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Atul Patankar

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Atul Patankar last won the day on February 2 2011

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About Atul Patankar

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    RTI India Pope
  • Birthday 10/25/1967

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  1. As reported by Shubhangi Khapre at Latest News, Breaking News Live, Current Headlines, India News Online | The Indian Express on 14 June 2016 ‘Congress-NCP govenment flouted norms in lottery operations’ Document procured through RTI; former IAS officer demands probe by ACB. A 15-page “confidential report” on lottery operations, allegedly kept under wraps during the Congress-NCP regime, has exposed gross violation of Central guidelines, and a “nexus” between the finance department and private lottery operators, leading to huge revenue loss. The document procured through the Right To Information Act revealed the details. Former IAS officer Anand Kulkarni, has now written to the BJP-led Maharashtra government demanding an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau into lottery operations between 2001 and 2008. He held former finance minister Jayant Patil, the NCP leader who held the portfolio then, accountable for the resulting revenue loss. The report reveals how private operator M/s Martin Lottery Agencies controlled the Maharashtra State Lottery operations sitting in Chennai. It says the Maharashtra State Lottery Board, whose chairman is the minister of finance, not only considered Martin’s lone tender but also gave it repeated extensions. In 2007, the then home minister R R Patil had ordered a CID probe headed by the then additional director general of police S P S Yadav into the lottery scam. The findings alleged a nexus between the Ministry of Finance and the private lottery company and advocated immediate closure of online lottery in the state. According to Nana Kute Patil, chief of Bulandha Chavan Sanghatana, who blew the whistle on the lottery scam, “The revenue loss per year is Rs 30,000 crore.” An official in the finance ministry, however, said, “While we don’t discount the magnitude of corruption, it would be difficult to ascertain the amount as its operations were from outside the state.” The most shocking aspect in the report cited by officials in the finance department relates to the government allowing a computer server in Chennai, which it never controlled nor had mechanism to check its misuse, to conduct lottery operations. What was shown by the state government as online lottery server station was just a sub-centre in Mumbai. On February 1, 2001, the then under secretary, Government of India, Ramesh Kumar, wrote: “Section (4) of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998, provides that prizes shall not be offered on pre-announced number or on basis on single digit number.” His letter admonished the government for allowing single digit lotteries under the garb that double digits would amount to fraud. “The spirit of the Lotteries Regulation Act cannot be violated by employing an indirect method. It will amount to circumventing of law, which means nearly, if not quite synonymous with, fraud,” it said. A letter from the state finance department countered the Centre’s warning, arguing, “Maharashtra government has entered into agreements with M/S Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd., Mumbai and Sugal and Damani Mumbai who are bulk agents to sell two digit lotteries under the name of Maharashtra Deluxe and Maharashtra in all the lottery selling states. Since online and internet lotteries are duly authorized by state government and is a source of revenue for the Maharashtra government, it is requested that no action should be taken against the same.” However, it acknowledged that tender was received from only Martin Lottery Agencies, which was given extension twice. Speaking to The Indian Express, Kulkarni said, “In my 34 years’ career, I have never served in the Ministry of Finance. But I can state with absolute certainty that the then finance minister Jayant Patil will have to ask many questions and own responsibility.” He argued, “After all, chairman of the Maharashtra State Lottery Board is the finance minister. He chairs every single meeting.” Kulkarni said he wondered why did the government not act on a report “which exposed the nexus between the ministry of finance and M/S Martin”. He said it seemed the report was hushed up to save vested interest in the government and private lottery companies. When contacted, Patil, an NCP leader, told The Indian Express, “I will have to go through details of the RTI reply. But as far as I remember, I ushered in major reforms in the sector to enhance revenue. We drastically reduced lottery draws. We also took steps to tax lotteries operated in Maharashtra from other states like Sikkim, Assam, etc. Measures were taken to dissuade youngsters from taking to lottery.” Asked if he would subscribe to charge that there was loss of revenue due to manipulations, he said, “It will be difficult to state off hand unless I look into all details.” ‘Congress-NCP govenment flouted norms in lottery operations’ | The Indian Express
  2. As reported at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 28 August 2014 NEW DELHI: The Centre has announced that it would provide financial aid to states to set up facilities for online filing of applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and others initiatives aimed at simplification and promotion of the transparency law. A fund of up to Rs 3lakh for celebration of RTI Week (October 5-12) and Rs four lakh for innovative awareness generation programme through street plays, folk troupes etc has been earmarked by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). An amount of Rs four lakh per year has been earmarked for the states to set up helpline for answering queries of the general public regarding the RTI Act in their respective regional language. "Funds would be granted to Administrative Training Institutes (ATIs) based on their respective proposal subject to a maximum ceiling of Rs 4 lakh per annum in the first year which would include rental charges for a telephone line, computer system for data storage, salary for the person manning the helpline and stationery, etc. "The grants for the subsequent years would be restricted to Rs 2 lakh per annum. Such helplines could be set up in collaboration with NGOsworking in the field of RTI," the DoPT said in its detailed guidelines for the grant. The DoPT has also decided to give grant to states for simplifying the process of filing of RTI applications through an online system. "The facility of filing RTI applications and appeals online through RTI online web portal has been launched and is being implemented in all the ministries or departments of Government of India situated in New Delhi. "The same facility can be extended to the state government offices by sharing with them the software developed by NIC (Headquarters), New Delhi," it said. The Administrative Training Institutes may play the role of catalyst in the implementation of the facility in the public authorities located in the state. "Proposals in this regard are invited from ATIs and funds would be granted on the basis of such proposal," the DoPT said. The state governments are also being encouraged to improve record management and suo motu disclosure of information related to their working through financial grants proposed by it. Besides, Rs 5 lakh (per case basis) will be given to states for carrying out field-based research on RTI and Rs 1 lakh for organising workshops and seminars on promotion of the transparency law. The RTI Act, 2005, empowers the citizen to seek time bound response from a government department on governance matters.
  3. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 26 August 2011 In an unprecedented move that comes as a setback to Bollywood actors and artistes and brings cheer to their fans, stalkers and film journalists, the entire Indian film fraternity has been brought under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Reacting to the move, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan said, "I have nothing to hide. I have even declared my slipper size (nine), and the fact that even today I don't pick up money thrown at me." Members of the public will be able to file a simple RTI application to know the details of which actor is having an affair with whom, why Sajid Khan is allowed to make films, which actress had a nose job and even the modus operandi of lifting plots from Hollywood films. One RTI plea regarding the Shah Rukh Khan-Wankhede Stadium incident has already been answered. According to the reply, the stadium guard asked SRK, "Wankhede kya kar rahe ho?" SRK responded with, "Guard doonga!" to which the guard said he was "already on his guard", infuriating the owner of KKR. Now a film is being planned on the incident called "Oh My Guard (OMG)!" A Bollywood aficionado was planning to file an RTI to find out why filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt scratches himself so much on TV. The witty producer-director responded with: "Everybody has to start from scratch but to itch his own" and proceeded to vigorously scratch himself on the spot. Sources say he is planning to make a film with a Chinese superstar called Khuj Lee. Interestingly, the following interaction from a court scene was also revealed by an RTI application: Sajid Khan: Yes, women are objectified in my films. Actress: I object your honour. Sajid: Yes you are. There are a number of RTI applications already piling up for Bollywood. Mocktale decided to list some of them: 1. Why are cops always late in films? 2. Why doesn't a hero's gun ever run out of bullets? 3. How do heroes (and SUVs in Rohit Shetty films) manage to defy gravity and physics? 4. Why does an actress/actor always die in a love-triangle? 5. How does a group of strangers know the exact dance moves when a hero/heroine starts dancing? 6. Why are people in films always struggling for money for some operation? Hasn't anyone heard of health insurance? 7. How is it that the villain's men die in a single shot but the hero's friend takes ages to die after taking some 35 bullets and mouthing some emotional lines and teary goodbyes? 8. Why is the sole honest politician usually an aged man who gets bumped off in the middle of the film? 9. Why is Salman Khan allergic to shirts? 10. One gentleman wants to file an RTI application to find out if Big B is his dad ever since he heard him say "Rishtey mai to hum tumhare baap lagte hain." Hopefully the film industry will answer these queries soon. Stories in Mocktale are works of fiction intended to bring a smile to your face. They bear no connection to events and characters in real life
  4. As reported by Pramod Kumar at organiser.org Official documents, procured through RTI by this correspondent, reveal that even while the election results were being announced on May 16, the Finance Ministry was busy in issuing transfer orders of around 148 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers in Income Tax Department. Some officers of the Central Customs and Excise Service, serving as private secretaries to various ministers, also got new postings as soon as they realised that the game was over for their political masters. The Government also empanelled 45 IAS officers as Additional Secretaries. According to the information procured through an RTI dated May 21 (No. 4-1/2014-CLM), the Ministry of Minority Affairs appointed Prof Akhtarul Wassey as Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities (CLM) with effect from March 4, 2014, a day before the imposition of moral code of conduct for general elections. The notification to this effect was issued on April 4. The tenure of the post is three years. The designation is equivalent to the post of Secretary to the Government of India and he is paid a salary of Rs 80,000 per month plus other allowances as admissible. The appointments in other ministries or departments include that of Raghvendra Singh as Additional Secretary in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Dr Rajpal was made Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital on May 16. Later, on May 19, the Finance Ministry issued transfer orders of another 11 IRS officers to coveted posts of the Income Tax Department in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Even on May 20, the Finance Ministry issued orders for promotion of 104 officers of Customs and Excise Department from Group B to Group A ranks of Assistant Commissioners. Similarly, Ashwin B Pandya was appointed Chairman of the Central Water Commission and ex-officio Secretary to Government of India. On May 6, Bhagwati Prasad Pandey was appointed as Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser to the Department of Commerce under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Even being at the exit gate, the government hurriedly filled top positions and made major appointments. Interestingly, most vacancies filled were those lying unattended for several years. One such case is the appointment of Narendra Kothari as CMD of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The post was lying vacant since 2011 and it was the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister which cleared the appointment at the eleventh hour. Another post which was filled up was that of the Chairman of Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO). Dr Medithi Ravi Kanth, a 1986 batch IAS officer, was put in the chair towards the end of April. Not just the appointment of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as new Army Chief, many other key appointments in security establishments were made including that of Devendra Kumar Pathak as Director General of Border Security Force. The appointment of Jammu & Kashmir Police DGP Ashok Prasad as Special Director of Intelligence Bureau also came in first week of May. The appointment of Prof Mahesh Rangarajan as Director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is a classical case of obliging people of choice. Despite strong objections from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) Dr Manmohan Singh, on May 5, approved his permanent absorption as Director of NMML. This extension was rushed through in a fortnight in the last days with the ministry putting up the proposal for approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on April 30 and was cleared just days ahead of the election results. The order was issued on May 14. Rangarajan’s three-year term ends in August but now after this permanent absorption he will serve as Director until his superannuation in April 2024. In the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes under Ministry of Tribal Affairs also some appointments on constitutional posts were made in November 2013. According to an RTI dated May 26 (F.No.11030/2/2014-C&LM-I), the Ministry appointed Dr Rameshwar Oraon as Chairperson on November 1, 2013, Ravi Thakur as Vice Chairperson on November 13, 2013, Smt K Kamla Kumari as Member on November 1, 2013 and Bheru Lal Meena as Member on November 1, 2013. Though the previous three names have graduation or post graduation degree but the fourth on, Bheru Lal Meena, is just matriculation pass. The term of all the four persons is three years. Not only this Sheila Dikshit was appointed Governor of Kerala just a day before the imposition of model code of conduct i.e. on March 4. RTI response from Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed that selection of Sheila Dikshit as Governor was a one-man verbal directive of the then Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with all formalities from resignation of Nikhil Kumar, temporary posting of HR Bharadwaj followed by permanent posting of Sheila Dikshit on the post was completed within hours on the same day, March 4, 2014. Not only these appointments, the Congress showered largesse of spacious bungalows in the prestigious Lutyens' zone to its favourites a mere three days before the voters wiped it out of the power. On May 13, the government allotted bungalow at 5 Janpath to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and allowed Nandan Nilekani, the former Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India, to extend his occupation of a bungalow allotted to him as the Authority's chief. Sources say former Additional Solicitor General KTS Tulsi, who represented Robert Vadra in his land deal cases, was allotted a Type VIII bungalow at Motilal Nehru Marg. According to sources, there are hundreds of such other Congress nominees who were showered largesse just before the exit. Detail of all such appointments is yet to come out. It is yet to be seen whether these people continue or the new government removes them from the posts. It is undisputed fact that the Congress by appointing its people on key posts prior to leaving the office tried to ensure that it remains updated with what is going in the government. 10 Janpath confidant Sam Pitroda has already been shown the doors, but when the Congress leaders who were made Governors just to avoid their arrest in corruption cases, will be removed is yet to be seen. -Pramod Kumar
  5. As per Chief Information Commissioner's order, the tribal RTI appellants have finally received their compensation cheques (Rs. 2000 each). The CIC had said that the Jawhar Collector Office had unnecessarily made the tribals fight an RTI battle for information that was to be give pro-actively. This is probably the first time in Maharashtra that a government office had paid a compensation under RTI.
  6. I have done some analysis of the data, also showing those tax payers who have demands pending for both the years. The total comes to 32,352 crores, and some loose change. This pending demand for top 10 assessees in each category amounts to around 9% of total direct taxes collected during the year! even after taking into consideration the explainations in the covering note, we can safely say that if the department goes behind these people with a small carrot and a big stick, they can see a drastic increase in the country's revenues. But who will bell the cat? Incidently, I could spot 1 politician - Madhu Koda of Jharkand mining scam fame. Top ten pending demands of Income Tax..pdf
  7. Even the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is at very top - at number 5 - pending demand 51,69,86,410/-. Feeling proud to be associated with ICAI!
  8. As reported at indianexpress.com on 04 February 2014 The state animal welfare board has not held a single meeting in the past 11 years, Right To Information (RTI) queries have revealed. The last meeting of the board, which falls under the department of animal husbandry, was held in October 2002. The primary function of the board is to ensure proper implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960, the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, 1976, and norms associated with slaughterhouses and animal transportation. The board is also mandated to give recommendations to the state on animal welfare. Information sought under the RTI Act by an activist reveals that although the state animal welfare boards (SAWB), with a term of three years, were reconstituted in 1998, 2001, 2004 and in September 2013, after its constitution in 1991, meetings were held once each in 1991, 1992 and 2002. The board was formed in the state in 1991 after Maneka Gandhi, the then Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests, had written a letter to all the chief ministers requesting them to set up a State Animal Welfare Board (SAWB). Subsequently, in August 2008, the SupremeCourt had directed all the state governments to constitute SAWBs and and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in each district within three months from the date of the order. Furthermore, in the 2004 list of SAWB members, it was found that names of three members who had passed away were included in the list, said a former member who did not wish to be named. “No meetings, and not a single action taken by the SAWB, shows the state administration is not concerned with animal welfare. These boards are formed only to comply with the Centre’s direction,” said R K Joshi, who was a member of the board in 1998, 2001 and 2013. The newly-reconstituted board has 25 members, including the state’s Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister Madhukar Chavan as chairman, secretary Anil Diggikar as its member secretary as well as the commissioner of the animal husbandry department in Pune and animal welfare activists and vets from across the state. NGOs working in the field claim the state does not seem interested in animal welfare beyond constituting a committee. The view is also shared by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). “Most of the state animal welfare boards, including in Maharashtra have remained only on paper. They are required to work proactively to fulfill the mandate for which they have been established/set up,” said an official from the AWBI. The state, however, has not been able to provide a reason for the lack of meetings or any action taken by the SAWB. Diggikar said that although he is the member secretary of the board, the coordination between members is handled by the commissionerate of animal husbandry in Pune. “If the NGOs that are part of the board come to me requesting for a meeting, we would certainly hold one. We are not shunning our responsibility. But the NGOs are more aware of animal cruelty cases. We will definitely intervene to ensure there is no cruelty done to animals,” Diggikar said, adding that hardly any meetings are held even at the district level. Although a government resolution announced the reconstitution of the board in September 2013, a letter listing the functions of the board was issued only in December, Dr G P Rane, deputy commissioner of animal husbandry department in Pune. “Now that the functions have been laid down, we will approach the minister of animal husbandry and hold a meeting accordingly,” he added. Meanwhile, Shakuntala Majumdar from Thane SPCA, who became a member of the board in 2013, said she and a few other members from Mumbai were sending a letter to the additional commissioner of animal husbandry department this week requesting that a meeting be held at the earliest. anjali.lukose@expressindia.com
  9. Which section gives information commission such authority to put a blanket ban on disclosure of a type of information? neither of the sections quoted in order give any such authority.
  10. In recent past, Adarsh and Campa Cola issues are glaring example of huge misdeeds being unearthed because of availability of approved plans. It seems this order will effectively stop any such scam from coming out.
  11. On 26/09/2013, the chief Maharashtra information commissioner, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad, has issued an order. Its a suo mott order and not in any appeal or complaint proceeding. I am giving a working translation of the order below
  12. Hi Sir,


    I was googling and came across your profile here. I am a new member and I had couple of Doubts, which was asked in the forum and was answered by J P Shah Sir, If I were to ask you the same thing, would you be king enough to reply.

  13. Hi Sir,


    I was googling and came across your profile here. I am a new member and I had couple of Doubts, which was asked in the forum and was answered by J P Shah Sir, If I were to ask you the same thing, would you be king enough to reply.

  14. Thanks, Karira Sir. We did have a feeling that the SIC is doing some trick. We were orally informed that the hearing will not take place, but actually it did. Were the original applicants a party to hearing about show cause notice? Our outside enquiries tell us that the present SIC, in his earlier acatar as Chief Secratary of Maharashtra State, was not very enthusiastic about Forest Rights Act. Also his record of RTI is not very enc The Konkan SIC post, as you say, remains vacant. The CSIC, it seems, will try to provide information to us, but will refrain from declaring fines and penalties. High court is a new angle, will have to look into it.
  15. As reported by moneylife.in on 3rd October 2013 For the first time ever, a cabinet note, otherwise deemed `secret document’ is uploaded in the public domain to facilitate public consultations; thanks to public outcry A handbook issued by the Cabinet Secretariat, on guiding Parliamentarians on how to write cabinet notes states importance of such notes, as, “the decisions taken by the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees are fundamental to the governance of the country and form the basis of policy formulation as also for evaluating the impact of programs, policies, plans, projects and schemes of the Government.” Cabinet notes are deemed as secret documents and seeking copies of the same under the Right to Information (RTI) Act can be rejected under Section 8. However, thanks to the hue and cry by RTI activists and citizens all over the country, the RTI Amendment Bill, 2013, has been sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, making it open for public consultations too. When RTI activists questioned as to how can credible public suggestions/ objections be made without being informed about the arguments made in favour of keeping political parties out of the RTI Act, the Ministry of Personnel uploadedthe secret cabinet note on its website. This public disclosure is indeed historic and it gives a peek into the enthusiasm of the cabinet committee to keep political parties outside the purview of the RTI Act, out of which was born the RTI Amendment Bill, 2013. Some points which highlight the unusual speed and desperate argumentswith which the Cabinet operated to slip out of the RTI Act: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the placing of the RTI AmendmentOrdinance, 2013 and the Cabinet Note before the Cabinet on 9 July 2013. However,the secret cabinet note of 23rd July turns the Ordinance into an amendment bill, reflecting the hurry with which members of parliament (MPs) wanted to get out of the ambit of RTI Act. The note states, that after the PM’s nod, ``It is now proposed that instead of bringing an Ordinance, an Amendment Bill may be introduced in Parliament… Accordingly, a draft Bill namely, the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013 has been prepared and a copy of the same is placed below for the approval, before it is sent to the Administrative Department.’’ Observing that the Central Information Commission (CIC) has made “liberal interpretation of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act in its 3 June 2013 order, the Cabinet Note curiously states, in fact confesses, that political parties were not considered to be public authorities even when the National RTI Act was enacted. Excerpts from the Cabinet Note: “…Moreover, during the process of enactment of the RTI Act, it was never visualised or considered to bring the political parties within the ambit of the said Act. If the political parties are held to be public authorities under the RTI Act, it would hamper their smooth internal working. Further, it is apprehended that political rivals might file RTI applications with malicious intentions to the Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) of the political parties, thereby adverselyaffecting their political functioning.’’ The Cabinet Note demands the complete exclusion of political party as public authority. Excerpt: “It is proposed to bring a Bill to amend the RTI Act so as to explicitly provide in the definition of public authority that public authority shall not include any political party registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951…The Right to Information Act, 2005 shall be amended as below:..the following Explanation shall be inserted, namely:- Explanation — The expression‘authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted’ by any law made by Parliament shall not include anyassociation or body of individuals registered or recognised as political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.” The Cabinet Note demands that the Amendment should overrule any court order or any CIC decision. This goes to show how secretive political parties intend to be and at which lengths they want to go to not provide information. Excerpts: “…Notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order of any court or commission, the provisions of this Act, as amended by the Right to Information (Amendment) Act, 2013, shall have effect and shall be deemed always to have effect, in the case of any association or body of individuals registered or recognised as political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 or any other law for the time being in force and the rules made or notifications issued there under." The Cabinet Note suggests that the RTI Amendment Bill comes into force on 3 June itself , that is, on the same day as the CIC decision so that no political parties are held responsible for not appointing PIOs and AAs (as ordered by the CIC) during that interim period. Excerpt: “The proposed Act shall be deemed to have come into force on the 3rd day of June, 2013, since the CIC decision holding political parties to be public authority under the RTI Act is dated 3rd of June, 2013. As per the section 19(7) of the RTI Act, the decision of the CIC shall be binding. Thus, to eliminate possibility of any action against the political parties for non compliance of the said CIC decision during the period from 3rd of June, 2013 till date, it would be imperative to bring this Act into force from 3rd of June, 2013.’’ The Cabinet Note argues that transparency prevails even without political parties coming under the RTI Act. Excerpts: “… There are already provisions in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as well as in the Income Tax Act which lead to necessary transparency regarding the financial aspects of a political party.’’ The note also gives several other aspects of financial transparency (you may refer to the link provided in this article to see details) and then goes on to add: “Declaring a political party as public authority under the RTI would hamper its smooth internal working, which is not the objective of the RTI Act and was not envisaged by the Parliament under the RTI Act. Further, the political rivals may maliciously file a large number of RTI applications with the CPIOs of political parties, thereby adversely affecting the political functioning of the political parties. Thus, it is necessary to annul the adverse effects of the erroneous conclusion by the CIC that political parties are public authorities under the RTI.’’ Thus, it is imperative that a very large number of citizens send their suggestions/ objections to the Standing Committee by 6th October. The Standing Committee would be submitting its report by mid-December. Venkatesh Nayak, who has picked up cudgels for the people on this campaign through Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), says, “While the powers that be might be inclined to do a rethink on the Ordinance intended to let convicted MPs and hold on to their seats, the effort to amend the RTI Act to keep political parties out of its ambit goes on without much soul-searching. “ Recent news reports about the Cabinet Note attached to the Bill (accessible on the Dept. of Personnel’s website ) have indicated that the Government intends to exclude all political parties from the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) and not just those six national parties which were declared as public authorities by the CIC in June this year. In fact the text of the RTI Amendment Bill itself makes this intention very clear. The Cabinet Note only provides the reasoning for this retrograde move of the Government. Nayak adds, “Unfortunately, by claiming that political parties are private bodies, political leaders opposed to transparency have reduced the status and prestige of their parties to the level of ordinary associations and clubs which appear and disappear with time.” Other stories on this issue: RTI Amendment Bill: Why people can’t file suggestions, objections in languages other than Hindi, English? Over one lakh signatories request PM for public consultations on RTI amendment

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