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  1. I have addressed following letter to Gujarat Info. Com as a feed back and suggestion. Members comments are invited: _________________________________________________________ Date: 12-10-2010 by email To, State Chief Information Commissioner, Gujarat Information Commission, Bureau of Eco and Statistics Bldg, 1st floor Sector 18, Gandhinagar, Gujarat 382018 Email: gscic@gujarat.gov.in Hon’ble Sir, Subject: Remanding Appeals / Complaints--Suggestion On perusal of recent decisions of the Hon’ble Commission I have witnessed a trend in large number of cases, where by second appeals or complaints are remanded back to First Appellate Authorities [FAAs], even when appellants had filed first appeals and waited for at least 30 or 45 days + 10 days [both side postal time], before preferring second appeals or complaints. While remanding, explanation of FAAs is not sought for not having decided first appeal within stipulated time. Some of the recent decisions are: 1. Appeal No. 1098/2010-11 decided on 15-07-2010 2. Appeal No. 1181/2010-11 decided on 20-07-2010 3. Appeal No. 1240/2008-09 decided on 16-08-2010 4. Appeal No. 1284/2010-11 decided on 30-07-2010 Under such circumstances, FAAs will be encouraged not to decide on first appeal and thus compel appellants to file second appeals or complaints, since FAAs know that Hon’ble Commission will at the most remand back to FAAs only, after 3 to 6 months, without fixing accountability for not performing their duties under the Act. In addition to this, appellants are put to inconvenience, expenses, visits, frustration and wastage of time and money in approaching Hon’ble Commission and again to FAAs. This style pampers ego of FAAs and dignity of common men is lowered down in a democratic country. Appellants will once again be required to approach Hon’ble Commission if they are not satisfied with decisions of FAAs. This amounts to merry-go-round [pillar to post] bureaucratic procedure well known in India, which is antithetical to letter and spirit of RTI. This procedure not only delays supply of information and causes hardship to appellants, it also increases avoidable work load of already overburdened Hon’ble Commission. I am aware that decisions of CIC are not legally bound on SICs, but can act as a guide and may lead to best practices worth emulation by SICs. I therefore append below details of few recent decisions of CIC against non-performing FAAs: 1. No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001352/8407 dated 05-07-2010 2. No.CIC/SG/A/2010/000085/6895Adjunct dated 05-07-2010 3. No. CIC/AT/A/2008/00290 dated 17-07-2008 4. No.CIC/AD/A/2010/000952 dated August 18, 2010 While I respect decisions of Hon’ble GIC, which has to its credit many landmark and path breaking decisions in the past, I humbly suggest that time has come when at least FAAs’ explanation should be sought for dereliction of duties enjoined under RTI Act, while remanding appeals/complaints as is being followed by CIC. Hon’ble Commission may recommend disciplinary action in cases of bluntant transgression of RTI Act by FAAs. Two-three sentences in decision order will make FAAs responsible. This will have positive and cascading effect on attitude of FAAs, who must be studying trend in decisions of Hon’ble Commission. This will reduce congestion at GIC, reduce time and cost for appellants and will infuse sense of accountability in FAAs, at least for RTI. I am sure yourgoodselves will take my suggestion in a positive manner for the benefit of information seekers of this State. Yours faithfully, J. P. Shah
  2. Dear members (1). The applicant submits a compliant/letter to the manager of the office by RPAD. (2). The postal acknowledgement received for having delivered the letter. (3). No action was taken on complaint/letter. (4). The RTI application filed seeking the action taken report on the complaint submitted by xxx. (5). The PIO replies that the letter of XXX was not at all received. (6). First appeal filed with postal acknowledgment aganist PIO for denying the information. (7). FAA did not pass any order, instead the PIO write to the applicant that, from the appeal filed and the postal acknowledgment enclosed therein clearly shows it is not the signature of me(PIO). As the manager himself is PIO. (8). Further the PIO writes stating that "on enquiry in the office(of the manager) no letter received from xxx by RPAD". So request help from members withregard to the following: The postal acknowledgement bears the seal of the office and some signature on it. It is clear the letter was delivered to the office of the manager. Now the PIO who himself the manager is denying of having the received the letter. Whether the PIO can write as said at points (7) and(8) above after filing the appeal and when the time to decide by FAA is over and no order passed by PIO. whether PIO can act like FAA? FAA colluded with PIO? What the option left to the application please post your valuable views.
  3. One First Appellate Authority of Orissa State council for Technical Education & Vocational Training, Orissa was sent 4 different appeals for 4 different RTI applications not being provided to the appellant; was disposed up by saying that the appellant didn't turn up after 3 letters of summons . Is it right on the part of First Appellate Authority to act in such a manner? Can it be sent to the State Information Commission and will have merit ? If the First Appellate Authority will be fined as per procedure ?
  4. Can a PA designate a post such as Registrar or Chairman,P.G.Council or Principal as PIO or Appellate Authority? Or the PA has to appoint the PIO or Appellate authority by name of the employee?
  5. I made an appeal to FAA of a PA where the legal adviser of the PA advised the FAA not to hear me. The FAA called me n held a consultative meeting but refused to hear the appeal. FAA asked me to show the provision for a hearing. I insisted that any legal proceeding could not be decided "without granting an opportunity of being heard" is the prime principle of an equitable justice. But in the Act there is no direct and explicit reference of a hearing being held. I asked FAA to show me the Rules of RTI for Central PAs which were not available. So I produced the rules of the CIC which I pleaded should be applicable. However, unfortunately I could not find any direct reference to the Hearing to be held by FAA and in such case the first appeal would be decided without granting me a hearing. There are many orders of the CIC I have seen on your site where personal hearing was granted by the FAA and there are no objection raised by any party. But that does not prevent the FAA from deciding the matter ex-parte. Could you pl therefore guide as to what is the correct position of law in this matter?
  6. In a recent order, CIC has recommended Disciplinary Action against the FAA of MCD. The FAA failed to conduct a hearing and pass orders in spite of specific directions of the CIC, within the mandated time limit of 30 days or maximum 45 days. The CIC ordered: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SG-22022010-03.pdf The First Appellate Authority Mr. Krishan Kumar has provided no reasons for not having done his duty specified under the Act. His submission infact show that he does not appear to have any understanding of the duty cast upon him by Section 19(6) of the RTI Act which states that he shall dispose the first appeal with in 30 days. It is thus apparent that Mr. Krishan Kumar, Dy. Commissioner and First Appellate Authority has refused to do his duty under the RTI Act and has no reasons or explanation for this. All public officers are expected to do their duties as mandated by law and this is not a matter in which an officer can decide how he will discharge his duties. In view of this the Commission recommends to the Municipal Commissioner that appropriate disciplinary should be initiated against Mr. Krishan Kumar for dereliction of his duty as First Appellate Authority. The Municipal Commissioner is directed to inform the Commission about the action initiated against Mr. Krishan Kumar before 20 April 2010.
  7. Blog by Krishnaraj Rao at thebravepedestrian.rediffiland.com/blogs on 10 October, 2009 How Central & State Information Commissioners (CICs / SICs) screw up your RTI Second Appeal Some below-mentioned behaviours are so common that we dont even think of them as offences. Appellants have come to accept them as legitimate in the context of overall government systems that dont function, or function badly. But they really are instances of dereliction of duty by Information Commissioners, whose duties are clearly defined in not only Sec 18 and 19, but also the entire RTI Act! These people are paid fat salaries and given huge privileges to uphold the RTI Act in its entirety, and not to shield corrupt officials and protect the status quo! Please dont accept shoddy service from Information Commissioners. We must persistently lodge written complaints if we want changes to happen in the system. The below items are mostly in past-tense to enable complainants to copy-paste them into their own complaint letters. PROBLEMS ABOUT ACCEPTING COMPLAINTS 1) Commission refused to accept Complaint u/s 18, and insisted on Appellant filing 1st Appeal first. Information Commission staff argued that its rules and procedures stipulated that it would not accept or entertain complaint directly. This violates Sec 18(1) which mandates that Commission shall receive and enquire into complaints. 2) Commissioner remanded Complaint u/s 18 to 1st Appellate Authority after Hearing. This is a thoughtless and insensitive act by the Commissioner, whose duty it is to help citizens get information as quickly as possible, and not to get them entangled in procedural matters. PROBLEMS ABOUT HEARINGS 3) Delayed Hearing. Hearing not held even 3 months after 2nd Appeal/Complaint was filed. (2nd Appeal / Complaint was filed on __________________________ date.) 4) Delay indicates out-of-turn Hearings. This Appellant / Complainant has not received Hearing notice, although many others who filed much later have been heard. (2nd Appeal / Complaint was filed on __________________________ date.) 5) Hearing was postponed for ____ no. of hours / days /weeks to facilitate PIO / FAA. Commissioner is in the practice of postponing Hearing if PIO, FAA or other representatives of the Public Authority are delayed or cannot attend, despite inconvenience to the Appellant who is present. (However, the same consideration is not shown if Appellant is late or cannot attend.) 6) Hearing was repeatedly adjourned. The Appellant was inconvenienced by having to travel from ____________________ (city / village / area) to ____________________ (city / village / area) to attend hearings on all these dates: (a) ___________________ (b) ___________________ © ____________________ (d) ___________________ 7) Notice of Hearing reached Appellant after Hearing date, ex parte Order was passed in favour of PIO. Intimation of Hearing was delivered to Appellant on ___________________ date at __________ time, whereas Hearing was fixed at ___________________ date at __________ time. This denied the Appellant an opportunity to attend. Hence Order passed in PIOs favour is unfair and illegal. 8) Notice of Hearing was sent late, giving Appellant insufficient time to prepare and attend, and ex parte Order was given in PIOs favour. Intimation of Hearing was served to Appellant on ___________________ date at __________ time, whereas Hearing was fixed at ___________________ date at __________ time. This prevented the Appellant, residing in ____________ (city / village / area) from attending the Hearing held in ______________ (city / town / area), due to travel constraints or needed to make advance bookings on railway /airline / bus. This denied the Appellant an opportunity to prepare and attend. Hence Order passed in PIOs favour is unfair and illegal. 9) During Hearing, Commissioner argued on behalf of PIO. Instead of acting in a judge-like capacity and calling on PIO to justify delay / denial etc, Commissioner acted like the Public Authoritys defence lawyer and spoke on their behalf. 10) Commissioner used his authority to cow down the Appellant and prevent him from exposing the flaws in PIOs argument. Commissioner displayed partiality and deliberately allowed PIOs false claims to go unchallenged. 11) Commissioner did not allow Appellant to be REPRESENTED by others at the Hearing. Appellant was marked absent although he deputed someone to appear on his behalf. 12) Commissioner did not allow Appellant to be ACCOMPANIED by others at the Hearing. Appellant was asked to attend alone, although PIO and FAA was allowed to bring lawyers, advisors, head of the Public Authority etc. 13) Commissioner entered into arbitration and grievance-redressal. He did not exhibit judge-like behavior, and conducted the Hearing like a Panchayat or arbitration proceedings. He did not focus on whether or not the PIO had acted diligently as per the RTI Act. 14) Commissioner indulged in chitchat and small-talk. He did not conduct Hearing in a serious manner. In the end, there was no conclusion, and everything was left to his discretion. 15) Advance copy of PIOs justification was not given to Appellant, thereby denying Appellant time to prepare his rebuttal. Commissioner handicapped the Appellant and allowed the PIO/FAA to come up with surprises at the Hearing -- a serious breach of the principles of natural justice and fair-play. 16) Appellant was made to justify why he needed information, or why he filed RTI Application to this particular Public Authority. This is a violation of Sec 6(2), which specifies that RTI applicant shall not be required to give reasons for requesting information. PROBLEMS CONCERNING ORDERS 17) Order is not passed, long after the Hearing. Order is not passed so far, __________ no. of months after Hearing. (Date of 2nd Appeal / Complaint Hearing was __________________. Current date is ____________________) 18) Late Order: Order was passed ____ no. of months after Hearing. (Date of Hearing was _______________. Date of Order was __________________) 19) Order is faulty because it CREATES NEW EXEMPTIONS from disclosure. The reasons given in the Order for justifying non-disclosure are not listed under Section 8 or 9, or anywhere else in the RTI Act. 20) Order ignores the crucial fact that RTI application was CONCERNING LIFE & LIBERTY. Failure to award penalties for not responding in 48 hours encourages negligence by the Public Authority in urgent matters of life and liberty. 21) Order ignores the fact that NO REPLY WAS GIVEN to the RTI application dated ____________ until ______________ date, after filing of 1st Appeal / 2nd Appeal. It ignores Section 7(1) and 7(2), which are extremely important under the RTI Act, and fails to take action u/s 20. 22) By upholding non-disclosure of the requested information, Order ignored and violated Section 8(1)(j) second paragraph, which states that any information that cannot be denied to the Parliament or Legislature cannot be denied to any person. 23) Order is based on improper Hearing procedures. Commissioner did not take note of crucial statements of Appellant / PIO / FAA. Order ignored key facts and evidences that emerged during the Hearing. 24) Order is passed without reference to what was discussed at Hearing. What is written in the Order does not match what was spoken at the Hearing. Brief points or highlights of the Hearing: a) b) c) Corresponding points or highlights of the Order that are not in accordance with Hearing: a) b) c) COMPLIANCE & FOLLOW-UP PROBLEMS 25) Although Order said Give Information within ________ no. of days, there is no compliance from Public Authority although _________ no of days has passed. Information Commissioner is not taking any further action to ensure compliance with this Order, and is still not issuing show-cause notice. Also, he is not ordering compensation to be paid to the Appellant who is handicapped / senior citizen. 26) Although show-cause notice was issued on _______________ date, there is no further action on the matter although _______________ no. of months have passed. Information Commissioner is not taking any further action to ensure compliance. 27) Although Penalty Proceedings were held on _______________ date, and orders were issued to recover penalty amount on _______________ date, no further action has been taken although _____________ no. of months have passed. Information Commissioner is not taking any further action to ensure compliance. CHRONIC OR ONGOING PROBLEMS 28) This Commissioners Orders frequently say, Give Information within ________ no. of days but did not award penalty or recommend disciplinary action. Nor is compensation awarded to Appellant. Thus the PIO / FAA / Public Authorities are allowed to go unpunished after harassing the Appellant for many months and years. 29) This Commissioners Reasoning of Order is not as per RTI Act. The reasoning ignores mandatory provisions of RTI Act such as Sections 7(1), 7(2), 19(5) and 20. 30) This Commissioners Orders tend to be based on laws, rules, regulations and arguments outside the RTI Act. He ignores Section 22, which states that RTI Act supersedes all other laws and rules. 31) Orders are passed without noting PIOs violation of Section 7(1). This Commissioner does not apply his mind to number of days of delay or denial. In this way, he quietly condones PIOs violation without even questioning them. Commissioner consistently ignores mandatory provisions of Sec 7(2), Sec 19(5) and Sec 20, and therefore his Order lacks proper reasoning. 32) Despite repeated violations by the same PIO / Public Authority, Information Commissioner is not invoking Section 20. He is not recommending penalties and disciplinary action even after persistent delay / denial / misleading replies. 33) Commissioner accepts PIOs/public authoritys LAME EXCUSES such as files lost on face value and passes Orders in their favour. He did not ask PIOs to support their claims with evidence, affidavits, FIR copy etc. 34) Commissioner habitually accepts FAULTY OR WEAK EVIDENCE from PIOs in support of their claims, and passes Orders in their favour. He does not critically examine the evidence. 35) Orders often falsely state that PIO / FAA / Public Authority was present, while they were actually absent at Hearings. The Orders then go in favour of the Public Authority. This suggests that this Commissioner often holds private discussions with them and colludes with them. 36) PIOs are not asked to justify before Hearing, but Order are nonetheless in PIOs favour. Violating Section 19(5) and Section 20(1) last paragraph which clearly state that responsibility for justifying denial etc. falls on PIO), Commissioner conducts Hearing without requiring PIOs written or oral justification. Then Orders are passed in PIOs favour. Such Orders are faulty because they lacks due application of mind to mandatory provisions of the RTI Act. 37) Unfriendly atmosphere. The general conduct of the Information Commissioner and his staff towards Appellants is hostile and unhelpful. 38) Commissioner is hard of hearing. He cannot follow much of the discussion that happens during the Hearings, and therefore passes Orders in an arbitrary way. 39) Commissioner confers privately with PIO / FAA / Public Authority while the Appellants are strictly asked to wait outside the office. This shows partiality. 40) Commission staff members are giving consultation and advice to PIO / FAA / Public Authority on how to secure a favourable Order. Corruption and undue influences are seen to be at work. 41) There is no facility for recording spoken submissions during Hearings. There is no stenographer or typist present during hearings to assist the Commissioner by noting statements. Proceedings are conducted in an arbitrary and haphazard manner. Orders are passed by the Commissioner based on scribbled notes and his own faulty memory. 42) Order format is not transparent and well-reasoned. Reasons for admitting or dismissing 2nd Appeals / Complaints are not clear. Also, directions given are often vague. 43) Order is not conclusive. Commissioner passed vague interim order that do not lead to any meaningful action by the Public Authority. 44) Commissioner does not apply his mind to the Grounds of Appeal or to the arguments put forth by the appellant at the time of hearing. Appellant is admonished and silenced by saying Dont raise your voice, or Be careful, you are speaking before a judge, or Dont speak out of turn or I shall listen to you later (though that never happens). 45) Commissioner makes rambling speeches about his own achievements and other irrelevant matters. He frequently goes off on a tangent from the main topic. 46) Although the Order is clear that PIO should give information, it fails to mention any reasons as to why he is not being penalized for delay / denial / misleading replies etc. 47) Commissioner does not serve show-cause notice to the PIO at giving intimation of Hearing. 48) Commissioner does not question the proof of dispatch of the reply or information offered by PIO. A simple entry in the office register that reply has been posted is accepted as proof of delivery. Source: How Central & State Information Commissioners (CICs / SICs) screw up your RTI Second Appeal::Krishnaraj Rao in Mumbai : Right to Information blog at Rediff iLand
  8. As reported at punjabnewsline.com on 26 October 2009 SANGRUR: Taking serious note for not providing information in prescribed time of 30 days as well as not appearing in the District RTI court under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Appellate Authority Cum Deputy Commissioner Sangrur has issued a ‘show cause’ notice to the SDM Dhuri, SDM Moonak & SDM Malerkotla asking him to explain why action should not be taken against him on this account. In an application dated June 15, 2009 under the RTI Act, Jatinder Jain , head of an NGO, SANKALP, had asked the Deputy commissioner sangrur for information about the functions, seminars or any other activities done by Sangrur administration or in subdivisions of Sangrur district for promotion of RTI Act 2005, What activities of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual maintenance are supposed to be carried to promote this act?, Brief of activities plan Vs organized during the period from the day of implementation of act to date of filling application & many more question for regarding RTI promotion’s Sunam, Lehragaga & Sangrur provide the information but After more than a month went by and he did not receive any reply from SDM, Dhuri, Malerkotla & Moonak he appealed to the SDM’s first appellate authority cum Deputy commissioner on August 10, 2009. After which the appellate authority taking the cognizance of the matter issued notices to SDMs on September 24, 2009 & instruct them to be appear personally after providing information to Mr. Jain on October 13, 2009. Though during the hearing the office barer of The SDMs submitted the answer to the asked query. Jain, though expressing non-satisfaction over the information provided to him, submitted before the appellate authority that the SDMs was not at all serious about the RTI Act and they not appear in the court even after the order of Deputy commissioner. He said the SDMs provide information & that is not correct only after the Deputy Commissioner summoned them for a hearing. Jain demanded action under section 20 (1) of the RTI act against SDM Dhuri, Moonak & Malerkotla for not supplying the information. He also demanded initiation of action under section 166 of the IPC & demand suitable compensation should be awarded to appellant under section 19 (8) (b) of RTI Act for the "detriment and loss suffered by him" on account of the delay in obtaining the desired information. Accordingly, Deputy commissioner cum appellate authority has also issued a ‘show cause’ notice to All three SDMs, asking him why he should not be penalized for the delay in providing the required information. Deputy Commissioner cum appellate authority ordered them to be appeared in District RTI court on October 27, 2009. Source: PunjabNewsline.com - Three Punjab SDM's in dock for not giving right info under RTI Act
  9. In a recent order IC SM has observed that: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/SM-01042009-11.pdf In this case, we also noted that the first Appellate Authority did not pass the order himself on the appeal filed before him but asked the CPIO to convey the order on its behalf. This is not permissible. The first Appellate Authority has to hear the appeal himself and give an opportunity of hearing to the Appellant and pass the order. It is not correct to delegate this function to someone else.
  10. shri8131

    FAA is different

    I had filed an RTI with PIO of Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) asking information regarding an affiliated unit of SAG, Goa State Chess Association (GSCA) on Jan 19 2009. I received immidiate reply on Jan 21 advising to approch GSCA. However it was not farwardes to GSCA as per RTI ACT. I filed a grivence with FAA Director of Sports and Yoth affairs on Feb 2 2009. Director Sports and Yourth Affairs replied that FAA of PIO SAG is Executive Director SAG on FEB 11. Reply letter received by me on Feb 20. I have given my grevence to FAA Executive Director, SAG today on Feb 23. But it is One Month since reply by PIO SAG. When Can I approch State Commissioner? Please see date RTI filed JAn 19 2009 Replied Received Jan 21 2009 Grivence to FAA Sports Director FEb 2 Replied Received dt Feb 11 FEb 20 saying I am not FAA
  11. As per the Act, the FAA is required to record the reasons for delay in writing if he passes his order after 30 days of receiving the first appeal. Is the FAA required to include the reasons in the order itself and provide the reasons to the appellant? Or just writing the reasons is sufficient?
  12. Attached is a recent order of the CIC, passing stinging strictures against the AA of CBDT. Several important points to be noted: 1. CIC passed a order on 20/6/2007 allowing disclosure (inspection). 2. AA on his own passed another order on 25/1/2008 with holding some part of information under Sec 8(1)(j). He also condescendingly ordered that photocopies may be provided to the applicant. Appellant went back to the CIC and the order is: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/AT-17072008-09.pdf "...................The order of the Appellate Authority is wholly misconceived and, shows an utter ignorance of the RTI law. First, once the orders of the Commission had been issued, it was not open to the Appellate Authority to sit in judgement on how to apply that order. Nowhere in the order of the Commission dated 20.06.2007, it was stated that Appellate Authority, or for that reason any other respondent, would decide which part of the information to be withheld from inspection once the order was for the inspection of the entire file. Second, there was no reason for the Appellate Authority to condescendingly record in his order that the appellant could be provided photocopies of the documents in spite of the fact that no such orders were contained in the Commission’s above decision. It is surprising that the Appellate Authority did not know the elementary fact that it is the right of a petitioner to receive photocopies of documents ― especially the documents he had inspected ― under Section 2(j) of the RTI Act. It is this incapacity of the officers such as this Appellate Authority to comprehend the RTI law that proceedings are prolonged and they multiply. ........... Notices may issue to the Appellate Authority, Shri M.D.Sinha, Director (Ad.VI) to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on him, as holder of the information; for distorting the Commission’s orders and failing to provide to the appellant his rightful information. Returnable in two weeks. .......... A notice may also separately issue to the head of the public authority, viz. Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, repeated to the Appellate Authority, as to why a compensation of Rs.50,000/- not be awarded to the appellant for the detriment suffered by him due to the deliberately dilatory and evasive action of the Appellate Authority, Shri M.D.Sinha in the matter of disclosure of information. Returnable in two weeks. ===================== Note: AA is being penalised here not as a AA BUT as a "holder of information" AT-17072008-09.pdf
  13. jiwateshwar

    Alternate FAA

    Is it possible to ask the C.P.I.O. to appoint an alternate or different FAA for filing the first appeal. Kindly see the attachments of post http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/5707-electronic-means-right-information-application.html In this case the FAA is himself involved in the case and has made unauthorized correspondence. As per section 19(1) the appeal can be laid before an officer senior in rank. Also it makes no sense in filing an appeal before a person who is himself involved in the act of denying me information. Plz advise
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