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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/14/2018 in Entries

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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