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  1. DEHRADUN: Delay in appointment of new ICs has resulted in piling up of appeals in Right to Information (RTI) cases at the SIC. The work in the SIC responsible for hearing the appeals in the RTI cases has stopped in the absence of ICs. The term of last remaining IC Surendra Singh Rawat ended in June this year. The long-pending appointment on the crucial position of Information Commissioner (IC) has got further delayed as the meeting of three-member committee, constituted to approve the names for ICs scheduled for Tuesday, was cancelled at the last moment. The meeting of the high-powered three-member committee, comprising the Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, leader of the opposition ( LoP) Indira Hridayesh and senior Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik was scheduled to be held at CM’s residence on Tuesday evening. The meeting was , however, cancelled as the CM left for Delhi in the afternoon to inquire about the health of former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Narayan Dutt Tiwari.
  2. The life of Appointment Snails. In the absence of ICs the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Shatrughan Singh is not able to hold hearings of the commission. DEHRADUN: Delay in appointment of new ICs has resulted in piling up of appeals in Right to Information (RTI) cases at the SIC. The work in the SIC responsible for hearing the appeals in the RTI cases has stopped in the absence of ICs. The term of last remaining IC Surendra Singh Rawat ended in June this year. The long-pending appointment on the crucial position of Information Commissioner (IC) has got further delayed as the meeting of three-member committee, constituted to approve the names for ICs scheduled for Tuesday, was cancelled at the last moment. The meeting of the high-powered three-member committee, comprising the Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, leader of the opposition ( LoP) Indira Hridayesh and senior Cabinet Minister Madan Kaushik was scheduled to be held at CM’s residence on Tuesday evening. The meeting was , however, cancelled as the CM left for Delhi in the afternoon to inquire about the health of former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Narayan Dutt Tiwari. View full entry
  3. The complainant Gupta had sought the information regarding the incidents wherein members of Hindu community were pulled out of buses and killed between the year of 1984 to 1995. Taking strong exception of Gupta’s case filed against the public information officer and the first Appellate Authority of the Punjab Police, the state Chief Information Commissioner SS Channy said that the information sought by the complainant may adversely affect the communal harmony and ultimately unity and integrity of the state, which could trigger communal riots. “So, this information will not be necessarily be given under Section 8 (1) (a) of the Act 2005,” he held. Disposing of the case, Channy said that this information may not also be disclosed under the RTI Act because the clause of exemption implemented on this as this could be harmful for foreign security of the country.
  4. Punjab State Information Commission has ruled that the Right to Information (RTI) Act was not applicable on the information compromising the law and order of the state or country. The complainant Gupta had sought the information regarding the incidents wherein members of Hindu community were pulled out of buses and killed between the year of 1984 to 1995. Taking strong exception of Gupta’s case filed against the public information officer and the first Appellate Authority of the Punjab Police, the state Chief Information Commissioner SS Channy said that the information sought by the complainant may adversely affect the communal harmony and ultimately unity and integrity of the state, which could trigger communal riots. “So, this information will not be necessarily be given under Section 8 (1) (a) of the Act 2005,” he held. Disposing of the case, Channy said that this information may not also be disclosed under the RTI Act because the clause of exemption implemented on this as this could be harmful for foreign security of the country. View full entry
  5. An NGO - Jagriti Welfare Society, wrote to the Governor suggesting that that to facilitate the RTI to every citizen, the UP government should follow Maharastra government where one SIC is posted in every divisional headquarter of the state. The NGO said that presently 10 posts of SIC and one of Chief SIC was sanctioned in UP and out of this, eight SIC and one Chief SIC were presently posted but they sit in Lucknow. The NGO reasoned that since all top officials sit in the state capital so activists and general public seeking RTI replies have to come to Lucknow to pursue appeals against delay with Information Commissioners. The NGO said that if like Maharastra, SICs were posted at divisional headquarters, then making appeal under the RTI would become easier and money and time of government officers could also be saved. Under the present set-up, Information Officers of various departments claim Traveli and Dearness Allowance for coming to Lucknow and attend appeals. Sources said that Governor Ram Naik after going through the request wrote to the state government to look whether the Maharastra model was feasible in Uttar Pradesh or not.
  6. Governor Ram Naik asked the State Government to mull over the pattern adopted by Maharastra Government so that, a State Information Commissioner (SIC) chould be posted in each divisional headquarters. An NGO - Jagriti Welfare Society, wrote to the Governor suggesting that that to facilitate the RTI to every citizen, the UP government should follow Maharastra government where one SIC is posted in every divisional headquarter of the state. The NGO said that presently 10 posts of SIC and one of Chief SIC was sanctioned in UP and out of this, eight SIC and one Chief SIC were presently posted but they sit in Lucknow. The NGO reasoned that since all top officials sit in the state capital so activists and general public seeking RTI replies have to come to Lucknow to pursue appeals against delay with Information Commissioners. The NGO said that if like Maharastra, SICs were posted at divisional headquarters, then making appeal under the RTI would become easier and money and time of government officers could also be saved. Under the present set-up, Information Officers of various departments claim Traveli and Dearness Allowance for coming to Lucknow and attend appeals. Sources said that Governor Ram Naik after going through the request wrote to the state government to look whether the Maharastra model was feasible in Uttar Pradesh or not. View full entry
  7. The State Information commission directed the application to deposit the cost of information and supply information to the complainant within seven days Admittedly, proviso to sub section (5) of Section 7 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulates that no fee shall be chaged from the persons who are of below poverty line. The petitioner having filed his BPL Card showing that he comes under the BPL category, no cost of information can be imposed on him. The High Court of Orissa noted that A division bench of the Odisha High Court comprising of Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice P Mohanty has ruled that the RTI Act stipulates that no fee shall be charged from the persons who are below poverty line and therefore, the cost for information cannot be imposed on such an applicant. Vide an order dated July 3, 2013, the Odisha High Court has given direction to the Public Information Officer (PIO), Office of Assistant Engineer National High-way Sub-division, Dist-Nayagarh, Odisha to provide information to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) RTI-Applicant free of cost as per section 7(5) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Sri Kunja Bihari Patra, a BPL-RTI Applicant had submitted RTI Application on dated 8.3.10 and 27.4.2010 to the PIO, office of Assistant Engineer, National High way Sub-division, Nayagarh seeking some information about construction of 224-NH by National Highway Authorities. It needs to be mentioned here that there was allegation of corruption in the construction of NH-224 by the Public. However, finding no information by the PIO, Sri Kunja Patra approached the Odisha Information Commission by way of filling complaint petition on dated 20.7.11 under section 18 of the RTI Act. He has mentioned in the petition that as he is BPL fellow, he is entitled to get information free of cost. Sri Tarun Kanti Mishra, State Chief Information Commissioner heard the case and directed the Executive Engineer National Highways Division, Bhubaneswar to conduct an enquiry and to submit a report as to whether the applications of the petitions were received by the PIO and timely action was taken thereon. The Enquiring Officer reported that both the applications as claimed by the petitioner were not received by the office of the Public Information Officer. Subsequently, on 18.12.2012 the Commission directed the PIO to intimate the complainant within fifteen days about the cost of information and supply the information to the complainant within 7 days of the cost of the deposit of the information. Being aggrieved, Sri Kunja Bihari Patra challenged the decision of the Commission in High Court (WPC No- 4797/2013). Hearing the case and quoting the provision of section 7(5) of the RTI Act, the High Court has directed the PIO, Office of Assistant Engineer, National High way, Nayagarh to provide the information free of cost. Further, it needs to be mentioned here that as per section 7(5) of the RTI Act, the RTI Applicants coming under BPL category are entitled to get the information free of cost. But in Odisha, the State Government and office of Odisha Information Commission has been collecting fees from the BPL people going against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. Even the Information Commission has gone to the extent of directing the PIO to collect the fees from the BPL people.
  8. State Information Commission odhisha order to deposit the cost of information from Below Poverty Line Application has been quashed by the High Court and had been directed to supply information free of cost The State Information commission directed the application to deposit the cost of information and supply information to the complainant within seven days Admittedly, proviso to sub section (5) of Section 7 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulates that no fee shall be chaged from the persons who are of below poverty line. The petitioner having filed his BPL Card showing that he comes under the BPL category, no cost of information can be imposed on him. The High Court of Orissa noted that A division bench of the Odisha High Court comprising of Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice P Mohanty has ruled that the RTI Act stipulates that no fee shall be charged from the persons who are below poverty line and therefore, the cost for information cannot be imposed on such an applicant. Vide an order dated July 3, 2013, the Odisha High Court has given direction to the Public Information Officer (PIO), Office of Assistant Engineer National High-way Sub-division, Dist-Nayagarh, Odisha to provide information to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) RTI-Applicant free of cost as per section 7(5) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Sri Kunja Bihari Patra, a BPL-RTI Applicant had submitted RTI Application on dated 8.3.10 and 27.4.2010 to the PIO, office of Assistant Engineer, National High way Sub-division, Nayagarh seeking some information about construction of 224-NH by National Highway Authorities. It needs to be mentioned here that there was allegation of corruption in the construction of NH-224 by the Public. However, finding no information by the PIO, Sri Kunja Patra approached the Odisha Information Commission by way of filling complaint petition on dated 20.7.11 under section 18 of the RTI Act. He has mentioned in the petition that as he is BPL fellow, he is entitled to get information free of cost. Sri Tarun Kanti Mishra, State Chief Information Commissioner heard the case and directed the Executive Engineer National Highways Division, Bhubaneswar to conduct an enquiry and to submit a report as to whether the applications of the petitions were received by the PIO and timely action was taken thereon. The Enquiring Officer reported that both the applications as claimed by the petitioner were not received by the office of the Public Information Officer. Subsequently, on 18.12.2012 the Commission directed the PIO to intimate the complainant within fifteen days about the cost of information and supply the information to the complainant within 7 days of the cost of the deposit of the information. Being aggrieved, Sri Kunja Bihari Patra challenged the decision of the Commission in High Court (WPC No- 4797/2013). Hearing the case and quoting the provision of section 7(5) of the RTI Act, the High Court has directed the PIO, Office of Assistant Engineer, National High way, Nayagarh to provide the information free of cost. Further, it needs to be mentioned here that as per section 7(5) of the RTI Act, the RTI Applicants coming under BPL category are entitled to get the information free of cost. But in Odisha, the State Government and office of Odisha Information Commission has been collecting fees from the BPL people going against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. Even the Information Commission has gone to the extent of directing the PIO to collect the fees from the BPL people. View full entry
  9. BIJNOR: As many as 20 senior state officials were slapped with a fine of 25,000 each by state information commissioner (SIC) Hafiz Usman after they were found delaying replies to RTIqueries by applicants in different state departments. The erring officials including public information officer of UP State Ganga River Conservation Agency, Lucknow, district magistrates of Saharanpur and Sambhal, chief medical officer of Saharanpur, BSA of Sambhal, district panchayat raj officer of Amroha, district programme officer of Sambhal, district supply officer of Saharanpur, deputy registrar of Vilaspur in Rampur, BSA of Amroha, chief medical officer of BD Baajoriya Hospital of Saharanpur, CMO of Rampur, DIOS of Sambhal, executive engineer at PVVNL, Khatauli of Muzaffarnagar and Najibabad of Bijnor district, Block development officer of Deengarpur in Moradabad, BDO Nahtaur and Afjalgarh of Bijnor district, BDO Gangoh in Saharanpur and village secretary of Jaleelpur area in Bijnor district, have been slapped with the fine. According to sources, the fine has come as a surprise to the officials concerned.
  10. 5 downloads

    The strident approach of the Commission had the most undesirable effect of terrorizing the appellant into subservience, and the materials on records suggest that the Civil Surgeon constituted a medical board to examine the extent of visual impairment of the concerned candidate(s). It will bear repetition to state that the authorities under the Act are vested with the power to ensure supply of information sought for as obtaining on the records, rather than the ideal or the legal state of affairs. We are mindful of the position that the selection process to the extent relevant in the present context concerns visually impaired persons. But the Commission illegally took upon itself the task of injecting validity to the selection process. Instead of ensuring supply of factual position, he has gone to the length of directing the Director, Primary Education, to ensure action against the erring official. Such an approach is wholly beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission, being an authority of limited jurisdiction.- पटना हाई कोर्ट।
  11. 10 downloads

    High Court of HImachal Pradesh We find no provision in the Act which empowers the Commission to either reduce or enhance this penalty. If the Commission comes to the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds for delay or that the Public Information Officer (P.I.O) concerned has satisfactorily explained the delay then no penalty can be imposed. However, once the Commission comes to the conclusion that the penalty has to be imposed then the same must be @ Rs.250/- per day and not at any other rate at the whims and fancy of the Commission. To this extent the petitioner is absolutely right. The penalty either has to be imposed at the rate fixed or no penalty has to be imposed.
  12. Section 17: Removal of State Chief Information Commissioner or State Information Commissioner (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed. (2) The Governor may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the Governor has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Governor may by order remove from office the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if a State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be,— (a) is adjudged an insolvent; or (b) has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Governor, involves moral turpitude; or © engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or (d) is, in the opinion of the Governor, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or (e) has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner. (4) If the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehaviour.
  13. Section 16: Term of office and conditions of service (1) The State Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall not be eligible for reappointment: Provided that no State Chief Information Commissioner shall hold office as such after he has attained the age of sixty-five years. (2) Every State Information Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier, and shall not be eligible for reappointment as such State Information Commissioner: Provided that every State Information Commissioner shall, on vacating his office under this sub-section, be eligible for appointment as the State Chief Information Commissioner in the manner specified in sub-section (3) of section 15: Provided further that where the State Information Commissioner is appointed as the State Chief Information Commissioner, his term of office shall not be more than five years in aggregate as the State Information Commissioner and the State Chief Information Commissioner. (3) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, other person appointed by him in that behalf, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the First Schedule. (4) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner may, at any time, by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor, resign from his office: Provided that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner may be removed in the manner specified under section 17. (5) The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of— (a) the State Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner; (b) the State Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Secretary to the State Government: Provided that if the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of a pension, other than a disability or wound pension, in respect of any previous service under the Government of India or under the Government of a State, his salary in respect of the service as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of that pension including any portion of pension which was commuted and pension equivalent of other forms of retirement benefits excluding pension equivalent of retirement gratuity: Provided further that where the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if, at the time of his appointment is, in receipt of retirement benefits in respect of any previous service rendered in a Corporation established by or under any Central Act or State Act or a Government company owned or controlled by the Central Government or the State Government, his salary in respect of the service as the State Chief Information Commissioner or the State Information Commissioner shall be reduced by the amount of pension equivalent to the retirement benefits: Provided also that the salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall not be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment. (6) The State Government shall provide the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners with such officers and employees as may be necessary for the efficient performance of their functions under this Act, and the salaries and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of the officers and other employees appointed for the purpose of this Act shall be such as may be prescribed.
  14. Chapter IV The State Information Commission Section 15: Constitution of State Information Commission (1) Every State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a body to be known as the ……… (name of the State) Information Commission to exercise the powers conferred on, and to perform the functions assigned to, it under this Act. (2) The State Information Commission shall consist of— (a) the State Chief Information Commissioner, and (b) such number of State Information Commissioners, not exceeding ten, as may be deemed necessary. (3) The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of— (i) the Chief Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee; (ii) the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly; and (iii) a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister Explanation.—For the purposes of removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that where the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly has not been recognised as such, the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the Legislative Assembly shall be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition. (4) The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the State Information Commission shall vest in the State Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the State Information Commissioners and may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the State Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act. (5) The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance. (6) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession. (7) The headquarters of the State Information Commission shall be at such place in the State as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify and the State Information Commission may, with the previous approval of the State Government, establish offices at other places in the State.
  15. GUNASELVAM_V

    CIC and SIC

    Sir, Is it mandatory to give decision by SIC only in line with other CICs order. I.e if RTI applicant quotes CIC's judgement, then SIC has to give decision only in that line?
  16. I made a query under RTI from the PIO/DM of my district in U.P. When there was no response despite the lapse of 30 days, I emailed my First Appeal under RTI to the FAA/Secy State Information Commission, Uttar Pradesh, but again there was no response whatsoever. After waiting for a month I emailed my appeal to the State Chief Information Commissioner, but i vain. The result is that I haven't got any response on my query under RTI despite the lapse of 9 whole months. Please tell me what should I do now.
  17. The repeated filing of applications under the Right To Information (RTI) Act on various issues by a retired Army official from Palakkad have irritated the State Information Commission (SIC) to the extent of it issuing an order to the Palakkad Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) not to accept RTI petitions from anyone from the district and ordered to send them directly to the public authority concerned or the commission. That the order is particularly targeted at Major (Rtd) P.M.Ravindran is evident from the fact that it mentions his name as “one example in point”. He has filed scores of RTI applications, mostly on the performance of the SIC, the latest being the one seeking information on the expenses incurred for an SIC sitting held in Palakkad. As per Section 6 (3) of the RTI Act public information officers in district headquarters concerned have to receive applications under the RTI Act and forward them to the respective public authority. The State Government has entrusted the RDOs to receive RTI pleas and transfer them to the departments concerned. Legal experts say that the SIC order is against the RTI Act. “Under the RTI Act, the SIC is not authorised to issue orders like this. This can be challenged in the High Court. But at the same time, there should be provisions to deal with what is called ‘vexatious litigants’. When the Central Information Commission convened a meeting of all the SICs last month, it was proposed to bring an amendment to deal with those who overuse the RTI Act. But in this case, the argument that the person is a vexatious litigant cannot be raised as an alibi to justify this unlawful order,” said advocate D.B.Binu. He said that the SIC can only implement the Act and cannot meddle with its provisions. “Even courts cannot act against the provisions of a piece of legislation. This order should be opposed as it will have an impact on the positive use of RTI Act,” said advocate M.R.Hariraj. When contacted, State Chief Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas was more scathing in his remarks against Ravindran. “He has become a nuisance. He doesn’t know anything about the RTI Act though he acts as an apostle of it. Who is he to dictate terms to us?”, said Mohandas. Asked about the order, he said that he can comment on it only after checking it. B F Firos KOCHI: Sunday November 11 2007 Newindpress.com
  18. I had a very bad experience Tamilnadu State Information Commission. 1. I asked HR&CE PIO to provide the details avaiable from the record maintained for the past 20 years. SIC told me that applicant can’t ask for the details which are 20 year old. Based on this question, it can be directly rejected…. Is there any section in the RTI which gives such power to SIC to reject my RTI? 2. The PIO had given the information in the plain paper (hand written) i.e. without any signature / government seal. I told to SIC…the hand written document without signature is not acceptable. Such relay is legally not acceptable; I further told… I can’t use these documents for litigation purpose. For this SIC replied.. There is no provision in the RTI to ask for the document with signature. Please guide me on this. Without signature I will not be able to file litigation 3. Incase if I am not satisfied with SIC answer, to whom should I approach? 4. When I complained about the denial information for few of my basic questions like... Number of employees, qualification of the trustees… SIC replied…PIO can only provide the information which is available with him. PIO can’t do the research for our questions… All my questions comes under section 4… Still he replied in this manner. How do I proceed further on this?
  19. I need the details of the Income Tax submitted by the charity registered in the varansi (UP). I have filed an RTI to Income Tax dept. But I have not yet received any information. Please let me know the procedure. YFI: I couldn't find the details of PIO for charity related quires.. in UP official website....
  20. M.P., Bihar, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, J & K, UP, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh have implemented Public Service Guarantee Act to guarantee time-bound delivery of services govt offices. Such a law of Central Govt is pending with Standing Committee of Parliament. These State Acts guarantee as a matter of right to get delivery of govt services in a time bound method by citizens or else concerned employee is penalized for per day delay beyond stipulated time limit. The citizen is also entitled to compensation in some states. I am sure State Information Commissions [sIC] being State entities should be within purview of this act. If this is so, RTI applicants should invoke this act to get decisions from SICs in a time frame declared under this act. I am trying to study some of these State Acts. I am requesting our members to explore this possibility in their states, where appeals/complaints are lingering with SIC for long time. State Acts would be on website of State Govt or can be googled. Feed back and experience of members will be useful to other members also
  21. Atul Patankar

    IC elections to get transparent

    As reported by Priyal Dave at afternoondc.in on October 13, 2010 A committee will be soon formed to oversee the appointment Here’s some good news that will definitely bring smile to the faces of the Right To Information (RTI) activists. Persistent efforts of the activists across the state to get a transparent selection procedure for the Information Commissioner (IC), a committee comprising people from the state, judiciary and activists themselves is likely to be formed soon. The General Administration Department (GAD) in its communication to social activist Anna Hazare had asked him to set up guidelines that will help in the transparent selection of the IC as well as lay down the manner in which the IC is supposed to discharge his/her duty. Confirming the same Anna’s aide, Anil Sharma, explained, “We have asked the GAD to come up with a committee, which involves people who have knowledge of law as well as RTI, so that guidelines formed by the committee do not have any discrepancies and are not interpreted in any way other than the way they have been formed.” Anna has proposed that Activist Arvind Kejriwal and Vinita Deshmukh, Secretary Law, Secretary GAD, Chief Secretary and Hazare himself should constitute the committee, though a formal government order on the same is yet awaited. Meanwhile, RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao, who is on an indefinite hunger strike until the state gives up in going ahead with the unfair appointment of Vilas Patil as the new Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra is back in the city. Rao has been on the strike for a week now. Anna along with other activists will be meeting Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, today, at Ralegan Siddhi to deter him from giving his approval for the appointment of Vilas Patil as the new CIC
  22. AyazMughal

    J&K RTI Act: an eye-wash

    Ayaz Mughal The corruption as assumed by the people is mono-faced and limited to taking bribe. But the fact is that it has a multi-dimensional connotation which enfolds delay in disposal of even primary issues, dereliction of duties, miasmic administration of justice, sometimes unjustified decisions, encouraging caste-based politics and community considerations, misusing powers for ulterior motives and above frequently notable anarchy of work culture, accountability and transparency in regard to the public affairs. The politicians, the bureaucrats and the government officials at the gross-root level are, somewhere responsible for the eruption of this obnoxious pestilence of corruption and if we have a deep insight into the state of our affairs, we will be shocked to find this deadly disease seeped into the blood of the entire civil society in general and India in particular. Black money has become the symbol & fashion of high society bureaucrats and politicians which has rendered a irreparable set back to the economy of our country leaving more than 20 crores people of nation thriving on left-over crumbs and many of them starving every day. Our society is marked by the complete moral and ethical degradation and scathing erosion of human values. Under such circumstances the poor public is bound to pin its hopes and repose its confidence in the Government that has been formed by the dint of their votes. And the govt. is not genuinely serous about it. Where will the public go and beat its head, the matter is of great concern. Non administration of justice to the public even from the spacious corridors of absolute powers is the most likely to snowball into a great confusion and chaos in the system with the bigger amount of adverse impact on the Government. Our democratic age of our country is 60 years and as old is our J&KState too. But it is the time for us all to introspect and see whether it is the same country which our national stalwarts like Gandhi, Patel, Azad and others had dreamt of. Could we take proper care of values and culture these great souls had entrusted to us after the appearance of a new sun on the on the horizon of free India? Could our leader design their lives on the patterns of their political ancestors? Is our country really an abode of peace and harmony, justice and honesty? Our country has been rated as rated as in topmost corruption countries of the world and even worse is the plight our state. The Governments come after every spell for six years with revised promises but set an example of the same routine negligence doing nothing meaningful. Till yesterday we were exploited by the British imperialism and today we are being subjected to the tortures of our own people. For a common person it is all the same. The Black and White Governments are simply the two sides of the same coin with not even bit of difference in between. Actually in our country and State the concept of national politics has dwindled into the motive of money and power politics. Our leaders want make their generations comfortable in a single stroke of power since they are quite diffident about future in view of their quivering sensibilities. After all what steps have been taken so far to stem the over burgeoning tide of rampant corruption? What and if have initiated something to check, have we ever been serious about the results? Do we really want to make ours a corruption-free state? A host of questions crop up in a fertile mind but with no suitable at all. The character of our state is being called in question. Merely framing laws, publishing them in the government gazettes and delivering impressive speeches do not make any positive difference to the society at all. It is right time for implementation and enforcement of laws in letter and spirit. Strengthening confidence in the masses is the matter of great concern for the coalition government who is surviving under the shades of very tough opposition and our leaders will have to practically prove that they are not play foul with their public. The J&K Right to Information Act, 2009 came into force on 20 March 2009, repealing and replacing the erstwhile J&K Right to Information Act, 2004 and the J&K Right to Information (Amendment) Act, 2008. The Act is based closely at par with Central RTI Act of 2005. With the advent of RTI, a ray of hope emerged among the masses but the point to be noted is that a major chunk of our population is not at all aware of what this RTI is about and majority of those who understand its objectives do not have much courage to come forward for their certain vested interests. Actually The RTI legislation took a big amount of time reach its final stage after surpassing many hurdles and threadbare discussions. The delay in its finalization speaks the language of some of our selfish leaders and holds a mirror to their intentions. RTI is basically an instrument to strengthen the voice of people and ensure the fair and frank functioning of the state-craft. It was an attempt to invigorate the people's democracy. This Act empowers a citizen to have a check on the activities of the Government and examine the government records, take stock of the performance of the administration and play a vital role in providing corruption-free atmosphere in the state and transparent functioning of the government but unfortunately nothing of the sort has happened till now. It will not be out of place to call it merely an eye-wash and a foul play with the innocent public of this state. Isn't that the government feels helpless in implementing the law. Coalition government headed by Omar Abdullah is feeling the political pressure from the infected elements of the society who are presently enjoying the impunity under all circumstances. All promises, initially, made by the state government regarding its immediate implementation have ended in a smoke with no tangible results at all for the reasons best known to them. One more question which has been striking the understanding minds in relation to the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner. Obviously the Chief Information Commissioner has to an absolute authority in the state that has to work fairly and fearlessly. He will is bound to be as independent in the conduct of inquiry proceedings as the Chief Electoral Officer. But the Govt. has, till now, failed to fill up this vacancy for the reasons best known to it. Government's intention to have an Information Commissioner from within the state may be one of the reasons behind this abnormal delay. Government may be afraid of the disclosure of most of the political and bureaucratic dons involved in corruption and that is why some one from outside the state is being imported for this positions. It is because the most the officers from out side the have happened to a little headstrong in formulating the procedures. It somewhere sounds about the diffidence and guilty intention of our Govt. The most discouraging part of RTI act is that people have to shell out for the RTI application and for photocopying documents. The information seeker should necessarily be J&K state subject and has to pay a fee of Rs. 50 along with application on prescribed form which is too high as compared to that of Central RTI Act. Central RTI act charges Rs. 10 for the same. Again to get the copies of the government records, the state subject has to pay Rs. 10 per copy of A-4 or A-3 size paper while under Central RTI Act, the prescribed fee is only Rs 2. If a citizen requires information loaded on a diskette or a floppy, he or she has to pay Rs 75. The fee for such kind of job under Central RTI Act is only Rs. 50. It indicates insincerity of Govt. in regard to the implementation of this Act. It is inferred that coalition government headed by Omar Abdullah utterly fails to seek and appoint an Information Commissioner despite lapse of a significant amount of time. Despite advice by CIC Govt. of India Wajahad Habibullah, the structure of High fee has not been reduced which proves beyond a shadow of doubt that the present coalition government is least interested in receiving complaints from its people. In my opinion RTI Act 2009 will meet the same fate as that of State Accountability Commission (SAC) which at presents is like dead horse or tooth less tiger. Moreover, the tall claim of government that reply to an RTI application has to be made within 30 days but it takes more than two months as a whole when found in practice. If our Govt. is really serious about creating an atmosphere of transparency, work-culture and accountability conducive to the birth of a corruption free state ensuring the proper administration of justice, it is right time to give a practical shape to the pre-election manifesto of promises and enforce RTI Act with immediate effect. The forthwith implementation of this Act, in letter and spirit, will work a lot in giving a positive dimension to the Govt. functioning. The mode of payment should be made more convenient and the information and official records should be digitized and uploaded on websites. It will not only save time of the people and the officials but is likely to leave constructive impact on the functioning of our Govt. Online acceptance and replying of applications, updating the status of application may prove to be successful in weeding out the corrupt practices in the society. email: xxx@yyy.zzz - Deleted email id - posting against forum rules
  23. RTI activist seeks Governor's intervention in Tripura SIC functioning as reported in NewKerala.com (UNI) 02 June 2010 Agartala, Jun 02 : Former Member of Tripura Legislative Assembly and frontline Right to Information activist Tapas Dey has sought the Governor's intervention in the functioning of the State Information Commission (SIC). Addressing a letter to Tripura Governor Dr DY Patil, Mr Dey alleged that the SIC had been functioning with only one member, who was appointed as Chief Information Commissioner, which was gross violation of Provision 15(2) of Right to Information Act 2005. He said the state government had constituted a two-member SIC in 2006 but the state information commissioner had retired a few months ago and the commission had been functioning with a single member. ''As per RTI Act, State Information Commission shall consist of Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner, for not more than ten years, and unless there is a Chief Information Commissioner and at least one State Information Commissioner any function whatsoever cannot be done as the State Information Commission. However, in case of Tripura one member of the SIC was passing judgment, which is against the spirit and practice of the Act,'' Mr Dey underlined. He also pointed out that all the orders as passed by the CIC in the name of the State Information Commission were without jurisdiction and null in the eye of law, in absence of any provision contrary thereto. RTI activist seeks Governor's intervention in Tripura SIC functionin .:. newkerala.com Online News - 119359
  24. 1.49 lakh petitions under RTI Act disposed as reported by Staff Reporter in The Hindu, Jun 01, 2010 Highest by any State Information Commission since 2006 State Information Commissioner G.Ramakrishnan (left) conducting an inquiry on appeals of public under the Right to Information Act at Tirupur Collectorate on Monday. – Tirupur: The Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) has disposed of around 1,49,000 applications filed by petitioners under the Right to Information (RTI) Act which is so far the highest by any State Information Commission since 2006, according to TN-SIC Commssioner G. Ramakrishnan. “Of the total disposal, about 12,000 petitions were disposed of through special sittings conducted at various places across the State,” he said. He told this to reporters on the sidelines of the special sitting arranged by the Commission to dispose of the appeal petitions received from Tirupur, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem and Krishnagiri districts, here on Monday. Mr. Ramakrishnan said that about 17,000 appeals filed by RTI activists were pending with the State Information Commission at the moment. According to him, TNIC has served show-causes on about 3,000 people either for their failure to properly respond to the queries asked by the public under RTI Act, 2005, or for intimidating the petitioners during the last four years. A total of 15 appeal petitions were reviewed by Mr. Ramakrishnan during the sitting held at Tirupur Collectorate on Monday. Citing the petition of one V. Ravi that Periyar University of Distant Education did not furnish the copy of answer sheets as claimed by him to analyse why he failed in a paper in the post graduate examination, Mr. Ramakrishnan clarified that answer papers valued by any examination body could be subjected to scrutiny under RTI Act. “I have given direction to the varsity to give Photostat copy of the answer sheets which the petitioner wanted as the university was under the impression that such things did not fall under the purview of RTI Act,” he said. Mr. Ramakrishnan made a general appeal to the public to make the queries filed under the RTI more specific instead of being generic in nature. The Hindu : Tamil Nadu News : 1.49 lakh petitions under RTI Act disposed
  25. We do have a wonderful Act, lot of sincere Actiovists; but inactive State Information Commissions. The condition in Kerala is pathetic. The SIC has a perfect infrastructure with 4 Commissioners including its chief, an army of staff and excellent centrally aircomditioned office etc. Second appeal/complaints dating back March 2005 still remain unacknowledged. Even my 25 cases are pending with them. . A prompt feed back does not make any effect on them. They do not hold any hearing outside their HQs. The list is too long. Can you kindly advice as to my further cource of action ?
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