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  1. In a recent order (interim) the CIC has issued a "Show Cause Notice" for penalty to two DoPT officers and also threatened action under Sec 166, 187 and 188 of the IPC. The matter involves the removal of the controversial statement in the FAQ available on DoPT website regarding file notings. Based on the said statement, DoPT denied file notings to an applicant. CIC ordered disclsoure. DoPT ignored it. The appellant complained about non compliance. DoPT stated that the matter was put up before the committee of secretaries and under their consideration. CIC has come down heavily on DoPT. The full order is attached to this post. NOTE - Sections of IPC being invoked: 166. Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person Whoever, being a public servant, knowingly disobeys any direction of the law as to the way in which he is to conduct himself as such public servant, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will, by such disobedience, cause injury to any person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Illustration A, being an officer directed by law to take property in execution, in order to satisfy a decree pronounced in Z's favour by a Court of Justice, knowingly disobeys that direction of law, with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause injury to Z. A has committed the offence defined in this section. 187. Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance Whoever, being bound by law to render or furnish assistance to any public servant in the execution of his public duty, intentionally omits to give such assistance, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such assistance be demanded of him by a public servant legally competent to make such demand for the purposes of executing any process lawfully issued by a Court of Justice, or of preventing the commission of an offence, or of suppressing a not, or affray, or of apprehending a person charged with or guilty of an offence, or of having escaped from lawful custody, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both. 188. Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes to tender to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such disobedience causes or trends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a not or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both. Explanation- It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm. Illustration An order is promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, direction that a religious procession shall not pass down a certain street. A knowingly disobeys the order, and thereby causes danger of not. A has committed the offence defined in this section WB-02062009-01.pdf
  2. File Notings of "Quasi -Judicial ORDER" Can It be disclosed - Need urgent help
  3. I sent a letter to some office. After about one year, i sent an RTI application to the PIO of that organisation to send me the certified copy of file notings through which my letter was processed/dealt. In the RTI reply, i got the information that your letter is not traceable in the office. However, i have checked from the post office also that the Speed post letter was delivered to the addresee. Now, i want to send a RTI application to the PIO asking him as to who is responsible for the letter having become "untraceable". But, you see that have written that it is untraceable---they have not said that they received it or not. So, i want to ask as to what action they have taken against the person who was responsible for the safe custody of that letter. For me it is very important to know the fate of the letter. And the PIO saying it is untraceable, it just defeats the very purpose of RTI. So, help me out and suggest some questions which i can ask the PIO in the new RTI application. I want to know how it went missing, since when it is missing, who is responsible and what action taken or will be taken against the person responsible for keeping the record. And it has been conveyed to me that it is non-tracebale. Does that mean that the letter was received or should i need to ask this also through my same application. Please help me out in framing exact questions so that i dont get that common reply --- " No record is available" .......i'm tired of this reply.
  4. Friends... I am a defendant in the court law. I believe certain files and the notings therein made by the Public Prosecutor ( pertaining to me ) will greatly change the outcome of the case I am fighting against. Is it possible to - under RTI - ask for the files and notings therein ? Thanks.
  5. manojkumarjain

    FIle Notings

    What is File Noting?
  6. Atul Patankar

    Amendments to RTI Act on the anvil

    As reported by Vidya Subrahmaniam at thehindu.com on November 14, 2009 The Department of Personnel and Training (Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions) has admitted that the government is considering amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005. The admission, which came at a meeting between RTI activists and DoPT Secretary Shantanu Consul on Saturday, ended the suspense over whether or not the government was contemplating amendments to the RTI. Speculation in this regard started following a meeting that the DoPT had with Information Officers on October 14 where a proposal for the amendments was formally put on the table. However, the government refused to confirm or deny the move, leading to a growing anxiety in RTI circles. Significantly, Mr. Consul assured the delegation led by Aruna Roy of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), that the amendments will only be introduced after hearing the views and objections of civil society groups. He said the department would initiate a “transparent and consultative process,” including putting up the draft amendments on the DoPT website, to enable public and civil society participation in their implementation. Mr. Consul also said the amendments would not go through if civil society groups were able to convince the government that they were not necessary, and the purpose for which they were being considered could be met in other ways. Earlier in the day, hundreds of activists from the NCPRI and other organisations gathered at Jantar Mantar to warn the government against tinkering with the RTI Act, 2005. The delegation that met Mr. Consul presented him a letter containing their misgivings over the proposed amendments. The letter was signed. among others by Ms. Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shekhar Singh of the NCPRI and Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women. The signatories said they had apprehensions that the government was moving towards amending the RTI and cited as evidence the October 14 meeting between the DoPT and Information Officers. The RTI activists also wrote to the Prime Minister on October 20, which was signed by dozens of public-spirited citizens. The letter argued that the proposed amendments — envisaging exemption from disclosure for official discussions and consultations (previously known as file notings) and prohibition of frivolous and vexatious complaints — far from strengthening the Act, as promised by the President in her June 4 address to Parliament, would in fact emasculate the Act. The letter quoted two nation-wide studies, “one done under the aegis of the government,” to make the point that RTI was constrained, not by issues being considered for amendment such as frivolous complaints and file notings, but by inadequate implementation, lack of trained staff, and poor management. There was no suggestion in either of the studies that RTI work was hampered by “frivolous or vexatious” applications or by disclosure of “file notings,” it said. The letter said: “This government gave its citizens the RTI Act, and there has been no crisis in government as a result of its enactment. In fact… its use by ordinary people is helping change its (the country’s) image to that of an open and receptive democracy. An amendment in the Act would be an obviously retrograde step, at a time when there is a popular consensus to strengthen it through rules and better implementation...” Source: The Hindu : News / National : Amendments to RTI Act on the anvil
  7. Atul Patankar

    RTI amendment this session?

    As reported by Rashme Sehgal at The Asian Age on 30 July, 2009 July 29: The UPA government is planning to bring in a proposed controversial amendment to the Right to Information Act in the current session of Parliament. The proposed amendment is aimed at deleting "file notings" which many in the government believe were never part of the RTI Act as passed by Parliament. The ministry of personnel is reported to have readied the amendment and a stronger UPA government is confident it will be able to get it passed. Senior sources in the law ministry point out that details of the amendment have not reached them. But activists monitoring the RTI assert that past precedent has shown that the government often prefers to hold "informal consultations" around a controversial draft and then introduce it quietly in Parliament. Minister of state for personnel and public grievances Prithviraj Chavan’s recent statement in Parliament last week that the government does indeed plan to amend the act has further confirmed the misgivings of different civil society organisations. Mr Chavan had said in a written reply, "It is proposed to review the number of organisations in the second schedule to the RTI Act 2005 and make rules for more disclosures of information by public authorities." Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, who is closely associated with bringing out an independent report monitoring the functioning of RTI along with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies, believes the pressure to amend the act has come from both MPs and bureaucrats. He believes several parliamentarians had during a parliamentary committee meeting expressed dissatisfaction at the functioning of the act. "While speaking before a parliamentary committee, many MPs claimed they were upset at their inability to access information pertaining to the functioning of state legislatures. Nor, under the act, can Member of Parliament access information pertaining to an individual officer," Mr Singh pointed out. The bureaucracy has also expressed dissatisfaction on some key aspects of the act. Their point of view was reinforced by the recent findings of the Administrative Reforms Commission report which has complained against increasing numbers of applications being of a "vexatious" and "frivolous" nature. Mr Singh refutes that the large number of applications have overstretched the public information officers (PIOs). "The deluge of RTIs is restricted to only a few ministries. On an average, 70 per cent of the 72 PIOs that have been appointed have received only 10 applications in their concerned department," he said. "Rather than sit down and analyse what are the bottlenecks in each department and ironing those out, a blanket ban on file notings will not resolve the issue," Mr Shekhar Singh added. A similar exercise was proposed in 2006 but was kept in abeyance when Congress president Sonia Gandhi is believed to have advised the government that there should be wider consultations among the stakeholders to allow the controversy over the file noting provisions to be sorted out. Sources in the ministry of personnel however maintain that neither the group of ministers nor the parliamentary standing committee had intended to include the words "file notings" in the definition of "information" given in Section 2(f). Central Information Commissioner O.P. Kejriwal says, "Information minus the notings amounts to taking the life out of the RTI Act." Source: The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference
  8. As reported at thaindian.com on 10 July, 2009 Panaji, July 10 (IANS) Senior Goa government bureaucrats burnt the proverbial midnight oil to ensure that Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane was not arrested after he was accused of threatening to kill a lawyer, response to a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed. A controversial file on the subject moved by Goa Advocate General Subodh Kantak June 30, was cleared the same day after office hours sometime between 5.30 p.m. till midnight. Kantak sought that charges against hundreds of people booked under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code since May 2004 - including Minister Rane - be dropped on a single technicality. While special secretary (home) Diwan Chand made his noting on the file sometime after 5.30 p.m., Law Secretary V.P. Shetye cleared the file at 9.15 p.m. The file was subsequently forwarded with seeming displeasure by Chief Secretary Hauzel Haukhum to Home Minister Ravi Naik and then on to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who cleared it the same night. The chain of events is revealed in the handwritten notings of the senior bureaucrats and top political executives. Kantak, in his initial remarks, said that a 2003 amendment to the Section 506, making offences under the section cognisable and non-bailable, had not been published in the government gazette. Hence, the government should instruct the prosecution department to drop hundreds of cases booked under the particular section, including the one against Rane. Interestingly, Haukhum’s terse noting indicates that the bureaucracy was a divided house while arriving at the decision. “Instead of favouring the home department of his considered opinion, he (law secretary) has opined that the advocate general’s opinion in any matter is final. Not commenting on the law secretary’s opinion, it is placed on record that the law secretary has not offered his views in the matter, leaving the whole matter unanswered,” Haukhum said, sending the file for further approval to the home minister and the chief minister. Incidentally, Rane, nicknamed “the prince” in Goa’s political circles, is the son of Goa legislative assembly Speaker Pratapsing Rane, who has also served as chief minister for nearly two decades. Aires Rodrigues, the lawyer who was threatened, had filed the RTI. Source: Goa bureaucrats burnt midnight oil to save minister
  9. As reported by The Hindu News Update Service on 22 December 2008 New Delhi (PTI): The Department of Personnel and Training, which is the nodal agency for the implementation of RTI Act, is itself violating the Act by publishing misleading information on its website, the CIC has held. The department on its website has excluded file notings from the definition of 'information' which implies that there is no obligation on it to reveal these under the RTI Act. "Because it is already clear that the entry of file noting with regard to exempted information on the website of DoPT is misleading, we find the DoPT is in violation of the RTI Act," said Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah. The Commission ordered the department to delete the definition of information which says that file notings were not included in RTI Act and replace it with the new definition as given in the Act. In an earlier hearing of the plea filed by one RTI applicant S C Agrawal, the CIC had directed "It is clear that CPIO (of DoPT) has simply acted in accordance with a circular issued by the DoPT." "If we are to construe malafide in the denial of information in such cases, it is necessary that the source of such malafide denial be identified and further action considered accordingly. From the above it is clear that the impugned order was issued with the approval of then secretary Source : The Hindu News Update Service
  10. CIC has announced a Full Bench hearing on DoPT related issues on 20 October 2008. S C Agarwal v/s DoPT The issues to be decided are: (i) Whether the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and High Court are also covered under RTI Act; (ii) The criterion for declaring Birth Days of departed leaders as gazetted holidays; (iii) Whether the DoPT Government of India has issued guidelines for Govt. Officials to seek Govt. clearance before accepting any international award; (iv) Information about names of payees to be endorsed on pay orders/drafts etc towards RTI fees for various Public authorities covered under the RTI Act. Written submissions should reach the CIC before 1700 Hrs. on 17 October 2008.
  11. Babus` file notings have no legal sanction: SC Bureau Report, As reported in ZeeNews New Delhi, Oct 20: The Supreme Court has ruled that file notings by babus do not confer any vested right on a person and do not have the sanction of law. "It is trite to state that notings in a departmental file do not have the sanction of law to be an effective order. A noting by an officer is an expression of his viewpoint on the subject," a bench of Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain observed. According to the apex court, internal notings like file notings are not meant for public circulation. "It is no more than an opinion by an officer for internal use and consideration of the other officials of the department and for the benefit of the final decision-making authority," the bench said while dismissing appeals filed by two petrol pump owners. The two petrol pumps M/s Sethi Auto Service Station and M/s Anand Service Station had challenged the refusal of the DDA authorities to allot them land for shifting to an alternative site. The appellant firms - own two petrol outlets adjacent to each other, located at NH-8, Mahipalpur, New Delhi since 1994. The contention of the owners was that the construction of an eight-lane express highway between Delhi and Gurgaon, including construction of a flyover/grid separator at Mahipalpur crossing, made the petrol pumps inaccessible. They had sought compensation by citing the recommendations made in file notings by the technical committee, supporting their claim for alternative site. But finally the recommendations were rejected by the DDA vice chairman on the grounds that the revised policy did not provide for any such provision. Aggrieved, the owners approached the Delhi High Court which rejected their plea following which they appealed in the apex court. Upholding the DDA's plea, the apex court observed "Needless to add that internal notings are not meant for outside exposure. Notings in the file culminate into an executable order, affecting the rights of the parties, only when it reaches the final decision-making authority in the department; gets his approval and the final order is communicated to the person concerned," the apex court. The bench recalled the apex court's earlier ruling in the Bachhittar Singh Vs State of Punjab case where a Constitution Bench considered the effect of an order passed by a Minister on a file but was not communicated to the person concerned. In that case the apex court ruled that merely because the minister had made certain notings in the file it does not give an inherent right to the person to claim a benefit. In the instant case, the apex court said that since the revised DDA policy did not provide for giving land to establishments which are not directly affected by a project the owners cannot claim any right to alternative land. Bureau Report Zee News - Babus` file notings have no legal sanction: SC
  12. Can under RTI Act-2005, the copies of file notings pertaining to the processing of an application under RTI Act-2005 for information be asked. thnks
  13. In a decision having far reaching consequences the Central Information Commission has issued summons to the officials of the President's Secretariate & from the Dept. of Personnel & Training for non-disclosure of 'File Notings' and disobeying the orders of the CIC. They have been slapped with various sections of IPC and also under section 20(1) of RTI Act for penalty. Following is the excerpts from the CIC's order dt. 07.01.2008. From the facts and circumstances of the case, it appears that there has been deliberate violation of the orders passed by this Commission. What has been provided to the appellant is admittedly “incomplete”. Apparently, the copies of the Note Sheets Pages 104-109 explicitly demanded by the appellant have not been provided and the President’s Secretariat has been persistently claiming this incomplete information as the complete information. Denial of information made knowingly appears to be rather mala fide. Prima-facie, we are of the view that it is a case of mala fide denial of information and that the orders passed by this Commission under the law have been deliberately disobeyed. It appears that the functionaries in the President’s Secretariat and in the Department of Personnel & Training have completely overlooked the fact that the proceedings before the Commission are judicial proceedings and u/s 19 (7) its decisions are binding and that this Commission has been given the power under the law to require any Public Authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provisions of the Act. By willfully disobeying the orders of this Commission, the functionaries in the President’s Secretariat and in the Department of Personnel & Training who have dealt with this matter appear to have committed offences punishable under Sections 176, 177, 186, 187, 188 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code, apart from rendering themselves liable for penalty stipulated under Section 20(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005. ORDERS We, therefore, direct: Shri Nitin Wakankar, CPIO, President’s Secretariat; Shri Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Deputy Secretary (Administration),President’s Secretariat; and Shri P.K. Misra, CPIO and Under Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training to appear before this Commission on 24.1.’08 at 4.00 PM and to show cause as to why each one of them be not prosecuted under the appropriate penal provisions and as to why each one of them be not imposed an appropriate penalty stipulated under Section 20(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005: and They are further called upon to produce before us all concerned files and documents wherein the matter concerning the implementation of the aforesaid decision of the Commission was dealt with and processed so as to enable the Commission to determine the culpability or otherwise under the penal law and the liability under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act of other concerned officers. CIC's Order is available here. A related story on the above appeared here.
  14. CIC frowns over Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings As Reported in the Hindu on March 27, 2008 New Delhi (PTI): The Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings under the RTI Act gives an "adverse" view on the functioning of the government which could otherwise take credit for enacting the transparency law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said. The CIC's observation came as it blamed the DoPT -- Centre's administrative authority in terms of RTI Act -- for its website's content saying that citizens cannot get access to file notings under the Right to Information law. The government's view as contained in the website of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is contradictory to the directions of the statutory panel, which has consistently held that file notings are disclosable under the RTI Act. "The DoPT is advised that in light of the misunderstanding created by its whimsical entries on its website, such entries be discontinued, since these give only an adverse view of the functioning of a government which, in fact, could otherwise seek credit for having been instrumental in the enactment of the RTI Act 2005," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said in a recent order. The CIC's observation came in respect of a RTI plea of President's Secretariat employee S S Bhamra seeking disclosure of certain file notings. The records were denied to him as the President's office took refuge under the DoPT guidelines on file notings. An appeal was thereafter moved before the CIC. Even as the CIC directed divulging of the notings, the President's office sought DoPT's opinion before passing on the details to the applicant. "The President's Secretariat is advised to exercise greater caution in implementing the RTI Act 2005 both in letter and spirit in dealing with such cases in future," the CIC also said.
  15. hopeindiafoundation

    Strategy to involve People in RTI spreading

    Hi all, RTI India is doing a wonderful job in spreading RTI .The organization i am associated with also doing the same job but we need to learn methods from you to improvise what we do.As of now we have reached atleast 15 top IT development centres (employees)with few success stories.We are not able make the people who we educate on RTI to pass on the RTI to others . Somebody could suggest a method of retaining them and drive them to do our business in turn.....
  16. dear sirs, and friends, Can any body tell that when a PIO telling that the booklet/gazettee supplied to him is having a wording that file notings are exempted. As per my knowledge (and decisions of CIC on many occassions) and knowledge gained from this Website the file notings are part and parcel of file (information) hence not exempted except under exemption sections. rakatkam.
  17. I feel that the office notings putup by the dealing clerk to the transfering authority of my organization contain false informations so as to favour some person(s). Under the RTI can I ask for copy of the notings?
  18. CIC differs with union minister on disclosing file notings New Delhi, Aug 12: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has differed with a Union Minister's assertion in Rajya Sabha that the denial of file notings under the Right to Information Act is in accordance with law. Minister of State for Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions Suresh Pachouri had said in a written reply in parliament on May 10 that the decision to deny file notings under the RTI act was in accordance with "legislative intent". Referring to its full-bench order of January, the commission said, "the response to the unstarred question submitted to parliament is not in accordance with the RTI act". Pachouri's reply, made in response to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha, was placed before the commission during a hearing by the department of personnel and training to justify its decision to deny certain file notings. The commission was hearing an application by IAS officer Naresh Chauturvedi, who had sought from the department file notings of its correspondence with the central vigilance commission regarding departmental proceedings against him. Rejecting the department's contention on non-disclosure of notings, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directed it to provide the information to Chaturvedi within 10 days. It also directed that a copy of the order be placed before the vice president in his capacity as chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The department of personnel and training's website has been maintaining that information disclosable under the RTI act does not include file notings. While the government says it was the "legislative intent" to keep file notings beyond the ambit of the RTI Act, the commission has consistently held a different view. Zee News - CIC differs with union minister on disclosing file notings
  19. In the judgment F.No.CIC/AT/A/2006/00296 Dated, the 20th November, 2006. Shri A.P. Sharma Vs Cdr-At-Arms S.K.Gupta, CPIO (Navy), Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (N) it was decided that the file notings of the confidential files are exempt under Right to Information Act. The abstract of the decision is quoted here: File notings in general and in a confidential file in particular are very different from the other sections / parts of the files. These are a form of dialectics between those writing the notes, the underpinning of which is a certain trust that their contents shall not be ordinarily disclosed. If it were to be known that the file notings would be subject to disclosure, those writing these notes would have chosen to write the notes differently or chosen other means of communicating their views to the next superior or to the authority competent to take decision. Trust and a certain confidence in itsconfidentiality is, thus, the very crux of the architecture of the file noting. That said, it is also necessary to differentiate between files classified as confidential and those not so classified. Arguably in the case of an unclassified file, those recording the notes are aware that the entire file can one day be called into the public domain, or at-least, that people not otherwise authorized to have access to a file may, under certain circumstances, gain access to its contents. This is what distinguishes a classified file from an unclassified one and, supports a theoretical assumption that in respect of the notings in both these genres of files, the approach of those writing the notes can be significantly different. In case of an unclassified file the employee of a public authority records his notes with full knowledge that these could be accessed at some stage by a larger number of entities, and may even find its way into the public domain under certain given circumstances. It should therefore be assumed that the nature and the character of the fiduciary relationship between the person writing the note and the persons in the chain of command to whom the note is submitted for a decision, is markedly different in case of an unclassified file from a classified one. On the other hand, in the case of a file classified as confidential / secret or top secret, the fiduciary relationship between officers is underpinned by a certain trust as well as a certain confidence that its contents shall not be accessed by anyone not authorized to access them. Rules even provide punishment for possession of documents of classified files by unauthorized entities. The trust that characterizes file notings in confidential files is thus qualitatively different. The information contained in the notings of such classified files is given by the officer, who is also the third party, in “confidence” as described under Section 11(1) of the RTI Act. It is, therefore, my considered view that the file-notings in the case of files classified as confidential attract the exemption of Section 8(1)(j); and if in a given case it is decided to disclose notings of a confidential file, it has to be done only in terms of Section 11(1) of the RTI Act.
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