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Found 27 results

  1. Based on a complaint by RTI activist and Brashtachar Nirmulana Vedike member Gurupadaiah Mathad, a Special Lokayukta Court has ordered the Davangere Lokayukta Superintendent to conduct an inquiry into the alleged disproportionate wealth of the former Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya and submit a detailed report by June 26. Read at: Lokayukta inquiry against former Minister - The Hindu
  2. NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister's Office says it has no information about the cost incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wardrobe.Replying to a query under the Right to Information Act, the Prime Minister's Office said it had no record of the information sought by applicant Rohit Kumar.Read at: No Information on Cost of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Wardrobe, Says His Office in Reply to RTI Query
  3. The copy of the note sheet carrying the minister’s suggestion and Kumar’s letter were accessed by Bhopal-based wildlife activist Ajay Dubey following an RTI appeal filed by him. Mehdele could not be contacted for comments despited repeated attempts by PTI. “It is surprising that such a bizarre suggestion could be made by senior minister Mehdele. She hails from the Panna region of the state, which is known for its tiger population. I denounce such a proposal and request the central government not to give its permission for domesticating the tiger,” Dubey said. Read at: Minister Kusum Mehdele wants law allowing people to keep tigers and lions as pets! | Latest News & Gossip on Popular Trends at India.com
  4. The Finance Minister has also proposed to increase by over Rs 13 crore to Rs 43.55 crore the budgetary allocation for Central Information Commission (CIC) and Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for 2015-16. The grant of Rs 43.55 crore is to meet establishment related expenditure of PESB and CIC. This also includes provision for construction of office building of the CIC, dak digitization, setting up of video conferencing facilities, preparation of publicity material on RTI, setting up of call centre and establishment of wing for transparency and accountability studies for the transparency watchdog. Read at: Over Rs 208 crore earmarked for training of babus | Business Standard News
  5. Dear All, It is to bring to your kind notice that undersigned made 45 minutes representation to Hon'ble Chief Minister of Haryana on implementation of Section 4 of RTI Act 2005. The Hon'ble C M was very keen to know about voluntary disclosure as mandated under Section 4 of RTI act 2005. The Hon'ble CM has impressed upon the same in DC/SP/s of Haryana conference to make suo moto disclosures. The Hon'ble CM appreciated the efforts made by us and promised to keep in touch. harinder dhingra
  6. CPIM veteran and former minister Ashok Bhattacharya has decided to file an RTI to bring to light the facts behindthe alleged scams of Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA). Speaking to the media persons at Anil Biswas Bhawan in Siliguri Bhattacharya alleged that the funds had been misused for the construction of the 11.5 kilometres of road from Fulbari to Ghoshpukur. Read at: SILIGURI | Ashok to file RTI on SJDA scam | The Echo of India
  7. NEW DELHI: They might be outnumbered by male counterparts but women ministers in Team Modi seem to attend Cabinet meetings more than their colleagues. Information accessed by ET through Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that unlike Congress-led UPA regime, BJP's allies are more involved in the decision-making process at the Centre with ministers regularly attending meetings. Read more at:HRD minister Smriti Irani & water resources minister Uma Bharti have 100% attendance; score over male counterparts - The Economic Times
  8. Gifts given by Prime Minister a top-secret: Foreign ministry Bandra resident Austin Fernandes filed an RTI application asking for the list of presents given by the PM to heads of state on his visits abroad, but he was denied the information; the ministry of external affairs said that disclosing the details could affect India’s relations with other countries It is public knowledge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a copy of the Bhagwad Gita to Japanese Emperor Akihito during his visit to the country in September last year. During his visit to Australia in November 2014, Narendra Modi presented a memento to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Melbourne Cricket Ground a replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s charkha with three cricket balls signed by Modi and World Cup-winning Indian captains Kapil Dev and M S Dhoni. Pic/Getty Images But, when a Bandra resident filed an RTI asking for the list of gifts that the Indian PMs between May 2009 and November 2014 had given to the heads of state during their visits abroad, his application was turned down. Austin Fernandes In its reply, the Ministry of External Affairs stated that disclosing the information would prejudicially affect India’s relations with the concerned foreign states. This, even though the Ministry itself publishes the lists of gifts received by ministers and officials on its website. The RTI was filed by Austin Fernandes on December 8, and the reply from the MEA, which reached him on December 26, said, “This is to state that the Prime Minister of India presents gifts, as per the laid down norms, to various foreign dignitaries during his official visits abroad. Information sought by you relates to details of gifts presented during the period mentioned above. However, disclosure of this information may prejudicially affect India’s relations with the concerned foreign states. Exemption is, therefore, sought under section 8(1) a) RTI Act, 2005, wherein no such information as may prejudicially affect India’s relations with a foreign state need be disclosed.” Seeking logic Earlier this month, Fernandes, who was unhappy with the MEA reply, wrote back to the ministry. In his appeal to the ministry, he has said, “The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) had thus claimed a blanket exemption under Section 8(1)(a) for all information without any application of mind as to the applicability of exemption in each individual case and has thereby sought to frustrate my application. The reply of the CPIO is illogical, since the Ministry itself maintains a list of gifts received by officials in Toshakhana and regularly publishes the same on the website (Sorry for the inconvenience.). Going by the CPIO’s logic, publication of such a list would then prejudicially affect India’s relations with foreign states, which is surely not the case.” His letter goes on to say, “Many countries, like the United States, maintain lists of gifts given to their officials by foreign officials, which are published on the internet. For example, the US state department website has a list of gifts federal employees have received from foreign government sources Protocol Gift Unit The list for 2011 (http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210473.pdf) includes on page 12 a gift received by President Barack Obama from Dr.Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India viz. A 20’’ octagonal white marble table top with design of inlaid blue and yellow flowers, and octagonal stand decorated with blue and red flowers. Rec’d—11/18/ 2011. Est. Value $1,375.00. If the foreign recipients of gifts from the Prime Minister of India are pleased to disclose the nature of gifts without any fear of prejudicially affecting relations with India, this surely contradicts the CPIO’s blanket claim of exemption on this ground.” 'Just curious' When mid-day contacted Fernandes, he said, “The reason I filed the RTI was that there was so much hullabaloo over the PM’s visit and he had, in one of his interactions, publicly acknowledged that he had gifted the Gita to the Japanese Emperor. Hence, out of curiosity, I filed the RTI to find out the other gifts given by him and the previous PM in the May 2009-November 2014 period.” mid-day sent a detailed email to the spokesperson of MEA, Syed Akbaruddin, asking him why Fernandes’ request was turned down. We did not receive a reply. Expert speak “The details of these gifts do not spoil the relationship between two countries and should be given. The gifts are bought with money from the exchequer and, hence, information about them should be in the public domain,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, Co-Convenor, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. Exemption clause Section 8(1) in The Right To Information Act, 2005 states: Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen (a) Information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence Sandalwood gift sparked flurry of RTIs PM Narendra Modi’s gift of 2,500 kg of sandalwood to the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal in August last year had become the subject of one of the highest number of RTIs to the MEA. The questions included the place where the trees had been chopped from, the cost of the 2,500 kg of sandalwood and whether the gift was legal, considering that export of sandalwood is prohibited. Shawl for Sharif’s mom Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam had gushed on Twitter about this shawl that Prime Minister Modi had sent for his mother after the Pakistan PM attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony last year. “Thank u v much PM @narendramodi for the beautiful shawl for my grandmother. My father personally delivered it to her,” she wrote. Read More: Gifts given by Prime Minister a top-secret: Foreign ministry - News
  9. The Comptroller and Auditor General, Vinod Rai, has said that the Right to Information Act has proved to be a very effective tool in improving transparency in government functioning. Really a marvelous think tank.Please go to on this link and listen the views of Hon'bl Sh. Vinod Rai. ​Govt was making brazen policy decisions, says CAG Vinod Rai Video: NDTV.com
  10. 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.
  11. As reported by Kshitiz Gaur in Times of India, Jaipur, 05 Mar 2011 Query proves costly for couple, set to leave Raj Query proves costly for couple, set to leave Raj Kshitiz Gaur | TNN Ajmer: Seeking information under the RTI Act from the organisation where she was working on the reason for non-renewal of her job contract had proved costly for Piyusha Tiwari. Her husband Rishu Garg, who is also working with the same organisation, has been demoted after her query. Now, the couple has decided to leave the state and start their careers anew. Tiwari, 26, said she filed an RTI query with the Association for Rural Advancement through Voluntary Action and Local Involvement (ARAVALI), a state government organisation aided by the Unicef, after her two-months salary was blocked after a new management took over the association and it did not renew her contract without assigning any reason. She had also accused her seniors of harassing her. “I was working with an associate NGO of ARAVALI in the health sector since 2008. In 2009, the management of the organisation changed and I started facing harassment from my seniors. When I protested, they blocked two months’ payment without assigning any reason,” she said. Later, the NGO did not renew her job contract, this time too without assigning any reason, she said. “I filed an application under the RTI to seek the reason behind the non-renewal of my contract and also the reason for holding back two months’ pay,” she said. A month after she filed her query, not only her application was rejected but also Garg, her husband was demoted. “A month after her application, I was demoted from the post of regional co-ordinator to project officer without giving any reason. I had been the regional coordinator for four years,” Garg said. ARAVALI turned down the application saying the organisation is an NGO and did not fall under the preview of the RTI Act. Information commissioner M D Korani has, however, directed ARAVALI to give a reply to Tiwari’s query, while hearing her petition before the state information commission. “We have not got the information despite the order by the commission. I have filed another application informing about the commission about it,” Tiwari said. When contacted, executive director of the organisation Sanjeev Kumar said, “The matter is pending with the state information commission. Therefore, it is not right to comment on it.” He, however, added that the organisation has a reason for demoting Garg without going into details. During the last two years, the couple has filed several complaints with many government entities, including rural development minister Bharat Singh who is also chairman of ARAVALI, to seek justice. “We went from door to door but all in vain. We are tired and just want to live peacefully,” cried Tiwari, adding that they have now decided to leave the state.
  12. As reported at hindustantimes.com on June 19, 2010 A query under the RTI Act has revealed that Bihar Tourism Minister Ram Parvesh Rai spent Rs 33.21 lakh on fuel in 19 months — almost Rs 1.75 lakh per month. RJD made the revelation for the period between April 2009 and October 2010 in the state assembly on Saturday. “The tourism minister spent Rs 28.31 lakh in 2008-09 and Rs 4.81 lakh till October 10 in the fiscal 2009-10,” RJD state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said. The amount is almost 10 times more than what the state’s other ministers spent on fuel during the same period. According to the figures, 14 Bihar ministers, including Rai, spent Rs 47.34 lakh on fuel. Science and Technology Minister Anil Kumar was next in line having spent Rs 7.32 lakh, way below Rai’s Rs 33 lakh. Ministers of HRD, SC/ST welfare, cooperatives, industry, water resource department, information and public relations, building construction, minor irrigation and rural development spent below Rs 5 lakh each on petrol in the same period. Refuting all charges , Rai said the RJD was exaggerating. “It is true that as tourism minister and minister in-charge of districts, I travel a lot. But I don’t think my bill could have been more than Rs 4-5 lakh...” On CM Nitish Kumar’s ‘vishwas yatra’, Siddiqui said, “Not less than Rs 15 crore is being spent on his daylong visits to each district. This is being done at the cost of state exchequer.”
  13. Two Goan ministers in police’s ‘goonda list’ October 24th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS - Panaji, Oct 24 (IANS) Two cabinet ministers in the Congress-led coalition government in Goa figure in a list of bad characters and proclaimed offenders compiled by the state police, a newspaper report said Friday. An exclusive report in Sunaparant, Goa’s only Konkani daily, claims that Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate and Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao figure in the ‘goonda list’ (list of known criminals) of the state police. The newspaper, which has reproduced a scanned image of the list dated 2000, also reports that Rudolf Fernandes, son of Congress legislator Victoria Fernandes has been listed as a goonda in the list, which was put together in 2000 by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Goa Police. The story says that the list of criminals was compiled by the police due to “an increasing trend in crime, noticed during the year (2000)”. “As such a need was felt to update the concerned, with information on goondas, history sheeters and bad characters so as to take necessary preventive measures and keep them under surveillance,” reads an excerpt from a covering letter signed by then Superintendent of Police (CID) I.D. Shukla. The report claims that in response to an RTI (right to information) query asking the police to furnish the last two updated lists of criminals compiled by them, the two district superintendents Bosco George (North) and Shekhar Prabhudessai (South), have claimed in writing that “no such information was available with them”. When IANS contacted Goa Inspector General of Police Kishen Kumar, he refused to comment on the issue. “You talk to concerned SPs. I will not talk on this. The media is going overboard,” said Kumar. Speaking to this correspondent Friday, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat did not deny the existence of the goonda list. “It must have been done when I was not the chief minister,” he said. Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate, the father of Rohit, the main accused in the rape of a 14-year-old German girl a couple of weeks ago, has also been involved in various criminal offences in the past. Earlier this year, the United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) legislator led a mob and attacked Panaji police station, and also manhandled the policemen on duty. Incidentally, the list also names Aires Rodrigues, the counsel for the German girl’s mother who has accused Rohit and Alemao’s nephew of raping her daughter. Alemao is the brother of former chief minister Churchill Alemao, and was earlier detained by the Goa Police under the National Security Act. Two Goan ministers in police’s ‘goonda list’
  14. As reported by Kalinga Times Correspondent in kalingatimes.com on 26 April 2008: KalingaTimes.com: Orissa Transport Minister in false affidavit row Orissa Transport Minister in false affidavit row Sambalpur (Orissa), April 26: Yet another Orissa minister has been found to have filed false affidavit adding to the woes of the ruling Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition. State Transport and Commerce Minister Jayanarayan Mishra, who belongs to the BJP, has been found guilty of providing false information about his educational qualification while filing nomination in the 2004 Assembly polls. Information gathered under Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that contrary to the information filed in an affidavit, Mishra has not passed his Bachelors Degree. Allegations over the issue was first made by Sambalpur Bikash Manch (SBM) and to substantiate its allegation it sought information under RTI. Although information obtained under RTI has proved the allegation correct, the Minister remains unfazed and said that he would prove his point in the right forum. In the affidavit Mishra had declared that he had passed his graduation examination from Burla NAC College under Sambalpur University in 1984. But information provided by the PIO cum Principal of Burla NAC College on application under RTI by Convenor of SBM Debasis Purohit has said the minister completed his Intermediate in Arts (IA) during the period 1981-83. It has further said that although Mishra pursued his Bachelors Degree (BA) in the year 1984 to 1986 with History and Political Science it was unaware about the Minister completing his Degree. However, the college has also said that it was not in a position to provide any information about passing of BA by Mishra as records relating to the same is no more available in the college. However, in his affidavit submitted with the nomination papers, Mishra has informed that he has passed completed his graduation from Burla NAC College in 1984. But the question remains is how could he complete his graduation a year after passing IA as it requires two years of attending college before being allowed to appear for the BA examination. Meanwhile, the issue has provided fodder for the State Youth Congress President Rohit Pujari, an aspirant for Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. In a statement to the media, Pujari has demanded resignation of Mishra and urged the Election Commission to initiate action against the Minister. A similar incident had occurred earlier when Minister of State for Labour Pradipta Kumar Naik had quit his post allegedly filing an affidavit giving wrong information. A case was also registered against him in this connection. Naik, however, had later come out clean.
  15. 'Saas-bahu' puts govt in a spot As reported by Ananthakrishnan G,TNN, 4 May 2008 THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This 'saas-bahu' saga is for real and has put Kerala’s Left government in a spot, inviting charges of promoting nepotism and also raising questions about CPM’s stand on ethics in public life. At the centre of the storm is Kerala health minister P K Sreemathi, who has inducted her daughter-in-law Dhanya M Nair into her personal staff. This was revealed by the general administration department on an RTI query seeking details of Sreemathi’s personal staff. The request was filed by AIADMK state secretary Sreenivasan Venugopal. In reply, Venugopal got a list of 22 names including Dhanya, who is married to Sreemathi’s son. She had joined the staff as a clerk and was only recently promoted to the post of additional personal assistant. Her salary works out to around Rs 17,000. Dhanya would also be eligible for pension once she completes 2 years in her post. Venugopal pointed out that Dhanya was not even in the office of personal staff but was conveniently placed in the minister’s bungalow. Taunting CPM leaders, who a week ago had surprised industry captains by coming down harshly on ‘nokukooli’ — a term for money demanded by labourers attached to the party’s trade union without doing any work, Venugopal wondered if the present controversy did not convey a similar situation. Sreemathi’s office has, however, defended the appointment and denied any impropriety. "Twenty-seven people can be appointed in the minister’s personal staff — 24 in office and 3 in the house. Unlike the office, those at home need to be more reliable and that is why Dhanya was chosen. In the past too, ministers have done this and there was no impropriety," said the official statement from her office, which also said that this was a "needless controversy". LDF convener Vaikom Viswan of the CPM also saw no impropriety in it. But the opposition Congress disagrees. "There is no practice of appointing family members in the personal staff of ministers. It raises questions of ethics and morality in public life. The minister should accept her mistake and take corrective measures instead of defending it," state Congress spokesperson M M Hassan said. 'Saas-bahu' puts govt in a spot-India-The Times of India
  16. The right to development in a way has been strengthened by the Right to Information Act. This act, enacted by our government, is one of the strongest such legislations in the world. It is also an essential tool of democratic participation, through which the boundaries of the “rights approach” to development can be further extended. It brings in transparency and accountability into the development process. The combination of the National Rural Employment Guarantee and the RTI Acts provides a very potent base for expanding the rights of citizens vis-à -vis the state in ensuring equity and social justice. This is particularly relevant for the poor and vulnerable. On the occasion of the National Legal Literacy Day, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the National Colloquium on Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Right to Development organized by the National Legal Services Authority
  17. Furnish documents in Minister's wealth case: HC As appeared in Chennaionline, Published on February 28, 2008 Chennai, Feb. 27 Madras High Court today directed the Judge of the Special Court at Salem to furnish all the documents relating to a wealth case against State Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugham, from which he had been discharged, to the petitioner. Admitting a writ petition filed by a Salem-based Advocate J M Arumugham, Mr Justice M Jeyapaul said a third party was entitled to seek court documents. The petitioner submitted that Mr Arumugham and five of his family members were charged under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code for acquiring and possessing property disproportionate to their known sources of income during 1996-2001, when he was a former Minister. The case was purposefully dragged from 2004 to 2007 and after his DMK party came to power in 2006, he had filed a discharge petition in 2007 and the trial court discharged all of them from the case, he contended. The petitioner submitted that under section three of the Right to Information Act, 2005, he had filed a petition before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, seeking copies of the documents. But the petition was dismissed by the trial court judge, he added, seeking a direction from the High Court to the trial court to furnish the required documents. The Judge admitted his petition and directed the Salem Special Court to present FIR, charge sheet and other documents related to the case.
  18. RTI Exposes Union Minister Ranchi : Again a historical victory for RTI. It was impossible earlier to check misuse of power by VIPs. But the RTI has made it very simple. You can expose any misuse of power by just paying ten rupees. Union Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay had misused his power to transfer a CCL officer. This has been exposed through RTI. Based on the information, Jharkhand High Court has stayed the transfer. The court has also issued notice to the Minister to explain his role in such an illegal transfer. Hitesh Verma is an Executive IV grade officer in the public-sector company Coal India Limited. He was posted in its subsidiary company CCL (Central Coalfields limited) at Ranchi as Deputy Sales Manager. In October 2006, he was transferred to MES, Assam. It was well known that the Union Minister had misused his power to harass him. But thanks to RTI, his mother Saroj Bala Verma filed an application for seeking 22 points reply related to the transfer. She demanded the policy of transfer in Coal India. She also sought information on why and on whose insistence her son was transferred. She also asked whether some other officers had also been transferred to Assam from CCL or to CCL from Assam or not. In its reply, Coal India admitted that the transfer was based on the reference from a VIP. But Coal India was silent on the name of the VIP. The Mother sent a letter to the PM requesting to provide the name of the VIP. The PMO ordered the Coal Ministry to provide the requisite information. Ultimately, the Coal India Ministry disclosed the name of the VIP as Union Minister of State for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay. There was no reason for seeking this transfer and Coal India had no administrative ground for such action. It was clear that the minister had wanted Verma transferred because of personal reasons. It was also clear that the transfer order violates CIL rules. The information reveals that CCL had not transferred any of its officers in E4 grade, to which he belongs, to the Assam coalfields or vice-versa in the past five years. Therefore, the transfer of Hitesh Verma was malafied. Based on this information, Hihesh Verma moved the Jharkhand High Court. The Court of Justice R.K Merathia passed the order on August 30, 2007 to stay the transfer order and to withdraw the relieving order. The court also issued a notice to the Minister for Food Processing Subodh Kant Sahay seeking an explanation over the transfer. Why did the Minister misuse his power? This is a tragic family like story. Mr. Sahay is the MP from Ranchi. His niece Sanjana was married to the officer, Hitesh Verma in 1993. They enjoyed a happily married life for 12 years, had two lovely intelligent children Avaneesh (now 12) and Aishani (now 6). But a sad incident collapsed everything. Due to illness, Sanjana died on October 13, 2004 in spite of best possible treatment. But the sorrow for Hitesh was not over. His in-laws lodged a case of torture for Dowry (after 12 years) and MURDER! He was put behind bars since October 2004 to December 2005. He was also suspended from CCL during his jail period. After getting bail, he also got his suspension over and he joined his duty again. But in October 2006, he was transferred to Assam by pressure of the Minister. Prabhat Khabar
  19. NIMHANS faculty objects as director gets extension till 2010 after his term ended. While Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss waged a quite public campaign to get Dr P Venugopal off the post of AIIMS Director, restricting the tenure for the post as well as fixing a retirement age, the opposite principle seems to be at work at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore. Once known as the All India Institute of Mental Health, NIMHANS has rules similar to the new AIIMS law, fixing the director’s tenure at a maximum of five years and the retirement age at 65. However, incumbent director Dr D Nagaraja, 59, whose five-year term ended on November 5, has received a controversial extension till January 2010. The Health Minister is the president and chancellor of the NIMHANS Society, the governing body of the institute. Also, under NIMHANS rules, last revised on June 12, 2000, a director can get a maximum extension of only six months beyond his period of tenure, and this extension applies only if a search committee for the new director is set up during the period of the incumbent director. NIMHANS faculty members have objected to the extension granted to Dr Nagaraja, pointing out that there were no announcements about the rules of the NIMHANS Society having been modified. One senior professor, Taranath Shetty, has even filed a public interest case in the Karnataka High Court, questioning the extension. The NIMHANS controversy has been unspooling alongside the AIIMS battle for the past month, ever since Dr Nagaraja’s term ended. After 10 days of remaining without a director, on November 16, the registrar of the deemed university issued a circular stating that, based on a November 8 letter from the Ministry of Health and the approval of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, “the extension of tenure of Prof D Nagaraja as director NIMHANS from 7.11.2007 to 31.01.2010 has been communicated”. The NIMHANS administration also provided an undated, unlabelled note stating for the first time that “the director shall hold office for a term of five years and the Central Government at its discretion can extend the term”. However, a NIMHANS faculty member points out that the clause that the Central Government can extend the term does not exist in the current rules of the Society and efforts to find out whether the rules had been modified have proved futile. “If there has been a change in the Society rules, when did this happen, has it passed muster with the academic council and the board of management, and why has it not been notified as yet?” asks a senior professor and former dean of the institute. Incidentally, on June 30 this year, Dr Nagaraja passed an order that several documents relating to NIMHANS were out of bounds under the RTI Act — specifically mentioning meetings of the Society, and the board and committees on finance and buildings. When Dr Nagaraja’s tenure ended on November 5, the office of the registrar issued a notice saying the June 30 order on non-disclosure would be superseded by non-disclosure clauses under Sections 8 and 11 of the RTI Act. “We really don’t know how he managed to get the extension. We heard it is under the pretext of NIMHANS soon getting recognition as an institute of national importance by an Act of Parliament,” an additional professor said. Incidentally, that is the key difference between AIIMS and NIMHANS — that NIMHANS is a Society, while AIIMS is an institute of national importance under a Parliament Act. Dr Nagaraja himself says no comparisons can be drawn with the AIIMS issue “since my superannuation is a few years away”. IndianExpress.com :: Distance between NIMHANS and AIIMS: ask the Health Minister
  20. Information is the new infrastructure of society, according to Freedom of Information minister, Michael Wills MP. The former journalist told the Society of Editors that while technology was making information faster to access, the Government was acting responsibly with personal details. He said: "Public information should be more accessible, not just to a chosen few, but to all. Whereas years ago information was difficult to obtain, now everything is available at the click of a button. "Many people want to exercise power between elections as well as at them, and people are no longer as confident that the system enfranchises them as they once were. "Parliament must be at the centre of the decision making of this democracy. "Extraordinary new internet technologies are changing the relationships between newspapers and readers, broadcasters and viewers and politicians and their constituents. "In many ways information is the new infrastructure of our society today. "Its absolutely critical to ensure accountability of the state which is essential for a healthy democracy." Mr Wills, who is Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, also reminded the conference that the Government was making positive changes to the Freedom of Information Act. It recently invested £350,000 to increase access to information for people making claims. He said the solution was to balance privacy with benefits of data sharing, scrutiny and accountability. "The media has always got their story but for members of the public that has not been the case," he said. Journalism jobs and news from Holdthefrontpage.co.uk
  21. Look, what Minister told RTO: I recommend the number 100... Pune, September 22 * June 18, 2007. State Marketing Minister Harshvardhan Patil’s letter to the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Pune: “I recommend the number 100 be given to the Scorpio jeep of Ramesh Vishnupanth Khandve of Lohegaon.” Such letters — from the offices of ministers, MPs and MLAs — keep pouring into the RTO office here. All with one-point agenda: allocation of fancy numbers to vehicles owned by their acquaintances. On April 9, Avinash Sali, personal assistant to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh wrote to the RTO, recommending that either 999 or 100 be given to the new car purchased by Navnath Bhau Vaswand. On September 13, it was the turn of Vinayak Parab, private resident secretary to the chief minister to write to the RTO seeking a similar favour for Sachin Bhalinge of Umaji Agritech. Not to be left behind was State Forest Minister Babanrao Pachpute. In his letter dated April 18, 2007 has recommended 99, 999 or 9000 to Bhonsale Dnyaneshwar Narayan, a resident of Wagholi for his new Scorpio. The minister asked the RTO for allotment of 99 on top priority. Among the prized registration numbers are 99, 100, 999, 007 and making recommendations are ministers MPs and MLAs, with offices of the CM also getting involved. The result: many of these numbers are never available to those willing to pay for it, but have no one to recommend their case. Curiously, the RTO records of applicants for these fancy numbers are only those who back their case with VIP recommendations as found out by RTI activists Shahid Raza Burney and Kamlesh Memane. According to sources, these choice numbers command a price as high as Rs 50,000 as against the government-designated fee of Rs 10,000. “There is a high degree of corruption in the allocation of choice numbers. The RTO authorities are not following the mandatory and stipulated rules; neither do they keep records of allocations made,” Burney said. Papers relating to allotment and rejection of application for choice numbers were found missing from the records. Burney, who sought detailed inspection of the application forms of the allotted choice numbers from 2003 to 2007, was told they were missing. When contacted, deputy RTO Amar Patil said: “We will correct the system after due consultations. A fool-proof system will be put in place soon for the allotment of choice numbers.” According to Burney, Patil and assistant RTO Bhaskar Rao Gunjal were present during the inspection that found papers relating to the “choice numbers” missing from files. At that time, it was also found that choice numbers from two-wheeler series were allotted to four wheelers, Burney added. The inspection also revealed that RTO officials had delegated the powers for allotment of choice number to stenographer and personal assistant to RTO Uttam Urankar in contravention of rules and regulations. Burney has written to Home Minister RR Patil demanding an inquiry into the going-ons at the Pune RTO. Thus, for the likes of Fayyaz Ashpaque Qazi who has nobody `high-up` to recommend his case, there’s a reason to feel aggrieved. “Time and again Urankar has said that the number will be allotted when the series open. As of now more than 10 series have been opened and I have still not got the number,” Qazi said. Meanwhile, the inspection revealed that despite a State Government notification making it mandatory for the RTO to regularly insert advertisements in newspapers about the availability of choice numbers, no such procedure was followed. http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Look-what-Minister-told-RTO-I-recommend-the-number-100/220105/
  22. Pune, September 22 * June 18, 2007. State Marketing Minister Harshvardhan Patil’s letter to the Regional Transport Office (RTO), Pune: “I recommend the number 100 be given to the Scorpio jeep of Ramesh Vishnupanth Khandve of Lohegaon.” Such letters — from the offices of ministers, MPs and MLAs — keep pouring into the RTO office here. All with one-point agenda: allocation of fancy numbers to vehicles owned by their acquaintances. On April 9, Avinash Sali, personal assistant to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh wrote to the RTO, recommending that either 999 or 100 be given to the new car purchased by Navnath Bhau Vaswand. On September 13, it was the turn of Vinayak Parab, private resident secretary to the chief minister to write to the RTO seeking a similar favour for Sachin Bhalinge of Umaji Agritech. Not to be left behind was State Forest Minister Babanrao Pachpute. In his letter dated April 18, 2007 has recommended 99, 999 or 9000 to Bhonsale Dnyaneshwar Narayan, a resident of Wagholi for his new Scorpio. The minister asked the RTO for allotment of 99 on top priority. Among the prized registration numbers are 99, 100, 999, 007 and making recommendations are ministers MPs and MLAs, with offices of the CM also getting involved. The result: many of these numbers are never available to those willing to pay for it, but have no one to recommend their case. Curiously, the RTO records of applicants for these fancy numbers are only those who back their case with VIP recommendations as found out by RTI activists Shahid Raza Burney and Kamlesh Memane. According to sources, these choice numbers command a price as high as Rs 50,000 as against the government-designated fee of Rs 10,000. “There is a high degree of corruption in the allocation of choice numbers. The RTO authorities are not following the mandatory and stipulated rules; neither do they keep records of allocations made,” Burney said. Papers relating to allotment and rejection of application for choice numbers were found missing from the records. Burney, who sought detailed inspection of the application forms of the allotted choice numbers from 2003 to 2007, was told they were missing. When contacted, deputy RTO Amar Patil said: “We will correct the system after due consultations. A fool-proof system will be put in place soon for the allotment of choice numbers.” According to Burney, Patil and assistant RTO Bhaskar Rao Gunjal were present during the inspection that found papers relating to the “choice numbers” missing from files. At that time, it was also found that choice numbers from two-wheeler series were allotted to four wheelers, Burney added. The inspection also revealed that RTO officials had delegated the powers for allotment of choice number to stenographer and personal assistant to RTO Uttam Urankar in contravention of rules and regulations. Burney has written to Home Minister RR Patil demanding an inquiry into the going-ons at the Pune RTO. Thus, for the likes of Fayyaz Ashpaque Qazi who has nobody `high-up` to recommend his case, there’s a reason to feel aggrieved. “Time and again Urankar has said that the number will be allotted when the series open. As of now more than 10 series have been opened and I have still not got the number,” Qazi said. Meanwhile, the inspection revealed that despite a State Government notification making it mandatory for the RTO to regularly insert advertisements in newspapers about the availability of choice numbers, no such procedure was followed. Look, what Minister told RTO: I recommend the number 100...
  23. Using information gathered via the RTI Act on utilisation of MLA funds, the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) has challenged Food and Civil Supplies Minister Martle N Mukhim to a public debate on the different schemes announced by him. The student body has alleged that Mukhim, the Dienglieng MLA, has siphoned off Rs 7 crore in the last 20 years from the MLA scheme. Mukhim has denied the allegation, saying there may be a leak at the implementation stage of which he is not aware. He only sanctioned the scheme and left it to the implementing agencies, he said. Addressing a press conference, the KSU's Dienglieng President, Kansing Lynshing, invited Mukhim to a debate on these schemes, saying someone from outside the constituency could preside as judge. Lynshing also announced the KSU's plan to distribute copies of the information collected through the RTI. He said KSU planned to follow up the debate with a spot inspection on August 31. Indian Express news at: KSU challenges minister to debate on MLA funds - Yahoo! India News
  24. CIC differs with union minister on disclosing file notings New Delhi, Aug 12: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has differed with a Union Minister's assertion in Rajya Sabha that the denial of file notings under the Right to Information Act is in accordance with law. Minister of State for Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions Suresh Pachouri had said in a written reply in parliament on May 10 that the decision to deny file notings under the RTI act was in accordance with "legislative intent". Referring to its full-bench order of January, the commission said, "the response to the unstarred question submitted to parliament is not in accordance with the RTI act". Pachouri's reply, made in response to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha, was placed before the commission during a hearing by the department of personnel and training to justify its decision to deny certain file notings. The commission was hearing an application by IAS officer Naresh Chauturvedi, who had sought from the department file notings of its correspondence with the central vigilance commission regarding departmental proceedings against him. Rejecting the department's contention on non-disclosure of notings, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directed it to provide the information to Chaturvedi within 10 days. It also directed that a copy of the order be placed before the vice president in his capacity as chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The department of personnel and training's website has been maintaining that information disclosable under the RTI act does not include file notings. While the government says it was the "legislative intent" to keep file notings beyond the ambit of the RTI Act, the commission has consistently held a different view. Zee News - CIC differs with union minister on disclosing file notings
  25. Home Minister, 48 ex-ministers defaulters DH News Service, Bangalore: Bheemappa Gundappa Gadada, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, brought to light the dreadful revelation that Home Minister M P Prakash, 48 former ministers and seven former legislators have defaulted the State Secretariat to the tune of Rs 1.11 crore in the last few years. Home Minister M P Prakash, 48 former ministers and seven former legislators have defaulted the State Secretariat to the tune of Rs 1.11 crore in the last few years. It has come to light through Bheemappa Gundappa Gadada, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, who secured this information under RTI Act. Mr Bheemappa, in turn, circulated copies of the information to the media on Thursday. According to the information furnished by Joint Secretary to the Secretariat P Omprakash, former minister Vijyanath Patil tops the list with dues of Rs 23,95,122 lakh, followed by B Somashekar with Rs 8,59,444 lakh. M P Prakash, D Nagarajaiah, B Muniyappa Muddappa, Veerakumara A Patil, Baburao B Chinchansur, Basavaraj H Patil, H C Srikantaiah, M C Nanaiah and Allam Veerabhadrappa are among those whose dues exceed more than a lakh. Among the prominent leaders who have defaulted are former chief minister and leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N Dharam Singh, KPCC President Mallikharjuna Kharge, leader of the Opposition in Legislative Council H K Patil, Roshan Baig and Chairman of Legislative Council B K Chandrashekar. Though the Secretariat has initiated steps to recover dues of nine of them through their pensions, no concrete step has been taken with respect to others, except for writing letters to them to pay up, according to RTI documents. The dues are mainly towards overstaying in government quarters (when they were ministers), telephone bills, water and electricity charges, missing or damage to articles in the quarters and others, Mr Bheemappa said. As far as former legislators are concerned, M K Krishna Reddy, Muniyappa Muddappa and D Nagarajaiah are top defaulters with over Rs 2 lakh dues pending. Other former legislators are Alexander, Vasanth V Saliyan, M Shivanna and Diwakar Babu. While the Secretariat has taken steps to recover dues of four of them, the process is presently on to recover with respect to three others, documents stated. Prakash defaulter Home Minister M P Prakash has defaulted the Secretariat to the tune of Rs 1,53,089 lakh. He has accumulated dues when he was deputy chief minister in the previous Dharam Singh government. PROMINENT DEFAULTERS *M P Prakash : Rs 1,53,089 *N Dharam Singh : Rs 20,789 *Mallikharjuna Kharge: Rs 21,370 *H K Patil: Rs 33,243 *B K Chandrashekar: Rs 89,118 *H C Srikantaiah: Rs 4,75,308 *M C Nanaiah : Rs 1,64,522 Deccan Herald - Home Minister, 48 ex-ministers defaulters
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