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- Don't pay 500/- for answer sheet now- Supreme Court says if Answer sheet is asked under RTI, RTI Fees will be governed
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MANOJ B. PATEL posted a topic in RTI Appeals decisionsCPIO objected to disclosure and sharing of the address in caste certificate and said that it would be their personal information but Commission held that caste certificate of a public servant which forms the basis of his selection should be disclosed. CIC_SA_A_2015_000038_M_155207.pdf
HSIC directs Organ Transplant Committee based at Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon to disclosed information on foreign donors
harinder dhingra posted a topic in Discussions on RTIDear All, I was following a lead in May 2014 when I got a anonymous call that there was allegedly illegal racket of liver transplant was happening in Medicity, Gurgaon. The story was that one patient allegedly belonging to Chandigarh got his liver transplanted in Medicity, Gurgaon by allegedly showing that his sister from UK was donor (as only blood relations are allowed to donate liver/kidney) but allegedly actually a labourer from Dharbhanga was donating part of her Liver on promised Rs 25 Lacs but only got Rs 8 Lac and rest was allegedly pocketed by doctors & Medicity Hospital. The Hospital had allegedly made some marks on "sister" of patient so that it can be shown that She donate the Liver. This report was published by Friday Gurgaon in May 2014 but no enquiry was ordered by Government. I sought information through RTI application about Organ Transplant Committee, Medanta in which following information was not provided despite First Appellate Authority of Medanta vide letter dated 19th Dec 2014 promised to do so. I filed second appeal before SIC and yesterday on 8th May 2015 who ordered Medanta Organ Committee to provide the following information: 6) Kindly provide copy/ies and details of all records, documents, note sheets, manuscripts, records, reports, office memorandum, part files and files relating to cases in which the donor is not an Indian Citizen. 9) Kindly provide copy/ies and details of all records, documents, note sheets, manuscripts, records, reports, office memorandum, part files and files relating to the meetings held by Your Committee. The Commission also issued Show Cause as to why a penalty of Rs 25000/- be not imposed on Organ Transplant Committee based at Medanta, Gurgaon. I am enclosing RTI application & Story carried by Friday Gurgaon in May 2014. Regards Harinder Dhingra RTI activist medicity.docx RTi Medanta Organ 21714.docx
karira posted a topic in RTI Appeals decisionsCIC has ordered the disclosure of file notings related to the appointment of the chairperson of SBI, since the appointment process is now over. Earlier, CPIO and FAA denied it citing Sec 8(1)(i). Full order is attached to this post. =============== NOTE: Here is the link to the decision: http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_MP_A_2014_000465_M_144849.pdf (sorry, the webpage is not opening now). ORDER 1. The appellant, Shri G Nageswara Reddy, submitted RTI application dated 17 October 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Department of Financial services, New Delhi; seeking information regarding the relevant File Notings of the appointment of Smt. Arundhati Bhattacharya as chairman, SBI on 7.10.2013 vide notification F.No:2/5/2013BOI. 2. Vide reply dated 18 November 2013, the CPIO denied the information u/s 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005 as the information sought for was part of ‘cabinet paper’. Not satisfied with the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred an appeal dated 26 November 2013 to the first appellate authority (FAA) stating that as the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had already decided the matter and the aforesaid decision has already been implemented on 7.10.2013, the cabinet papers could no longer be held back in accordance with the provisions of Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005. Vide order dated 31 December 2013, the FAA, however, upheld CPIO’s decision. 3. Dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred appeal before the Commission. 4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant was not present during the hearing. The respondent submitted that the appellant vide his RTI application dated 17.10.2013 had sought copy of file notings of the appointment of Smt. Arundhati Bhattacharya as chairman, SBI which was part of the proposal to be placed before the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet which they had denied under the exemption given u/s 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005. The FAA had also upheld the decision of the CPIO. 5. During the hearing, the respondents stated that the selection process had been concluded and therefore, they will be able to provide the information sought by the appellant. 6. In view of the above, the Commission directs the respondent to furnish the information sought for to the appellant by 31st December 2014 keeping in view the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 & RTI Rules, 2012. The appeal is disposed of. (Manjula Prasher) Information Commissioner Citation: Shri G Nageswara Reddy v. Department of Financial services in Appeal No. CIC/MP/A/2014/000465
karira posted a topic in RTI in MediaGovt staff leave info personal, can’t be disclosed: Punjab panel The Punjab State Information Commission has rejected a plea seeking details on ex-India leave of more than 30 days by government employees during the past 10 years of service. The rationale is that such leave, as per norms, constituted a personal matter and had no bearing on the state exchequer. The Right to Information (RTI) applicant from Sangrur, Prem Kumar Rattan — who had sought the employees’ applications for leave, the sanction, and copies of their passports and visa — also faces legal action as the commission has asked the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Sangrur to register a case against him for furnishing a false undertaking after he had been refused information of the same nature earlier by the SIC. Information commissioner Surinder Awasthi pointed out that the applicant was aware of the case having been disposed of earlier by him, and had thus requested that the case now not be assigned to him this time. The latest decision refers to a 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court, which says that salary details, including deductions, copies of memos, show-cause notices, inquiry proceedings and income tax returns, fall in the category of personal information, because disclosure of these would amount to invasion of privacy. “The information sought qualifies to be far more personal than those mentioned in the case decided by the Supreme Court,” says Awasthi’s decision, reiterating that the public information officer (PIO) concerned was not expected to provide information exempted under section 8(1) of the RTI Act. While it must be mentioned here that the state vigilance bureau is investigating alleged misuse of ex-India leave by government employees, the SIC order says that if information related to ex-India leave were to be furnished, someone could even ask for leave availed within India, and the period thereof could be reduced or increased in the RTI pleas; resulting in no end to such requests and little time for the government departments to perform their core duties. Explaining its express rationale, the judgment says the employees had taken leave for personal visits and there was no resultant burden on the state exchequer. The availing of leave, whichever kind, due to an employee is governed by service rules which fall under the expression “personal information”, disclosure of which has no relationship with public activity or public interest, it says. The RTI Act, the apex court verdict says, should not be allowed to be misused or abused, nor be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officers. Read More: Govt staff leave info personal, canâ€™t be disclosed: Punjab panel
From an email received from Mr Venkatesh Nayak: Dear all, The Government of India has published in the Official Gazette the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Special Investigation Team it has set up to investigate the issue of black money stashed abroad by Indians (2nd attachment). The setting up of the SIT amounts to a welcome reversal of previous government policy on this subject. The previous Government had opposed this direction despite a clear order from the Supreme Court in 2011. The SIT will be headed by Justice (Retd.) M B Shah with Justice Arijit Pasayat as Vice-Chair. The rest of the members are the same ex officio senior bureaucrats who were part of the High Level Committee set up by the previous Government to look into the cases of persons who were said to have stashed away money in foreign banks abroad. The Joint Secy. (Revenue) has been added to this list as Member Secretary of the SIT. This SIT is an outcome of the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Ram Jethmalani and Ors. vs Union of India and Ors., (2011) 8 SCC 1- judgement delivered in July 2011. It is also interesting to note that with the exception of the retired judges and bureaucrats of the Finance Ministry, all other members are representatives of organisations notified under the Second Schedule of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) which are not required to furnish any information other than that pertaining to allegations of corruption or violation of human rights.However, in my opinion, as the SIT has been set up by a notification of the Central Government and as it will be wholly financed by the same Government, it will be a public authority under the RTI Act. Terms of Reference seemingly omit an important Court direction: While going through the ToR, I found that a crucial direction given by the Supreme Court in July 2011 is missing form the Gazette notification published by the Central Government. On page 66 of its judgement the Apex Court had ordered two more things to be done by the SIT in addition to what it said on pages 38-42 (1st attachment): 1) that the SIT must take over the investigation of individuals with bank accounts in Liechtenstein as disclosed by Germany to India and expeditiously conduct the same; and 2) SIT should review concluded matters also to assess whether investigations have been thoroughly and properly conducted or not and if they conclude that there is scope for further investigation they should proceed further. On 01 May this year the Central Government had said that investigations had been concluded against 18 of the 26 individuals that had bank accounts in Liechtenstein. These names were received from Germany and investigation had concluded in 17 cases. No evidence was found against 8 individuals and the investigation had been concluded against them. You will find this information in the daily order of the Apex Court at: http://judis.nic.in/temp/17620093152014p.txt So technically the ToR should have included reopening of these cases also to assess whether everything was properly done and if there is any need to proceed further. The current ToR published in the Gazette do not explicitly refer to these two directions. However I hope the SIT in its wisdom will interpret its mandate broadly to cover these directions as well and make up for what probably is an omission due to oversight. Importance of this case to RTI Readers who have gone through the Supreme Court's judgement and those who may like to read it now, will notice that this appeal case arose from an RTI application made by the Petitioners to disclose the names of the bank accountholders that Germany handed over to the Central Government. The previous Government adamantly refused to follow the directions of the Court to hand over to the Petitioners the names of individuals against whom investigations had been completed wholly or partially. Last month the Government handed over two sealed envelopes containing the names of the accountholders to the Court. The Court again directed that the names be handed over to the Petitioners. These names have not been made public by the Government, officially, till date. There is no reference to this direction in the ToR of the SIT either. The NDA Government could change policy in this regard as well and publicise the names contained in the sealed envelopes, as it would only be dutifully following the directions of the Court. Such a step would demonstrate the NDA Government's commitment to transparency as a real one going beyond mere public relations exercises. This case is also of great use for all RTI users and activists who receive rejection orders from Public Information Officers (PIOs) and First Appellate Authorities on the ground that contracts with private parties contain confidentiality clauses and cannot be disclosed under the RTI Act. In this case also the Government of India, under the United Progressive Alliance, refused to make the names of the accountholders public saying that Germany had handed over their names to Indian authorities under a tax agreement that contains a 'confidentiality' clause. The Apex Court examined the relevant clause of the treaty and came to the following conclusion: 1) that the tax agreement did not prohibit disclosure of information provided by one signatory to another if it was required in a judicial proceeding; and 2) that confidentiality clauses contained in international treaties and agreements are not to be interpreted as set in stone. Instead they must be tested against the concept and practice of the rule of law guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and most importantly the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1) and the right to seek redress for violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 32 of the Constitution. The confidentiality clause would be tolerated only if it matched any of the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) for imposing reasonable restrictions on the citizens' right to freedom of speech and expression. As RTI is a deemed fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a), it can also be restricted only on grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) and the RTI Act but no other ground would be valid. Readers will recognise that the Indian Government signs bilateral or multilateral treaties and agreements in exercise of its sovereign functions. When confidentiality clauses contained in such agreements are subject to the fundamental right to free speech and expression and consequently RTI, confidentilaity clauses contained in commercial agreements with private parties that public authorities enter into during the routine course of government business must also be interpreted along the same lines. The mere existence of a 'confidentiality' clause in a contract with one or more private parties is not enough to reject a request for copies of the contract under the RTI Act. This is a landmark interpretation of the Apex Court and if applied in letter and spirit can open up to public scrutiny a whole range of contracts and agreements that the Government signs with private parties. Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) agreements would have to meet this test before the public authority concerned can refuse access to such agreements. I hope readers will watch with great interest how transparently the SIT will be functioning in the days to come. Kindly circulate this email widely. Thanks RamJethmalni-v-UnionofIndia-SCI-Jul11.pdf BlackMoney-SIT-ToR-May14.pdf
karira posted a topic in RTI in MediaDisregarding the Centre's refusal to disclose details of Cabinet deliberations, the Central Information Commission has directed it to reveal the file notings on the governmentâ€™s decision to prematurely terminate services of a senior Hudco official. â€œA Cabinet decision, the reasons thereof and the material on the basis of which the decision was taken, is liable to be disclosed once the decision has been taken and the matter is complete,â€ chief information commissioner Mr Wajahat Habibullah said. The CIC's ruling came in response to a Right to Information application filed by Mr AN Gupta, a former Hudco director, in which he had sought department of personnel and training (DoPT) documents related to the notings of the appointments committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Alleging foul-play behind his removal, Mr Gupta claimed that divulging the file details would establish that the ACCâ€™s approval to terminate him had been obtained allegedly on the basis of false and fabricated documents. The DoPT, which denied to divulge details to Mr Gupta, initially took a stand that papers relating to notings given to the ACC were not connected with any public activity. The submission was outright rejected when the Commission observed: â€œThe very act of submitting a note to the ACC is, in fact, a public activity and cannot in any way be deemed a private activity.â€ In its hearing before the CIC, the ministry, however, insisted that such details fell under the category of Cabinet papers and were thus exempt from disclosure. The argument was rejected, though, when the Commission said that the RTI Act was specific about disclosure of details after a Cabinet decision was taken. The Statesman
The CIC has ruled that if it takes a long time to compile the complete request for information, the information can be disclosed in phases. That means that the PIO cannot deny the information for the simple reason that it will take a long time to compile. Full decision can be viewed at: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_21052007_39.pdf
ganpat1956 posted a topic in RTI in MediaNew Delhi, Jan 05: Operative parts of an inquiry report prepared by law enforcing agencies should be disclosed but details of investigation should not be made public, the Central Information Commission has said. "...Between the need for protecting such information from disclosure and the right of the citizen to access information, it has been consistently decided that the concluding parts of such reports need to be disclosed to the requesters", Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said. However, the Commission, while recognising the need to protect the names and particulars of deponents who assist the authorities in their investigation, has asked the law enforcing agencies not to disclose information relating to investigation details. "...The public authority should make sure that this (concluding) part does not have names and other particulars of deponents and sources of the information received by the law enforcing agency", said the Commission. Tiwari's observations came on its recent order directing disclosure of concluding/operating parts of vigilance inquiry report of Delhi Police conducted on one P P K Rana. Rana, who approached the Commission, sought a copy of the vigilance inquiry report conducted by Delhi Police on her. She had filed her application under the RTI Act before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Delhi Police who gave her a gist of the information. A subsequent appeal before the Appellate Authority also did not provide her the information she wanted, after which she approached the Commission which directed Delhi Police to disclose the operative parts of the report within a week of passing the order. Zee News - Operating parts of inquiry report need to be disclosed: CIC