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  1. The CIC has asked the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to explain how the disclosure of records related to the impeachment motion against Hyderabad High Court judge C V Nagarjuna Reddy under the RTI Act would be a breach of parliamentary privileges. The question was recently raised by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur on a petition of S Malleswara Rao who had sought to know from the Secretariat the number of members of Rajya Sabha who signed and moved the impeachment; the rules and regulations in regard to participation of the members among others. Officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said some information was provided to Rao but the records related to notice of motion, names of members who withdrew support to the motion etc., are in the custody of Secretary General of the House which have never been made public. “Such documents relating to or connected with the proceedings of the House are privileged documents and exempted under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act, 2005. The respondent (the Secretariat) stated that once a notice of motion is accepted, as per practice, they disclose the particulars suo-moto,” Mathur noted citing submissions of the Secretariat officials. In his order, Mathur underlined parliamentary privileges and said certain rights and immunities such as freedom from arrest or freedom of speech belong primarily to individual members of each House and exist because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its members. Mathur directed the Central Public Information Officer of the Rajya Sabha to inform, with approval of competent authority, in writing as to why parting of this information would constitute a breach of privilege of Parliament.
  2. Impeachment motion against Hyderabad High Court judge C V Nagarjuna Reddy under the RTI Act would be a breach of parliamentary privileges- Says RTI reply from Rajya Sabha The CIC has asked the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to explain how the disclosure of records related to the impeachment motion against Hyderabad High Court judge C V Nagarjuna Reddy under the RTI Act would be a breach of parliamentary privileges. The question was recently raised by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur on a petition of S Malleswara Rao who had sought to know from the Secretariat the number of members of Rajya Sabha who signed and moved the impeachment; the rules and regulations in regard to participation of the members among others. Officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said some information was provided to Rao but the records related to notice of motion, names of members who withdrew support to the motion etc., are in the custody of Secretary General of the House which have never been made public. “Such documents relating to or connected with the proceedings of the House are privileged documents and exempted under Section 8(1)(c) of the RTI Act, 2005. The respondent (the Secretariat) stated that once a notice of motion is accepted, as per practice, they disclose the particulars suo-moto,” Mathur noted citing submissions of the Secretariat officials. In his order, Mathur underlined parliamentary privileges and said certain rights and immunities such as freedom from arrest or freedom of speech belong primarily to individual members of each House and exist because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its members. Mathur directed the Central Public Information Officer of the Rajya Sabha to inform, with approval of competent authority, in writing as to why parting of this information would constitute a breach of privilege of Parliament. View full entry
  3. Version

    2 downloads

    Chief Information Officer is not a Court for the purpose of Contempt of Courts Act 4. First and foremost, I am of the opinion that the Chief Information Officer is not a Court for the purpose of Contempt of Courts Act. Section 18 of the Right to Information Act cloths the said authorities with certain powers of a Court. In Sub-Section (3) of Section 18, it is provided as under:- "18(3) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be shall, while inquiring into any matter under this section, have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:- (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things; (b) requiring the discovery and inspection of documents; (c) receiving evidence on affidavit; (d) requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any Court or office;" Section 20 of the Right to Information Act pertains to penalties, which can be imposed when it is found that the Public Information Officer or the Public Information Officer has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under Sub-Section (1) of Section 7 or malafide denied request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information, which was the subject matter of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing information. It can thus be seen that all acts or omissions connected with information which is mala fide withheld or information supplied is incorrect or incomplete or misleading, are dealt with under Section 20 by making such action penal. In this context, if one peruses Section 18, it clearly emerges that Information Commission is entrusted with the powers of Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for specified purposes such as summoning and enforcing attendance of persons and to compel them to give evidence, requiring the discovery and inspection of documents, receiving evidence on affidavit, requisitioning any public record or copies for issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents. Such powers cannot be construed as converting the said authority into a Court for all purposes much less for the purpose of Contempt of Courts Act.
  4. Version

    4 downloads

    The writ petition challenging the order of the CIC is to be heard by a Single Judge of this Court but the same is listed before us because the petitioner has also sought a declaration of “Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 as ultra vires, unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India”. It is contended, that the ‘proviso’ virtually takes away the exemption provided for in Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) and is too widely worded leaving unguided discretion in the Competent Authority to override the exemption by citing public interest, without defining “larger public interest” and is thus arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It is alternatively contended that the said ‘proviso’ may be required to be “read down”. We are unable to find any merit in the challenge to the vires of the ‘proviso’ aforesaid to Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e).
  5. Version

    2 downloads

    The strident approach of the Commission had the most undesirable effect of terrorizing the appellant into subservience, and the materials on records suggest that the Civil Surgeon constituted a medical board to examine the extent of visual impairment of the concerned candidate(s). It will bear repetition to state that the authorities under the Act are vested with the power to ensure supply of information sought for as obtaining on the records, rather than the ideal or the legal state of affairs. We are mindful of the position that the selection process to the extent relevant in the present context concerns visually impaired persons. But the Commission illegally took upon itself the task of injecting validity to the selection process. Instead of ensuring supply of factual position, he has gone to the length of directing the Director, Primary Education, to ensure action against the erring official. Such an approach is wholly beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission, being an authority of limited jurisdiction.- पटना हाई कोर्ट।
  6. Version

    0 downloads

    The Information Commission receives innumerable requests from various aggrieved parties. The Commission is a multi-member body and has to arrange its own business dealing with those appeals. Even if there has been any unreasonable delay, if a party approaches this Court, then the Commission must be put on notice before fixing a time limit for the Information Commission to hear those appeals either expeditiously or out of turn by jumping the queue. In such cases, the petitioner must make out a case for a deliberate delay dealing with those appeals and that the particular appeal of the aggrieved petitioner must be so important that in public interest such direction can be given. A writ of mandamus is issued to a public authority including a quasi-judicial authority to do a statutory obligation or to refrain from performing an act contrary to the Statute. Unless it is proved that the Commission did not discharge its obligation, no direction can be issued to the Commission by this Court and even if any such direction is to be issued, the same cannot be done without notice to the Commission. When the Government Advocate has no right to represent the Commission and only represent the Government Department and Information Offices appointed by such Department, no direction should have been issued to the Commission. Keeping this request and anguish of the Commission in mind, this Court declared that when an order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission is under challenge, Information Commission need not be made as a party to those proceedings and even if counsels make them as a party, in the array of parties, they should be struck of from the writ petition. It is also indicated that all that this Court can do is to make a copy to the Information Commission either interim or final order, so that the Commission follow the same as a legal precedent.
  7. Version

    2 downloads

    On a perusal of the information sought and the time consumed, we find that reasonable period has been spent and hence, that would tantamount to an explanation for delay caused by the officer concerned. In view of the aforesaid, the reduction of the penalty by the learned single Judge is justified. Before parting with the case, we may hasten to add that the issue that was raised on the initial occasion with regard to locus standi of the CIC to prefer an appeal is kept open. The appeal is accordingly disposed of without any order as to costs.
  8. Version

    3 downloads

    While entertaining an application for information made under the Act, the locus standi or the intention of the applicant cannot be questioned and is required to furnish all the information sought by him except what has been exempted under Section 8 therein.
  9. The High Court has struck down CIC order that file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note. High Court ruled that "Any noting made in the official records of the Government/public authority is information belonging to the concerned Government/public authority. The question whether the information relates to a third party is to be determined by the nature of the information and not its source." The reasoning, that the notings or information generated by an employee during the course of his employment is his information and thus has to be treated as relating to a third party, was considered flawed. Court further stated that "Section 8 of the Act provides for exemption from disclosure of certain information and none of the provisions of Section 8 provides for a blanket exemption that entitles the respondent to withhold all notings on a file." CIC has earlier made the decision on the basis that when the file noting by one officer meant for the next officer with whom he may be in a hierarchical relationship, is in the nature of a fiduciary entrustment, it should not ordinarily be disclosed and surely not without any concurrence of the officer preparing that note. The file noting for a confidential and secret part would attract the provisions of Section 8(1)(e) as well as Section 11(1) of the RTI Act. The contention of the CIC was struck down and the court directed CIC to take the decision within 3 months. Earlier, however, Central Information Commission (CIC) in their Decision No. ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006 dt.31.01.2006, has held that “file notings are not, as a matter of law, exempt from disclosure”. Usefulness of the High Court Order The above decision is highly relevant for users who are filing RTI to know the Status of their earlier RTI. RTI Applicant can now use following questions in their RTI application Complete details of file notings made on the above said file number as on date. Separately the daily progress made in case of above said file till date i.e. when did it reach which officer/functionary, how long did it stay with that officer/functionary and what did that officer/functionary, do during that period on the said letter together with file noting and name and designation of each officer/functionary List of the officers with their designation to whom before the said file is placed. Also, provide me with the noting made by them on the said file.
  10. In a significant decision of Dr. Nazrul Islam vs State Of West Bengal & Ors on 31 August, 2016, Calcutta high court has ruled that "It is the Department who has to compensate a citizen for any loss, detriment or harassment suffered by him by reason of failure of its officers to perform their duty.". The Department cannot claim that "responsibility and liability should be fixed only on its officers". The court further added that "In fact, the Department should recover from its concerned officers the compensation that the Department has to pay to the affected citizen." Department not Officer should pay compensation to affected citizen The Department has appointed SPIO and a first Appellate Authority who are officers of the Department. If such Officers did not discharge their duties, the department must own up responsibility for the same. The Department must accept the liability for any negligent act of commission or omission on the part of its officers in the course of their employment or discharge of their duty. This is akin to vicarious liability, a well- recognized tortious principle of law. It is the Department who has to compensate a citizen for any loss, detriment or harassment suffered by him by reason of failure of its officers to perform their duty. It makes little difference whether such duty is statutory or non-statutory. It does not lie in the mouth of the Department to say that it is an inanimate or impersonal entity and responsibility and liability should be fixed only on its officers. The Department must make good the loss suffered by a citizen by non-discharging of their duties by the Department's recalcitrant and indolent officers and, thereafter the Department is at liberty to take appropriate steps against its erring officers and bring them to books. In fact, the Department should recover from its concerned officers the compensation that the Department has to pay to the affected citizen. The High court further added that "in contrast to Sec. 20 of the RTI Act, Sec. 19 does not require that a Public Authority against whom the Commission awards compensation, must be given a prior hearing." The decision of the High Court can be downloaded from here!
  11. Since December 2009, I have filed over 20 direct Complaints under Sec 18, with the CIC for: 1. Sec 4 Disclosure by Supreme Court and various High Courts 2. RTI Rules of various High Courts violating the basic RTI Act itself. Attaching them in the thread for general reference. Still to do the exercise for : Rajasthan High Court Punjab & Haryana High Court Sikkim High Court COMPLAINT Allahabad High Court Rules.pdf COMPLAINT under SEC 18 for Sec 4 disclosure Allahabad HC.pdf COMPLAINT Andhra Pradesh High Court Rules.pdf COMPLAINT Chattisgarh High Court Rules.pdf COMPLAINT under Sec 18 for Sec 4 disclosure Delhi HC.pdf
  12. In the attached order dated 24 Aug 2014, CIC has recommended to the Delhi HC to reduce the application fees by amending its RTI Rules. Hence Commission finds that the rule and practice of the respondent public authority in this case, in relation to the exercise of its functions under this Act as far as imposition of fee of Rs 50 for first appeal is concerned, does not conform with the provisions and spirit of this Act. Invoking the duty to recommend under Section 25(5) of RTI Act, the Commission, therefore, recommends the respondent Public Authority, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, to amend the rules to bring it in conformity with RTI Act, for effective provision of access to information and to bring uniformity with the rules made by DoPT which are also followed by the Supreme Court. The copy of this order shall be sent to concerned High Courts, to bring the rules in conformity with RTI Act and DoPT Rules. CIC order Delhi HC Fees reduction.pdf
  13. Pl. let us know how to proceed in such cases? Have to move to High Court first to get the orders for reconstitution of missing records and then again confront the CIC with High Court"s order to that effect. In short, how should one go about constructing such case to get the requested records claimed 'missing' by the P.I.O of a Public Authority and the FAA and the CIC both condoning the callously casual attitude of the P.I.O in withholding the records and the information claiming them to be missing. As there are so many cases of this type it will help lot of information seekers who have thus been cheated by PIOs who claimed non availability of the requested records with impunity and the CIC condoning their act. I can cite at least four such cases. It will be of much help if the whole procedure is described in detail for our information and taking necessary action, when confronted with such a situation-SANJOG MAHESHWARI
  14. ANSVNS

    RTI High Court

    I want to know what actions have been taken regarding my complaints sent regarding a single matter through four emails on different dates, to the CJ of Alld High Court. What should be the format of my plea, I mean what exactly shd I ask? And how much fee should I attach at the rate of Rs 50 per info? Thanks.
  15. ArjunThakur

    RTI against HIgh Court

    Hello! I am a law student and I am willing to file an RTI application against the HP Hgh Court. History: I got selected for working in our college legal aid committee. The committee undertook the project "LITIGATION FREE VILLAGE" by virtue of which our college collected information regarding the pendency of cases of villagers in any of the courts in Himachal Pradesh. "Litigation free village" is a project that was carried under the directions of Himachal Pradesh High Court whereby all such data collected shall be scrutinized and the cases that are pending of such villagers in any of the courts in Himachal Pradesh shall heard on priority basis and be disposed within a year. Purpose: Purpose of this project was litigation free village. Failure: This project took place last year and there has been no updates on this from the Hon'ble High Court. My work: So being a law student and also having worked on this project I want to file an RTI application in order to know the current status of this project i.e. Litigation Free Village. I want to find out whether any of the cases that we submitted were entertained or not? So if you are reading this then please guide me as to how I should proceed in my endeavours. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Arjun Thakur [Anticipating your response]
  16. Hi Sir, Do High Courts have any jurisdiction over the Consumer Cases initiated under any section(s) of the Consumer Protection Act -1986(As Amended upto date)? If so, pl. define the prescribed procedural details, and if not why Hon'ble Delhi High Court is exceeding its jurisdiction in the Consumer Matters and the Consumer cases against M/s. Triveni Infrastructure Development Co. Ltd., New Delhi while their jurisdiction (both original and and appellate) exclusively and entirely vests in the Consumer courts (Distt., Forum, State commission and National Commission and finally with the Hon'ble Supreme court. What is the remedy for the hundreds of aggrieved Consumers of the services of the defaulting company who are coerced to take their cases to a Committee Court created by the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, even when they have already been decided by the proper and appropriate Consumer Fora. One such case is Execution case No.504 of 2010 u/s27 of CPA -1986 Sandeep Maheshwari Vs. the Developers still pending before the Hon'ble Distt. Forum No. X, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi-110 016 since more than a year?. there could be several such cases as the notorious company has gravely and severely defaulted in providing the necessary services for which they have collected huge sums for their various projects from the hundreds of Consumers. Even vested with the powers of !st Class Magistrate, the Consumer courts for reasons better known to them are shying away from awarding the defaulting company the deterrent punishment and prison term as provided under the Consumer Protection Law.
  17. PUNJAB & HARYANA HIGH COURT - NOTICE ON PIL SEEKING, INTER-ALIA, QUASHING OF APPOINTMENT OF BIDHI CHAND AND CHANDER PARKASH AS PUNJAB STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS A Division Bench of the HC comprising ACJ Adarsh Goel and Justice A.K. Mittal today issued notices for December 1st, to States of Punjab and Haryana, on a PIL filed by Advocate H.C. Arora, seeking appropriate directions to the two States to lay down procedure for selection and appointment of State Information Commissioners, which should contain provision for advertisement of vacancies, setting up of an Empanelment Committee, and calling for intelligence reports about antecedents of candidates before clearing their appointments; Additionally, the petitioner has sought quashing of selection and appointment of Bidhi Chand, (IAS Retd.) and Chander Parkash, a journalist, as Information Commissioners in Punjab. Petitioner has alleged that respondent-States are not advertising posts of State Information Commissioners; applications sent by interested and eligible persons for appointment as Info. Commissioners are not put up before the Selection Committee (comprising respective CM, One Minister and Leader of Opposition); No empanelment committees have been set up, and intelligence reports about the antecedents of selected candidates are not sought before giving them appointment. Resultantly, the petitioner alleged, One Ashok Mehta was appointed as Information Commissioner by Haryana Government in Jan.,2008; later on, it was found that his law degree was fake; eventually, Mehta submitted resignation from post of Information Commissioners, when exposed in news papers. Likewise, One Asha Sharma, who was also appointed as Information Commissioner by Haryana Government in Jan.,2008, was facing a criminal case for alleged tempering with some documents, and the related case was filed against her after sanction of Union Home Ministry; she is still facing the said criminal case in a Court at Chandigarh, while continuing as State Information Commissioner. Leveling a serious charge, petitioner has alleged that Chander Parkash, a journalist, and the Information Commissioner designate, selected by Punjab Government, had remained under suspension for a couple of months while in service of his present employer; This material fact has been withheld from the Selection Committee as well as Governor by the Government. He further alleged that Punjab Governor had referred back the cases of Bidhi Chand and Chander Parkash, with the observation that report about their “integrity” ,as envisaged in P.J. Thomas, CVC’s case, be also submitted regarding these two selectees; However, the Government sent back the cases again to Governor without obtaining any intelligence reports on their antecedents and integrity. ADVOCATE H.C. ARORA IS PRESIDENT OF RTI ACTIVIST FEDERATION AND HE APPEARED AS PETITIONER IN PERSON RTIFED -BN -05 August 2011.pdf
  18. umeshvarmap

    DMRC and its strange logic

    Delhi Metro\'s royal snub Delhi Metro's royal snub DMRC says it is fully within its rights to keep information regarding design and material to itself Six people killed, 12 injured, a city shaken, yet the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) feels it is not bound to part with the design layout of its crumbling structures. The "pride of Delhi", DMRC, snubbed a Right to Information (RTI) plea by a group of concerned citizens who sought structural drawings and details of pile foundation and superstructure. "The required information is the intellectual property of the DMRC and therefore, exempted from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act." End of the matter? No, the fight continues. The applicants have now approached the Central Information Commissioner's office regarding their plea, which was filed following the Metro pillar collapse near Zamrudpur in which six labourers were killed. An inquiry into the incident, over which Metro chief E Sreedharan offered to resign, revealed that the pillar collapsed due to "design and material deficiencies." The residents are afraid that the construction methodology and designs of other structures along the corridor could also be 'faulty' and could lead to another disaster. "For quite a long time now, no work is being carried out at that point. The enquiry into the Zamrudpur pillar collapse has categorically said the design team of the DMRC is not equipped to check each and every drawing. The area falls under seismic zone-IV and thus any shortcoming may prove deadly as the area around the corridor is densely populated," said one of the applicants, wishing not to be named. A spokesperson for Delhi Metro said the information sought is the intellectual property of DMRC as considerable cost and time have been spent in preparing the design details of the projects. "We are not bound to give information sought by the applicants under the relevant section of RTI Act. The inquiry report into the Zamrudpur incident has already been made public," he said. He further said that a private firm has been engaged to look into the shortcomings, if any, across the Phase-II network of the Metro. "As far as work along the corridor is concerned, it is still on." The Other Side A spokesperson for DMRC said: "We are not bound to give information sought by the applicants as it is the intellectual property of the DMRC and therefore, exempted from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act. The detailed inquiry report into the Zamrudpur incident has already been made public." What the probe report said >>Designers should check material and workmanship of special structures to certify compliance with design. >>Identify those special viaducts, structures already constructed which may require audit of the design and quality of construction in order to ensure compliance to sound engineering. >>The design team should be strengthened to ensure rigorous checking of special structures. Certified drawings should be made a pre-requisite for construction to proceed. >>Contractors should provide third party checking of designs, which are part of their scope of work.
  19. As per the attached decision of the CIC, it seems that the Calcutta HC has reduced the RTI application fee to Rs. 10.00 and also removed the fee for first appeal. The CIC also asked the Calcutta HC to update its website with the latest RTI rules so that there is clarity for applicants. Calcutta HC reduces application fee.pdf
  20. RTIFED NEWS CHANDIGARH: 12 JANUARY 2012 HC INTEREFERES FOR DIRECTING HSSC TO DISCLOSE MARKS OF WRITTEN TEST OF ASSTT. SECRETARY’S EXAMINATION In a peculiar case of its own kind, a civil writ petition filed by Sukhwant Kaur of Fatehabad, seeking a direction to the Haryana Staff Selection Commission to produce her answer sheet of the written test conducted for appointment to post of Assistant Secretary by the HSSC, came up for consideration before the Justice K. Kannan today. The petitioner leveled a serious allegation that the HSSC is not disclosing her marks obtained by her in written test and interview despite two applications submitted by her, in addition to another application submitted by her under the RTI Act . She alleged that the HSSC had declared the result of selection on 18 October 2011, and that the last candidate in general category had been stated to have been awarded 248 marks in aggregate, in written test and interview. She alleged that as per her private information, she scored more than 300 marks in written test alone, and was bound to be selected even if awarded zero marks in interview, and that the HSSC is deliberately delaying the supply of information to her, and is likely to destroy the answer sheets of candidates, as per its practice, on expiry of 3 months from the date of declaration of result of selection, which period is expiring on January 18th itself. Accepting the submissions made by her Counsel, H.C. Arora, Justice Kannan issued notice to the HSSC for February 10th through the State Government’s Law Officer, and directed him to seek the requisite information from HSSC on the next date of hearing. ________________________________________ – As reported by Advocate H.C. Arora, Counsel for Petitioner. He is a practicing Lawyer at Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh and is President of RTIFED. DELETED EXTERNAL LINK
  21. Delhi High Court quashes RTI Act, CIC Management Regulations 2007 Nov 27, 2009 – A division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Justice B.D.Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal today quashed the Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2007 while hearing India's longest running RTI battle the case of Er.Sarbajit Roy v. DDA. All Central RTI appeals will henceforth be heard by all 10 Information Commissions sitting jointly. In 2005 the complainant Er.Sarbajit Roy had moved India's first RTI case to India' FoI watchdog the Central Information Commission (CIC) complaining that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had failed to comply with proactive disclosure mandated under new India's Right to Information Act 2005. 4 years later on 22.09.2009 a twin bench of Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Information Commissioner M.L.Sharma found Roy's allegations to be true and constituted a 3 member committee to go into all aspect of servicing RTI Act throughout the DDA expeditiously. Roy challenging the appointment of the committee cited the Government of India's legal opinion to CIC for there to be no provision in law for CIC to form benches or committees to decide complaints. The DDA then approached the High Court and obtained a stay against all proceeding in Roy's complaint . The Court heard Er.Roy, standing senior counsel for CIC Prof. K.K.Nigam and standing counsel for DDA Adv. Ajay Verma at length over 2 days. The Court was astounded to learn that the CIC (Management) Regulations 2007 promulgated by CIC which permits setting up of benches and inquiry committees had never been notified in the gazette to have any legal effect. The Court while striking down the Regulations also interpreted section 12 (4) of the RTI Act to be a "provision restricting the CIC's autonomy" and not as an enabling provision to frame notifications. Noting that the Department of Personnel (DOPT) had consistently refused to notify the CIC's wide roving regulations, the Court remarked "what was not done by Rules cannot now enter through the backdoor of these illegal regulations". Responding to the decision Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said "It is highly impractical to expect the entire bench to hear every case together especially in the state commissions. We have asked them to provide an alternative, a system in place so that their demand could be considered". CPI Politburo leader Brinda Karat also hit out at the government over the Government demand to force CIC to only sit as a Full Bench in Parliament. "Who is the DoPT to make such demands, the CIC is an independent body. The government has no business getting involved in this." There are now concerns that attempts by the government to restrict the role of the CIC will lead to a massive delay in disposing cases. Already 26,000 cases are awaiting hearing at CIC with an 18 month backlog. The wait has just got longer. Delhi High Court Infowire, an online website for advocates reporting daily hearings from Delhi High Court contributed by advocates who appeared Source: http://www.prlog.org/10429934-delhi-high-court-quashes-rti-actcic-management-regulations-2007.html
  22. ]RTI NEWS CHANDIGARH 17 DECEMBER 2011 A ‘RULE 49-O’ VOTE CASTED IN POLLING BOOTH IN SECTOR 22-D CHANDIGARH DURING MUNICIPALITY ELECTIONS[ [/b] During the General Election of Councilors for the purpose of constituting the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh under Section 4, which are conducted under Election Commission appointed under Section 7 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.1957, having the superintendence, direction and control of elections to the preparation of the electoral rolls for and the conduct of all Election to the Corporation and responsible for the functions conferred on the Election Commission. During the these Elections on 17 December 2011 an unprecedented feat has been made in the History of Chandigarh as a voter exercised his right under Regulation 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, in Polling Booth No. 12 in Ward No. 3 by abstaining from the voting after marking himself present at the Booth and signing the register for the purpose. After getting his left index finger marked with indelible ink mark, instead of moving to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to cast his vote, the voter moved to the Presiding Officer of the Booth. He announced to the Presiding Officer that he want to exercise his right under Rule 49-O. A near chaos prevailed in the Polling booth, as this was beyond the imagination of the Presiding Officer and other Election Staff on duty in the booth. In a huff the entire staff just become anxious and started looking at the rule book. The presiding officer comforted Voter offer him a chair outside the booth, while they look for the solution. Presiding Officer made some inquiries over telephone to his superiors and, after a while returned to the voter and said, that “Sir, since you are rejecting all the candidates, a remark to the effect “voter rejected vote” will be entered in the register where voter had signed earlier. The presiding Officer did that, Shook hand with the voter and thanked him. Voter moved out leaving everybody perplexed. His voting in this manner will not count but will stand out. He has done so in the wake of notices sent to Election Commission of India to provide a Button on the EVM for Rule 49-O Voting so that the ballot remains secret. On a PIL filed by local lawyer and RTI Activist, H.C. Arora, a Division Bench of the HC comprising CJ Ranjan Gagoi and Justice Surya Kant issued notices for 02 February to Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officer Punjab, Union Law and Home Ministries, and State of Punjab. But in the existing procedure the name of the abstaining voter is revealed as the Register on which the voter was made to sign before abstaining is a public record for everyone to access and see. Also under RTI this information and record cannot be denied. Thus, the voter is exposed to exploitation by the vested interests, only due to the faulty procedure, which Election Commission has refused to set right, till now. He plans to obtain the record of the Register signed in the Polling Booth under RTI Act 2005 from the Chief Electoral Officer Chandigarh on Monday 19 December 2011. That humble voter was 59-year old Surendera M. Bhanot, Voter No. 389 in the Part 144 of the Voting List of Poling Booth No. 12 in Sector 22-D, of UT, Chandigarh.
  23. RTIFED News TOMORROW NEWS TODAY CHANDIGARH: 10 DECEMBER 2011 ]ACCOUNTANT GENERAL (AUDIT) REPORT LAMBASTS PUNJAB MINISTERS ON DISCRETIONARY GRANTS In response to a PIL filed by RTI Activists-cum-Advocate, H.C. Arora, praying for issuance of direction to the State of Punjab to introduce some effective safeguards against misuse of discretionary grants by CM/Ministers and Chief Parliamentary Secretaries, the Accountant General (Audit), Punjab has filed its affidavit through Sh. Raghubir Singh, Deputy Accountant General (Inspection Civil and Administration), clarifying the manner in which the audit of discretionary grants disbursed by Punjab Chief Minister and Cabinet Ministers, including Parliamentary Secretaries, are audited. The AG (Audit) Punjab, alongwith its affidavit has enclosed “Theme audit report” which states that AG (Audit) Punjab is not authorized to audit the accounts of the, Clubs, Colleges or other NGOs to whom the grants are issued by the State Government out of public funds. However, under “The Comptroller and Auditor General Duties/Powers and Conditions of Service Act, 1971”, the Governor can direct the audit of the accounts of such NGOs also. The AG, Punjab (Audit) has further stated in its audit reports that under Punjab Financial Rules, Volume-I, discretionary grants can be sanctioned only upon satisfaction of certain conditions, including the requirement to submit the audited statements of accounts before the sanction of such grants so that the grant may be justified by the financial position of the grantee, and to ensure that the previous grants, if any, given for the purpose had been utilized for which those were given. Besides, the beneficiary of discretionary grant has to execute a bond that it shall abide by the conditions of grant and shall refund the grant in case of breach of terms and conditions of the bond. This condition is also required to be incorporated in the sanction letter. The aforesaid provisions of rules are not being complied with while sanctioning discretionary grants in Punjab. In the “theme audit report” for the period 2009-2010 of the discretionary grants, it is stated that under the guidelines for disbursement of discretionary grants by Cabinet Ministers, a Cabinet Minister cannot sanction discretionary grants exceeding 50 per cent of the quota in his own constituency, however, “Sh. Manoranjan Kalia sanctioned grants of 80 per cent approximately in his own Constituency, during the period 2009-10, which is irregular”. The audit report states that although the grants can be sanctioned for repair, maintenance and renovation of school buildings, such grants are not permitted for construction of rooms of the school building. However, during the year 2009-2010, an amount of Rs. 63.90 lacs in 21 cases was sanctioned and disbursed to the colleges and school management for construction of rooms in contravention of the approved guidelines. The audit report further discloses that while under the guidelines, the discretionary grant cannot be sanctioned for the same purpose during the same year, and a certificate is required to be obtained from grantee/institutions specifying clearly that said institutions has not been sanctioned any grant for the same purpose by any other departments during the same period, “yet an amount of Rs. 65.50 lacs by way of discretionary grants has been sanctioned and disbursed in the same financial year, which reveals that undue favour was given to the beneficiary.” As the requisite certificate was not obtained from the grantees, in the absence of which it could not be ascertained whether any such beneficiary had not obtained any monetary benefit in the shape of grant during the same period. The audit report also gives some instances of issues of misutilisation of discretionary grants by the beneficiaries, and it has been pointed out that a grant of Rs. 10 lacs was released in September, 2009 to “Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists” for overall social development works. However, an amount of Rs. 2.30 lacs was used for the purposes not covered under the social works, and an amount of Rs. 7.70 lacs is still lying unspent with the aforesaid association. “This had resulted not only into the misutilisation of Government funds, but also resulted in blockade of Government money without any requirement.” The audit report further points out that a discretionary grant of Rs. 5 lacs was sanctioned in favour of “Indian Media Centre” (IMC), Ludhiana, during 2009-2010 for construction of new shopping complex”. However, the IMC is operating its office in a rented building and construction was not allowed therein. It was further revealed through discussion that money was lying unspent with IMC till June. This shows the callousness attitude of DDO as he should verify the facts about the beneficiary to whom the grant was released. The affidavit points out that huge amount out of sanction grants are being disbursed with an inordinate delay by the concerned officers. The audit report, however points out that utilization certificates were not being received from the departmental officers. It is pointed out that as on June, 2010, utilization certificates for Rs. 8.86 crores in respect of 459 grants released upto November, 2009 had not been received till June, 2010. Thus, the utilization of grant for intended purpose could not be ascertained. Coming to the grants sanctioned out of the Small Savings Schemes, it is pointed out that scrutiny of records in March, 2010 of the Director Small Savings Punjab, revealed that the net savings collections mobilized during the year 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 was minus (negative). However, at the instance of the Chief Minister and Finance Minister, annual budget of grants from Small Savings Scheme was sanctioned at Rs. 3 crores and Rs. 2 crores each for discretionary use of CM and FM respectively, for the year 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. This was done in the face of guidelines of the department of Small Savings Punjab, that only 1 per cent of the Net Saving collections mobilized in the preceding year in the Small Savings Schemes launched by Government of India is to be used by CM and FM every year as Prize money. It is pointed out that out of the discretionary grants given from Small Savings Schemes, an amount of Rs. 10 Crore was sanctioned and disbursed between 2008 -2010 by the District Small Savings Officers in disregard of the provisions contained in rules, and without satisfying the requisite condition of submission of audited statement of accounts and execution of a bond for re-fund of the grant in the case of breach of terms and conditions of sanction of grants. l As regards the receipt of utilization certificates against grants out of small savings, it is stated that the utilization certificates for an amount of Rs. 7 crores (out of total amount sanctioned/disbursed as Rs. 9.7 Crores) are yet to be received pertaining to the years 2008-2010. Indicting, though without naming the CM, it is stated in the audit report accompanying the affidavit that in violation of the finance rules, and even without stating clearly the purpose for sanctioning the grant, an amount or Rs. 1.50 crore was sanctioned/released to the Deputy Commissioners of Muktsar and Bathinda Districts, out of Small Savings Schemes, without specifying the purpose, and that too at the fag-end of the year, and those grants were latter disbursed to the beneficiaries without obtaining the requisite documents and execution of bonds. The aforesaid PIL is now scheduled to be listed for further hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on12 December next. ________________________________________ – As reported by Advocate H.C. Arora, Petitioner In Person. He is a practicing Lawyer at Punjab & Haryana High Court at Chandigarh.
  24. As reported in zeenews.com on 16 February 2009: No records of complaints against High Court judges Supreme Court claims holds no records of complaints against High Court judges New Delhi, Feb 16: Does the Supreme Court keep no record of complaints received against High Court judges? Well, this seems to be the case as the apex court has refused to disclose such information to a RTI applicant claiming that such complaints "are not held by or under the control of Supreme Court of India ", an argument upheld by the Central Information Commission. The case pertains to the RTI query of Shruti Singh Chauhan who sought details from the apex court of the "List of all complaints received against judges or staff of different high courts" between April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2007. She had requested the public information officer of the apex court to forward the application to the appropriate authority in case the information was not held by the SC. The apex court in its reply said "...complaints against Judges of the high Court or staff of different High Courts are not held by or under the control of the Supreme Court of India and hence your request cannot be acceded to." Her appeal against the decision also failed to evoke any positive reply as the First Appellate Authority of the SC held "In the absence of anything to show that the authority who was holding such information was within the knowledge of CPIO Supreme Court, I am not inclined to accept the argument that the CPIO ought to have exercised his powers...RTI Act, 2005."
  25. I reproduce relevant paragraphs from judgement dated 02-11-2009 of HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM in WP©.No. 31039 of 2009(Y) [available at http://judis.nic.in/judis_kerala/chejudis.aspx. 4. I shall now deal with the contention of the petitioner that the third respondent should have moved the first appellate authority instead of moving the State Information Commission. Section 18 of the Act empowers the State Information Commission to enquire into a complaint that there has been no response to the request to furnish information within the time limit specified under Section 7(1) of the Act. Section 7(2) of the Act states that if the information sought is not furnished within the time limit of 30 days, the application should be deemed to have been refused. Therefore by operation of law a deeming friction is created under which the person seeking information is given the right to file an appeal before the first appellate authority under Section 19 of the Act even though the original authority may not have rejected the application. The mere fact that a person seeking information is entitled to prefer an appeal on the 31st day after his application for information was submitted is not a ground to hold that the State Information Commission is denuded of its power to enquire into a complaint that there has been no response to the request for information or access to information within the time limit of 30 days. It is open to the person seeking information to move the State Information Commission complaining about the inaction of the State Public Information Officer, instead of filing an appeal. The remedies are concurrent and the mere fact that an appeal lies after the expiry of 30 days to the first appellate authority is no ground to hold that the State Information Commission cannot exercise the jurisdiction vested in it under Section 18 of the Act, before the first appeal is disposed of. I therefore overrule the petitioner's contention that the third respondent ought to have filed an appeal under Section 19 of the Act before the first appellate authority instead of straight away moving the State Information Commission. 5. The last contention urged is that the petitioner has not without reasonable cause declined to furnish the information. Ext.P4 discloses that the petitioner was heard on 25.7.2009. His only answer to the complaint levelled against him was that due to pressure of work in the office, he could not furnish the information in time. Apart from that contention he had no other explanation for the delay in furnishing the information. If the said ground is taken as a reasonable explanation, every Government servant can escape from the consequences of non disposal of applications for information within the period of 30 days by pleading that he had attend to other official duties and therefore he could not furnish the information sought within 30 days. After the Right to Information Act was enacted and brought into force, every Government servant who is designated as the State Public Information Officer is bound to discharge the duty cast on him under the Act. He cannot decline to take any action on the requests under the Right to Information Act on the ground that he has other duties to attend to. As the State Public Information Officer, the petitioner has a duty to discharge his functions under the Right to Information Act also. Therefore the mere fact that there was pressure of work on the petitioner, is not a ground to hold that he was not bound to furnish the information within the stipulated period of 30 days.........
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