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  1. In a recent order, the FAA of CIC has reiterated that Post Offices are not designated APIO's for the CIC. Therefore a RTI application to the CIC cannot be submitted through a Post Office. But strangely, the FAA has taken the stand that the 30 days mandatory period for the PIO of CIC to provide information is not the date of receipt in CIC, is also not the date of diarizing in the CIC BUT the date on which the RTI application is received in the PIO's unit ! http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/FAAD_17022010_01.pdf 4. At this stage, it may be clarified that the Commission in the case of Shri D.P. Verma Vs. Central Information Commission decided vide CIC/WB/A/2007/1193 dated 22.11.2007 and CIC/WB/A/2008/00259 dated 18.1.2008 has held that “the Post Office is a Public Authority other than the CIC and Post Master has not been designated under section 5 as APIO of the Commission.” 5. The present application was received in the Commission on 5.1.2010 as per the stamp on its envelope and was diarized on 12.1.2010. It was ultimately replied by Shri Pankaj Shreyaskar on 5.2.2009 and the reply was dispatched on 8.2.2009. Admittedly, there are systemic delays, but as far as the CPIO who replied is concerned he has replied within 30 days of the receipt of application by his unit. As such the delay cannot be attributed to him. It is therefore incumbent upon the Public Authority to do a systemic introspection and remove bottlenecks that cause delay in disposing of RTI applications. ========== Having been to the CIC many times, the PIO's unit is basically his desk !
  2. File notings under RTI after debate with section of society: Wajahat Habibullah Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said if the government decides to bring the bill to keep file notings outside the purview of the Right To Information (RTI) Act in the winter session, it will only be after debate with all sections of the society. "The civil society and the government are the decision makers on the Act. The Central Information Commission job is only to implement the Act, ' Habibullah said speaking at an interactive session on Right to Information Amendment Bill, 2006 organised by the NGO CUTS International. He said that all government departments have been directed to make a comprehensive compliance report of Section 4 of the Act dealing with maintaining data and information catalogue of information related to the department and submit it to CIC. The report will be submitted to the Parliament in the forthcoming winter session. Arvind Kejriwal, CEO of Parivartan and 2006 Magsaysay Award winner, said that the amendments do not pertain to file notings only as has been projected in the media. "If the amendments come through, the government will be able to keep the entire country out of the decision-making process. This is because the amendments provide that the departments will not give information on any issue till such time the matter is completed," Kejriwal said. Another important lacuna, he said, was that even after the decision was made, the entire information would not be provided and only file notings related to social and development work will be available. "So, if a citizen wants to know the status of his ration card or passport he would not get any information because this did not pertain to any social or developmental work," Kejriwal said. Also, all matters related to personnel will be out of the purview of RTI. Any information related to examinations process will also not be shown, he said. Pradeep S Mehta, secretary general of CUTS International, urged CIC to take up the role of advocacy given the extremely low public awareness on the usage of the act. [sourse: Business Standerd Aricle published dated 15th Sept 2006]
  3. Atul Patankar

    RTI is a voice for the poor: Habibullah

    As reported by The Hindu News Update Service Patna (PTI): The Right to Information Act (RTI) that has given a voice to the poor is a complete success story in poor countries, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah said on Saturday. "RTI has become a tool for every citizen in the fight for bringing transparency in development and other schemes being implemented by the government which has proved beneficial in wiping out corruption," Habibullah said while addressing a seminar on 'Role of the media in the promotion of right to information movement'. Lauding the efforts of the media in spreading awareness about the RTI, Habibullah said the fourth estate has a bigger responsibility towards society and it should not only report what has happened but should also tell the people about the government schemes and policies. "An act like the Official Secrets Act, 1923, should not be in place in today's world, but it is still existing probably due to the fact that government cannot share all the information with people because of security reasons," the CIC said. It was the duty of the government to provide the information seekers with whatever information it has, Habibullah said. Stating that the people all over the world have fought vigorously for the right to information, he said right from Sweden where the RTI movement began and later accepted by the US in 1966, India has not lagged behind in bringing RTI which became an Act in 2005.
  4. Video conferencing way to clear backlog: RTI chief as appeared in Yahoo! News, Sun, Oct 5 New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Decentralising the Central Information Commission (CIC) is not the way to clear the pending backlog of appeals and complaints, says India's Right to Information (RTI) chief. 'I don't think decentralizing is the answer. Video conferencing is a better option and will work far better,' Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah told IANS. 'If we decentralize, we will have to set up offices, arrange accommodation and other facilities like transport for the information commissioners and for that also a huge amount of money will have to be spent,' he added. The Right To Information Act was passed by parliament in 2005 for promoting transparency and accountability in the system. According to Habibullah, 'decentralization would also lead to breakdown of coordination between Public Information officers.' 'The RTI Act emphasises the use of electronic means, and video conferencing is a revolutionary system of information technology. For RTI, the next step at CIC is the introduction of video conferencing, which is inexpensive and quite efficient,' he said. 'Earlier we were using the video conferencing facility at the National Informatics Centre. But it was not always available due to which a lot of our hearings were cancelled,' Habibullah explained. He said that video conferencing facility was available now at one of the CIC offices. 'We have divided time between all information commissioners at the office to use that facility. I am slowly looking towards all information commissioners having their own video conferencing facility so that they don't even have to use it by turn,' Habibullah added. He further stated that whenever there is a huge backlog of cases at a particular place, the information commissioners travel to those places for a few days and hold hearings. 'Chandigarh and Puducherry are just some of the examples,' Habibullah added. 'The future step could be installation of video conferencing at all ministry offices so that they don't even have to come to the office and instead they can attend the hearing while sitting in their offices.' 'In fact, the commission has already recommended to the government to provide video conferencing facility to all secretaries in their ministries which would save both time and resources,' another CIC official said. Asked about applicants coming from faraway places to attend a hearing at the CIC office here, Habibullah said: 'We have also taken care of that and asked them to attend hearings through video conferencing available at the district level'. Agreeing with Habibullah's views, Magsaysay award winner and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said: 'I agree with Habibullah's view about using technology for RTI in the country. However, video conferencing would still have its limitations, as infrastructure would be needed. 'Instead audio conferencing will ensure that public money is saved and it would also be easier for the appellants. Information commissioners like O.P. Kejriwal have started using audio conferencing.' 'In the case of video conferencing, applicants still have to travel to the nearby district headquarters. However, in case of audio conferencing they will have to just go to the nearby telephone booth,' Arvind Kejriwal said. However, some RTI activists still feel that decentralization of CIC will help. Pune-based RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar told IANS: 'Definitely, decentralisation will help. There is a lot of problems in video conferencing, as rural areas don't have any such facility.' Asked about the financial burden on the government in opening CIC offices at other places in the country, Kumbhar said: 'I don't think that there would be any financial burden on the government.' Video conferencing way to clear backlog: RTI chief - Yahoo! India News
  5. Agra, Aug 18 (IANS) There was an urgent need to train government officials to ensure that the Right to Information (RTI) Act was used effectively for the benefit of people, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah said here Saturday. "In Uttar Pradesh we get lots of complaints (from applicants) but fewer appeals. The complaints usually relate to government officials either denying information under one pretext or the other or not responding to their applications," he told mediapersons after a public interaction at the Divisional Commissioner's office. Representatives of various organisations and chambers of commerce and industry who met the CIC complained of the unhelpful attitude of the government officials who, they said, preferred to avoid giving out required information. Habibullah said a meeting of state information officers was convened in New Delhi to discuss how the RTI Act can be more effectively implemented and how various problems relating to its usage can be resolved. Khabrein.info
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