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Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India

According to a “Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India” prepared by Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES), transparency is a key to promoting peoples’ trust in public institutions. The assessment found that several ICs were non-functional or were functioning at reduced capacity, despite large backlogs, as the posts of commissioners, including that of the chief information commissioner (CIC), were vacant during the period under review. In many cases, the appointments of information commissioners were found to be set aside by courts due to lack of transparency in the process of appointment and for being in violation of the provisions of the RTI Act and directions of the Supreme Court.
In addition, the Report, says, “By failing to disclose information on their functioning, ICs continue to evade real accountability to the people of the country whom they are supposed to serve. The legal requirement for the central and state information commissions to submit annual reports every year to Parliament and state legislatures respectively, is to make, among other things, their activities transparent and available for public scrutiny. However, very few ICs fulfil this obligation, and even fewer do it in time”. 
As part of the assessment, and in order to access information about the functioning of information commissions, both SNS and CES filed RTI applications with the 28 state information commissions (SIC) and the Central Information Commission (CIC). A total of 169 RTI applications were filed seeking identical information from all the 29 information commissions. The RTI applications were tracked to assess how each information commission performed as a public authority, in terms of maintaining and disclosing information. Three information commissions from Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu did not respond to, or even acknowledge, the RTI applications filed within stipulated time.
"Several ICs, like from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh rejected requests for information invoking provisions seemingly in violation of the RTI Act. In all these cases, an appeal was filed against the denial of information. However, till the time of publication of this report, the requisite information had not been disclosed," the report says.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, three State Information Commissions (SICs), Odisha, Sikkim and Kerala returned the RTI applications citing procedural deficiencies.
Only 13 out of 29 ICs provided full information in response to the RTI applications filed as part of this assessment. Of the 107 chief information commissioners for whom data was obtained, the overwhelming majority (84%) were retired government servants including 67% retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and another 17% from other services. Of the remainder, 10% had a background in law (5% former judges and 5% lawyers or judicial officers).
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Resistance from banks in revealing Loan details to corporate entities

The RTI query, sent to the Ministry of Finance, sought details on individual exposure of various PSBs to corporate borrowers. The questions that were asked in the RTI query sought information on the loans given to the Reliance Industries, Adani Group, GVK Group, GMR and Jaypee Group. The RTI was first directed to the Finance Ministry, which then forwarded the RTI request to various banks asking them to provide the information. The RTI had questions on the money loaned to big industrial houses by government-run banks. However, all public sector banks except Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have refused to divulge information citing either the 'personal nature' of questions or how they don't fit under the provisions of the RTI Act. 
In their reply to the RTI query, the banks have said that the information available with banks under "fiduciary relationship" is exempted from disclosure.
Read about: Fiduciary Relationship under RTI
While Andhra Bank and Allahabad Bank have disclosed the loans given to big corporates, all other lenders refused to do so. Banks which did not disclose any detail in their reply to the RTI query include State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Maharashtra, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Canara Bank, UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of India and Syndicate Bank. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Rajya Sabha that loans worth Rs 81,683 crore were written-off by public sector banks (PSBs) in 2016-17.
Country's largest public sector lender, the SBI, said, "The information sought by you under point number three to eight is the third party personal information held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity, the disclosure of which is not warranted for any larger public interest and as such is exempted from disclosure."
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Upper limit of Rs 50 imposed on RTI Fee by Supreme Court

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:
 
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43 years for RTI case finalisation in West Bengal- study

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.
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  1. 2 points
    This forum is dedicated for guiding citizens in seeking information from public authorities under RTI Act and neither forum nor members can provide such information required by members, as this forum is in no way connected to any Government wing. Please search website of the Public Authority (Govt dept) that awarded the contacts to locate State Public Information officer, address, format of application and mode of remitting Rs.10/- RTI fees. You can secure all documents concerning like copies of contract agreements @ Rs.2/- per page and you can get the entire information you have solicited from the Agreement entered into between Govt and the contractor. Make discreet inquiries on the Government dept.;, and file RTI application. Even if you file application to a dept., not connected, they can transfer the application to the concerned authority.
  2. 1 point
    Yes, as suggested by Prasadji, wait for 30 days from the date of receipt of your RTI application by the PIO of PWD. Please note that, RTI is a time bound process : A PIO gets 30 days to reply to RTI Application. If the PIO has replied - within 30 days of his reply, a RTI applicant can file a first appeal. If the PIO has not replied - within 30 days on which a PIO ought to have replied, a RTI applicant can file a first appeal.
  3. 1 point
    The burden of proof of providing that correct and complete information was provided within 30 days rests on PIO. Yes. There was a clear CIC decision by Hon.Shailesh Gandhi that PIO must provide information through speed post, but still some PIOs for reasons better known to them sends them only by ordinary post. There are street smart and cheap PIOs also that deliberately make mischief. Focus on information. Seek duplicate copy of such response either in person by paying copying fees . This is simple and fast. You can orally tell PIO non receipt and pay Rs.2/- per copy and get those copies. You have not mentioned about FAA orders. File addendum to First Appeal that you have not received the information and pray for issuing duplicate letter by PIO, and you can also enclose a self addressed envelope with required fees for registration.
  4. 1 point
    Then in that case, you will have to file a RTI application with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Bhuj Nagarpalika. For format and fees of RTI application, please refer to the Gujarat RTI Rules following link: http://msubaroda.ac.in/RTI/GRTIRules2010.pdf
  5. 1 point
    You cannot be too strict with the 30 day deadline for receiving reply. If your information is important please go to PIO and do the inspection, mark the records you want copied, pay the fee and take that info. If technicalities are more important, you can file 2nd appeal after 45 days of filing 1st Appeal. Your 2nd Appeal may not come up for hearing in one year.
  6. 1 point
    This forum is dedicated for guiding citizens in seeking information from public authorities under RTI Act. GST is such a new and vast subject and must be explained by a competent tax consultant taking several facts into consideration. Focus on strengths and use service of professionals is the first rule in business. Please take the guidance from a tax consultant initially and develop skills slowly.
  7. 1 point
    Sir, Please provide the application format to file application in DLSA as pre litigation case of family property dispute in telugu format. I have searched on Google for format i didn't get it.I humble request you to please provide the format in telugu . And also provide what are the points do we need to mention on application of DLSA . What are the safety precautions and measures do we need to rake while filing the application in DLSA. I have not seen this kind of response to each and every reply of posted query from this app and thanks to all respected members of this app. I know this app is related to provide the RTI Query's, . I posted my query on other legal service related apps 1 week ago but I didn't get reply till the date. Kindly provide the details of any other free legal service websites and mobile apps to get this details easily, If you know Please provide it will very useful to me. Humble request to you sir .... Kindly provide the application format in telugu to file application at DLSA. Please regret the inconvenience Thank you. Sent from my Redmi 5A using RTI INDIA mobile app
  8. 1 point
    First of all there is no prescribed format for such Petitions. You can just call on the concerned DLSA, with documents and can get their guidance in drafting in Telugu. Accompany to DLSA with an educated and Telugu knowing friend or relative. Have patience as employees are more irritative and never respond. Your focus is on filing petition alone, and get the task accomplished without minding the unhelpful attitude of employees. Meet Secretary if possible. You can not expect from an open forum dedicated to RTI the secretarial work of drafting a petition in Telugu litigation matter. You can also pay a sum of Rs.200/- and can avail services of a simple Advocate.
  9. 1 point
    Teach the fraudulent a lesson. These illegal activities by Public authorities should never be tolerated. File First Appeal Immediately accuse fabrication/ Material alteration and seek personal hearing. Provide your copy before FAA. wait for the decision and you can decide further plan of action after receiving FAA orders.
  10. 1 point
    Kindly file a RTI application as follows: To, The Public Information Officer (PIO), Name of the Public Authority, Address of the Public Authority. Subject Matter of Information: Information pertaining to XX Company. Description of Information Required: 1. In-accordance with the provision of section 2(j)(i) of the RTI Act, kindly provide me with an inspection of all the documents pertaining to the XXXX. Please note that, during the process of aforesaid inspection, I shall select the required information, kindly do provide me with a certified photocopy of such selected information on payment of prescribed fees. Is the EOW from Maharashtra, then Maharashtra RTI Rules will apply?
  11. 1 point
    You have powerful student unions and other opposition party members in addition to local people's representative like MLA and MP. You can file this as complaint to AICTE immediately and pray for inquiry into the atrocities. You can move the matter with media and can seek their assistance. The issue is not at present RTI matter, and this forum is dedicated for guiding citizens in seeking information from public authorities under RTI Act.
  12. 1 point
    You have raised number of issues in one post right from admissions under RTE to Govt/p[rivate to attendance and progress check of children, arrears of such fees from Govt., state wise allocation, implementation levels etc. Mere seeking information through knowing budgetary grant is not enough if you really wanted to reach those under privileged children. It is beyond the capacity of a common man and a dedicated team is required with a time bound program. Our member Hon. Harinder Dhingra. has made a lot of spade work at Girgaum, Haryana on this and brought many schools to provide such seats to less fortunate. You can find out his address and send a personal request to him and he can equip you with those procedures he has followed. This is one stop to get entire authentic information that saves you money, and time.
  13. 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:
  14. 1 point

    Version 1.0.0

    3 downloads

    Judicial functions of the Supreme Court is not covered under the RTI Act the remedy available to such a party is to challenge the same by a legally permissible mode.
  15. 1 point
    A PIO usually replies on the 30th day of the date of receipt of a RTI application, thereafter it should take 3 to 5 days for the reply to reach the applicant, therefore, there is no way to find out what happened or what will happen. You will have to wait for 35 days from the date of receipt of your RTI application by the PIO's office. If you do not get any response within 35 days as aforesaid then you can prefer to file a first appeal under section 19(1) with the First Appellate Authority of the PIO for deemed denial of information as given under section 7(2) of the RTI Act. As far as not putting the date on the RTI application is concerned, the date of receipt of your RTI application by the PIO's office shall be deemed to be the date of your RTI application.
  16. 1 point
    Never seek replies hypothetical questions on your doubts in open forum. Develop confidence. Heavens are not going to fall if application is rejected, immediately on the same day it can be represented through corrections. If your application is rejected, your application and IPO will be returned with a covering schedule. If PIO is considerate instead of spending another Rs.27 for registration, as he knows that the same application flies back to him, ignores minor deviations and provide information or reasons for such denial of information There are times when I have filed RTI Applications perfectly, except signing the same, but still PIO provided the information and asked me to confirm filing of such application (CVC). I have received information from PIO without signatures several times, several enclosures not received inspite of stating in letter that certified copies are enclosed. These mistakes are usual part of correspondence.
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