for more than a year and some have not had principals for the past several years. But the recruitment of principals in Delhi government schools is done by the Union Public Service Commission. Asked about the huge number of vacant principal posts, AAP leader Atishi Marlena said the recruitment is a matter of Services that is being currently looked after by the Lieutenant Governor -- the central government's representative on administrative affairs of the national capital.
  12. 2 points
    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.
  13. 2 points
    The Goa Raj Bhavan on Wednesday informed the Goa State Information Commission (GSIC) that the Goa Governor does not come under the purview of the Right to Information Act as the Governor is not a "Public Authority". In a 15-page affidavit submitted to the Commission, Rupesh Thakur, Secretary to the Governor, said the Governor enjoys immunity under Article 361 of the Indian Constitution and therefore is not answerable to any Court or the Commission. While denying that all other Raj Bhavans have appointed Public Information Officers, Thakur said that merely because some other Raj Bhavans have appointed a Public Information Officer does not mean that the Goa Raj Bhavan is bound or compelled by law to also appoint a Public Information Officer. The Secretary to the Governor has further stated that the Governor not being a Public authority cannot be compelled or directed by the State Information Commission to appoint a Public Information Officer. “The Governor is the appointing authority of the State Information Commissioners and is also vested with the power to recommend their removal,” the affidavit also stated. The affidavit was filed after a city-based lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues in a complaint to the Commission had said that since the Goa Raj Bhavan was a public authority, the institution’s failure to appoint a Public Information Officer was “illegal, mala fide and without reasonable cause”. In the complaint filed by advocate Aires Rodrigues under section 18 (1) (a) of the RTI Act has drawn the attention of the GSIC that the Goa Raj Bhavan despite being a "Public authority in terms of section 2 (h) of the RTI Act has not appointed a Public Information Officer (PIO) for members of the public to be able to seek information and that the Goa Raj Bhavan has also not made the mandatory disclosures required under section 4 (1) of the RTI Act. After hearing a complaint filed by advocate Aires Rodrigues the then State Chief Information Commissioner Motilal Keny on March 31, 2011 ruled that the Goa Governor was a "Public Authority" and did come within the ambit of the Right to Information Act. Later dismissing the appeal filed by the Goa Raj Bhavan against the order of the GSIC, the Bombay High Court at Goa in a landmark judgment pronounced on November 14, 2011, also ruled that the Governor of Goa was a Public Authority and was bound to furnish information sought under the RTI Act. The Goa Raj Bhavan later challenged the Bombay High Court judgement in the Supreme Court. A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy on January 30, 2018 dismissed the Special Leave Petition filed by the Goa Raj Bhavan. The next hearing in the case has been set for July 26.
  14. 2 points
    The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has spent an estimated Rs 150 crore for removal of dead and dangerous trees in the 24 wards for three years, according to a document procured under the Right to Information (RTI). The tender document, which invites contractors for undertaking the work from both municipal as well as private premises, estimates the cost of removing these trees to be over Rs 150 crore between April 2016 and April 2018. “Rs 150 crore for three years means Rs 4 crore for a month. While the tender also includes private premises, they always charge private entities. Also, the tender mentions that the contractors are responsible for disposing of the waste after cutting. This means they get to sell the wood after cutting. All this means extra income for the contractor,” said Zoru Bhathena, who had sought the details under RTI. However, the Gardens Department, which invited the tender, denies it. Jitendra Pardeshi, Superintendent of Gardens, MCGM, said, “It is not true that we pay this huge sum for removal of dead and decayed trees alone. It is also for the landscaping of gardens and development of gardens below flyovers.” The tender document mentions the contractor’s responsibility to include the removal of dead and dangerous trees, pruning of branches, and removal of fallen trees.
  15. 2 points
    They may be emerging as future police bosses in their respective states, but an overwhelming majority of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of the 2016 regular recruit (RR) batch failed to pass the necessary exams they took before graduating from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Hyderabad. Of the 122 IPS officers, 119 failed in one or more subjects. The batch has a total of 136 officers, including 14 from foreign police forces. Despite failing in the exam, the officers graduated and are now probationers in their respective cadres. But they will have to pass in each subject and will be allowed three attempts to clear the exams. If an officer fails to clear the exams, he/she cannot remain in the service. While IAS officers are trained at the Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, IPS officers get their training at SVPNPA. In the 2016 batch, two IPS officers have failed to graduate from the academy. Of the total 136 officers, 133 failed in one or more subjects, including Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The IPS probationers who failed included those who had received medals and trophies at the passing out parade in October which was attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh. All the foreign police officers failed the exams. An IPS probationer told TOI that the officers are now re-appearing in exams in which they failed during the phase 2 training. "This is an abnormal result which has not happened in the academy's history. Failing in exams is not new. But mass failure is a big thing," he said, adding that 90% of the probationers had failed in basic courses like law and order and internal security. The probationer said that marks obtained during training are counted towards seniority and failure in subjects implies a loss of seniority. TOI is in possession of the controller of examination's list of the 2016 RR batch IPS officers and the subjects in which they failed. Emails sent to the SVPNPA director and administrator remained unanswered.
  16. 2 points
    A total of 76 IAS officers have secured cadre transfer since January 2014, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) has said in response to a Right to Information(RTI) sought by Lucknow based activist Dr Nutan Thakur. Of these, 24 officers got Cadre changed from the North Eastern states, while nine from Assam-Meghalaya cadre, 4-- Manipur and Tripura and seven--Nagaland Cadre. During these four years, three IAS officers got Cadre changed from Sikkim and six from Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly, not a single IAS officer got his cadre changed to any of these cadres known as being tough and unattractive. In contrast, a maximum of 12 IAS officers each got their cadre transferred to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, while 8 IAS officers had Cadre changed to AGMUT Cadre, which includes Delhi and 7 IAS officers had their Cadre changed to Haryana.
  17. 2 points
    Neemuch-based RTI activist Chandrashekar Gaur has a problem of plenty. He has received 1,170 letters so far to a single RTI query he had filed in February. This is not the end as letters keep pouring from all across India. On February 25, Gaur filed an online RTI query with Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) seeking ‘consolidated’ information on total tax arrears in the country. “This is an online request, so I request you to reply on my email address and online only, and support digital communication,” he wrote in his query. But instead of providing consolidated information, CBDT transferred the petition to all regional offices which then forwarded it to their ward-level offices that are now replying individually to Gaur. To have an idea of how long this may go on, some cities may have more than 100 ward-level offices. Till Saturday, I had received 1,148 replies and 22 letters came in today (Monday), so I have 1,170 replies so far,” Gaur said. After a pause, he added: “But still not the answer I sought.” Gaur said the I-T department must have spent over Rs 50,000 on sending letters to him. “This is waste of public money. When I filed the query online and sought replies, there was no need for so many letters. Moreover, I had sought consolidated information and not ward or circle-level data,” he added. Gaur said replies have come from across the country.
  18. 2 points
    Data provided in the RTI reply revealed that there was hardly any aspect of the core functions of the ACB that did not register a stark reduction till March 31 this year. When compared with its current average arrest rate, the ACB was catching more alleged corrupt public servants a decade ago than it is now. Of the 837 complaints registered for enquiry by it between January 1, 2015 and March 31, 2018, the ACB registered PEs in 6.81% or 57 complaints. Cases were registered in only 7.05% or 59 cases and the unit arrested only 49 government servants, according to the RTI reply. Data available on the ACB’s website showed that the anti-graft unit, as per a three-year average between 2006 and 2008, had an arrest rate of 100 persons per year. From January 1, 2015, to March 31 this year, the figure reduced to around 12. The ACB did not make a single arrest either in 2017 nor till March 31 this year. From mid-2014 to 2015, however, back-to-back directives by the MHA curtailed its ambit and power to investigate graft complaints against officials employed by the Central government. “The dip in manpower, complaints and PEs, cases and arrests is because the ACB is no longer investigating Union government employees and is a logical result given its new brief. A reduction in the number of departments it can have under its scanner will obviously lead to fewer complaints and the action taken on these,” the ACB official added.
  19. 2 points
    Information sought with regard to marks in Civil Services Exam cannot be directed to be furnished mechanically. Furnishing raw marks will cause problems as pleaded by the UPSC which will not be in public interest. The Supreme Court has held that raw and scaled marks awarded to candidates in Civil Services (Prelims) examination cannot be revealed under the Right to Information Act and set aside the Delhi high court order asking UPSC to disclose the marks. The Commission contended that the corrections made in the answer book would likely arouse doubt and perhaps even suspicion in the candidate’s mind and this would not only breed grievances, but would likely lead to litigation.
  20. 1 point
    Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava relied on several noted judgments of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to reject the contentions of the ministry. Mother of Pradeep Yeshwanth Kokde, who is on death row in Yerwada jail in Pune, had approached the Union Home Ministry seeking copies of file notings made in relation to the mercy petition filed by him under the Right to Information. The Central Information Commission has allowed disclosure of file notings on the mercy petition of a rape and murder convict, rejecting the government's contention that the records cannot be disclosed as these are privileged documents under Article 74(2) of the Constitution. The Home Ministry denied the information citing Article 74(2) of the Constitution which protects from disclosure the advice tendered by the Council of Ministers to the President as it is privileged communication. The applicant argued before the Commission, highest adjudicating body onI matters, that the Article protects only the advice tendered by the Council of Ministers and that the information sought by her does not pertain to the ministerial advice. The ministry said that the recommendations along with all documents which lead to the formation of ministerial advice to the President of India are privileged under Article 74 (2) of the Constitution and cannot be disclosed under theI Act. These documents are an integral part of the government decision-making process and cannot be isolated from the ambit of “advice to the President”, the Home Ministry contended. The ministry cited a Delhi High Court order which had set aside an order of the Commission directing disclosure of information relating to the 2002 correspondence between the then President of India and the then Prime Minister relating to Gujarat riots. Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava relied on several noted judgments of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to reject the contentions of the ministry. The Commission, however, asked the ministry to sever all the names and other references from the files which could reveal the identity of public officials involved in the decision-making process. Kokde has been convicted for hatching a criminal conspiracy, abducting, raping and killing a BPO employee working at Hinjewadi, Pune on November 1, 2007.
  21. 1 point
    Thane is a hotbed of illegal schools, the number of which continues to increase every year, reveals an RTI (Right to Information) query. The RTI response revealed that year 2018-19 saw the number of illegal schools rise to 62. Of these 62, the maximum increase was seen in English medium schools — 49 schools compared to last year's 38. The RTI response revealed that year 2018-19 saw the number of illegal schools rise to 62. The number of illegal schools for the financial year 2017-18 was 55, as reported by DNA in April this year. And in 2016-17, there were 39 such schools in Thane. Of these 62, the maximum increase was seen in English medium schools — 49 schools compared to last year's 38. The number of illegal Hindi medium schools have grown to 10 from last year's eight. On the other hand, the number of illegal Marathi medium schools have declined from seven to three. Most of these illegal schools are in Mumbra, Kalwa and Diva. There are over 271 civic, government, aided, unaided and private recognised schools in Thane. And 184 are unaided but recognised private schools in Thane. When contacted Manish Joshi, deputy commissioner- education, TMC confirmed that such schools mushroom in Mumbra, Diva. "People want schools at their doorstep, and are least bothered to know whether it is legal or illegal," says Joshi.
  22. 1 point
    In the recent months, even though the ridership has fallen the punctuality of the Metro service has remained consistently good. According to an IE report, as per the data obtained through an RTI application, between 2013 and 2018, till the month of May, over 99 per cent train trips have been recorded on time. A Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official was quoted in the report saying that a trip is said to be delayed if a train takes more than 60 seconds than the scheduled time in completing it. Other than train delays, the DMRC also records the number of trips that are cancelled. In 2018, till May, 377 trips have been cancelled. While, 709 trips were cancelled in 2013, 536 trips in 2014, 1,084 trips in 2015, 692 trips in 2016 and 783 trips in 2017.
  23. 1 point
    In its 213-page report (external link) that calls for a new legislation to protect an individual's right over his data, the committee said neither the right to privacy nor the right to information is absolute and the two will have to be balanced against each other in some circumstances. The panel said data protection law is designed to limit the processing of personal data to legitimate reasons and adds there is a conflict between transparency and privacy. The panel said a lot of information sought from a public authority may contain personal data of some kind or another. "Further a strict interpretation of purpose limitation may give rise to the inference that any disclosure other than for the purpose for which the personal data was submitted would lead to an unwarranted invasion of privacy," it said. "To avoid this predicament, the RTI Act must specifically spell out the circumstances in which disclosure of such personal information would be a proportionate restriction on privacy having regard to the object of the RTI Act in promoting transparency and accountability in public administration. "This must be done keeping in mind the fact that the RTI Act generally leans in favour of disclosure of information," it said. "Therefore, in addition to the likelihood of harm, disclosure should be restricted only where any likely harm outweighs the common good of transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities," the report said. It proposed that the RTI Act be amended to state that 'nothing contained in the data protection bill will apply to the disclosure' so as to 'prevent privacy from becoming a stonewalling tactic to hinder transparency'. The Committee said that such a formulation offers a more precise balancing test in reconciling the two rights and upholding the spirit of the RTI Act without compromising the intent of the data protection bill.
  24. 1 point
    The State Chief Information Commissioner had while hearing one matter involving one such slum society passed an order on December 19, 2017 and declared that provisions of RTI Act shall apply to all the societies under SRA. In a significant interim order, the Bombay high court on Thursday issued a notice to state chief information commissioner and stayed his order which had brought all slum societies under the ambit of Right to Information Act (RTI). The HC was hearing a fresh challenge to an order of the State CIC which in one stroke brought thousands of slum societies under the provisions of RTI making them liable to share information akin to a public body. A slum society in Andheri had moved the HC against a December 2017 order passed by the state CIC and a subsequent order of April 2018 issued by a joint registrar Slum Rehabilitation Authority to it. Andheri Juhu Lane Nav Bharat Cooperative Housing society Limited in its petition questioned the legality and validity of these orders. The SC had in 2013 held that housing societies do not come under RTI and the state info commissioner’s order is contrary to it said, senior counsel Damle before a bench of Justices SS Kemkar and Nitin Sambre. The bench then adjourned the matter for further hearing and stayed the orders. Section 32 of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, is parallel to the provision of Sections 3 and 7 of the RTI Act, said the petition as it covers rights of members to inspect and see “free of cost’’ the society’s office, and is entitled to get, for a fee, copies of audited annual balance sheet, profit and loss account, its committee members’ list as well as list of members, minutes of general meetings and records of society’s transactions.
  25. 1 point
    The number of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses plying in the Capital is at its lowest in a decade, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed. Standard-floor buses, revealed the RTI reply, have been scrapped in large numbers over the last decade — at an average of 323 buses annually. The DTC’s current fleet includes 2,506 non-air-conditioned low-floor buses, 1,275 air-conditioned low-floor buses and 101 standard-floor vehicles. Sources in the DTC attributed the gradual decline in number of standard-floor buses to failed attempts at creating a dedicated, in-house maintenance cell.
  26. 1 point
    Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh was scheduled to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the post-lunch session on Thursday. Though he was present in the House, the government decided not to introduce it as the Congress and other Opposition parties were against the amendments being moved on the grounds that these would dilute the 2005 Act. Sources said the government suggested that the Opposition allow the Bill to be introduced and then sent to a Select Committee of the Upper House. But since the Opposition did not relent, the government deferred the introduction till the time a consensus on the fate of the Bill could be reached. The amendment Bill seeks to change the clause dealing with the term of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners and the State CICs and state ICs. As of now, they get a term of five years from the date they assume office. The Bill states this would be changed to a "term as may be prescribed by the Central government”. This would give the Centre the discretion to terminate the service of the CIC, ICs and the state CICs and ICs in case they do not conform to the will of the government. The Bill also states that the salaries and allowances of the CIC, ICs, state CIC and state ICs shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central government. Though the amendment also maintains that salaries and allowances and other conditions of service of these officials shall not be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment, the government can reduce it for future appointees. As of now, the CIC and ICs get the salary equal to that of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner respectively. In the states, the state CIC gets the salary of the Election Commissioner and the state ICs get the salary of the Chief Secretary. The Opposition does not agree with the NDA government’s view that the salary of the CIC and information commissioners should be reduced as this is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
  27. 1 point
    New Delhi: Delhi High Court has ruled that vehicles of India’s top constitutional authorities like the President, the Vice President, Governors and Lieutenant Governors will have to be registered with the authority. According to the ruling, all vehicles need to clearly display the registration numbers. A petition, filed by an NGO Nyayabhoomi, claimed that the practice of displaying the state emblem, instead of the registration numbers, make the dignitaries become easy targets for terrorists and anyone with malicious intent. In December last year, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital to place before it the rules regarding display of just the State Emblem of India on the cars of the constitutional authorities and dignitaries, such as the President, instead of their registration numbers, PTI had reported. The petitioner also sought direction to the Delhi government and Delhi Police to seize the cars used by the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Vice President, Raj Niwas and Protocol division of the Ministry of External Affairs for not being registered under the Motor Vehicles Act, PTI reported. After the petition was filed, a bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar had directed both the governments to check the position and inform it about the same. The plea was based on an RTI response by the Ministry of External Affairs which stated that none of its 14 cars maintained were registered. Last year, the Rashtrapati Bhawan had refused to provide the registration numbers of all the presidential vehicles on the ground that disclosure of such information would endanger the security of the state and life of the President.
  28. 1 point
    In a reply to the poser under Right to Information (RTI) has revealed that at least 12 bars are operating orchestras without permission. Licences of these bars have not been renewed by Police Department but still the shady business is going on. This illegal act is also denting coffers of cash-starved Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC). Notably, the civic body receives Rs 50,000 per month from each orchestra bar towards licence charges. But since the licences of these orchestra bars have not been renewed, the NMC is being deprived of much needed Rs 6 lakh per month. The RTI reply further said that licences of these 12 dance bars lapsed 2-3 years back. Police had not renewed the licences of the dance bars but still many of these jaunts continue to run the dubious business. According to the RTI information, licence renewal time limit of Needos Bar and Restaurant, run by Rajiv Jaiswal, was till 2016. Similarly, Babjotsingh Khanduja’s Hotel Executive Club (India) Pvt Ltd was till 2015, Neeraj Gupta-run Hotel Madira Bhavan’s was till 2015, Dilbagsingh Gurdipsingh Sokhi’s Hotel Sarja Bar and Restaurant was 2015, time limit of Hotel Skylark of Mohabbatsingh Kapoorsingh Tuli was till 2015, Sutinderpalsingh Gurcharansingh Arora’s bar was till 2015, licence renewal time limit of Hotel Ace Digistronic Pvt Ltd of Baldeo Mohan Hirani was till 2016, Ramlu Kondya Sultan’s Hotel Green Bar and Restaurant was till 2015, Avinash Bhosale’s Hotel Lee Meredien was 2016, Bestek Hospitalities Pvt Ltd’s Radisson Blu was till 2015 and licence renewal time limit of Welcome Bar and Restaurant run by Mohit Premchand Gupta was till 2017. But even after lapse of licences of these dance bars, the orchestras and vulgar acts continue to attract elite clients.
  29. 1 point
    VIJAYAWADA: The names of retired IPS officer BV Ramana Kumar, retired IFS officer M Ravi Kumar and advocate Katta Janardhana Rao were cleared for appointment as RTI commissioners. The selection committee consisting of CM N Chandrababu Naidu and Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu went through the applications submitted by several aspirants on Thursday before finalising the three names. Sources said that though leader of opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is also a member of the selection committee, the government was forced to complete the process without him as he skipped all the three meetings citing his preoccupation with padayatra. The names will be referred to the Governor for his approval. It is learnt the government will issue notification for appointment of RTI Chief Commissioner post soon and will complete the process at the earliest as there is a case pending in the High Court for completion of the exercise. With the HC taking a serious view of the delay in appointment of RTI Commissioners by the state government, the committee cleared the names of three persons for RTI Commissioners. BV Ramana Kumar one among the selected, was known for cracking the sensational Gold Dollar scam in the world renowned TTD. He also worked as the chief vigilance and security officer of TTD besides working as SP of various districts, DIG (CID and Krunool range) and Joint Commissioner of Police Vijayawada.
  30. 1 point
    President’s secretariat, in response to a letter submitted under RTI Act by Bheemappa Gadad, a noted RTI activist of Belagavi, furnished information (dated May 22, 2018) on the maintenance of the gardens and expenses incurred on it for the past three years. Besides Rs 12.70 crore spent on maintenance of the gardens, another Rs 1.46 crore was spent on garden equipment and gear. It was also revealed that a salary of Rs 72 lakh was paid to gardeners at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in February 2018 alone. If the salary figure is extrapolated, it means the government is spending approximately Rs 8 crore annually merely on salaries of gardeners of the Bhavan. The official documents on the gardens’ expenditure provided by Rashtrapati Bhavan shows Rs 3.73 crore was spent on maintenance and repair of garden during 2015-16 and`50.09 lakh on machinery and equipment in the same year. In 2016-17, Rs 4.56 crore was spent on the maintenance and repair of the garden and Rs 96.15 lakh on machinery and equipment used.The maintenance of Karnataka’s Brindavan Garndens with an area of 72 acres - almost half the size of the Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens - costs Rs 7 crore per year.
  31. 1 point
    According to the response provided by the IAF, its frontline transport aircraft, the C-17 and the C-130J Super Hercules, undertook 91 sorties to transport bundles of currency from security printing presses and mints to various destinations across the country after the Rs 1,000 and the Rs 500 notes were demonetised by the government in a sudden move on November 8, 2016. As on November 8, 2016, there were 1,716.5 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 685.8 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, about 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation, according to RBI and government data. In its RTI response to Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), the IAF said it has billed the government-owned Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd to the tune of Rs 29.41 crore for its services. "I am of the opinion that the government should have avoided using defence assets and instead could have easily requisitioned the services of civil transport aircraft," Batra told PTI. The move to scrap the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, and saw 86 per cent of currency being sucked out of the system, needing an urgent operation to replenish it with the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes issued after demonetisation. This situation could have been avoided, had the government fully prepared itself before making the announcement to demonetise currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8, 2016, he said. Post-demonetisation, the RBI had spent Rs 7,965 crore in 2016-17 on printing the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes, and those of other denomination, more than double the Rs 3,421 crore it had spent in the previous year. The Bankers' Bank had said that as much as 99 per cent of the junked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had returned to the banking system, which had prompted the opposition to question the efficacy of the government's unprecedented note ban decision to curb black money and corruption.
  32. 1 point
    The plea that was filed by RTI activists Commodore Lokesh Batra (retired) along with Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri on 24 April will be heard by the top court when it reopens Monday after the summer break. The plea suggests that despite huge backlogs of appeals and complaints in many information commissions across the country, information commissioners have not been appointed. This has resulted in information commissions taking months, and in some cases even years, to decide appeals. “Currently, there are four vacancies in the Central Information Commission, even as more than 23,500 appeals and complaints are pending,” the petitioners claim. According to the petition, the State Information Commission (SIC) of Andhra Pradesh is completely non-functional since no information commissioner has been appointed there. Similarly, the Maharashtra SIC has four vacancies resulting in a backlog of around 40,000 cases. In Kerala, just one officer is manning the commission and has to adjudicate on more than 14,000 pending appeals and complaints. Recounting the state of affairs in various state commissions, the plea has noted that there are six vacancies in the SIC of Karnataka even though 33,000 cases are pending there. Odisha and Telangana are the only states where appointments have been made. There too the backlog goes up to 10,000 and 15,000 appeals respectively. The situation in West Bengal is particularly grim with two commissioners hearing appeals/complaints that were filed almost 10 years ago, the plea points out. “Further, several commissions like that of Gujarat, Nagaland and Maharashtra are functioning without the chief information commissioner, even though the RTI Act envisages a crucial role for the chief commissioner, with the administration and superintendence of the commission vesting with the chief,” the plea reads. “The effective functioning of information commissions, the final adjudicators under the RTI Act, is critical for the health of the transparency regime in the country,” the activists argue in their plea.
  33. 1 point
    A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that from 2007 to 2017, the Mumbai police provided protection to 2,293 people and received Rs 44 crore in lieu of that. Till March 2018, the Mumbai police had provided protection to 219 people and received Rs 1.54 crore from them as charges, as per the information furnished to RTI applicant Nagmani Pandey.However, according to the reply, furnished by a senior police inspector of the Protection Branch, a total of Rs 5.11 crore was still due from 38 people who got protection. Hearing a PIL filed by advocate Sunny Punamiya, the HC last year had ordered the government to recover the police security dues from individuals and from political parties if their functionaries are not paying the pending amounts. According to norms, security seekers apply to the Protection Branch citing reason for asking for security. His/ her application is then scrutinised and if merit is found in the request, the plea is forwarded to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) for approval. The charges for providing police security vary from person to person and are based on the income of protection seekers and the level of threat faced by them. Their threat perception is reviewed periodically.
  34. 1 point
    Effective January 1, 2016 subsidy was abolished and the rate of food increased in Parliament Canteen. However, a query by India Today TV under the Right to Information (RTI) Act found it otherwise. Food at the Parliament Canteen is still being subsidised. But the issue is not cheap food for our parliamentarians. A bigger question is did our lawmakers lie to the public? In 2015, there was a lot of hue and cry after it came to light that the Parliament Canteens was being subsidised to the extent of 80% of its cost. The then BJD Lok Sabha MP Baijayant 'Jay' Panda wrote a letter to the Speaker and argued that in light of the government urging voluntary surrender of cooking gas (LPG) subsidies, by those who could afford it, MPs giving up their subsidised canteen privileges would also be "a right step in effecting greater public trust" in lawmakers. The Lok Sabha reacted positively and its secretariat on December 31, 2015, issued a statement: "After receiving the committee's report, the Speaker has taken a number of decisions, out of which the most important is that the canteen in Parliament will now work on 'no-profit, no-loss' basis...Accordingly, the rates of various food items have been increased and these would be sold at the actual cost of making...This will be effective from tomorrow." So effective January 1, 2016 subsidy was abolished and the rate of food increased in Parliament Canteen. Here are the RTI Application
  35. 1 point
    The CIC has asked the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to explain how the disclosure of records related to the impeachment motion against Hyderabad High Court judge C V Nagarjuna Reddy under the RTI Act would be a breach of parliamentary privileges. The question was recently raised by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur on a petition of S Malleswara Rao who had sought to know from the Secretariat the number of members of Rajya Sabha who signed and moved the impeachment; the rules and regulations in regard to participation of the members among others. Officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said some information was provided to Rao but the records related to notice of motion, names of members who withdrew support to the motion etc., are in the custody of Secretary General of the House which have never been made public. “Such documents relating to or connected with the proceedings of the House are privileged documents and exempted under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act, 2005. The respondent (the Secretariat) stated that once a notice of motion is accepted, as per practice, they disclose the particulars suo-moto,” Mathur noted citing submissions of the Secretariat officials. In his order, Mathur underlined parliamentary privileges and said certain rights and immunities such as freedom from arrest or freedom of speech belong primarily to individual members of each House and exist because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its members. Mathur directed the Central Public Information Officer of the Rajya Sabha to inform, with approval of competent authority, in writing as to why parting of this information would constitute a breach of privilege of Parliament.
  36. 1 point
    Nagpur: An RTI reply revealed that these courts are doing what they’re meant for by deciding about 48% of the cases in consumers’ favours in the last two years. About 19% cases went against them during the same period. Consumer forums have been established for ensuring justice to the customers and address their grievances. A reply by public information officer (PIO) of District Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum here revealed that it collected a revenue of over Rs4 lakh and slapped a fine of Rs2.90 lakh on violators from January 1, 2016 to February 28 this year. He, however, didn’t provide any information on a query on pending cases posed by RTI activist Abhay Kolarkar. The forum received about 1,604 cases from January 1, 2016 to February 28 this year. Of them, 799 complaints were received in 2016, of which 395 were settled in favour of the consumers and 143 against them. In 2017, about 617 complaints were instituted, of which 317 were decided in consumers’ favour while 140 went against them. This year till February end, the forum received 188 complaints of which 57 were settled in favour of the complainants and 14 against them
  37. 1 point
    The latest directive assumes significance as some RTI activists have been killed in different parts of the country allegedly for seeking information related to some potential scams or irregularities in government departments. Transparency watchdog Central Information Commission (CIC) will now decide appeals and complaints even after the death of an appellant or complainant, the government has said. The Right to Information (RTI) Act allows information seekers to approach the CIC to lodge second appeal and complaint in case they are aggrieved with government departments over disposal of their application filed under the law. As per rules finalised in 2017, the proceedings pending before the CIC shall abate on the death of the appellant or complainant. The latest directive assumes significance as some RTI activists have been killed in different parts of the country allegedly for seeking information related to some potential scams or irregularities in government departments. Also, many RTI activists have opposed provisions of the 2017 rules, including the one that allows no action on appeals in case of the death of the appellant, saying they were aimed at diluting the Act. “Instances have occurred wherein appellant/complainant dies before their case is considered by the Commission,” said a statement issued today by the Personnel Ministry, the nodal department for RTI matters.
  38. 1 point
    The RTI query put up by president of Shiv Sena youth wing Yuva Sena district Nitin Tiwari brought to fore that AMVI Mangesh Rathod conducted 7,000 tests, which means 318 per day, in January 2018 which had only 22 working days. The official timing for conducting learner’s licence test is between 11am and 4pm. A software STALL is used to conduct the tests. The city RTO office’s IP address is but as per the RTI reply, a large number of tests were conducted after office hours from other IP addresses. The assistant motor vehicle inspectors (AMVIs) posted at Nagpur city RTO office in Giripeth have performed the improbable task of conducting learner’s licence test after the office hours and also during government holidays. Moreover, most of the tests were conducted from different IP addresses other than the office IP address, informed Nagpur city Regional Transport Office while replying to a Right to Information (RTI) query. The Maharashtra Transport Department (MTD) has introduced online application for issuing learning licence through website Parivahan for public convenience and to minimize scope for middlemen and corruption at RTO. The Nagpur city RTO was allotted 264 slots per day for learning licence tests.
  39. 1 point
    BIJNOR: As many as 20 senior state officials were slapped with a fine of 25,000 each by state information commissioner (SIC) Hafiz Usman after they were found delaying replies to RTIqueries by applicants in different state departments. The erring officials including public information officer of UP State Ganga River Conservation Agency, Lucknow, district magistrates of Saharanpur and Sambhal, chief medical officer of Saharanpur, BSA of Sambhal, district panchayat raj officer of Amroha, district programme officer of Sambhal, district supply officer of Saharanpur, deputy registrar of Vilaspur in Rampur, BSA of Amroha, chief medical officer of BD Baajoriya Hospital of Saharanpur, CMO of Rampur, DIOS of Sambhal, executive engineer at PVVNL, Khatauli of Muzaffarnagar and Najibabad of Bijnor district, Block development officer of Deengarpur in Moradabad, BDO Nahtaur and Afjalgarh of Bijnor district, BDO Gangoh in Saharanpur and village secretary of Jaleelpur area in Bijnor district, have been slapped with the fine. According to sources, the fine has come as a surprise to the officials concerned.
  40. 1 point
    An RTI applicant was surprised on being charged the Goods and Services tax (GST) and portal fee when he filed an RTI application. The application and appeal were made to the state government’s portal. Bhaskar Prabhu, the applicant was charged Rs 5 portal fee each time he made an appeal or application and 18 per cent GST. “It is not credit or debit card charges. They are taking GST. RTI is a right and we pay Rs 10 as application fee besides other charges, against information provided by authorities. RTI is a right and not a service,” said Prabhu. The Ministry of Finance after introduction of GST had stated “exempt supply of services by way of providing information under RTI”. DNA - in its October 20, 2017 publication - had reported about Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) asking an applicant to pay 18 per cent GST. The report criticised by activists except for one information commissioner stating that it should not be levied.
  41. 1 point
    The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been charging exorbitant fees for providing copies of answer sheets to students in the face of a landmark Supreme Court (SC) judgment in 2011. Despite another order from the apex court hammering CBSE to respect the judgment and RTI rules in 2016, once again it has shown the audacity to continue fleecing students seeking answer sheets. The CBSE published a notification on 29 May 2018 on its website prescribing an exorbitant fee of Rs1,200 per subject for obtaining copies of the evaluated answer-sheets. In response to this notification, a contempt petition has been filed against its Chairman, in the Supreme Court last week. It may be recalled that, on 6 August 2016, the Supreme Court had directed the CBSE to ``scrupulously observe the directions of this court in civil appeal no 6454 of 2011 and the rules framed under the RTI Act 2005. The landmark 2011 judgment ordered that: ``Answer-sheet is an information and the examinees have the fundamental and legal right to access their evaluated answer-sheets under the Right to Information Act, 2005.(RTI Act).” The contempt petition has been filed by Whistle of Public Interest (WHIP), for the willful and deliberate attempt of CBSE to surpass and overrule the authority of the apex court of the country. This is the second time that WHIP has filed a contempt petition on this subject, the first time being in 2016. Kumar Sanu, one of the founder members of WHIP, says, “In 2016, it came to our knowledge that CBSE was charging an exorbitant fee of Rs1,200 for showing copies of answer-sheets and was blatantly denying access to evaluated answer-sheets, a right granted under the RTI Act. This was not only the violation of a fundamental right of lakhs of students every year but also a willful contempt of the Supreme Court of India. Hence we filed a contempt petition against the Chairman, CBSE.” Here is the sample RTI for examination copies.
  42. 1 point
    Aggrieved home buyers who have filed complaints against developers with the Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TNRERA), will no longer have to take the RTI route to seek details from the realty regulator. Just an application would fetch them the information. The state government has notified the regulations for TNRERA that it should follow. These were notified on Wednesday and made public on Saturday. As per the regulations, any complainant or their legal representative may be allowed to inspect the record of the case by making an application. Further, the facility has been extended to those not connected with the case as well. "A person, who is not a party to the proceeding, may also be allowed to inspect the proceedings after obtaining permission in writing," the notified suggestions added. However, those inspecting documents cannot record or take notes of the documents and records. "They cannot take pictures of the documents related to cases. But, the respective person can get the photocopy of documents for which a fixed charge would be levied," a TNRERA official said. Opening the access to information was added to the procedures of Tamil Nadu's realty regulator, taking a cue from Maharashtra real estate authority, the official added.
  43. 1 point
    The Supreme Court fixed on Tuesday an upper limit of Rs 50 as application fee that government authorities can charge those seeking information under the right to information (RTI) act, the country’s transparency law. Also, a bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit said public authorities cannot ask for more than Rs 5 for each page as photocopying charge, and an applicant need not mention the “motive” while filling out the application form. The order came on petitions challenging high fees set by different public bodies, including high courts and state assemblies. The decision can be downloaded from here:
  44. 1 point
    RTI used mostly to settle personal scores The number of people filing RTI applications asking about how government schemes are being implemented has shrunk, and it has largely become a weapon to dig out private details about people to settle personal scores, information commissioner Bimal Julka told state commissioners at a meeting on Saturday. "It is unfortunate that most of the RTI applications are directed at private interests, matrimonial disputes, knowing salaries and leave records of rivals and settling personal scores. That was not the intent of RTI," a source quoted Julka as telling officials who had come to participate in a meeting of the National Federation of Information Commissioners.
  45. 1 point
    Under Section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, the state information commissioner (SIC) imposed a total fine of Rs 3.5 lakh on 14 government officials who failed to provide information sought under the RTI. UP information commissioner Hafiz Usman on Friday imposed a penalty on 14 government officials, including the district magistrate of Sambhal and Moradabadchief development officer for not providing information sought under the Right to Information Act.
  46. 0 points
    In reply to RTI, the DoPT has stated that "The matter regarding amendment in the RTI Act, 2005 is under consideration and has not reached finality. As per section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005, information requested by you cannot be supplied at this stage." Even as the central government has confirmed that the matter regarding amendment in the Right to Information (RTI) Act is under consideration, the Department of Personnel and Training refused to provide details of the proposed amendment bill. "The government has confirmed that it is planning to amend the RTI Act but has illegally refused to share details of the amendment bill in response to an RTI application." Bharjwaj also said: "It has refused to even disclose the dates on which the proposal to amend the RTI Act was prepared by the DoPT and date on which it was forwarded to the cabinet by the DoPT, which cannot be covered under Section 8(1)(i)." Expressing concern over the media reports that the amendment the government was planning to bring was regressive, Bhardwaj said: "What is worrisome is they are planning to reduce the stature of the Information Commissioners and weaken the Information Commissions in the country. "At the moment, the salaries and allowances of the Commissioners are same as that of a SC judge. But, now the government will have the discretion to decide their salaries. That is very dangerous. It erodes the independence of the Commission. "There is a powerful law in place. There is no need to make changes. What the government should instead do is appoint Information Commissioners. At the CIC, there are four vacancies and four more to come this year including the Chief Information Commissioner who is retiring. Why is the government trying to tinker with the law and amend the law and dilute it.
  47. 0 points
    A biennial study conducted by Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Centre for Equity Studies has revealed a grim picture of RTI Act implementation with waiting time at information commissions running in years and commissions in several states becoming non-functional owing to unfilled vacancies. The study has found that if an RTI appeal were to be filed in West Bengal state information commission on November 1, 2017, it would be disposed of in 2060 – after 43 years. In Kerala, it would take six years six months and Odisha 5 years 3 months. The main reason for such a long waiting time is the reduced number of information commissioners that commissions are working with. The report has brought out, what it calls a “concerning trend”. The information commissions, which are the last resort for the common man to complain against wrongful denial of information, are increasingly returning cases. The highest number of cases have been returned by CIC, followed by Gujarat, Assam and Uttarakhand.
  48. 0 points
    It appears Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya are not the only fraudsters who have successfully managed to flee the country. Since 2015, there are hundreds of cases of financial scams registered with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Mumbai. According to information obtained by activist Jeetendra Ghadge through RTI request, 184 of the people accused in those scams are absconding. The EOW usually looks into high-profile swindlers because it investigates scams only over Rs 50 lakh. The total amount involved in cases for last three years are: Rs 5,560 crore in 2015, Rs 4,273 crore in 2016, and in 2017, it is 9,835 crore. In all, it is a whopping Rs 19,668 crore in three years. However, the refund investors have received from EOW stands at an abysmal Rs 2.5 crore among 74 investors. Ghadge said the main reason behind sluggish investigations is “the political intervention, corruption, short staff and lack of expert officers who can investigate complex financial frauds.” The same RTI information notes there are 79 vacant posts of PSI in the EOW. "There seems to be a tsunami of financial fraud in this country mainly because these fraudsters have no fear of the law,” said Ghadge. “With some political influence and by bribing officials, an accused can easily get away. We cannot blame the EOW or CBI, the government is ultimately responsible for not fixing the law and order machinery.”
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