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  1. Version KHANAPURAM GANDAIAH v. Officers


    The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Khanapuram Gandaiah Vs. Administrative Officer and Ors. Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.34868 OF 2009 (Decided on January 4, 2010) had held as under: 6. “....Under the RTI Act “information” is defined under Section 2(f) which provides: “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.” This definition shows that an applicant under Section 6 of the RTI Act can get any information which is already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law. Of course, under the RTI Act an applicant is entitled to get copy of the opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed.” 7. “....the Public Information Officer is not supposed to have any material which is not before him; or any information he could have obtained under law. Under Section 6 of the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get only such information which can be accessed by the “public authority” under any other law for the time being in force. The answers sought by the petitioner in the application could not have been with the public authority nor could he have had access to this information and Respondent No. 4 was not obliged to give any reasons as to why he had taken such a decision in the matter which was before him.”
  2. Version CBSE Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay


    In this context a reference was made to the Hon’ble Supreme Court decision in 2011 (8) SCC 497 (CBSE Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay), wherein it was held as under: 35..... “It is also not required to provide ‘advice’ or ‘opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant. The reference to ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ in the definition of ‘information’ in section 2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority. Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provide advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.”
  3. Gurlovleen

    Panel Opinion Fees

    Applied for a loan against property from a govt bank.The panel lawyer of the Bank demanded an amount claiming to be his opinion fees.I told him that he is being paid by the bank.He said every 5 yrs the bank renews the empanelment and he is not a permanent employee.Apart from what the bank pays him,he is entitled for opinion fees. I'd like to seek information on the above mentioned subject
  4. Shall we ask the opinion of PIO. For ex:does tahsildhar allow "mutation on basis of registered agreement of sale cum general power of attorney "
  5. In a R.T.I. Case the P.I.O of the Tis Hazari Courts, refused to supply the certified copies of “suit files and suit records” of a certain judge for the period from26-02-93 to 31-03-93 to one Mr. Vinay Kumar, the Info. Seeker on the grounds that the information/ records may be sought via the processes prescribed under the Evidence Act instead of those under the R.T.I.Act. The Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi, however, trashed the contention of the P.I.O. Deciding in favour of the Info. Seeker, he ruled that the Court will have to provide the information/ documents demanded, unless the same is exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act itself. He held that the RTI Act-the newer Act- will have an over-riding affect on any other law, in this case the Evidence Act, and there is an obligation on the public authority to disclose information requested under it. Accordingly the Commissioner ruled,” If a public authority has a process of disclosing certain information which can also be accessed by a citizen using RTI Act, it is the citizen’s right to decide which route he wishes to use. The existence of another method for accessing information can’t be used to deny a citizen the right to information. It is a citizen’s right to use the most convenient and efficacious means available to him”, and ordered the P.I.O of Tis Hazari Courts to supply the required information etc. To Mr. Kumar in 15 days time. It will be interesting to note that the P.I.Os reasoning that the request should be made under the Evidence Act was upheld by the first appellate authority forcing Kumar to go in for the second appeal to the CIC u/s 19(1) of the RTI Act. Contrast this decision with that of given on in an otherwise identical case No.CIC/PB/A/2008/01322/LS decided by the Central Information Commissioner, M.L.Sharma. The CPIO, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) New , was , inter-alia, requested to (i) indicate the daily progress made BY the applicant’s earlier application dated 05-12-2007 addressed to Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.B. Shah, President NCDRC i.e. the date(s) on which it was received in the Registry of the Commission and perused by the addressee etc. and requested for the supply of copy or print out of the relevant portions of records, which contained details of the receipt and the of the aforesaid application, copies of the file notings, orders, instructions etc passed on it with supporting rule or order on a judicial procedure. In his decision dated 27-04-09, the Information Commissioner M.L.Sharma observed, " The CPIO appears to have rightly held in decision dated 22-4-08, that section 4 (I) (d) of the RTI Act is not applicable in regard to the judicial proceedings held by NCDRC. Needless to say, the relief lies elsewhere and not before this Commission. DECISION 5. In view of the above, the appeal is dismissed being legally unsustainable." The Information Commissioner who decided the earlier case is Mr. Shailesh Gandhi. The commodity called justice must come unpolluted- free from all such clusters of undesirable material. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR THE INFORATION SEEKER? HOW SHOULD HE PROCEED FURTHER? -SANJOG MAHESHWARI

    Odious comparisions

    C1-A-42 B M.I.G.FLATS, JANAKPURI, NEW DELHI-110058 COMPARISON COMPETITION -SANJOG MAHESHWARI General elections are on us now. The first phase having already started, the interesting Indian pastime of making comparisons between personalities and characters, past and present, has been gaining momentum by the day. The Hindu mythology in general, and the epic of Mahabharata in particular, is the most dependable and rich repository for drawing the source material for character comparisons. The level of knowledge and acquaintance with the epic story - every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to possess the treasure trove - makes all the difference between a higher and poorer scorer in the game. The absurdity in drawing the parallels between personalities being no bar; the factory of famously unbridled Indian imagination runs overtime, churning out interesting stuff. And this is how in the Lalu’s reckoning, the troika comprising himself, Mulayam and Paswan represent the three warrior Pandavas: Yudhishdhar, Bhim and Arjun, not necessarily in that order. Who will fill the remaining two brother vacancy depends upon the exigencies of prevailing circumstances- for the moment M/s Karat and Pawar fit the bill. Mayawati though herself equates with none other than Mother Teresa, the place and position Lalu concedes to her in the great family, is a matter of debate an issue yet to be decided. While depicting this Mahabharata of ballots, a genius discovered Bhishmpitamaha in (who else?) Bal Thackarey . But in the frantic scramble of assigning roles for the characters, the old battle-worn warrior was shown fighting against the Kauravas- a minor blunder, you can say in this huge melee. Interestingly enough, the US president Barack Hussein Obama emerges as an important character in this purely Indian fetish about making comparisons and drawing imaginative parallels between the personalities, lending a meadow-dew fresh American flavour to the tasteful game as people never seem to cease asking: who among these worthies could be an Indian Obama? Thus the election of the first ever African-American as U.S. president, has lent a further impetus to this interesting hobby. It, however, is hardly amusing when bizarre parallels are drawn between personalities as divergent as Mayawati or Paswan in India and Barack Hussein Obama in the U.S. True, all three share a common background of humble origin; but here the comparisons end. The big contrast is: While these Indians are small time politicians, Obama is a statesman. OBAMA versus OTHERS Because of his pan-American vision, total grasp of world problems including terrorism and economic meltdown, and emphasis on the factors that unify all the Americans- Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Non-believers- the American president is a likely candidate to be counted one among the eminent politicians of all time, ranking with Abraham Lincoln (with whom not only his political saga but also conduct of state affairs closely resemble), Roosevelt and Churchill. Comparing him with small-time Indian politicians of blinkered vision- their vision, not extending beyond identity and vote-bank politics- is ridiculous. INTRIGUING INDEED What, however, seems to be quite intriguing is the fact that how is it that a nation of more than a billion could not produce a single Obama, whereas the American system of political governance successfully reinvents itself, repeatedly and unfailingly, every time to send one to occupy the top position to answer the pressing needs of contemporary times in the best interests of America. FAULT LINE Obviously the fault lies with our democratic system of governance- a bastard adaptation of the Westminster model- which can only provide and promote a bunch of mediocre demagogues, who are long on rhetoric and short on everything else, and pave their way to powerful political positions in the government by unabashed use of black money and muscle power and adherence to one or the other variety of identity politics and the politics of vote-bank. The ruling political class, party or alliance partners have whole treasury at their disposal to splurge the taxpayers money, sans any qualm of conscience, to announce generous largesse, sobs, excise-cuts, funds and finances for populist measures shored up by full page and fulsome advertisements showcasing the so-called ‘achievements’ of the government (read the ruling political alliance) in the national dailies and through the electronic media in all the languages, in the run-up of the elections. Nothing is wrong or immoral for an Indian politician so long it helps picking the votes. DESPARATE NEED OF AN INDIAN OBAMA While the Indian youth of the day is in desperate need of an Indian Obama to answer the pressing needs of ‘now’ in the best interests of India and take the formidable challenges posed by the forces and factors like rise of Taliban in the North-West frontier of the sub-continent, terrorism, rampant corruption, the quest for him is doomed to end up in contracting, instead, many more corrupt politicians with criminal background, whose tribe is increasing in geometrical progression, for the simple reason that our very system of political governance and administration is such that it can produce and promote only the corrupt and irresponsible demagogues, wedded to identity politics, and no statesman. NEEDS OF HOUR While there is crying need for sincere and sustainable efforts directed towards correcting and setting right the imbalances and disparities created by the flawed economic policies of the government, haphazard unplanned growth and grotesque urbanization; initiate measures to affectively control and contain atmospheric pollution, degradation of ecology, illegal immigration, burgeoning population, adulteration of drugs and foodstuff, sharply deteriorating law and order situation and so forth, we can only expect tall promises from our politicians and nothing more. THE STUFF THAT DOES NOT DELIVER No doubt there are a few politicians of unimpeachable integrity and great promise in the current lot itself, but their chance of coming to power could be anybody’s guess. Even if they somehow come to power, the system will force them to compromise with their principles and give concessions to the factors detrimental to larger interests of the nation. THE FLAWED SYSTEM Extra-ordinary maladies require extra-ordinary solutions. However, the long term solutions of devastating urgent problems, ushering in an era of peace, security, prosperity, balanced and sustainable growth, communal harmony, and all that the people long for, will continue to allude us and remain a pipedream, as ever before. The statesman in a few of our politicians even if they come to power is unlikely to assert itself, will continue to lie dormant, fettered by the system. Looking for him in the few young faces in the Lok Sabha is also futile. After-all, these guys are also the product of this despoiled system which they promote and patronize for their own survival in the ruling class. Obama will have to be somebody outside this system. -SANJOG MAHESHWARI C-1 A-42 B M.I.G.Flats, Janakpuri, New Delhi-110 058

    "WHO THE NEXT P.M.?"

    SANJOG MAHESHWARI - WHO THE NEXT P.M.?- -SANJOG MAHESHWARI The general elections are on us. While as of now, BJP is having a clear edge over the Congress Party- its nearest or rather only -rival in the electoral race, the party will be well advised not to let its guards down as the latter has unfailingly demonstrated its uncanny ability to turn the table on the former in such matters at the eleventh hour- the BJP’s Delhi Assembly election debacle is still fresh in the public memory. In the run-up of the general elections, the events unfolding also do not portend well for the Party. The President rubbished the Chief Election Commissioner’s recommendations for the removal of Mr. Navin Chawla. Come 20th April, with the change of guards at Nirvaachan Bhawan, he gets elevated to the post of the Chief Election Commissioner, with the incumbent Chief retiring on the day. And whether the BJP likes it or not CBI, is not as independent an agency, as it is projected. There are other well-known factors also- do not require specific mention- that inhibit the party’s chances to the winning post. Add to them the Congress’s proven capability to spike the guns and you get the picture. There are, however, many important firsts to the credit of the B.J.P. leadership. It is the first time ever that any leader of eminence has so emphatically made known his commitment to bring back trillions of black money parked by Indians in the foreign banks. The first time that some concern has been shown about rampant corruption, illegal immigration particularly of Bengladeshis and, combating terrorism in a determined and not half-hearted manner. And the first time ever that a prime-ministerial candidate proposed an American model debate on T.V. among the aspirants to the highest post thereby ushering in a very healthy and relevant tradition for all times to come. In fact, there should be series of debates to enable people to judge: “Who is the best?” Talking about development is easy. Root out the corruption and the development will follow automatically, as the day follows the night, without the government doing anything about it. Given the corruption-free environment, we, the people of India, are capable of bringing it about even without any assistance from the Government. Our contribution in this regard has been recognized and rewarded in the alien countries like the U.S of America. There is no reason why we cannot enact the feat here in our country provided, of course, the government ensures a zero-corruption environment. What, however, baffles one and all: Why the B.J.P. is not demonstrating the same zeal and determination to combat the mother of the most, if not all, of our most besetting problems: ‘the burgeoning population’ in the way China has done it? In fact, no political party has ever taken a very serious view of it, much as it deserves, ever since independence with the result that to our great horror and dismay, each year a Australia gets added to our population. Further, while the ever widening, yawning gap, gets wider by the day, between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’ no serious plan is on the agenda of any party to change the scenario and bring about an equitable distribution of wealth. However, for the obvious reasons, the B.J.P is seen as the only political party willing to and capable of tackling the horrific problem of terrorism- both home-grown and imported – affectively thereby ensuring maximum possible security to the people. Ditto to the other two maladies mentioned above. Writing in his ‘Malice’ Column in the Hindustan Times, the veteran journalist Khushwant Singh broached the tricky subject: “Who the Next P.M.?” (Malice Column H.T. 28th March). In his inimitable style, while saying otherwise, he has been more revealing in concealing the fact that the B.J.P is nearer to the winning post. He, however, attempts to drive home, rather convincingly, the home truth when he says, “A factor which may have a decisive impact on the relative electoral fortunes of the Congress party and the BJP will be the publication of the long-delayed Liberhan Commission Report…………” “.It will be like a time bomb: its explosion on the eve of the elections may swing the fortunes……….” Here Mr. Singh can hardly be blamed for being “off-the-mark.” No doubt, the BJP presently is having a fairly good edge over the Congress party in this do or die battle of ballots -all reports suggesting to the contrary incessantly aired by the obviously biased electronic media and routinely flashed across the headlines in all the major National dailies; not withstanding. The electronic media in particular and the print media in general, barring a few exceptions, seem sold-out and as such their reports should be taken with loads of salt. However, the Congress leadership, that is past master in the art of springing surprises at the appropriate time and place, may get the balance tilted in its favour, slamming the chances of quite a few BJP hopefuls at the eleventh hour. And these surprises could be either in the form of a damning Liberhan Commission Report and/ or some other damaging revelation(s), not necessarily true, though otherwise, sufficiently packed with powerful punches. The Congress party could be keeping its “Brahmastras” for the right moment- the time bombs cleverly timed to explode on the eve of elections to the great chagrin and consternation of, till then, an upbeat BJP leadership. Thus, the possibility of the BJP winning quite a few battles yet losing the war can not entirely be ruled out and the party should, in its own interests, has to be very cautious till the final step at the winning post. The caution does not cost but saves from unpleasant surprises. While on the subject a look at the big picture would be in order. In case, contrary to all expectations, the Congress party wins, it may not be the end of all the surprises and suspense. The proclaimed P.M choice of the party, Dr. Man Mohan Singh may not run or allowed to run his full term. Sooner than expected, he could be replaced by the crown prince Rahul Gandhi; when in a surprise move, the Doctor, not quite unexpectedly, may quit on health grounds, paving way for the waiting-in-the-wings, hopeful to ascend the thrown. Of course, the sacrifice is not likely to go unrewarded. A high-profile lucrative foreign assignment for his loyalty to the family could be waiting for him up for grabs. In this context it would be pertinent to mention that right from the day one it was abundantly clear that this system of democratic governance is totally incapable of delivering good and clean governance. The things, however, have been getting bad to worse by the day for the common man who has now lost all faith in the system. On an earlier occasion also, Mr. Singh in his column, alluded to the similar opinion expressed by some serious political thinkers, including the past leaders and M.Ps , in an interview session claimed to have conducted by him in which they advocated replacing of this debased Westminster type of Parliamentary democracy by the American model of Presidential system. The sooner it is done, the better it would be for the health and well being of Indian democracy and the common citizenry. How can several century old system of democratic governance, that is just about okay for a small island country like England, work without yielding negative results and disastrous consequences for the common citizenry in a country like India, which is more than ten times both in size and population of England and having a completely different social order and set-up, polity and a plural societal structure? So far as our country is concerned, in the backdrop of vastly changed circumstances and times, this system can possibly be used only for the constitution of Gram Panchaayats or Gram Sabhas but certainly not for constituting institutions like Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies. Since the proposed big change runs counter to the deeply entrenched self-interests of every politician, they shiver at the very thought of it; let alone getting it replaced by the American model. The intelligentsia and the common citizenry must, therefore, suffer in silence. The common men who have already suffered too much and for too long, are a totally disillusioned lot now. Should Pappu then be blamed, if he demonstrates his anger, anguish, resentment and revolt against the system and shows his total disapproval of it by the only way he perhaps knows and can: not casting his vote at all? (Still there is no provision for a “None of the above” button in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). His grouse is not against any particular politician or political party but the system itself, the inbuilt mechanism of which, has successively denied him the clean and efficient government so far and so long, thereby making his life more and more miserable by the day. This system ensures that the best man does not run. The question of his winning does not arise at all. All our politicians are not corrupt and inefficient but the system makes them so. Contrast it by the American model where without a single exception, every successive President incessantly strove hard and fast, to the best of his ability, to promote and safeguard the interests of America and Americans, caring two hoots for what the rest of the world thought about him; bowed out of the office and vacated the White House for his successor to occupy on the fixed date, after remaining in the office and in the White House for his fixed term of four years only, unless otherwise elected for just another fixed term of equal duration at the end of which he must go for good; howsoever brilliant, efficient and capable he may be. The former President George Bush, the then incumbent of the highest and the mightiest office in the world, is helpless before the American law and looks the other way while his daughter cools her heels behind the prison bars for the offense of drunken-driving. That is the rule of democracy in the real sense of the word; ours can at best be called ‘ Mobocracy’ or ‘Mobocrazy’, if I am permitted to coin the latter term to define what exactly the political climate of our country is. -SANJOG MAHESHWARI C1-A -42 B MIG FLATS, JANAKPURI, NEW DELHI-110 058
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