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  1. Rakesh Sharma Koundinya

    GHMC Refusing to give information

    Hi, Our property tax comes under a different name, the name of an old tenant, I asked GHMC as to how a tenant could get his name on property tax record and GHMC is not responding. Please help me as I need to get the name changed to my mother's name, as the entire property is in her name. I submitted all the documents including the sale deed and ECs for the last 30 yrs etc. But GHMC is questioning me as to how can a tenant's name be there on the property. Actually they should find how it got changed a few years ago. I want to file a RTI on this but don't know how.
  2. ashakantasharma

    Evolution of Right to Information in India.

    Evolution of Right to Information in India. In Ancient India, traditionally man is inquisitive and from the time immemorial he has been busy in his mission of knowing and discovering the truth in whatever field his aptitude and imagination ventured. In this context there is ample evidence in this context in our great Vedic erudition where it is written- ― Life is a perennial search for the truth. The restless swan (soul) is on journey infinite to find the truth. The Indian history starts right from the post glacial epoch i.e. from about 8000 BC, ―The Rig Veda is considered to be the first recorded utterance of mankind.‖ Indians from the time immemorial, worshipped knowledge in the form of Saraswati‘, the Goddess of knowledge, Let noble thoughts come to us from every side‘ is the eternal message of the Rig Veda given several millennia ago signifying the freedom to inform and be informed. The Upanishads also expound a fearless quest of free and frank exchange of views. The Rig Veda states: 'ekam sat viprah bahudaa vadanti' meaning truth or god is one but learnt men describe it in many ways. Hinduism is based primarily on the Vedas. 'Veda' literally means knowledge or wisdom. It is also called 'Shruti' which means 'what is heard or revealed'. All other scriptures go under the omnibus term of 'Smriti' ('what is remembered'). Shruti being divinely revealed to the great Rishis of yore in the depths of their mystical experience, its authority is supreme. Smritis are the secondary scriptures which derive their authority from the Shruti. Their business is to explain, elaborate and illustrate the fundamental teachings of the Shruti. Hindu scriptures state, ―Sathya meva Jayathe‖ meaning ―Truth alone triumps never falsehood.‖ So Hindu scriptures allow free flow of thoughts and actions. Hindu authors knew that by allowing absolute freedom of expression of thoughts and actions, everyone will finally end up attaining truth. They preached, "Ignorance is the root cause of all evils and knowledge eradicates ignorance. Since the beginning of human civilisation, the need to communicate with each other has brought the homosapines into cohesive groups. Communication is not only an exchange of news and information, it lies in sharing facts, ideas, thoughts and message and other social activities. The desire to communicate has resulted in the birth of language the basic mode of communication. During the middle ages in Europe the concept of the divine right of kings developed. This right held that because kings were answerable only to God, they were exempt from criticism from the public. Freedom of information generally means access to information about any governmental entity involved in the operation of government. This includes access to reports, budgets, correspondence, and other documents related to the operational aspects of a governmental body, whether it is legislative or executive. In the early twenty-first century the concepts of freedom of information and access to information are closely aligned with democracy. Throughout history democracy and freedom of information have been limited. Public discourse and exchange of information and ideas about government were common in the development of Greek democracies beginning in the fifth century (BC). Greek citizens were welcome to attend open forums, debate issues, make proposals, and hear about matters of public debate. Around the same time the Roman Senate was a public body. Originally it was composed of the 100 leading citizens of Rome who advised the executive authority. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans practiced democracy in the modern sense, and neither society recognized equality among its citizens. Nonetheless, each saw the need for public participation in government and, in order for that government to prove effective, for citizens to be aware of the issues of the day and understand the workings of government, with kings enjoying such an exalted position and insulation, public participation in government was limited. Because kings did not answer to the public, there was little necessity for them to communicate information to the public or respond to public requests. Laws prohibiting criticism of the government or government officials, known as insult laws, still exist in many countries around the world. Although these laws are not always enforced, their existence, which limits speech and information, is considered a major hindrance to freedom of expression and freedom of information. Ideas related to freedom of information are freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Shortly after Johannes Gutenberg invented printing in the mid-fifteenth century, the Catholic Church imposed censorship on any books not approved by the Church. In England, beginning with 1530, censorship and the repression of ideas and information were common. English poet John Milton in his famous essay argued passionately for freedom of ideas and information and against the licensing and printing monopoly common in England at that time. In some of the most famous lines in Western literature Milton wrote: "And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter. The concept of the marketplace of ideas was thus born, one in which people would have access to all information and individuals would be free to publish their own ideas and opinions without fear of retribution. The fundamental belief behind the marketplace of ideas is that the people, not government, the church, or any other group, should decide what is the truth. The founders of the U.S. Constitution were inspired by the marketplace of ideas in the eighteenth century and sought to include it in the formation of a representative democracy and guarantee the free flow of information. James Madison (1751–1836) was the primary author of the Bill of Rights, in an frequently quoted letter to W. T. Barry (1785–1835) written in 1822, Madison said: "A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives" Although general openness and access to information were traditions early on in the United States, laws in the twentieth century made the process more formal and outlined specific procedures for securing information. The Federal Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966 and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908– 1973). During that time period many individual states enacted open records and open meetings acts, part of a so-called sunshine law movement. "Government in the sunshine" became an expression of openness and accessibility to government just as the United States was making major reforms in civil rights and improving opportunities for women. The access to information law in Sweden is the oldest in the world, dating from 1766. Freedom of the press and freedom of information received a major push from various international organizations during the mid-twentieth century. Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." As of 2004 more than fifty countries around the world had laws specifying access to information.That number continues to increase, as there is an active movement to enact such laws. Among those countries enacting access laws in the early twenty-first century is India, the world's second most populous country. Access to information laws are common in Europe, and about half the countries in Latin America have some type of law regarding citizens' right to information. Mexican President Vicente Fox (b. 1942) signed such a bill into law in 2002. In the first year of its existence the law in Mexico was used by thousands of citizens and journalists seeking specific types of information from the government. Sweden was the first country to grant to its people the right of access to government information. In Sweden, all governmental information is public unless certain matters are specifically listed as exemptions from the general rule. This right is made formal by a provision for a system of appeal against the wrongful withholding of information by public officials. What is more, this law dates back to the year 1766. Sweden has thus been practising openness in its public administration for an uninterrupted period of 215 years, apparently without any harm occurring to it or loss suffered by it. This only proves that legitimate national interests can as well be safeguarded under conditions of administrative openness. Swedish legal culture treats access to government departments and documents as a right and non-access as an exception. In this context, Donald C. Rowat writes as under:- "To my amazement, all incoming and outgoing documents and mail were laid out in a special press room in each department for an hour every morning for reporters to examine. If any reporter wanted further information on a case, he simply walked down the hall to look at the departmental files. No special permission was needed. Such a system of open access is so alien to the tradition of secrecy elsewhere as to be almost unbelievable. Sweden's long experience with the principle of openness indicates that it changes the whole spirit in which public business is conducted. It causes a decline in public suspicion and in distrust of the officials, and this in turn gives them a great feeling of confidence. More important, it provides a much more solid foundation for public debate, and gives citizens in a democracy a much firmer control over their government.
  3. ashakantasharma

    Movement of Right to Information in India

    Movement of Right to Information in India The right to information movement in India can be broadly classified into three phases. In the first phase, from 1975 to 1996, there were sporadic demands for information from various sections of the society, culminating in a more focused demand for access to information from environmental movements in the mid 1980s, and from grassroots movements in rural Rajasthan in the early 1990s. This phase ended with the formation of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), in 1996. This phase also saw various judicial orders in support of transparency, and the judicial pronouncement that the right to information was a fundamental right. The second phase starts in 1996, with the formulation of a draft RTI bill, spearheaded by the NCPRI, and its subsequent processing by the government and the Parliament. Various state RTI laws are passed during this period, including in Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa, as is the national Freedom of Information Act in 2002. This phase also marks the rapid growth in size and influence of the RTI movement in India, and culminates in the passing of the national RTI Act in 2005.This is also the period that sees a large number of countries across the World enact transparency laws. The third phase, from the end of 2005 to the present, has been mainly focused on the consolidation of the act and on pushing for proper implementation. Part of the effort has also been to safeguard the RTI Act from at least two efforts to weaken it, and to push the boundaries of the RTI regime and make it deeper and wider in coverage, participation, and impact. Objections to the Official Secrets Act have been raised since 1948, when the Press Laws Enquiry Committee recommended certain amendments. In 1977, the government formed a working group to look into the possibilities of amending the Official Secrets Act. Unfortunately, the working group did not recommend changes, as it felt the Act related to the protection of national safety and did not prevent the release of information in the public interest, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In 1989, a committee was set up which recommended limiting the areas where government information could be hidden, and opening up all other spheres of information. However, no legislation followed from these recommendations. In the last decade or so, citizens groups have started demanding the outright repeal of the Official Secrets Act and its replacement by legislation making the duty to disclose the norm, and secrecy the exception. It‘s taken India 77 years to transition from the repressive climate of the OSA to one where citizens can demand the right to information. The enactment of the Freedom of Information Act 2002 marks a significant shift for Indian democracy, for the greater the access to information by citizens, the greater the responsiveness of government to community needs. Interestingly, in India, the movement for the right to information has been as vibrant in the hearts of marginalised people as it is in the pages of academic journals and in the media. This is not surprising since food security, shelter, the environment, employment and other survival needs are inextricably linked to the right to information. In the early-1990s, in the course of the struggle of the rural poor in Rajasthan, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) hit upon a novel way to demonstrate the importance of information in an individual‘s life through public hearings, or jan sunwais. The MKSS‘s campaign demanded transparency of official records, a social audit of government spending, and a redressal machinery for people who had not been given their due. The campaign caught the imagination of a large cross-section of people, including activists, civil servants and lawyers. The National Campaign for People‘s Right to Information (NCPRI), formed in the late-1990s, became a broad-based platform for action. As the campaign gathered momentum, it became clear that the right to information had to be legally enforceable. As a result of this struggle, not only did Rajasthan pass a law on the right to information, but, in a number of panchayats, graft was exposed and officials punished. The Press Council of India drew up the first major draft legislation on the right to information, in 1996. The draft affirmed the right of every citizen to information from any public body. Significantly, the term ‗public body‘ included not only the State but also all privately-owned undertakings, non-statutory authorities, companies, and other bodies whose activities affect the public interest. Information that cannot be denied to Parliament or State Legislatures cannot be denied to a citizen either. The draft also provided for penalty clauses for defaulting authorities. Next came the Consumer Education Research Council (CERC) draft which was, by far the most detailed proposed freedom of information legislation in India. In line with international standards, it gave the right to information to anyone, except ―alien enemies‖, whether or not they were citizens. It required public agencies at the federal and state levels to maintain their records in good order, to provide a directory of all records under their control, to promote the computerisation of records in interconnected networks, to publish all laws, regulations, guidelines, circulars related to or issued by government departments, and any information concerning welfare schemes. The draft provided for the outright repeal of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. This draft didn‘t make it through Parliament either. Finally, in 1997, a conference of chief ministers resolved that the central and state governments would work together on transparency and the right to information. Following this, the Centre agreed to take immediate steps, in consultation with the states, to introduce freedom of information legislation, along with amendments to the Official Secrets Act and the Indian Evidence Act, before the end of 1997. Central and state governments also agreed to a number of other measures to promote openness, including establishing accessible computerised information centres to provide information to the public on essential services, and speeding up ongoing efforts to computerise government operations. In response, the Government of India set up a committee, known as the Shourie Committee, after its chair, Mr. H.D. Shourie. The Shourie committee was given the responsibility of examining the draft right to information bill and making recommendations that would help the government to institutionalise transparency. The committee worked fast and presented its report to the government within a few months of being set up, though it did succeed in significantly diluting the draft RTI bill drafted by civil society groups. Once again, the government was confronted with the prospect of introducing a right to information bill in Parliament. Clearly the dominant mood in the government was against any such move, but it was never politically expedient to openly oppose transparency. That would make the government seem unwilling to be accountable, almost as if it had something to hide. Therefore, inevitably, the draft bill, based on the recommendations of the Shourie committee, was referred to another committee: this time a Parliamentary committee. These Government committees which serve many purposes such as they examine proposals in detail, sometime consult other stakeholders, consider diverse opinions, examine facts and statistics, and then to come to reasoned findings or recommendations. However, these committees could also be a means of delaying decisions or action, and for taking unpopular, or even indefensible, decisions. The tyranny of a committee is far worse than the tyranny of an individual. Whereas an individual can be challenged and discredited, it is much more difficult to pinpoint responsibility in a committee, especially if it has many honourable members, and it becomes difficult to figure out who said what and who supported what. Inevitably, around this time various sections of the government started becoming alarmed at the growing demand for transparency. This also marked the beginnings of organized opposition to the proposed bill and to the right to information. Interestingly, the armed forces, which in many other countries are reportedly at the centre of opposition to transparency, were not a significant part of the opposition at this stage. This might perhaps have been because they assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that any transparency law would not be applicable to them. More likely, it was the outcome of the tradition in India, wisely nurtured by the national political leadership, which discourages the armed forces from meddling in legislative or policy issues apart from those relating to defence and security. Characteristically, the Indian State was a divided and somewhat confused house. There were many bureaucrats and politicians who were enthused about the possibility of a right to information law and did all that they could to facilitate its passage. However, many others were alarmed at the prospect of there being a citizen's right to information that was enforceable. Undoubtedly, some of these individuals were corrupt and saw the right to information act as a threat to their rent-seeking activities. Yet, many others opposed transparency as they felt that this would be detrimental to good governance. Some of them felt that opening up the government would result in officers becoming increasingly cautious. Already, there was a tendency in the government to play safe and not take decisions that might be controversial. It was felt that opening up files and papers to public scrutiny would just aggravate this tendency and reinforce in the minds of civil servants the adage that they can only be punished for sins of commission, never for sins of omission. Another group of bureaucrats and politicians feared that the opening up of government processes to public scrutiny would result in the death of discretion. The government would become too rigid and rule-bound as no officer would like to exercise discretion which could later be questioned. In the same spirit it was also thought that the public would not appreciate the fact that many administrative decisions have to be taken in the heat of the moment, without full information, and under various pressures including those of time. There were apprehensions that many such decisions would be criticized with hindsight and the competence, sincerity and even integrity of the officers involved would be questioned. There were also those who felt that too much transparency in the process of governance would result in officials playing to the gallery and becoming disinclined to take unpopular decisions. Some elements in the government feared that transparency laws would be misused by vested interests to harass and even blackmail civil servants. Others felt outraged that the general public, especially the riffraff among them, would be given the right to question their integrity and credentials. There were also those who felt that the Indian public was not yet ready to be given this right, reminiscent of the British on the eve of Indian independence who seemed convinced that Indians were not capable of governing themselves. There were even those who objected on principle, arguing that secrecy was the bedrock of governance! As was inevitable, these internal contradictions within and among different levels of the government had to, sooner or later, come to a head. They did, in 1999, with a cabinet minister unilaterally ordering that all the files in his ministry henceforth be open to public scrutiny.This, of course, rang alarm bells among the bureaucracy and among many of his cabinet colleagues. Though the minister's order was quickly reversed by the Prime Minister, it gave an opening for activists and lawyers to file a petition in the Supreme Court of India questioning the right of the Prime Minister to reverse a minister‘s order, especially when the order was in keeping with various Supreme Court judgments declaring the right to information to be a fundamental right. By now it seemed clear that a large segment of the bureaucracy and political leaders were not eager to allow the passage of a right to information act. On the other hand, the judiciary had more than once held that the right to information was a fundamental right and at least hinted that the government should ensure that the public could effectively exercise this right. The third wing of the government, the Legislature, had not yet joined the fray as no bill had yet been presented to Parliament. However, in certain states of India, notably Tamil Nadu, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and even Delhi, the legislature proved to be sympathetic by passing state RTI acts (albeit, mostly weak ones) much before the national act was finally passed by Parliament. Perhaps the happenings in India around that time very starkly illustrate the contradictions present within governments in relationship to the question of transparency. As was done in India, even elsewhere such contradictions can be used to weaken and divide the opposition to transparency laws and regimes, and to drive a wedge in what might initially appear to be bureaucratic unity in opposition to transparency Passing of the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 Meanwhile, a case had been filed in the Supreme Court questioning the unwillingness of the government to facilitate the exercise of the fundamental right to information. This case continued from 2000 to 2002 with the government using all its resources to postpone any decision. However, finally, the court lost patience and gave an ultimatum to the government. Consequently, the government enacted the Freedom of Information Act, 2002, perhaps in order to avoid specific directions about the exercise of the right to information from the Supreme Court. It seemed that the will of the people, supported by the might of the Supreme Court of India, had finally prevailed and the representatives of the people had enacted the required law, even if it was a very watered-down version of the original bill drafted by the people. Unfortunately, this was not really so. The Freedom of Information Act, as passed by Parliament in 2002, had the provision that it would come into effect from the date notified. Interestingly, despite being passed by both houses of Parliament and having received presidential assent, this act was never notified and therefore never became effective. The bureaucracy had, in fact, had the last laugh! In May, 2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party, came to power at the national level; displacing the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government. The UPA government brought out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which promised, among other things, ―to provide a government that is corruption-free, transparent and accountable at all times…‖ and to make the Right to Information Act ―more progressive, participatory and meaningful‖. The UPA government also set up a National Advisory Council (NAC), to monitor the implementation of the CMP. This council had leaders of various people‘s movements, including the right to information movement, as members. This was recognised by the NCPRI and its partners as a rare opportunity and it was decided to quickly finalise and submit for the NAC‘s consideration, a revamped and strengthened draft bill that recognized people‘s access to information as a right. As a matter of strategy, it was decided to submit this revised bill as a series of amendments to the existing (but non operative) Freedom of Information Act, rather than an altogether new act. Accordingly, in August 2004, the National Campaign for People‘s Right to Information (NCPRI), formulated a set of suggested amendments to the 2002 Freedom of Information Act, These amendments, designed to strengthen and make more effective the 2002 Act, were based on extensive discussions with civil society groups working on transparency and other related issues. These suggested amendments were forwarded to the NAC, which endorsed most of them and forwarded them to the Prime Minister of India for further action. Passing of Right to Information Act, 2005 Reportedly, the receipt of the NAC letter and recommended amendments was treated with dismay within certain sections of the government bureaucracy. A system, that was not willing to operationalise a much weaker Freedom of Information Act, was suddenly confronted with the prospect of having to stand by and watch a much stronger transparency bill become law. Therefore, damage control measures were set into motion and, soon after, a notice appeared in some of the national newspapers announcing the government‘s intention to finally (after two and a half years) notify the Freedom of Information Act, 2002. It sought from members of the public suggestions on the rules related to the FoIA. This, of course, alerted the activists that all was not well, and sympathizers within the system confirmed that the government had decided that the best way of neutralizing the NAC recommendations was to resuscitate the old FoIA and suggest that amendments can be thought of, if necessary, in this act, after a few years experience! The next three or four months saw a flurry of activity from RTI activists, with the Prime Minister and other political leaders being met and appealed to, the media being regularly briefed and support being gathered from all and sundry, especially retired senior civil servants (who better to reassure the government that the RTI Act did not signify the end of governance, as we knew it), and other prominent citizens. This intense lobbying paid off and after a tense and pivotal meeting with the Prime Minister (arranged by a former Prime Minister, who was also present and supportive), in the middle of December 2004, the Government agreed to introduce in Parliament a fresh RTI Bill along the lines recommended by the NAC. Consequently, the Government of India introduced a revised Right to Information Bill in Parliament on 22 December 2004, just a day or two before its winter recess. Unfortunately, though this RTI Bill was a vast improvement over the 2002 Act, some of the critical clauses recommended by the NCPRI and endorsed by the NAC had been deleted or amended. Most significantly, the 2004 Bill was applicable only to the central (federal) government, and not to the states. This omission was particularly significant as most of the information that was of relevance to the common person, especially the rural and urban poor, was with state governments and not with the Government of India. Consequently, there was a sharp reaction from civil society groups, while the government set up a group of ministers to review the bill, and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) referred the RTI Bill to the concerned standing committee of Parliament. Soon after, the NAC met and expressed, in a letter to the Prime Minister, their unanimous support for their original recommendations. Representatives of the NCPRI and various other civil society groups sent in written submissions to the Parliamentary Committee and many were invited to give verbal evidence. The group of Ministers, chaired by the senior minister, ShriPranab Mukherjee, was also lobbied. Fortunately, these efforts were mostly successful and the Parliamentary Committee and Group of Ministers recommended the restitution of most of the provisions that had been deleted, including applicability to states. The Right to Information Bill, as amended, was passed by both houses of the Indian Parliament in May 2005, got Presidential assent on 15 June 2005, and became fully operational from 13 October 2005. Even while according assent ―in due deference to our Parliament‖, the then President had some reservations which he expressed in a letter dated 15 June 2005 addressed to the Prime Minister. Essentially, the President wanted communication between the President and the Prime Minister exempt from disclosure. He also wanted file notings to be exempt. The Prime Minister, in his reply dated 26 July 2005, disagreed with the first point but reassured the President (wrongly, as it turned out), that file notings were exempt under the RTI Act. In any case, those who thought that the main struggle to ensure a strong legislation was over and that the focus could now shift to implementation issues were in for a rude shock. In 2006 the government made a concerted effort to amend the Act and to weaken it. Though this move was finally defeated, the danger has not yet abated, as will be described later. The Government of India introduced the Freedom of Information Bill, 2000 (No.98 of 2000) in the Lok Sabha on 25th July, 2000. The Bill, which cast an obligation upon public authorities to furnish such information wherever asked for, was passed by the Parliament as the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2002. However, the Act could not be brought into force because the date from which the Act could come into force, was not notified in the Official Gazette. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre, which came into power in 2004, set up a National Advisory Council (NAC). The Council suggested important changes to be incorporated in the FOI Act. These suggestions were examined by the UPA Government, which decided to make the FOI Act more progressive, participatory an meaningful. Later, however, the UPA Government decided to repeal the FOI Act, and enacted a new legislation, the Right to Information Act, 2005, to provide an effective framework for effectuating the right of information India recognised under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
  4. ashakantasharma

    CONCEPT OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION

    CONCEPT OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION The concept of democracy in India is enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution of India wherein opening words provide that "We, the People of India ―and in the end it lays down‖give to ourselves this Constitution". The citizens have the fundamental right to know what the government is doing in its name. Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy. The Apex Court in the case of K. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department Ex. P. Simms, held that the free flow of information and ideas informs political debate. It is a safety valve; people are more ready to accept decisions that go against them if they can in principle seek to influence them. It acts as a brake on the abuse of power by public officials. It facilitates the exposure of errors in the governance and administration of justice in the country. Ancient India had a feudal culture and hierarchical social structure. The Maharaja‘s, the Mughals and the British Rulers defended themselves behind ramparts of secrecy. The Britishers passed Official Secrets Act 1923, which was mainly a defense mechanism against the rising tide of nationalism initiated by M.K. Gandhi in 1917. As Indians were distrusted by British Government, so nobody had any access to official information under this Act.59 The Indian Legal System, largely being a colonial vintage, stresses on secrecy laws and such provisions are contained in Official Secrets Act 1923, the Indian Evidence Act 1872 and the infamous Rowlatt Act 1919 etc. After independence India adopted democratic form of government, which implies the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its creedal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing. The citizens have a right to decide by whom and by what rules they shall be governed and they are entitled to call on those who can survive without accountability and the basic postulate of accountability is that the people should have information about the functioning of government. It is only if people know how government is functioning that they can fulfill the role which democracy assigns to them and make democracy a really effective participatory democracy. "Knowledge", said James Madison, "will forever govern ignorance and a people who meant to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. The Supreme Court in the case of S.P. Gupta v Union of India held that "the citizens' right to know the facts, the true facts, about the administration of the country is, thus, one of the pillars of a democratic State and that is why the demand for openness in the government is increasingly growing in different parts of the world. With the globalization of trade and industry and well knit world today, the disclosure of information may be of the purity, potency and price of commodities in the market or the functioning of the government is necessary and for this purpose various Conventions have been held at National and International levels, which suggested imparting of the information on the working of the government to its citizens subject to some restrictions being imposed by the law in the interest of security of the country etc. The demand for openness in the government is based principally on two reasons. It is now widely accepted that democracy does not consist merely in people exercising their franchise once is five years to choose their rulers and, once the vote is cast, then retiring in passivity and not taking any interest in the government. Today it is common ground that democracy has a more positive content and its orchestration has to be continuous and pervasive. This means inter alia that people should not only cast intelligent and rational votes but should also exercise sound judgment on the conduct of the government and the merits of public policies, so that democracy does not remain merely a sporadic exercise in voting but becomes a continuous process of government an attitude and habit of mind. But this important role people can fulfill in a democracy only if it is an open government where there is full access to information in regard to the functioning of the government. For a long period the working of the Government had been shrouded in secrecy and the poor citizens had to run from pillar to post even to get small information about his application to get copies of record-of-rights or his representation made to the government functionaries and instances are not lacking where he had not received reply to his genuine request for years together. The Supreme Court of India, while interpreting Article 19(1) of the Constitution of India clearly laid down in a number of decisions that the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression includes right to acquire information and to disseminate it which is necessary for self expression enabling the people to contribute to debate on social and moral issues. In view of this, provisions were made in various Acts passed by the legislature for imparting information to the citizens from time to time. The Indian Evidence Act, give right to the person to know about the contents of the public documents and in this connection section 70 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, lays down that the public officials shall provide copies of public documents to any person, who has the right to inspect them. Under the Factories Act, compulsory disclosure of information has to be provided to factory workers regarding dangers including health hazards arising from their exposure to dangerous materials and the measures to overcome such hazards. Under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, every State is required to maintain a register of information on water pollution and it is further provided that so much of the register as relates to any outlet or any effluent from any land or premises shall be open to inspection at ail reasonable hours by any person interested in or affected by such outlet, land or premises. Under the Representation of the People Act, a candidate contesting elections is required to furnish in his nomination paper the information in the form of an affidavit concerning, accusation of any offence punishable with two or more years of imprisonment in any case including the framing of charges in pending cases; and conviction of an offence and sentence of one or more than one year imprisonment. Before the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act, 2002, legislative steps though some were taken but only a little could be achieved in the field of right to information through the following enactments. 1. The Constitution of India, 1950 2. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860) 3. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872. 4. The Representation of the People Act, 1951 5. The Companies Act, 1956 6. The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 7. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and 1973 8. The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 9. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 10. The Trade Marks Act, 1999 11. The Designs Act, 2000 12. The Semi Conductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 13. The Information Technology Act, 2000 14. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Right Act, 2001 15. The Competition Act, 2002 16. The Delimitation Act, 2002 17. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Regulations, 2003 18. The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 19. The All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968 Former judge of Supreme Court of India in his open letter dated 26th December, 1989 took up the matter regarding right to information to the citizens with the then Prime Minister of India96 in which it was categorically highlighted that "the right to know and the freedom of information are inalienable components of the freedom of expression and participation in public affairs, which Constitution confers on every citizen of the country. It is heartening that, in the very first broadcast to the nation you emphasized the importance of the freedom of information and the annihilation of secrecy as a crafty art of Government accepting this postulate, some things require to be done immediately so that, the credibility of the Indian community in the changed ethos of open government may be created. The Report of National Commission for Review of Working of the Constitution recognized the right to information wherein it is provided that major assumption behind a new style of governance is the citizen's access to information. Much of the common man's distress and helplessness could be traced to his lack of access to information and lack of knowledge of decision-making processes. He remains ignorant and unaware of the process that virtually affects his interest. Government procedures and regulations shrouded in veil of secrecy do not allow the litigants to know how their cases are being handled. They shy away from questioning officers handling their cases because of the latter's snobbish attitude and bow-wow style. Right to information should be guaranteed and needs to be given real substance. In this regard government must assume a major responsibility and mobilize skills to ensure flow of information to citizens. The traditional insistence on secrecy should be discarded. In fact, we should have an oath of transparency in place of an oath of secrecy. Administration should become transparent and participatory, right to minimizing manipulative and dilatory tactics of the babudom, and, last but most importantly putting a considerable check on graft and corruption. During the last decade, the right to information has got a momentum as never before and on the civil societies side also some organizations; social activists and individuals did excellent work in this field. The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has done a great job in the field of right to information in rural India and its struggle for minimum wages and to get the information regarding Muster Rolls being maintained compelled the Government of Rajasthan to enact Right to Information Act and then various other State Governments enacted the Right to Information Acts. viz. 1. The Tamil Nadu Right to Information Act, 1997. 2. The Goa Right to Information Act, 1997. 3. The Karnataka Right to Information Act, 2000. 4. The Rajasthan Right to Information Act, 2000. 5. The Assam Right to Information Act, 2001. 6. The Delhi Right to Information Act, 2001. 7. The Orissa Right to Information Act, 2002. 8. The Maharashtra Right to Information Act, 2003. 9. The Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2004. The Freedom of Information Act, 2002 (5 of 2003) was enacted by the Government of India to provide for freedom to every citizen to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, consistent with public interest, in order to promote openness, transparency and accountability in administration and in relation to matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 laid down that the Freedom of Information Bill seeks to achieve the following objects: 1. The need to enact a law on right to information was recognized unanimously at New Delhi. In its 38th Report relating to Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recommended that the Government should take measures for enactment of such legislation. 2. In order to make the Government more transparent, and accountable to the public, the Government of India appointed a Working Group on Right to information and Promotion of Open and Transparent Government. The working group was asked to examine the feasibility and need for either full-fledged Right to Information Act or its introduction in a phased manner to meet the needs of open and responsive governance and also to examine the frame work of rules with reference to the Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and Manual of Office Procedure. The said Working Group submitted its report in May 1997 along with a draft Freedom of Information Bill to the Government. The working Group also recommended suitable amendments to the Civil Services (Conduct) Rules and the Manual of Departmental Security instructions with a view to bring them in harmony with the proposed Bill. 3. The draft Bill submitted by the Working Group was subsequently deliberated by the Group of Ministers constituted by the Central Government to ensure that free flow of information was available to the public, while inter alia, protecting the national interest, sovereignty and integrity of India, and friendly relations with foreign States. 4. The proposed Bill is in accord with both Article 19 of the Constitution as well as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. 5. In our present democratic frame work, free flow of information for the citizens and non-Government institutions suffers from several bottlenecks including the existing legal frame-work, lack of infrastructure at the grass root levels and an attitude of secrecy within the Civil Service as a result of the old frame work of rules. The Government proposes to deal with all these aspects in a phased manner so that the Freedom of Information Act becomes a reality consistent with the objective of having a stable, honest, transparent and efficient Government. 6. The proposed Bill will enable the citizens to have an access to information on a statutory basis. With a view to further this objective, clause 3 of the proposed Bill specifies that subject to the provisions of this Act, every citizen shall have right to freedom of information. Obligation is cast upon every public authority under clause 4 to provide information and to maintain all records consistent with its operational requirements duly catalogued, indexed and published at such intervals as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government or the competent authority. With the passage of time, it was felt that even this Act failed to fulfil the aspiration of the citizens of India in the field of right to know and to get information since this Act was never enforced. In order to ensure greater and more effective access to information, it was thought that the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 must be made more progressive, participatory and meaningful. On this issue National Advisory Council suggested certain important changes to be incorporated into the said Act to ensure smoother and greater access to information. After examiner the suggestions of the National Advisory Council and others, the government decided to make a number of changes in the law. In view of the signifies changes proposed by the National Advisory Council and others, it was decide to repeal the Freedom of Information Act, 2002 and enact another law for providing an effective framework for effectuating the right of information recognized under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.To achieve this object, The Right to Information Bill was introduced in the Parliament in December 2004. The important changes proposed to be incorporated, inter alia, include establishment of an appellate machinery with investigating powers to review decisions of the Public Information Officers; penal provisions for failure to provide information as per law; provisions to ensure maximum disclosure and minimum exemptions consistent with the constitutional provisions, and effective mechanism for access to information and disclosure by authorities, etc. In view of the significant changes proposed in the existing Act, the government decided to repeal the Freedom of Information Act and in the proposed legislation to provide an effective framework for effectuating the right to information. Indian Parliament passed the Right to Information Act, 2005, which came into force on 15.06.2005. This enactment set out its objectives in the Preamble, which aims to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. This Act was brought into Statute book on the premise that informed citizenry and transparencies of information are vital to the vibrant democracy. Thus, the Right to Information Act, 2005, which came into force in India in totality is regarded as a milestone in the history of social legislation to impart information to citizens of India regarding working of the government and its corporations, etc. to make them more transparent as a result of which corruption, if not eliminated at all, would be checked to a greater extent. The Right to Information Act thus provides an effective framework for effectuating the right of information, a fundamental right, recognized under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. The Preamble to the Right to Information Act, 2005 lays down that whereas the Constitution of India has established democratic Republic; and whereas democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed; and whereas revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information and whereas it is necessary to harmonise these conflicting interests while preserving the paramount of the democratic ideal and, therefore, it is expedient to provide for furnishing certain information to citizens who desire to have it. It is not out of place to mention here that most of the problems today are the result of non-observance of moral values by the younger generations after the independence that have prompted them to make money by fair or foul means. The absence of availability of information on the working of the government generally generate corruption and nepotism and, therefore, the enactment of this Act is an important milestone in furtherance of the democratic process whereby it shall be possible for the citizens to get information on all important issues and decisions affecting them and thereafter to adjudge the performance of the government, which they elected, for themselves
  5. ashakantasharma

    DEFINITION OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION

    DEFINITION OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION Right to Information‖ means the right to information which can be obtained from the public authorities or which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to: (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device. According to Madison, "a popular government without popular information, or the means of obtaining it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy or perhaps both." Right to Information empowers every citizen to seek any information from the Government and the authorities acting under the authority of the Government. This right is regarded as oxygen of democracy as because exercise of this right ensures transparency and prevention of corruptions in the functioning of the Public Authorities and thereby helps to survive and strengthen the democracy. According to Thomas Jefferson, "it is their sweat which is to earn all the expenses of the war and their blood which is to flow in expiation of the cause of it." Freedom of information legislation must respect the individual's right, to privacy, the right to be let alone which, in the classic words of the great American Judge, Louis Brandeis, is "the most comprehensive of rights and the rights most valued by civilized men." Freedom of information, as Norman Marsh has aptly pointed out, "is not meant to provide open government in the sense of the whole administrative, business of government being carried on in the market place. There is what is called the 'privacy of government decision-taking. Whilst there can be no doubt about the public's entitlement to know what is decided on its behalf, the right to know cannot always be extended to the internal deliberations of government. The fact that the right to information is included in the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression has been recognized by Supreme Court decisions challenging governmental control over newsprint and bans on the distribution of newspapers. In a landmark case the petitioners, publishers of one of the leading national dailies, challenged restrictions in the Newsprint Control Order on the acquisition, sale and use of newsprint. The Supreme Court struck down the restrictions on the basis that they interfered with the petitioners' right to publish and circulate their paper freely, which was included in their right to freedom of speech and expression. In a subsequent case, the Supreme Court held that media controlled by public bodies were required to allow both sides of an issue to be aired. The right to know has been reaffirmed in the context of environmental issues that have an impact upon people's very survival. Several High Court decisions have upheld the right of citizens' groups to access information where an environmental issue was concerned. For example, in different cases the right to inspect copies of applications for building permissions and the accompanying plans, and the right to have full information about a municipality‘s sanitation programme, has been affirmed. The overall impact of these decisions has been to establish clearly that the right to freedom of information or the public‘s right to know, is embedded in the provisions guaranteeing fundamental rights in the Constitution.
  6. ashakantasharma

    How I became an Information Commissioner ?

    How I became an Information Commissioner ? AUGUST 28, 2017 BY SHAILESH GANDHI Some friends wonder how I have the gall to be critical of the lack of process in selecting Information Commissioners, since they believe I must have resorted to influence and patronage for my selection. Let me detail the story of how i got selected: In the first week of August 2008 Arvind Kejriwal learnt that the government had decided on the names of four persons whom they would appoint as Central Information Commissioners. These were: Satyananda Mishra M.L.Sharma Annapurna Dixit R.B.Sreekumar I believe there is a tacit understanding between the ruling party and the opposition on such matters and overall there is a certain give and take in matters of appointments. Arvind discussed with me that though we had been fighting for appointment of good Commissioners and transparency in the selection process we were not making any headway. He therefore suggested that we propose four names from civil society. We got together a list of credible persons and Arvind arranged to get letters sent to the PM, Advani and Prithvraj Chavan by some prominent civil society members recommending these. On 20 August Prithviraj Chavan asked for a meeting of the Selection Committee to be called on 21 August at 6.00pm. I have heard that on 20 night the four names were shown to LK Advani. Advani strongly objected to the name of Sreekumar since he had been a senior police officer in Gujarat at the time of the Godhra riots and openly criticized Narendra Modi. He said he would oppose Sreekumar’s selection and said, ‘Why not one of the names suggested by civil society?’ The selection Committee meeting was not held on 21 August. I did not know Prithviraj Chavan, nor did he know me. Whether he made any checks about the other three members of our panel I do not know. As for me, he called up a business person in Mumbai and asked him what kind of person I was. This person had never met me, but based on what he had read in the papers he said I would be a good choice. After this Prithviraj Chavan called me and asked me if I would accept if I was selected as a Central Information Commissioner, and I said yes. On 27 August a meeting was called and my name was put in place of R.B. Sreekumar. Some of this information is available at http://persmin.gov.in/DOPT/RTICorner/ImpFiles/6_4_2008_IR_Vol_I_Noting.pdf I can assure all of you, that I did not use any influence or network. It was a random occurrence, but my selection was also without any process and a random occurrence. The record also shows Asok K Mahaptra’s name and I do not have any knowledge of how his name was dropped. I would urge RTI activists who have an understanding of the legal issues of the law to apply for the positions of Information Commissioners. Ciitizens should put forward names of persons with a background in transparency and build pressure I would also like to point out two matters as a personal clarification: I had informed the government that I was paying volunteers to work with me is mentioned on page 22. Whereas in 2007-2008 five Commissioners disposed 7722 cases I alone averaged about 5400 cases per year. All my emails are in public domain By Shailesh Gandhi Shailesh Gandhi is a first generation entrepreneur and a Distinguished Alumnus awardee of IIT Bombay. He sold his company to become a RTI activist. Shailesh was part of the National RTI movement which was involved in drafting the National Act. He was convener of the National Campaign for People’s Right To Information. He has used RTI and also trained many citizens and government officials in over 1000 workshops to use it. The only RTI activist to have been chosen as a Central Information Commissioner, he disposed a record of over 20000 cases in 3 years and 9 months, and ensured that most cases were decided in less than 90 days. He gave many landmark decisions on RTI, apart from organizing the first digital paper-less office in the Commission. He is passionately pursuing the cause of evolving ways for a time bound justice delivery system, and improving governance systems. Amongst many awards he has been awarded the Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties award, and the MR Pai award. He has published a book: RTI Act- authentic interpretation of the Statute and a paper critiquing Supreme Court judgments on RTI. http://satyamevajayate.info/2017/08/28/how-i-became-an-information-commissioner/
  7. ashakantasharma

    Rs 56,000 for information under RTI

    Seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act can be costly at times. Especially when you are asked to cough up as much as Rs 56,000 for some information, you would probably think again before using the Act. Advocate Vinod Sampat, too, was shocked when he was asked by the Andheri Land Records office to pay an amount of Rs 56, 268 to get information on the structures located on collector’s land across the city. Sampat had made an application on September 21 to inquire about it. He needed the accurate information to be part of the reference books he is writing on property matters. “I wanted information on such properties because buying properties situated on collector’s land costs an extra amount,” said Sampat. “However, I was shocked to see the amount asked by the Andheri office,” he said. And the amount was asked only for information on the properties situated under the jurisdiction of Andheri office. A shocked Sampat wrote to the Chief Information Commissioner Suresh Joshi, on Wednesday, asking him to ascertain the amount demanded from him. He also wrote to the Land Records Officer, Andheri, MT Ingle seeking a clarification on how the amount was arrived. As per RTI rules, Rs 2 per page is demanded to provide information. “That means they were giving me 28,000 pages as information,” said an amused Sampat. He said that if his queries were not answered, he would file an appeal with the appellate authority. When contacted, Ingle said he had charged Sampat according to the rates specified by the state government and the revenue department. Joshi said that in such cases, it is better for the applicants to ask for the inspection of the files so that they can pin-point the actual documents needed. They can also come in appeal to the commission, he said. “The information officers can charge rates only as prescribed by the state government and in this case, it is found that the concerned officer is trying to willfully mislead the people, strict action will be taken,” he added. However, Sampat said that the inspection point should have been mentioned in the letter, “instead of just frightening the applicant by demanding such an astronomical amount.” “Do you believe that the Land Records office must have counted all the 28,000 pages?” http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1833687,0008.htm https://right2information.wordpress.com/category/rti-cases/
  8. Hi Experts I want to know whom to file RTI to get Gazatte Notifications of Andhra Pradesh state. I tried sending to AP Secretariat, Velagapudi, but the RP/AD got returned back, with 'Insufficient Address' as reason. Regards Sandeep
  9. Hi All I want to know who is the PIO/Custodian of cases under PWDV Act at District level. I had earlier approached 'State Assistant Public Information Officer (U/RTI Act, 2005), Office of the District & Sessions Court, Court street, Ongole, Prakasam District-523001' and I got a reply as below today. Appreciate all help, in advance. Thanks
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  11. Central Information Commission Decision No. 294/IC(A)/2006 F.No.CIC/MA/A/2006/00336 Dated, the 21st Sep., 2006 Name of the Appellant : Shri Om Prakash Agarwal, 25, Strand Road, 723, Marshall House, Kolkata-700001. Name of the Public Authority : The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI Bhavan, Indraprastha marg, P.B. No.7100, New Delhi-110002. DECISION Facts: The appellant had sought certain information which are furnished by the member companies and are available with the respondent in fiduciary capacity. The CPIO has denied the information on the ground that the information sought has no relation with public action or interest. The CPIO has also mentioned that the appellant has filed a complaint against the companies whose information are being sought. He has therefore contended that disclosure of information would impede the process of investigation. He has thus soughtexemption u/s 8(1) (h) of the Act. Commission’s Decision: Information sought relate to the personal information of third parties, the disclosure of which do not fall under public domain. As such, there is no overriding public interest in disclosure of information sought, which is exempt u/s 8(1) (j) of the Act. The appeal is accordingly disposed of. Sd/- (Prof. M.M. Ansari) Information Commissioner Download the decision from Download segment
  12. I want to know can another organisation ask for information from another organisation? Can the Railway department ask for information from the bank, about the pension payment details made by them?
  13. Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has requested the Himachal Pradesh government not to divulge her property details in the state since that can put her life in danger. Priyanka wrote to the state government following a July 2014 RTI query by activist Debashish Bhattacharya. According to the Shimla deputy commissioner, the information cannot be shared as Priyanka is an SPG protectee. Read more at: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asks HP govt not to divulge her property details : North, News - India Today
  14. A local Right to Information (RTI) activist here today accused the Rural Development Department (RDD) of refusing to divulge details under the act and urged the authorities to ensure speedy disposal of RTI queries. Sajad Ahmed Najar, an RTI activist accused RDD’s Kishtwar block of violating norms under the Act to prevent ‘scams’ from getting exposed. Najar said he had submitted an RTI application to the office on 19-06-2015 “but after lapse of more than one month the offic has not bothered to respond to the query”. He said he has already deposited the requisite cash to meet out charges of Photostat and stationary as asked by the concerned department. “However, the office failed to provide the information within the stipulated time as per the RTI Read more at;rules”, he rued. Read more at; Applicant decries ?refusal? of information under RTI Act
  15. KALAHANDI:Orissa High Court orders Government of Odisha to notify for free information to BPL persons under RTI Act, hearing the writ petition filed by Dhoba Sahu of Kalahandi. Based on the complaint of Kunja Bihari Patra of Dasapalla regarding information under RTI to BPL persons honorable Orissa High court had passed the order to give the information free of cost to BPL persons seeking information. But after a long time the Government of Odisha has neither notified it in the gazette nor amended the Odisha RTI rules in this connection. Read more at: ORISSA HIGH COURT ORDERS GOVERNMENT OF ODISHA TO NOTIFY FOR FREE INFORMATION TO BPL PERSONS UNDER RTI ACT
  16. KALAHANDI:Orissa High Court orders Government of Odisha to notify for free information to BPL persons under RTI Act, hearing the writ petition filed by Dhoba Sahu of Kalahandi. Based on the complaint of Kunja Bihari Patra of Dasapalla regarding information under RTI to BPL persons honorable Orissa High court had passed the order to give the information free of cost to BPL persons seeking information. But after a long time the Government of Odisha has neither notified it in the gazette nor amended the Odisha RTI rules in this connection. Read more at: ORISSA HIGH COURT ORDERS GOVERNMENT OF ODISHA TO NOTIFY FOR FREE INFORMATION TO BPL PERSONS UNDER RTI ACT
  17. KALAHANDI:Orissa High Court orders Government of Odisha to notify for free information to BPL persons under RTI Act, hearing the writ petition filed by Dhoba Sahu of Kalahandi. Based on the complaint of Kunja Bihari Patra of Dasapalla regarding information under RTI to BPL persons honorable Orissa High court had passed the order to give the information free of cost to BPL persons seeking information. But after a long time the Government of Odisha has neither notified it in the gazette nor amended the Odisha RTI rules in this connection. Read more at: ORISSA HIGH COURT ORDERS GOVERNMENT OF ODISHA TO NOTIFY FOR FREE INFORMATION TO BPL PERSONS UNDER RTI ACT
  18. Anand, who is an advocate, told HT on Friday that he had received a communication from the CPIO, ministry of home affairs that his application was transferred to the PMO on May 23, 2015. But the PMO has failed to give the requested information within the stipulated 30 days, as per the RTI Act, 2005. "It is astonishing that the top most public authority of the country failed to comply with the provision of transparency of law," he added. Read more at: Sangrur: PMO delays information under RTI Act
  19. Dear All, The HSIC has penalized Mr. S S Chauhan, Senior Town Planner, MCGurgaon for not providing the information to undersigned within stipulated time as per section 7(1) of RTI Act 2005. Kindly read the full order to know the extent the Hon'ble Commission went to understand the learned SPIO reluctance to provide information within mandated period. I reproduce the order of HSIC below, QUOTE " (iii) A penalty of Rs. 8000 (Rs. eight thousand only) is imposed upon Sh. S.S. Chauhan, the SPIO-cum-Senior Town Planner, Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon. The penalty shall be deducted from the salary of Sh. S.S. Chauhan, the SPIO cum-Senior Town Planner, Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon in one installment during the month of September, 2015 and shall be deposited under the Commission's Head of Account "0070-Administrative Services-60-other receipts-DDO code 0049". It shall be responsibility of the First Appellant Authority-cum-Joint Commissioner-II, Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon to ensure that these orders are complied with. " UNQUOTE Thanks for your time. Harinder Dhingra MCG_Fine_Imposed--SIC0001.pdf
  20. Hello, SIR I HAVE APPLIED RTI TO GET VEHICLE PERMIT INFORMATION ON THE BASIS OF REGISTRATION NUMBER. BUT RTO HAS DECLINED AND TOLD THAT THEY ARE MAINTAINING RECORDS WITH PERMIT NO. AND NOT WITH REGISTRATION NUMBER. HOWEVER IN REAL RTO AGENTS PROVIDE THE SAME ON VEHICLE NUMBER. KINDLY ADVICE.
  21. LAHORE - Punjab is no different from other provinces as far as right to information is concerned. Here too we have a law on the subject but citizens mostly fail in getting information they seek from public departments. The ‘good-intentioned’ legislature passed the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act (2013) but it remains limited to paper as mighty provincial departments are making a mockery of their great feet. The Nation made an effort to gauge on-ground implementation of this law and found disappointing results. In many cases the complainants seeking information through this law were effectively denied their right, let alone imposition of penalties on the responsible officials under the law.Read more at; Despite legislation, there is no right to information
  22. As per Namit Sharma II, the SC had directed in para 32(v): (v) We further direct that the Committees under Sections 12(3) and 15(3) of the Act while making recommendations to the President or to the Governor, as the case may be, for appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners must mention against the name of each candidate recommended, the facts to indicate his eminence in public life, his knowledge in the particular field and his experience in the particular field and these facts must be accessible to the citizens as part of their right to information under the Act after the appointment is made. However, no such disclosure made on the CIC website : CV-IC-Shri Sudhir Bhargava [TABLE=class: yiv0356493099link-enhancr-element, width: 450] [TR] [TD=bgcolor: #E5E5E5, colspan: 8] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD=bgcolor: #E5E5E5] [/TD] [TD=class: yiv0356493099link-enhancr-image-wrap, bgcolor: #000000] [/TD] [TD=bgcolor: #E5E5E5] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [TD=colspan: 2] [/TD] [TD] [/TD] [TD=width: 1, bgcolor: #E5E5E5] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD=colspan: 2]CV-IC-Shri Sudhir BhargavaName Sudhir Bhargava Date of Birth 12th January 1955 Education Qualification Master in Public Administration, Harvard University,Cambridge,MA,USA M.Sc.(Phys... [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD=colspan: 2] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]View on cic.gov.in [/TD] [TD] Preview by Yahoo [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD=colspan: 2] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD=bgcolor: #E5E5E5, colspan: 8] [/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE]
  23. Respected members, Here in our local area a new culvert was under construction. Whole budget was sanctioned by Mahanadi Coafields Ltd (MCL) under CSR activities. I need a draft by which i can get information on the project.
  24. The Indian Metrological Departmentwhich is in news for ensuring correct measurement, seems to have gone wrong in its reading of an RTI application. The department, in its reply, has informed the applicant that he should shell out over Rs14,000 for seeking inspection of documents. As per the RTI Act, inspection can take place for free for the first hour and thereafter money is charged for every fifteen minutes. A person inspecting documents can take copy of the information he wants by paying Rs 2 for an A4 size page. Read more at: Metrological department wants Rs 14,000 for RTI information | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  25. Complainant Mr. R.K.Jain had sought information and inspection. On no response he filed FA. After that PIO provided part information. Mr. Jain filed complaint on the ground that PIO provided only part information of 2 pages and other deemed CPIOs still withheld the information sought by him deliberately and malafidely. During hearing Mr. R.K.Jain, complainant, information was provided after delay of 78 days in spite of the fact FA was filed. Respondent CPIO stated that 'the delay was due to shortage of staff' Commission observed that; There was delay of 78 days in providing information. However, this was done with malafide intent could not be established so no further action is required. CIC_SS_C_2012_000428_SB_00037_M_159038.pdf
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