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  1. My suggestions to improve certain measures in RTI ACt 2005, which will strengthen the RTI Act 2005: RTI Act 2005 Why RTI Act Enacted? In simple terms, Public to know factual information by means of Govt reply, in any matter, which can be shared with Parliament of India, without going to the Court., In a time bound manner. But, what CPIO and FAA does? Without giving information to the RTI seeker, CPIO/FAA pass it on to the RTI seeker to approach Second Appeal Process to CIC, Delhi, with all copies of documents. In this process, the Information seeker lost about 75 days time. Some, they don't even go to FAA , as either they don't have time, not knowledgable, or not well equipped. Or People won't have time, and considering cost won't go to multiple authorities for the same request. If CPIO Reply Is not satisfactory even to CPIO/FAA it is also not satisfactory to the RTI seeker. Mere warning To CPIO for time delay by FAA is eye wash! CIC, Delhi could proactively process the cases, where information is not shared, and order *the CPIO/FAA to furnish the information, without asking the RTI seeker to appeal. In such cases, there is no need to keep the file pending and hearing notice issued. The duty of RTI seeker must be reduced to only one time, that is his first time request to CPIO, and he should not be bothered to do First Appeal and Second Appeal. It is the duty of the CPIO, that info should reach the RTI seeker, without even a phone call. This is because, RTI request cannot be altered, but he can file separate request, if any additional info is required. Third party outsourcing on the lines of Passport issue: Every Govt Department must on a daily basis, upload in the online portal with CIC, alongwith specific Registration Number, all the Manual RTI requests received.* RTI HQ must have Information Centre, based on all decisions of CPIO/FAA/CIO, for the benefit of RTI seekers and CPIO/FAA must follow the same in letter and spirit. A third *party service provider like n the case of Passport issue, may be engaged. Mobile App for RTI: And also an Mobile App for seeking RTI request is warranted at the earliest. Increase in Strength of CIC and Opening of Regional Centres: Because of mere rejection of information by CPIO/FAA nearly 26000 Complaints/Appeals accumulated in CIC Office as on 30.06.2017. Considering more and more people have become aware, seeking info through RTI, the strength of IC may be increased to atleast 20 from current strength of 10, or One More Wing atChennai/Mumbai may be opened covering Atleast 10 States. Automatic rejection by CPIO should be penalised: Just because information is not shared and refused by CPIO/FAA out of ignorance or casual, or willful attitude, It should not be directed to CIO. When CIO orders to share the info, they could have done it on their own, which will be face saving and avoid loss of time, energy. CPIO/FAA should be punished instantaneously for making Govt's position awkward, in front of its Citizens. Repetition of rejection of info, under RTI, Increment cut may be made to CPIO/FAA. In Online RTI, delay at Nodal Office is not warranted, as it adds one more tyre, and delay is bound to happen. Always CPIO don't give info proactively on his own, but gets legal opinion from his Dept Advocate and after discussion with FAA, before passing on info. Which cases alone will have to come to CIO for decision? If strict penalty is imposed on the Officer CPIO, FAA concerned and not Department, majority of cases will get resolved at the Department itself. RTI itself is a very simple Act. There should not be any doubt to the Govt Departments first. If any query or doubt is there in the Act, let the Dept take it up with DPAP, for amendment in Parliament, without rejecting RTI request.* I also offer the following suggestions, for amendment of RTI Act 2005 in the interest* of Public and Govt transparency. 1. Crystal clear neatly definedRules, defining all informations, asked in whatever form, question, or implied or explicit,* anything and everything under definition of 2(f). Because certain CPIO, just like reject RTI request under this rule, without understanding the importance of RTI request. 2. CPIO may be made into 3 Members Committee along with one respectable outsider and First Appeal layer may be scrapped. Reason being One Member CPIO is rather a junior guy, understandably he always takes the opinion of in house Lawyers or outside legal opinion,in replying queries. 3. CPIO, always don't share the fact of the information* invariably, either partial or rejected, making Appellant's* to knock at the doors of FAA, for same info. Main preamble for RTI is to share info, but CPIO, forgetting this and giving evasive and unsatisfactory reply always, is condemnable, and punishable severely. CPIO may have been trained not to share info, at the first instance, in order to dissuade applicant, making it a lengthy process. 4. Because of unsatisfactory /evasive reply, the Commission work increases many fold, whereas it could have been sorted at CPIO/FAA level, easily. 5. IF FAA also maintains the wrong stand of CPIO, and if CIO reverses the stand, severe punishment should be slapped on FAA. 6. Huge accumulation of Second Appeal Petition is because of callous attitude of CPIO and FAA, because of their belegrant attitude of legal team, which always brings the issue to the CIC. 7. Always involvement of Legal Team, misguide the CPIO/FAA, the matter goes to Second Appeal in huge numbers. The Public Authority should penalize such Legal authority in house. The Legal Team misunderstood the factual information sharing under RTI Act with Legal procedures and thus confusing the whole process. 8. Further, CPIO/FAA RTI disposal in respect of Satisfactory reply to Appellant, to be given weightage in their annual appraisal. 9. Under Section 7(1) of RTI Act, what are all information comes under "Life and Liberty " like Pension, should be spelt out clearly, as several contradictory* decisions of ICs, have given confusing directions to general public. Any information concerning and affecting the life of Applicant, may be included as Life and Liberty. It is pathetic, when we put Life and Liberty under RTI, we have not defined what are all matters coming under this. Over a period of time and at the advent of Technology, RTI Act, this definition must include the various occasions. 10. In toto, the main aim is to give information, and centralization of CPIO/FAA at one place, dedicated CPIO/FAA, could avoid unnecessary rejections and finally accumulating at CIC. Many RTI info seekers, left it in the middle, once CPIO rejects . It is understood many CPIO,FAA, Govt Depts/Banks are trained to reject the RTI petition, first, in order to dissuade or buying more time, without knowing the purpose of RTI Act. 11. During second appeal online,* uploading of RTI request, First Appeal, CPIO reply, FAA reply may be avoided, as it is not user friendly to attach so many fields,* instead, CPIO/FAA must mark copy of the reply online. Attaching, so many files discourages online fling of RTI request/Second Appeal., to a layman. Digitizations of RTI request may improve functioning. Kindly take my view above suggestions, in the draft RTI, to improve transparency of Givt functioning Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using RTI INDIA mobile app
  2. By Fullmoon Lyngdoh in Theshillongtimes.com on Jul 22, 2017 Social audit: An element of transparency, accountability and participatory democracy – The Shillong Times Social audits refer to a legally mandated process where potential and existing beneficiaries evaluate the implementation of a programme by comparing official records with ground realities. In simple mathematics, RTI plus Public Hearing is equal to Social Audit. Social audit is based on the principle that democratic local governance should be carried out, as far as possible with the consent and understanding of all concerned. It creates an impact upon governance. It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard. Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies. These audits were first made statutory in a 2005 Rural Employment Act. One of the key ideas of Social Audit is that people should be equipped to carry out audits themselves. The Rajasthan based Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) played an important role in the formulation and passage of the RTI and MNREGA acts and was the first in the country to pioneer social audits. It was one of the basic mechanisms used to establish why the Right to Information was needed. Without information, there`s seems to be no way to start questioning. They serve as an important tool to detect corruption and influence redress. Social audit is no longer a choice. Along with other transparency and accountability platforms, it is a legal, moral, and democratic necessity. The government can decide to use these interventions and harness peoples’ energies in facing the vast challenge of implementation and monitoring. The objectives of Social Audit includes: Prioritization of developmental activities as per requirements, Proper utilization of funds, Conformity of the developmental activity with the stated goals, Quality of service etc. The benefits includes: Involvement of people in developmental activities to ensure that money is spent where is it actually needed, Reduction of wastages, Reduction in corruption, Awareness among people, Promotes integrity and a sense of community among people, Improves the standard of governance and many others. Since in every budget, be it the Union Budget or State Budget, more than 50% of the budget goes towards welfare schemes, therefore it’s important to track how, and how much money is diverted away from intended recipients. Social audits serve as a better monitoring tool for these schemes. In some states like Telangana the digitally monitored scheme MGNREGA is physically audited through a system of Social Audit and the images of worksites are captured and uploaded online. MNREGA is world class as every rupee is tracked, but still manipulation is possible. So to say that physical verification is unnecessary because everything is digitally captured is to allow ourselves to fall into a trap. In Meghalaya too, the social audit carried out so far under MNREGA has unearthed several anomalies and irregularities and several FIRs have also been filed against the Rangbah Shnong for failing to provide an account of the implementation of the right to work scheme. There have been instances where the field personnel have been implicated or removed based on the findings of the social audits. This is indicative of the fact that Social Audit is working and is a tool to further reinforce transparency and accountability in governance. Social Audit is a must to bring to light lapses, misdeeds and misappropriations in various fields like Education, Healthcare, Employment, treatment of women etc. In Education sector, there have been many allegations on the misuse of the mid-day meal scheme. In Healthcare, the poor patients are subjected to maltreatment and exploitation with funds disbursed for supply to them through medicines, diet etc. Under MNREG Scheme, the number of people actually working is much less than that shown for claiming the wages payable and the work done is poor in quality and quantity. In several departments/agencies/Authority etc., be it the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, PWD, Water Resource Dept etc. public money intended for a particular purpose (say blacktopping of a stretch of rural road) is diverted towards purchasing luxury vehicles for officers even though the department`s demand for grants submitted to the Assembly Secretariat to finalize the appropriation bills never mentioned such requirements. Meghalaya being a state not much penetrated by Information Technology, the talks of Digital or e-governance is still a possible distant reality. Many schemes, programs or projects implemented so far have reached the beneficiaries either partially or disproportionately as no audit mechanism is available as of now except for the centrally sponsored scheme- MNREGA due to a statutory provision under section 23 and section 17 of the Act. With the enactment of the Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Service Audit Act, 2017 let`s hope that there will be better implementation of government schemes and empowerment for the citizens of the state to participate in the developmental exercise by bringing in an element of transparency and accountability in governance. The act mandates the inclusion of at least two women in the Social Audit committees (section 11 (3)(iv)) which is very much required in a land, where traditionally only men have been running the show. The objective of this act is to review delivery of public services and implementation of government schemes, programmes and projects through a participatory social audit by the government as well as the stakeholders. One of the objectives of the act is to educate the citizens and to make them aware of their rights and entitlement thought the process of social audit. It will enhance citizen`s ownership in the development initiatives taken up by the Government in the true spirit of participatory democracy. Social audit process will be a platform for airing of public grievances and ensure a time-bound redress of the same. Under the Act, the government is mandated to constitute a State Social Audit Council. The programmes, schemes and projects implemented by different government departments, agencies or organizations that will be subject to social audit include Education (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Midday Meal), various healthcare services, services provided by MeECL, Climate Change activities and services provided by the PHE department among others. However, not all is rosy and hurdle free. Experiences indicate that institutionalization on the ground has been inadequate, and has faced great resistance from the establishment. The lack of adequate administrative and political will in institutionalizing social audit to deter corruption has meant that social audits in many parts of the country are not independent from the influence of implementing agencies. Take the case of the Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Service Audit Act, 2017, the act provides for the appointment of members to the State Social Audit Council to be made by the government. As long as the appointment procedure is not neutral and independent, the function of the Council is bound or prone to be influenced by the implementing agency. Effective audit process will highly depend on the integrity, probity and honesty of the District Social Audit Coordinator and the cooperation of the Social Audit Facilitator. Awareness on the importance of social audit by the village/locality social audit committees will be crucial and the active participation of the masses will be significant which we have to wait and watch. So far there is no news of the above committees having been formed. No NGO has pushed the Government to craft out the rules following the passage of the Act so that it becomes effective at the earliest. Without public pressure the Act will remain another paper tiger.
  3. Accused in a fraud case is also entitled to use RTI Umesh Mohurle, an employee of the postal department in Gondia, near Nagpur, who allegedly committed fraud to the tune of Rs1 crore and is accused of tampering with official information, is under investigation. A complaint has been filed with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This propelled his wife and other family members to file over 70 applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act since 2015, 51 of which were in second appeal with the Central Information Commission (CIC). While disposing off these second appeals, early this week, Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Prof M Sridhar Acharyulu, said “The public authority should be cautious while rejecting an application because, though the Mr Mohurle is an accused in fraud case pending investigation, he cannot be denied the entitlement to RTI as a citizen merely on those grounds.” He directed that only information which could hamper investigation should not be given. The order elaborates, “The foundation of criminal justice system is influenced by principles of natural justice of transparency and openness of public trial. RTI includes within its rubric right to information of the accused, victim and others… If it impedes the process of investigation, then information need not be disclosed. Thus, the only qualification before furnishing information is whether it impedes investigation of the prosecution, given under S.8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act. Any information that does not impede must be given to accused in a fraud case by the CBI.” Link Accused in a fraud case is also entitled to use RTI It is not clear from the report whether PIO refused the information on such grounds or not ?
  4. Reported by Abid Khan in Arynews.tv on 14th July 2017 LHC chief justice makes financial records public - ARYNEWS Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC) Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Friday disclosed his financial records by forwarding the details to provincial Information Commission under Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013. Forwarding the financial information, Registrar LHC’s press release asserted that a government authority or official can have an access to information relating the public affairs under the act. However, it prohibits authorities to ask for any kind of information pertaining to personal affairs of an individual. “The information was disclosed and forwarded in order to retain the reverence of Chief Justice’s post despite the law prohibits for it,” the statement added. Shedding light on Chief Justice’s personal life, the LHC registrar’s press release said he started practicing law after completion of the degree. The Chief Justice through the press release also gave an explanation that as a judge he had never taken any kind of loan and neither write off it. The statement further said that the Chief Justice received Rs6.4 million for medical treatment of his son abroad on medical board recommendations and remaining amount of Rs2 million was returned to public exchequer. Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has also published income tax report for the fiscal year 2016-17 on the LHC’s website. The statement insisted that Chief Justice is not director of any company and he was appointed as director in his family textile mill when he was a student. However, he relinquished his designation after completion of his law degree. “The details which were sought pertaining to textile mills by Information Commission Punjab, was sold back in 1988 and the ownership was transferred in 1990 under the High Court’s orders,” statement further added.
  5. A division bench of the Supreme Court has favoured bringing the Chief Justice of India (CJI) within the ambit of Right to Information Act. The two judges pointed out that CJI has nothing to hide because he has no secretive business to hide. The bench held the same view about governors also. They rejected the specious argument of the Solicitor-General that constitutional authorities discharge sovereign functions and they should be exempted from the purview of the RTI Act. The bench went a step further and held that not only the CJI and the governors but ‘all constitutional functionaries’ should be brought under the RTI to bring transparency and accountability in their functioning. Read more at: | A welcome decision on RTI ambit | The Echo of India
  6. Reported by Thehansindia.com on July 11, 2017 Whistle-blowers the fourth pillar Kisan Baburao Hazare (Anna) is a social activist, who has led many, grassroots movements to promote rural development, and increase government transparency. He led many grassroots movements demanding investigations into the misdeeds of those in public office. He has undertaken frequent hunger strikes reminiscent of Mahatma Gandhi and is known for the contribution he has made, to the development of Ralegaon Siddhi, a village in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra. In recognition of his services to the nation was awarded with the prestigious Padma Bhushan. More recently, in 2011, he hit the headlines by sitting on a hunger strike to pressure on the Indian government to enact a stringent anti-corruption law, (the Lokpal Bill) which would create an authority empowered, to deal with corruption in public places. His action triggered nationwide protests and, finally, the central government accepted Hazare's demands and ordered the constitution of a joint committee of Parliament to study the proposal. I had the extraordinary good fortune of having had a personal relationship with him during my years as Additional Sectary dealing with Land Resources in the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. In fact, I had to send a team of staff to assist Anna Saheb in setting his house in order as, submerged as he was in his service - oriented activities, book-keeping accounting and audit of his office was totally neglected. I recall with fondness and pride the many frank and forthright discussions we often had on several important national issues. Subramanian Swamy, a colourful figure who apparently revels in controversy, is an Indian economist, mathematician and politician who is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was the President of the Janata Party until it merged with the Bharatiya Janta Party. He has also served as a member of the Planning Commission of India and was a Cabinet Minister in the short lived Chandra Shekar government. He was a member of a Group of Eminent Persons who were call to Geneva to prepare a report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) on Economic Cooperation between Developing cover Countries. He also simplified trade procedures and formulated new export strategy which became the forerunners of trade reforms subsequently. During the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, he was also appointed as Chairman of the Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade. Subramanian Swamy's career started with his involvement in the Sarvodaya movement, which was an apolitical movement but which formed the foundation of the creation of Janata Party later. Swamy during this time described Sonia Gandhi, Jayalalithaa and Mayawati as "three great ladies" and compared them with Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga respectively. The real turn in his political career came after his sacking from IIT. Liberal economic policies put forward by him didn't go well with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who discredited him as 'Santa Claus with unrealistic ideas'. He was later expelled from Indian Institute of Technology. This marked the beginning of his active political career. He was a staunch opponent of Indira Gandhi and right wing political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh sent him to Rajya Sabha – the upper house of Indian Parliament. During the period of the Emergency, he fled to the United States, seeking haven with an Indian businessman in Michigan who had become the spokesperson of the opposition in the United States. In 1976, when the Emergency was still in force and an arrest warrant had been issued in his name, Swamy came to Parliament to attend the session and managed to escape India after the session was adjourned. This act of defiance was well received in the eyes of opposition parties. Swamy was one of the founding members of the Janata Party and served as its president till 2013. Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian politician who is the Chief Minister of Delhi since February 2015. He previously served as Chief Minister from December 2013 to February 2014, stepping down after 49 days. He was the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party. His party won the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections with a majority, obtaining 67 out of 70 assembly seats. Kejriwal is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and worked in the Indian Revenue Service as a Joint Commissioner of the Income Tax Department in New Delhi. In 2006, Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership recognising his involvement in the grassroots movement Parivartan using right-to-information legislation in a campaign against corruption. The same year, after resigning from the IRS, he donated his Magsaysay award money as a corpus fund to found the Public Cause Research Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO). In December 1999, while still in service with the Income Tax Department, Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and others found a movement named Parivartan (which means "change"), in the Sundar Nagar area of Delhi. A month later, in January 2000, Kejriwal took a sabbatical from work to focus on Parivartan. Parivartan addressed citizens' grievances related to Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity. It was not a registered NGO - it ran on individual donations, and was characterised as a jan andolan ("people's movement") by its members. Along with other social activists like Anna Hazare, Aruna Roy and Shekhar Singh, Kejriwal came to be recognised as an important contributor to the campaign for a national-level Right to Information Act (enacted in 2005). Public Cause Research Foundation In December 2006, Kejriwal established the Public Cause Research Foundation in December 2006, together with Manish Sisodia and Abhinandan Sekhri. He donated his Ramon Magsaysay Award prize money as a seed fund. In 2011, Kejriwal joined several other activists, including Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi, to form the India Against Corruption (IAC) group. The IAC demanded enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill, which would result in a strong ombudsman. The campaign evolved into the 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement Amid continuing protests, the Government constituted a committee to Draft a Jan Lokpal Bill.
  7. One of my friend has appeared a P.G Entrance Examination in Utkal University but his name is neither in the merit list nor in the waiting list. He doubts the transparency of the selection procedure as the University didn't published the cuttoff marks and marks secured by the candidates. Moreover while asking they denied to provide such info. And my friend too fears in filing RTI. So my question is - Being a third party, can I file a RTI asking to provide- 1)copy of question paper and OMR sheet of the friend. 2)marks(both career and entrance) awarded to him after evaluation. 3)present cuttoff marks on the basis of which the merit and waiting list has been published. Sent from my Redmi 3S using RTI INDIA mobile app
  8. Text of email received from Mr Subhash Chandra Agrrawal. I was told that he made a presentation on this in the recently concluded half day seminar held by CIC in New Delhi. Also attached are his presentation on the subject. And ......my email response to him. ============================================= SURGICAL STRIKE NOW REQUIRED TO PREVENT MISUSE OF RTI ACT by Subhash Chandra Agrawal 1775 Kucha Lattushah, Dariba, Delhi-110006 Why surgical strike necessary to prevent misuse of RTI Act ‘Right-To-Information (RTI) Act’ introduced in the country in the year 2005 is one such legislation passed by Parliament of world’s largest democracy, that bypassed all other Acts in terms of fast-gained popularity. Presently ranked fourth best of such transparency Acts in the world, Indian RTI Act is virtually best in the global world because first three best-ranked such Acts are there in countries which have quite less population. RTI Act of India in such circumstances if is considered fourth best of such legislations in the world, then it is practically the best considering the fact that India with a population of 125 crores is a vast country with world’s second largest populated countries in the world. However experiences with RTI Act as observed in its small journey of eleven years in the country does lead to think for refining it with some suitable modifications so as to prevent its misuse. Perhaps then this Act which has already been taken to be a role-model by neighbouring countries for drafting the own such Acts may be ranked as top-most in the world. Modification and refining should be a regular on-going process, and it should be so even for RTI Act in India. India is gifted with brilliant-most minds, with many such minds engaged even by world’s oldest democracy USA which also happens to be a virtual global leader. But negative side is that many in India misuse brilliance of their minds for negative deeds also. Nobody can forget a curious case of one Natwarlal whose notoriety for ‘using’ his otherwise creative mind, made him rather famous for various innovative ideas of cheating! Likewise many miscreants have started misusing RTI Act in India. Cases of misuse of every Act in India including Dowry Act or the one legislated after infamous 16/12 Nirbhaya episode are regularly surfacing like also for misuse of RTI Act. But that does not mean that all Acts may be repealed and world’s largest democracy may be turned into a lawless banana republic. What we need is to modify provisions under RTI Act so as to prevent its misuse. NGOs and civil-society opposed to reform for checking misuse of RTI Act Several Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs) and members of civil-society are against steps to tackle misuse of RTI Act because according to them, percentage of such misuse is totally insignificant as per their study made by them! It is not known how they have made the study. Rather my strong advocacy for taking some serious steps to prevent misuse of RTI Act has unfortunately made me isolated by some of civil-society-groups from RTI-movement carried out by them. Since I have been conducting RTI workshops in a regular manner also for public-authorities (apart from at universities and colleges where I educate about importance of RTI Act and properly drafting RTI petitions), I have a practical feedback about the grim situation of large-scale misuse of RTI Act faced by public-authorities. Since no quantum of training for handling RTI petitions can be sufficient to such large number of PIOs/public-authorities and others handing RTI petitions, effective ways to check misuse of RTI Act are necessary to be evolved, which may ultimately be beneficial for genuine RTI-applicants. Interestingly an important member of civil-society group who was a bitter critic of my facebook-post on misuse of RTI Act, himself became the critic when he himself faced the brunt of fake RTI application filed in his name! Even Information Commissioners confused on quantum of misuse of RTI Act Some Information Commissioners also endorsed that they noted just 5-7 percent cases of misuse are detected by them. But it is important to note that very few out of total RTI applications bombarded at so many public-authorities in the country both at central and state level, reach to stage of second appeal at Information Commissions. Therefore observations of Information Commissioners can just be based on cases of misuse of RTI Act brought before them through second appeals filed at respective Information Commissions. Evidently Information Commissioners are in no way aware of misuse of the sunshine Act at grass-root level of public-authorities. Supreme Court observations on man-hours spent on disposing RTI applications Observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court carried out in para 37 of its important verdict dated 09.08.2011 by Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik in the matter ‘Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) vs Aditya Bandopadhyaya’ (Civil Appeal number 6454 of 2011 arising out of SLP© 7526 of 2009) are important: “......Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising `information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.” Some peculiar cases of misuse of RTI Act by applicants One person used to file about one hundred RTI-applications per week at Delhi Fire Service, evidently for mischievous objectives. But a proper training provided to their officers arming them with the above quoted Supreme Court verdict resulted in preventing him playing mischief with the RTI Act. Delhi High Court in WP© 406/2016 gave a significant judgement dated 19.01.2016 imposing fine of rupees 25000 on a petitioner having challenged a CIC-verdict dated 30.10.2015 clubbing thirteen petitions. A person based in a prominent city of South India has been filing RTI petitions of nuisance nature in name of his friends/relations based in different cities of the country. Format and style of drafting RTI petitions with one or two simple but nuisance queries is same. Numbers of all the postal-orders filed towards RTI fees are in a serial-order, and all these postal-orders are purchased on the same date from the same post-office. All RTI petitions are sent from a particular post-office even though filed in names of persons residing in cities scattered throughout the country. All RTI petitions filed in name of different persons from different cities bear the same signature signed by the same pen! But since there is no provision of asking for an Identity Proof of RTI applicant, concerned public-authority facing such RTI petitions can do nothing but wasting precious man-hours, resources, postal and stationery costs in dealing with such RTI petitions. Many persons including mainly from those involved in yellow journalism file complaints at times anonymous against government employees with dozens of copies marked to number of authorities like including President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Governor/Lt Governor, Chief Minister, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Police Commissioner....etc thus unnecessarily burdening the system with complaints at times non-genuine. It is also experienced that certain mischievous persons even misuse name of known activists by sending such complaints under their names with forged signatures, which causes unnecessary embarrassments to those whose names are misused for sending such complaints. The matter was taken with all seriousness even in CIC-verdict dated 10.11.2016 in petition-number CIC/SA/C/2016/00324. Even a targeted government officer in a fake complaint threatened to file suit for damages against the person whose name was misused to send such unverified complaints. CVC directive to CVOs on misuse of RTI Act It is significant that even Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has circulated a circular-number 03/03/2017 dated 10.03.2017 to all the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of various public-authorities about a very important CIC-verdict dated 25.06.2014 in case-number CIC/AD/A/2013/001326-SA in the case of Shri Ramesh Chand Jain vs Delhi Transport Corporation in which CVC has asked all its CVOs to bring to notice of CPIOs/Appellate Authorities of their organisations. After all CVC had to issue such directions to CVOs only because of detection of large-scale misuse of RTI Act having been noted by it. The said CIC-verdict had observations as under: "The Commission noticed that several applicants seek some information from one wing of the public authority, and based on the responses file a bunch of RTI questions from the same or other wings of same public authority, or from other authority. This will have a continuous harassing effect on the public authority. As the PIOs go on answering, more and more questions are generated out of the same and in the: same proportion the number of repeated first appeals and second appeals will be growing." The Commission after considering various aspects of the issue and the provisions of acts of similar nature in other countries, and also the decisions of earlier Information Commissioners has concluded that: (i) Even a single repetition of RTI application would demand the valuable time of the public authority, first appellate authority and if it also reaches second appeal, that of the Commission, which time could have been spent to hear another appeal or answer another application or perform other public duty. (ii) Every repetition of RTI application which was earlier responded will he an obstruction to flow of information and defeats the purpose of the RTI Act." The Central Information Commission, vide its decision No. CIC/AD/A/2013/001326-SA dated 25.06.2014 has thus, decided that: "(i) No scope of repeating under RTI Act. (ii) Citizen has no Right to Repeat. (iii) Repetition shall be ground of refusal. (iv) Appeals can be rejected" Information Commissions and DoPT should guide public-authorities through publicised verdicts on misuse of RTI Act Now there have been many CIC-verdicts passing stringent strictures on misuse of RTI Act, subsequently endorsed by High Courts and may perhaps be by the Apex Court also, Central Information Commission, State information Commissions and Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) should try to compile all such verdicts on their websites as their duty to educate those handling RTI applications at public-authorities, central and states. Putting such verdicts on important websites will make public-authorities utilise these to tackle frivolous and mischievous RTI applications. I recall that a person filing indiscriminate RTI applications sometimes about 50 in a day was prevented from doing so after strong strictures were passed against by Hon’ble Central Information Commission. Another person who got awarded a compensation of rupees one lakh by misleading Hon’ble Central Commission, later himself declared not to approach Central Information Commission after the verdict on being reviewed detected him to be a fraud person. Abuse of RTI Act by petitioners effectively checked through CIC-verdicts Central Information Commissioners in several verdicts directed harassed public-authorities for a probe by some appropriate investigating agency in motive behind filing reckless filing of hundreds (rather thousands) of similar RTI petitions filed simultaneously with many public-authorities repeatedly, involving spent of huge public-resources including man-hours and postal-charges apart from unnecessarily terrorising professionals like doctors in hospitals through such RTI petitions. Hundreds of petitions of alleged non-compliance have been earlier summarily disposed by CIC in a single day at many different dates in the past like on 30.09.2013. Earlier also, the then Chief information Commissioner detected and put on record through his decision dated 26.07.2013 in appeal-numbers CIC/SM/A/2013/000401 & 416 wherein he observed “this Appellant is in habit of filing frivolous RTI applications through the entire appellate mechanism right up to the CIC thereby wasting everybody’ time”. Since second appeals filed at Central Information Commission also require an undertaking about contents of the petition to be true, study should be made if some criminal action is also possible against such petitioners. CIC-website should prominently publicise such petitioners advising public-authorities for invoking section 7(9) and 8(1) of RTI Act where applicable on petitions filed by such petitioners. Lack of knowledge at all levels is also evident when none dealing with RTI petition including even the then Chief Information Commissioner having given the verdict cited a gazette-notification dated 31.07.2012 which restricted a word-limit of 500 words in an RTI petition. The then Chief Information Commissioner was also known for giving non-speaking decision-part, sometimes months after the hearing surprisingly with no file-notings on record! It is impossible for any Commissioner to recall proceedings held months before date of decision. Abuse of RTI Act by public-authorities Some public-authorities are in habit of misusing section 6(3) of RTI Act by unnecessarily transferring RTI petitions to hundreds/thousands offices even though information might exist with the transferring public-authority itself. For example, various wings of Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in the earlier UPA regime had adopted clever tactics to avoid uncomfortable RTI queries like status of government-bungalow number 6, Krishna Menon Marg (New Delhi), change in bungalow-number to 6-A from 8 at Krishna Menon Marg (New Delhi) etc perhaps because such queries directly related to personalities like the then Lok Sabha Speaker and a former Prime Minister. Even though many queries related only and only to Directorate of Estate, RTI petitions on such subjects used to be deliberately and unnecessarily shunted between hundreds of offices of Central Public Works Department (CPWD) which ultimately closed the file by mentioning that information relating to them as ‘Nil’. Such queries could be transferred only to the very much concerned CPWD office/s rather than to all the CPWD offices. CPWD responses usually never carried names and contact-details of CPIOs and Appellate Authorities. CPWD website also never carried such details. Even first appeals filed are at times used to be decided by CPIO himself against basics of legal provisions. First appeals used to be dismissed even overlooking appellant’s submission to decide these on merit on basis of written submissions without requiring presence of appellants. Likewise Income Tax Department (Headquarters) transferred an RTI petition to thousands of Income Tax Offices across the country where information was sought about those Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs) and political parties which are entitled for tax-exemption under Income Tax Act. Most of the Income Tax Offices replied that information relating to them as ‘NIL’. Only very few Income Tax Offices gave details of information as available with them. Some others wrongly claimed exemption under various sub-sections of section 8(1) of RTI Act, making petitioner file first and second appeals. A very small fraction of total more than 2000 political parties registered with Election Commission contests elections seriously. Most registered political parties get themselves registered only for tax-exemptions. Likewise recent Intelligence Bureau (IB) report has raised serious concerns on NON-Government-Organisations (NGOs) which mushroom to be one after every 400 citizens. It is in interest of revenue that a centralised data about NGOs and political parties entitled for tax-exemption may be maintained at Income Tax (Headquarters) to be made public on website. Tax-exemptions for not only NGOs and political parties but even to charitable organisations should rather be abolished especially considering large-scale misuse. Extra revenue so generated will be utilised by Union government for larger public good, an aspect much more important than done by political parties, NGOs and charitable organisations. It will rather remove one of several criterion considered by Central Information Commission to declare political parties as public-authorities under RTI Act, an issue of interest to political parties themselves! Wrong use and misuse of RTI provisions by public-authorities Section 2(f) of ‘Right To Information (RTI) Act’ defines ‘information’ as also including information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force. Government-aided schools managed by private bodies are directly accountable under RTI Act being directly funded by government. Apart from these, there are two categories of private schools in Delhi (and even in other cities). One category is which is directly accountable under RTI Act being indirectly funded or controlled by government. RTI petitions received by Directorate of Education in respect of such schools can be transferred to all such categories under section 6(3) of RTI Act requiring them to directly respond to RTI petitioners. But information in respect of rest of private schools many of which are notorious massive irregularities including for not following rules and norms can be procured under provisions of section 2(f) of RTI Act where it is responsibility of Directorate of Education to first obtain sought information about these schools, and then to provide to RTI petitions. Such category of private schools is not supposed to respond directly to RTI petitions. But since Directorate of Education wrongly transfers RTI petition to such schools under section 6(3) of RTI Act, they are at liberty for not responding to wrongly transferred RTI petitions. Directorate of Education should seek information desired in RTI petitions by itself under section 2(f) of RTI Act and then communicating it to RTI petitioners. RTI workshops should be held by Directorate of Education for educating its officers correct use of RTI provisions to ensure accountability even in private schools. Four-way strategy to tackle misuse of RTI Act by applicants 1 Increase RTI fees to rupees 50 with copying-charges of first twenty pages included Misuse of RTI Act can and should be prevented where RTI petitions of only serious nature may be allowed. It can be done by increasing RTI fees uniformly to rupees fifty with provision to provide first twenty copied pages free-of-cost. Petitioners will be getting material worth rupees fifty (present RTI fees of rupees ten plus rupees forty as copying charges for first twenty copied pages) but eliminating those who may be filing RTI petitions without any seriousness just because of negligible RTI fees of just rupees ten. It will in fact turn to be economical in terms of man-hours spent postal-charges for both the public-authorities and genuine RTI applicants and in demanding and remitting copying-charges. Otherwise also, it is illogical to continue with insignificant RTI fees of just rupees ten in last more than one decade when government-fees and other service-costs have since been increased manifolds, that too when RTI fees and copying charges are totally waived for persons below-poverty-line (BPL). However since big contractors file RTI petitions in name of casual labourers of BPL category to get copied documents free-of-cost, provision of free providing of copied documents for people in BPL category can be replaced by offer of inspection of records with copies of documents then provided if information affects the concerned petitioner of BPL category. 2 ID proof should be compulsory with RTI applications Misuse of filing RTI petitions in name of others or with non-existing persons has also become quite common. Copy of ID proof must be made compulsory to be attached with every RTI petition. It is also otherwise necessary because RTI Act does not permit those ex-Indians who later took nationality of some other country. Baseless arguments are being given against the suggestion that it would disclose identity of the RTI applicants! Identity is already disclosed when an RTI applicant has to give his/her name/address in RTI applications to get a reply. Only thing is to verify the authenticity of given name/address through an ID proof. Even such a provision of compulsorily attaching copy of ID proof should be there for filing complaints in government-departments to prevent filing complaints in name of others. People send copies of same complaint to a number of authorities like including President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Governor/Lt Governor, Chief Minister, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Police Commissioner....etc thus unnecessarily burdening the system with complaints at times non-genuine. Other authorities, with whom copies are marked, may simply file these without burdening the system by unnecessarily processing these. The matter was taken with all seriousness even by Central Information Commission (CIC) in its verdict dated 10.11.2016 in petition-number CIC/SA/C/2016/00324. Even a target government officer in a fake complaint threatened to file suit for damages against the person whose name was misused to send such unverified complaints. 3 Issue RTI stamps CIC’s repeated recommendations for introducing exclusive RTI stamps in several denominations on lines of erstwhile Radio & TV licence-fees stamps should be implemented. Presently most popular mode of remitting RTI fees through postal-orders costs heavily to public-exchequer with handling cost of rupees 39.99 per postal-order as revealed through an RTI response. All public-authorities should be directed to use fast, reliable and economical Speed Post service in cities connected through Speed Post service. 4 Accept RTI applications addressed at central public-authorities at all post-offices which are about 160000 Indian postal-department presently provides facility of receiving post-free RTI applications addressed to central public-authorities at just about 4500 post-offices out of a total of about 160000 post-offices in the country. This facility should be available at all about 160000 post-offices in the country. There can be no operational problem in extending this service at all post-offices of the country, because every posts-office however small it may be, sends a post-bag in the evening to the head post-office. This post-bag apart from other postal-items and currency, also contains articles booked through registered and speed post etc. This post-bag sent from each post-office can easily also contain collected RTI petitions to be delivered post-free addressed at central public-authorities. Providing such a facility will prove to be much more effective and useful than on-line filing of RTI petitions in a country where most people especially in rural India are still not using internet. If all these four steps are taken in a consolidated manner, then members of public will rather appreciate the move rather than criticising because these will prove to be economical and save man-hours. More importantly, disposals of RTI applications will be much-much faster even at stage of Information Commissions with frivolous petitions being largely eliminated. Huge man-hours and other resources including also stationery, postal-charges in handling mischievous or frivolous RTI-applications account for unnecessary burden on public-exchequers funded by hard-earned money of tax-payers, both at central and state levels. But perhaps government may not prefer taking such useful steps in fear of being targeted as anti-RTI government. However a strong single-party government like presently also exists at centre can be a decisive one to be a practical one. Only recently a public-interest step by a recently formed state-government to reverse a populist measure of abolishing holidays on birth and death anniversaries of eminent personalities got a big applause from public at large. In fact, there is a silent majority of people who bear populist wrong decisions mutely, but react to encourage government when such populist steps are changed to practical steps. Since no quantum of training for handling RTI petitions can be sufficient to such large number of PIOs/public-authorities and others handing RTI petitions, effective ways to check misuse of RTI Act are necessary to be evolved, which may ultimately be beneficial for genuine RTI-applicants. RTI training-workshops necessary for staff handling RTI applications Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) should arrange massive training-programmes by experts for handling RTI petitions to avoid wastage of man-hours of public-authorities in handling RTI petitions of frivolous vexatious and nuisance nature, and providing proper replies to genuine RTI petitions where some public-authorities are known for abuse of RTI Act by misuse of section 6(3) of RTI Act in transferring an RTI petition uselessly to hundreds/thousands of departments. Problem can be further tackled by raising RTI fess to rupees fifty which may include cost of first twenty copied pages thus giving material worth rupees fifty even in the increased fees. It will not only discourage tendency to file useless RTI petitions, but also largely save man-hours and postage both for public-authorities and the petitioner. Compilation of subject-wise DoPT circulars on RTI should be a regular feature like was once done in the year 2013, with provision of auto-update each time on addition of a new circular. Lack of knowledge at all levels is also evident when very few dealing with RTI petition are aware of 500-word limit in an RTI-petition imposed through gazette-notification dated 31.07.2012. RTI should strengthen administrative structure rather than being a burden Preventing misuse of RTI Act is of utmost national importance so that the transparency Act may become a tool to strengthen administrative structure by really inducing accountability and transparency in system, rather than weakening it by being burden on public-resources through handing of mischievous, frivolous, fake and vexatious petitions being presently filed in plenty only because of negligible RTI fees of rupees ten fixed more than a decade ago that too with no requirement of any ID proof required to be submitted with RTI applications. It is to be investigated if the bodies advocating for not taking steps to prevent misuse are doing so because of their being funded by foreign agencies. RTI Consultant and Guinness World Record Holder for most letters in newspapers 1775 Kucha Lattushah, Dariba, Delhi-110006 =========================================================== Dear Mr Subhash, Reference your below long email regarding misuse of RTI. Regrettably , I do not agree with even ONE SINGLE point raised in your email regarding misuse of RTI by appplicants. Unfortunately, I am travelling at present and don't have either the inclination, nor the energy or even the enthusiasm to rebut your email point by point. My experience of interacting with over 25,000 RTI applicants in person, through phone, by email and over the portal is completely different. No one, including you, who use the word "misuse" with reference to RTI, has ever been able to explain the meaning of the term. They give 3 or 4 examples and come to a generalised conclusion. This is neither logically or statistically correct and certainly not good enough to draw the conclusions you have come to OR give the recommendations that you have given. Your observations are far, far, far from reality. Rgds C J Karira RTI (POWERPOINT SURGICAL).pdf
  9. It was the duty of every government department concerned with demonetisation to spell out all relevant facts and reasons behind the radical move, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has observed. In what could be the first comments of the transparency panel on the lack of information about the notes ban decision, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said any attempt to withhold information would generate serious doubts about the economy. Read more at: All Public Departments Must Disclose Demonetisation Details, Central Information Commission Says - Bloomberg Quint
  10. Prasad GLN

    Misuse of RTI.

    Members may post such instances of misuse that came to their attention for further discussion in the matter.
  11. Why is there no action against officer trapped by ACB in Nashik Information Commission? Vinita Deshmukh 12 May 2017 0 Relevant excerpt “While RTI activists across Maharashtra are agitated over the issue, no stern action against Sonar has been taken and he continues to be the Desk Officer at the Nashik Information Commission. RTI activists feel that the very arm of transparency and the last hope of citizens is under threat, as this case could be just the beginning. Indeed, this incident is a blot on the reputation of information commissions.” Why is there no action against officer trapped by ACB in Nashik Information Commission? A criminal is one who was only caught.
  12. Tsukjemtiba Ao

    Rti judgement on tribal court

    For the last 5 years we the NCI volunteers dedicated our time and money to promote the farmers and open the eyes of the innocent villagers in Nagaland BUT there are some village and apex bodies deceived us who encourages the corruption of the department and stop us from seeking accountability. These apex bodies are equally corrupted with the department. This is very bad. Such apex organisation are corrupted and hindrance towards development and not the NCI who sacrificed for the welfare of the people. The department took the RTI issue to the tribal court and wrongfully judged to stop from seeking accountability. Is not the department violated the RTI Act? The Petition Registration Number : MINWR/E/2016/00707 has been forwarded to the concerned Organisation/wing/division. The Petitioner is hereby requested to take up the matter directly with the following addressee for reference. Sh. KIRAN PRAMANIK (SJC (MI)),3B WING, SHASHTRI BHAWAN, MOWR RD GR. We would like to know why and how the pgportal grievances was solved without our knowledge. The 11 districts volunteers under National Concern Initiatives Nagaland, have been striving for justice and accountability for the last 5 years against the centrally flagship AIBP scheme for the funds mis-utilization and creation of several fictitious minor irrigation projects. The NCI team are not causing hindrance towards development when the department itself failed to reply RTI queries and accountability. The department have violated the RTI issues by taking the issue to the tribal court. Accusing the NCI members and forced to sign on false allegation and stopping from seeking accountability under RTI acts is not accepted. The department and the tribal apex bodies jointly paralysing the RTI Acts enacted by the Supreme Court which should be immediately investigate if there is Law & Justice in India. If the Government of India depends upon the policy of the nodal department without delivering sound justice to the individual/group RTI activities on the process of fighting corruption free, it is impossible. Within the States/UTs, the individual/group RTI activity will be unable to fight against corruption without the support of the Central government on legal sound judgement and investigation. As spoken by our Prime Minister in his speeches for corruption free, transparency, accountability and good governance that will fight if the Union Government of India do not response effectively in support of the petitioner. Transforming India works out if the government of India effectively responds to corruption free issues. Here we have to obey whatever the Tribal Court say so. Knowing this, the department used to take the departmental RTI issue to the tribal where a petitioner become helpless and has to sign without receiving proper accountability and justice as per the act of RTI. So RTI INDIA need to take up this matter as one of the main agenda and pass information to all the States/UTs that the government department will not allowed to take any RTI issue to the tribal court under any tribal jurisdiction.
  13. More than three-fourths (138) of the public authorities operating with websites in Jammu & Kashmir have not displayed budget-related information for the ongoing financial year (2017-18). Six other public authorities have displayed budget-related information for the year 2016-17. This has been revealed in a study carried out by two lawyers -- Bilal Ahmad Bhat and Syed Iram Quadri. The survey was carried out by the two as part of the internship programme hosted by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) at New Delhi during February. Read more at: Amid claims of transparency, govt departments remain OPAQUE
  14. Many times it has been observed that PIO are replying to applicant as "Documents/records are not available and we are searching" In APPEAL I, Appellate authority again instructs same PIO to provide documents to applicant. Both had not provided response and pretending as if actions are closed. Q:1 ==> Is this can be treated as closure of RTI by PIO. If yes then it becomes a wrong precedence by other authorities to close the RTI by not providing any Information to applicant. This has happened with RTI No 122 of dated 25/7/2014 to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The case was referred to GIC (SIC). After issue of hearing notice, PIO replies with a partial documents after 22 months i.e on 14/6/2016. Inspite knowing the fact that documents are not complete and many clarifications were sought from AMC, GIC had closed the case. However re-open request has been made to GIC. Surprising to note that , inspite late reply by violating RTI Act2005, GIC is not willing to take any action on PIO for late reply. Not becoming helpful to get all relevant records. Where to complain about GIC (Gujarat Information Commission)? Otherwise RTI - even government claims to have transparency of public department, it is simply a eyewash only Kindly suggest what shall be done .
  15. Now after DOPT invited suggestions from citizens on proposed amendments, there is sudden interest in RTI, which may not deserve such wide publicity. However, there should be a definition of RTI Activist, and there should be a laid down procedure on to how to protect him. RTI ACTIVISIT RTI Activist is one who seeks information in larger public interest under RTI Act as means, and arrives at a logical conclusion for betterment of functioning, with sole aim of Accountability and transparency. Those who file applications on personal matters belonging to them can not be considered as Activiss. Those who suggest and guide applicants are just promoters and not activists, as they never perform but remain spectators judging performance. How protection can be taken: Every RTI Activist should make an application to DOPT through collector. The collector verifies antecedents and recommends direct DOPT, basing on which a permanent no, and identification card will be provided to him. Govt. may collect Rs.1,000/- which may be used for Group insurance coverage. This ensures that persons enjoying good reputation alone enters into the field, and the ID protects them from harassment by PIOs and Police as they could not be interrogated without permission from Collector. After getting such permanent No, ID, Activist must state the number and seek information from Public Authorities. The copy of information sought must be provided as copy to collector in sealed cover. For every scam uncovered by him, certain amount recovered / loss prevented may be credited to his account on application made by Activist with such actual decision that reflects his efforts, basing on which the scam was unearthed. The collector takes care of the life of activist, protects him from police and getting immunity from allegation of "extortion" and from public authorities calling him as abuser of RTI Act and allegations that he is personally interested. All those who wish to serve country must be protected with these steps. There should be on line service for all the above activities, so that no further expenditure is required. Activist can meet Collector Directly in case of facing in getting information through PIO and FAA and Collector must study the application already uploaded in website, direct FAA to personally hear the applicant and send the report, before an order is given. Thereby the entire efforts of Applicant should end in first two stages and second appeal is only in rare cases.
  16. JAMMU, Apr 16: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that around 70 Government Departments and Public Authorities including State Accountability Commission (SAC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) have been violating provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 relating to suo-moto disclosure of information pertaining to them. Moreover, several departments have yet not come up with their official websites despite the fact that the same are imperative for uploading information. Section 4 of the J&K Right to Information Act, 2009 lays down various obligations of the Public Authority for suo-moto disclosure of information pertaining to it particularly the functions and duties, the powers and duties of its officers, the procedure followed in the decision making process including channels of supervision and accountability, the norms set-forth by it for discharge of functions, rules/regulations, instructions and manuals being followed by it for discharging its functions etc. “However, there is no strict compliance to Section 4 of the Act by all the Public Authorities and Government Departments despite the fact that ever since the constitution of State Information Commission directions were issued from time to time for suo-moto disclosure of information”, official sources said, adding even the new Chief Information Commissioner Khurshid Ahmed Ganai last month made recommendation to all Public Authorities in the State to take necessary steps so as to conform to all the provisions of Section 4. According to the sources, a large number of Public Authorities have not made suo-moto disclosure of information and have also not taken required steps for the same purpose. Although the State Information Commission has given time-frame till June 30, 2017 for compliance to Section 4 of the Act, majority of the defaulting departments and Public Authorities have yet not come forward to voluntary disclose information, which otherwise should have received prompt attention for the sake of transparency. SAC, SHRC among 70 Public Authorities, Govt Deptts violating RTI Act in J&K
  17. Read the related news article at: Judiciary Does Not Want Any Accountability or Transparency, Allege RTI Activists
  18. Chairman of Transparency International, Sri Lanka (TISL) Lakshan Dias and prominent TISL Board Member, J.C. Weliamuna have both stepped down from their positions in the organization in the wake of several Right to Information (RTI) petitions being filed by trade unionists under the RTI Act asking for reports relating to alleged corruption and internal mismanagement at the organization. JC Weliamuna The official website of TISL indicates that a new Chairman, SCC Elankoven, has been appointed to the organization while three new Directors have also been appointed. The new Chairman, SCC Elankovan is ‘presently a Consultant to the National NGO Action Front (NNAF) providing support to the NNAF assisting in the areas; of increasing membership especially expanding to the North, East and Plantation areas. ’LankaWeb – Dias And Weliamuna Step Down From TISL Following RTI Requests
  19. While Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh have enacted effective right to information laws, federal Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 and Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 are the most ineffective right to information laws in the country, according to Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, (CPDI). Both Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 and its replica in Balochistan in the shape of Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 are the weakest laws in Pakistan and score only 30 points out of a total of 140 points on CPDI’s Score Sheet of Right to Information Laws of Pakistan. The most robust and progressive law in Pakistan is the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 which scores 139 points.Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016 scores 130 points whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 scores 129 points...... Federal and Balochistan RTI laws most ineffective: CPDI report
  20. The RTI Act has undoubtedly been one of the most empowering legislations for Indians. According to estimates, four to six million information applications are filed every year, making the Indian RTI Act the world’s most extensively used transparency legislation. National assessments have shown that a large number of RTI applications emanate from the urban poor and from rural households seeking information about their basic entitlements. It is, therefore, imperative that the profile of RTI users be borne in mind while framing RTI rules. The amendments to the Act being proposed by the central government, unfortunately, could result in making it more difficult for common people to access their rights under the RTI Act, especially their right to approach the Central Information Commission (CIC) in cases concerning violations of the law. The proposed amendments make the process of filing an appeal or complaint to the information commission more cumbersome and legalistic. Rules promulgated in 2012 already required, among other things, appellants to include an index of the documents referred to in the appeal and to ‘duly authenticate and verify’ all the accompanying enclosures. Instead of simplifying the requirements to make the process more people friendly, the proposed rules have placed an additional burden on citizens to provide a certificate stating that the matter under appeal or complaint has not been previously filed and disposed, and is not pending with the commission or any court............ m...o.r..e Proposed Amendments to RTI Act Will Complicate Seeking Information from Government
  21. Following is an excerpt from a letter written in 2005 by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to prime minister Manmohan Singh regarding the Right to Information Act: The enactment of the Right to Information Act in June, 2005 is an important step towards transparency and accountability in government and empowering the people for real participation in governance. The government of Gujarat is also committed to the concept of Right to information and we have already taken preliminary steps for implementation of this Act in Gujarat. However, I would like to point out certain difficulties enumerated below, which are like to arise while implementing this Act because of certain provisions in the Act. Read more at: Will Narendra Modi act on his own vision of RTI? -Governance Now
  22. COMPLAINT CASE NO. 582 OF 2015 During the hearing dated 06.09.2016, again Show Cause Notice issued to the Respondent - PIO (Sh. Hardeep Singh, PCS, DTO) and directed to appear in person on the next date of hearing but till today neither he has come nor has provided any information to the complainant, which shows that he has no regard for the orders issued by the Commission and respect for the law which has been passed for ensuring transparency & accountability. Disregard of the law of the land is intolerable and he is not only delaying the information to the complainant but is making mockery of it which needs to be condemned. The perusal of the file and the conduct of the respondent have proved that he has not performed his duty as mandated by the RTI regime. Such kind of behavior of a Government employee needs to be condemned and such employees need to be taught a good lesson so that rest of the employees have a right kind of message to wake up and perform their duties under the RTI Act for ensuring complete transparency and due accountability in the governance affairs of the public authorities. It transpires that he has failed to provide any information even after the lapse of nine months. There has been unnecessary delay in conveying the correct state of affairs to the complainant in regard to his request for information. No explanation for delay has been given by the respondent. Rather, his failure to even respond to the show cause direction by the Commission reinforces the fact that he has been without any reasonable cause, guilty of remissness in the discharge of his duties. He, therefore, deserves to be penalized. In view of the facts stated above, the conduct of the official needs to be condemned and the ends of justice will be met by imposing penalty. I, therefore, impose necessary penalty @ 250/- per day subject to maximum of Rs. 25000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand) from the date of the RTI application upon DTO, Faridkot, having failed to perform his mandated duty and to submit any reply to the show cause notice issued to him. The amount of penalty i.e. Rs. 25000/- should be deducted from his salary in two equal monthly installments for the month of March and be deposited in the treasury under head "0070-Other Administrative Services-60-Other Services-800-Other Receipts-86-Fees under the Right to Information Act." The State Transport Commissioner, Punjab shall ensure that this amount of penalty is deducted from the salary of the above said defaulting official and deposited in the Treasury under the relevant head and he is warned to be very careful in future while dealing with RTI applications/appeal cases whether decided by the First Appellate Authority or by any instructions/directions given by the Commission. The case is therefore adjourned to 25.04.2017 at 12:30 PM for the compliance report in the O/o Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot. Both the parties are directed to appear personally on the above said venue. Copies of the order be sent to the parties. STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION.docx
  23. Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Joram Begi said that the RTI Act, 2005 was initiated to promote transparency and accountability on the part of the government. He emphasized on using RTI as a tool to achieve the true meaning of democracy. “In a way, RTI codifies the fundamental rights laid down in the constitution,” he reiterated, before adding that “There is a huge paradigm shift from the erstwhile confidential governance of the British Raj to calls for maintaining transparency in the present era”, and cited the example of Official Secrets Act, 1923 in comparison to RTI act to drive home his point. Read more at: RTI Act 2005 initiated to promote transparency & accountability, says SIC | The Arunachal Times
  24. Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 'Improving Transparency and Accountability in Government through Effective Implementation of RTI Act' — Release of funds to YASHADA, Pune. Yashada-Pune-A (1).pdf
  25. Hello, The news item is old but as a matter of routine we ignore sch news items. These all are related to "RTI, CORRUPTION & TRANSPARENCY" . THESE ALL ARE IN "LARGER PUBLIC INTEREST" LINK IS BELOW:. iIt is a success story of RTI too. https://khabar.ndtv.com/news/business/vip-quota-rail-ticket-confirm-tatkal-fare-rti-activist-reveal-1642393 OR https://twitter.com/deepakdang56/status/844470582825541633
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