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  1. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment: Manohar s/o Manikrao Anchule vs. State of Maharashtra AIR 2013 SC 681 The issue before the Court: It was a case where disciplinary action had been recommended against the PIO under Section 20 (2) of the Act by the Information Commission. The observations of the Court: Para 11. The impugned orders do not take the basic facts of the case into consideration that after a short duration the appellant was transferred from the post in question and had acted upon the application seeking information within the prescribed time. Thus, no default, much less a negligence, was attributable to the appellant. 12. Despite service, nobody appeared on behalf of the State Information Commission. The State filed no counter affidavit.” The Court held that: The Commission’s order recommending disciplinary action against the PIO under Section 20 (2) of the Act, was quashed and set aside. Our analysis of the judgment: The Supreme Court having regard to the factual matrix of the case, set aside the decision of the Commission and the High Court. Can this be a legitimate exercise in SLP jurisdiction or in Writ jurisdiction by High Courts ? The eleven judge bench of the Supreme Court in Hari Vishnu Kamath v. Ahmad Ishaque 1955-IS 1104 : ((S) AIR 1955 SC 233) has laid down that – (1) Certiorari will be issued for correcting errors of jurisdiction; (2) Certiorari will also be issued when the Court or Tribunal acts illegally in the exercise of its undoubted jurisdiction, as when it decides without giving an opportunity to the parties to be heard, or violates the principles of natural justice; (3) The court issuing a writ of certiorari acts in exercise of a supervisory and not appellate jurisdiction. One consequence of this is that the court will not review findings of fact reached by the inferior court or tribunal, even if they be erroneous. (4) An error in the decision or determination itself may also be amenable to a writ of certiorari if it is a manifest error apparent on the face of the proceedings, e.g., when it is based on clear ignorance or disregard of the provisions of law. In other words, it is a patent error which can be corrected by certiorari but not a mere wrong decision." The RTI Act does not have any provision for an appeal beyond the Commission as per Section 23. The Writ jurisdiction being a Constitutional remedy, may be resorted only in cases as set out hereinbefore in Hari Vishnu Kamath’s case. If the Order of the Commission does not fall into any of the 4 criterion stated in the aforesaid ruling, the High Courts and the Apex Court should not exercise their Writ or SLP jurisdiction. The judgment of the Supreme Court is based on its own assessment of the “facts of the case” which is not consistent with the decision in aforesaid Hari Vishnu Kamath and also series of rulings of the Apex Court, wherein it is held that, in SLP jurisdiction the Apex Court would not interfere in finding of facts, unless perversity in finding of fact is demonstrated. In the present case, there is no finding by the Apex Court that findings of the Commission was perverse or irrational. It appears the court has treated this is an appeal, for which it has no jurisdiction. satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  2. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment : Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. Central Information Commission & Ors. (2013) 1 SCC 212 The issue before the Court: Whether the information pertaining to a Public Servant in respect of his service career and also the details of his assets and liabilities, movable and immovable properties, can be denied on the ground that the information sought for was qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The observations of the Court: 12. The petitioner herein sought for copies of all memos, show cause notices and censure/punishment awarded to the third respondent from his employer and also details viz. movable and immovable properties and also the details of his investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions. Further, he has also sought for the details of gifts stated to have accepted by the third respondent, his family members and friends and relatives at the marriage of his son. The information mostly sought for finds a place in the income tax returns of the third respondent. The question that has come up for consideration is whether the above-mentioned information sought for qualifies to be "personal information" as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. 13. We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right. 14. The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are "personal information" which stand exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, unless involves a larger public interest and the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.” The Court held that: The Apex Court held that copies of all memos, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment, assets, income tax returns, details of gifts received etc. by a public servant are personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act and hence exempted and cannot be furnished under RTI Act. Our analysis of the judgment: The judgement has expanded the scope of Section 8 (1) (j) far beyond its wording, without any discussion or interpretation of the law whatsoever. The only justification given for denial is that the Court agrees with the decision of the CIC. The Court mentions,” The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer”, forgetting that the employer is ‘we the people’ who gave ourselves the constitution. Section 8 (1) (j) exempts “information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.” The Supreme Court has missed realising that the exemption applies to personal information only if it has no relationship to any public activity or is an unwarranted invasion on the privacy of an individual. The court has not even quoted the important proviso. Effectively the court has read Section 8(1) (j) as: information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.” Forty seven words out of the eighty seven words have not been considered and the important proviso has not even been mentioned in the judgment. The clear intent of Section 8 (1) (j) is to ensure that if some record is held by the public authority which has no relationship to any public activity it is exempted from disclosure. Even if it is a public record and disclosure would be an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual, this should not be given. The proviso provides an acid test and before refusing information under Section 8 (1) (j) a subjective assessment has to be made whether it would have been denied to Parliament or State Legislature. The aforesaid judgment clearly appears to be contrary to the following two judgements of the Supreme Court: 1. R Rajagopal and Anr. v state of Tamil Nadu (1994), SC The ratio of this judgement was: “28. We may now summarise the broad principles flowing from the above discussion: (1) the right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. It is a "right to be let alone." A citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his own, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child bearing and education among other matters. None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent - whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages Position may, however be different, if a person voluntarily thrusts himself into controversy or voluntarily invites or raises a controversy. (2) The rule aforesaid is subject to the exception, that any publication concerning the aforesaid aspects becomes unobjectionable if such publication is based upon public records including Court records. This is for the reason that once a matter becomes a matter of public record, the right to privacy no longer subsists and it becomes a legitimate subject for comment by press and media among others. We are, however, of the opinion that in the interest of decency (Article 19(2)) an exception must be carved out to this rule, viz., a female who is the victim of a sexual assault, kidnap, abduction or a like offense should not further be subjected to the indignity of her name and the incident being published in press/media. (3) There is yet another exception to the Rule in (1) above - indeed, this is not an exception but an independent rule. In the case of public officials, it is obvious, right to privacy, or for that matter, the remedy of action for damages is simply not available with respect to their acts and conduct relevant to the discharge of their official duties.” Public record as defined in the Public Records Act is any record held by any Government office. This judgement at point 2 clearly states that for information in public records, the right to privacy can be claimed only in rare cases. This is similar to the proposition in Section 8 (1) (j) which does not exempt personal information which has relationship to public activity or interest. It also talks of certain kinds of personal information not being disclosed which has been covered in the Act by exempting disclosure of personal information which would be an unwarranted invasion on the privacy of an individual. At point 3 it categorically emphasizes that for public officials the right to privacy cannot be claimed with respect to their acts and conduct relevant to the discharge of their official duties. Privacy is to do with matters within a home, a person’s body, sexual preferences etc as mentioned in the apex court’s earlier decisions in Kharak Singh and R.Rajagopal cases. This is in line with Article 19 (2) which mentions placing restrictions on Article 19 (1) (a) in the interest of ‘decency or morality’. If however it is felt that the information is not the result of any public activity, or disclosing it would be an unwarranted invasion on the privacy of an individual, it must be subjected to the acid test of the proviso: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. The proviso is meant as a test which must be applied before denying information claiming exemption under Section 8 (1) (j). Public servants have been used to answering questions raised in Parliament and the Legislature. It is difficult for them to develop the attitude of answering demands for information from citizens. Hence before denying personal information, the law has given an acid test: Would they would give this information to the elected representatives. If they come to the subjective assessment, that they would provide the information to MPs and MLAs they will have to provide it to citizens, since the MPs and MLAs derive legitimacy from the citizens. Another perspective is that personal information is to be denied to citizens based on the presumption that disclosure would cause harm to some interest of an individual. If however the information can be given to legislature it means the likely harm is not much of a threat since what is given to legislature will be in public domain. It is worth remembering that the first draft of the bill which had been presented to the parliament in December 2004 had the provision as Section 8 (2) and stated: (2) Information which cannot be denied to Parliament or Legislature of a State, as the case may be, shall not be denied to any person. In the final draft passed by parliament in May 2005, this section was put as a proviso only for section 8 (1) (j). Thus it was a conscious choice of parliament to have this as a proviso only for Section 8 (1) (j). It is necessary that when information is denied based on the provision of Section 8 (1) (j), the person denying the information must give his subjective assessment whether it would be denied to Parliament or State legislature if sought. The Girish Deshpande judgement is clearly contrary to the earlier judgement, since it accepts the claim of privacy for Public servants for matters relating to public activity which are on Public records. 2. The Supreme Court judgement in the ADR/PUCL case [(2002) 5 SCC 294] had clearly laid down that citizens have a right to know about the assets of those who want to be Public servants (stand for elections). It should be obvious that if citizens have a right to know about the assets of those who want to become Public servants, their right to get information about those who are Public servants cannot be lesser. This would be tantamount to arguing that a prospective groom must declare certain matters to his wife-to-be, but after marriage the same category of information need not be disclosed! When quoting Section 8 (1) (j) the Court has forgotten to mention the important proviso to this Section which stipulates, ‘Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.’ The Supreme Court did not even mention this in its judgement when quoting section 8 (1) (j) and has not considered it. If this proviso was quoted the Court would have had to record that in its opinion the said information would be denied to Parliament. The Court forgot its ruling in CIVIL APPEAL NOs.10787-10788 OF 2011 (Arising out of S.L.P(C) (judgement 2 above) at para 36: “ It is one of the well known canons of interpretation that no statute should be interpreted in such a manner as to render a part of it redundant or surplusage.” Bihar Government, Gujarat government, Municipal Corporation of Mumbai and many others had displayed the assets of all the officials on their website. The decision of the Supreme Court will reverse the transparency march and constrict Right to Information. It appears that the Court has not taken into account the two earlier judgements mentioned above, and the important proviso to Section 8 (1) (j) and hence the decision in Girish Deshpande’s case may be per incuriam. Besides, there does not appear to any ‘ratio decidendi’ in this judgement, that is to say, the judgment does not spells out any reason for the conclusion it reached. Hence this judgement cannot be a precedent. Unfortunately this judgment has resulted in most information about public officials being denied including that regarding their work. Consequently arbitrary favours by Public servants and their corruption has been obscured from the eyes of the public. Maharashtra government has issued a circular based on this judgement in which it instructs that all personal information of public servants must be refused because of the Girish Deshpande judgement. It is worth recording that the main ground for the judgement is agreement with the CIC decision. A perusal of the CIC decision also does not display any proper reasoning but is based on an earlier decision by a bench of the Commission. The bench decision which was relied on by CIC, did not even relate to information about a public servant! Besides the said CIC decision in the matter of Milap Choraria vs. CBDT did not analyse Section 8 (1) (j) fully, and grossly misinterpreted Section 11. Many High Court judgments and one by the Supreme Court have declared that ‘personal information’ cannot be given, unless a larger public interest is shown. It has become very popular with PIOs, First appellate authorities and Information Commissioner’s to deny most information relating to public servants. In the opinion of the Authors this judgment is not in consonance with the law and earlier Supreme Court judgments. It has created a exemption not in the law. This results in a constriction of the citizen’s fundamental right and the law’s objective of curbing corruption and wrong doings is defeated. It is worth remembering two judgments of the Supreme Court. A five judge bench has ruled in P. Ramachandra Rao v. State of Karnataka case no. appeal (crl.) 535.: “Courts can declare the law, they can interpret the law, they can remove obvious lacunae and fill the gaps but they cannot entrench upon in the field of legislation properly meant for the legislature” In Rajiv Singh Dalal (Dr.) Vs. Chaudhari Devilal University, Sirsa and another (2008), the Supreme Court, after referring to its earlier decisions, has observed as follows. "The decision of a Court is a precedent, if it lays down some principle of law supported by reasons. Mere casual observations or directions without laying down any principle of law and without giving reasons does not amount to a precedent." The Girish Ramchandra Deshpande appears to have no ratio, nor does it lay down any principle with reasons. It has not considered the R. Rajagopal and ADR/PUCL judgments. Hence it should not considered as a precedent. But it has become the law, since everyone in power finds it convenient. This violates the RTI Act and is constricting the cit satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  3. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgments: Namit Sharma Vs. Union of India (2013) 1 SCC 745 The issue before the Court: The Constitutional validity of Sections 12(5), 12(6), 15(5) and 15(6) of RTI Act, were challenged, which deals with the appointment and qualifications of Information Commissioners. The Court held that: The Court ruled that all Information Commissions must sit in benches of two, one of whom should be a retired judge and there should be transparency in the selection of Commissioners. Our analysis of the judgment: This judgement would have resulted in the effective disposal rates of all Commissions being reduced to less than 50% and possibly made it difficult for citizens to approach Commissions without lawyers. Its immediate impact was that many Commissions stopped working and backlogs which were already high became unmanageable. Presently the cost per decision of the Central Information Commission is about Rs.5000 to 7000 per decision. This would have doubled. Since the speed of disposals would have reduced to less than 50% citizens would have had to wait for years at the commissions. This would have made RTI irrelevant. The Apex Court by doing this, was in effect re-writing the RTI Act, which is otherwise the province of the Parliament. Just see, how this petition was decided: (Taken from DOPT’s affidavit for Review.) Preliminary Hearing Listed & Part heard 11/7/2012 18/7/2012 no respondent no respondent DOPT learnt on 18/7 about the petition; and briefed the Additional Solicitor General (ASG); ASG asked for time to file a counter affidavit. 19/7 /2012 Court said this was not necessary and ASG should give his arguments. ASG gave his verbal arguments and judgement was reserved on19/7/2012 DOPT filed written submissions11/09/2012 Court’s 107 page judgement allowing writ issued on 13/09/2012 DOPT’s anguished statement in the review petition: “ T. FOR THAT this Hon’ble Court, in the impugned judgment, has neither considered the oral arguments of the Petitioner herein, nor the Written Submissions filed by the Petitioner on 11.09.2012, putting forth the case of the Petitioner. The impugned judgment, at no place, records the submissions made by the counsel for the Petitioner when the matter was heard.” The respondent, Union of India,-in the petition is mentioned only once in the 107 page judgement,- in the title. The entire judgement reads as if there is only a petitioner and the Court! The judgement disrupted the working of some Information Commissions. If implemented it would have dropped the disposal rate to less than 50% since two Commissioners would have to sit together, one of whom would have to be a retired judge. Generally retired judges insist on lawyers arguing matters before them, whereas currently less than 1% of the appellants have a lawyer. This would have discouraged most ordinary citizens from approaching the Commission. The judgment appears to have been given without regard to the mandate of RTI law. If it had not been reviewed it would have damaged RTI permanently. The order was partly stayed in judgment 7 and the main objectionable parts of the judgement which had been given were withdrawn. The revised judgment claimed that the direction of transparency in appointments was still in operation, but gave no meaningful directions. Consequently the appointment of Commissioners continues on the basis of arbitrariness and patronage. The only change which has come is that the government spends money in conducting the farce of advertising the posts. After that the arbitrariness and patronage continue. satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  4. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment : Inst. Of Chartered Accountants Vs Shaunak H. Satya AIR 2011 SC 3336 The issue before the Court: (i) Whether the instructions and solutions to questions (if any) given by ICAI to examiners and moderators, are intellectual property of the ICAI, disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of third parties and therefore exempted under section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act ? (ii) Whether providing access to the information sought (that is instructions and solutions to questions issued by ICAI to examiners and moderators) would involve an infringement of the copyright and therefore the request for information is liable to be rejected under section 9 of the RTI Act? (iii) Whether the instructions and solutions to questions are information made available to examiners and moderators in their fiduciary capacity and therefore exempted under section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act? The observations of the Court: The Court first held at para 12 that denial of information could not be justified under Section 8(1) (d). It also held at para 13 and 14 that denial could not be justified under Section 9. At para 16 and 17 it held that the information is exempt under Section 8 (1) (e): Para 16: “The instructions and `solutions to questions' issued to the examiners and moderators in connection with evaluation of answer scripts, as noticed above, is the intellectual property of ICAI. These are made available by ICAI to the examiners and moderators to enable them to evaluate the answer scripts correctly and effectively, in a proper manner, to achieve uniformity and consistency in evaluation, as a large number of evaluators and moderators are engaged by ICAI in connection with the evaluation. The instructions and solutions to questions are given by the ICAI to the examiners and moderators to be held in confidence. The examiners and moderators are required to maintain absolute secrecy and cannot disclose the answer scripts, the evaluation of answer scripts, the instructions of ICAI and the solutions to questions made available by ICAI, to anyone. The examiners and moderators are in the position of agents and ICAI is in the position of principal in regard to such information which ICAI gives to the examiners and moderators to achieve uniformity, consistency and exactness of evaluation of the answer scripts. When anything is given and taken in trust or in confidence, requiring or expecting secrecy and confidentiality to be maintained in that behalf, it is held by the recipient in a fiduciary relationship.” Para 17: “It should be noted that section 8(1)(e) uses the words “information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship”. Significantly section 8(1)(e) does not use the words “information available to a public authority in its fiduciary relationship”. The use of the words “person” shows that the holder of the information in a fiduciary relationship need not only be a `public authority' as the word `person' is of much wider import than the word `public authority'. Therefore the exemption under section 8(1)(e) is available not only in regard to information that is held by a public authority (in this case the examining body) in a fiduciary capacity, but also to any information that is given or made available by a public authority to anyone else for being held in a fiduciary relationship. In other words, anything given and taken in confidence expecting confidentiality to be maintained will be information available to a person in fiduciary relationship. As a consequence, it has to be held that the instructions and solutions to questions communicated by the examining body to the examiners, head examiners and moderators, are information available to such persons in their fiduciary relationship and therefore exempted from disclosure undersection 8(1)(d) of RTI Act.”(appears to be a typing error and should be 8 (1)(e). Our analysis of the judgment: ICAI contended that instructions to examiners and model answers cannot be disclosed since they were exempt. Commission denied the information but the High Court accepted the applicant’s right to get the information. The apex court ruled out the applicability of Section 8 (1) (d) and Section 9. The Supreme Court then upheld the denial of Model answers by the examining body to the applicant holding it to be information held by ICAI in a fiduciary relationship. It is interesting to note that in paras 23 and 26 in the CBSE case referred earlier the Supreme Court had stated that an examining body is not in a fiduciary relationship with the examiners or examinees. If an examining body is not holding information in a fiduciary relationship with examiners or examinees then it cannot deny it by contending that the model answers are held in a fiduciary capacity. The court has correctly ruled that the examiners, moderators and head-examiners hold the information in a fiduciary relationship. But that does not necessarily mean that the examining body holds the information in a fiduciary relationship as per its pronouncements in the CBSE case. If a patient goes to a doctor and shares his information, the doctor holds the information in a fiduciary relationship. But there is never any expectation that the advice given by the doctor is held by the patient in a fiduciary capacity. It appears there is a logical fallacy, since the converse of any statement is not necessarily true. satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  5. ashakantasharma

    One year of RTI: Success stories

    One year of RTI: Success stories Oct 11, 2006 13:53 IST In Haryana A 70-old-woman gained access to files regarding pension and other benefits of her dead son — a Delhi Police constable who died in a road accident five years ago. Laxmi Devi of Bhiwani district had appealed to the Central Information Commission for access to notings in files pertaining to her son’s terminal benefits worth Rs 4 lakh. Laxmi was penniless after her son Anoop Singh’s death. Her daughter-in-law was drawing pension even after her remarriage in August 2005, Laxmi Devi told the panel. In Karnataka It was a unique combination of the right to information and the right to food. Villagers received their quota of ration through the Public Distribution System after villagers of Channagiri Taluka forced authorities to conduct public hearings to redress their grievances by filing RTI petitions. The villagers were not getting wheat for Rs 2 and rice at Rs 3 as announced by the state government. In Mumbai A resident of Borivili, Devraj Roy, filed an application under RTI asking for information about various projects announced by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation. He found that most of the schemes were either on paper or had progressed marginally. But the officials had spent Rs 36 crore on hotel accommodation and in air-fare to foreign destinations. It jolted the officials. In Delhi The government cut a sorry figure when RTI activist Shekhar Singh moved the CIC demanding information on how far the government had progressed in granting 20 per cent reservation to students from the economically weaker section in private schools. The CIC said the government had failed to furnish “full information” on 40 applications. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/one-year-of-rti-success-stories/story-Smq7niTszhWgRi9bqw7fYJ.html
  6. ashakantasharma

    A Look at Some RTI Success Stories

    The Right-to-Information Act has emerged as a powerful tool for India’s civil society to promote transparency and hold those in power accountable. The law, which allows Indian citizens to seek information from most government bodies, was first implemented in October 2005. Adarsh Housing Society, Commonwealth Games, and 2G are just a few of the scams and scandals that spring to mind when musing about the impact of the The Right To Information Act, over the past several year. And while the RTI, which came into force on October 12, 2005, has exposed the rot and corruption of the country's institutions and leaders, it has also played a huge role in improving the daily lives of people by making government accessible and accountable. The sweep of questions and concerns covered in tens of millions of RTI applications is impossible to catalogue, but whether it is seeking entitlements, exposing hoarding at local ration shops, or getting a village road constructed, these queries and complaints are all guided by the principle of standing up and being counted. The below are some of the most successful RTI cases:- Adarsh Society Scam: The applications filed by RTI activists like Yogacharya Anandji and Simpreet Singh in 2008 were instrumental in bringing to light links between politicians and military officials, among others. The 31-storey building, which had permission for six floors only, was originally meant to house war widows and veterans. Instead, the flats went to several politicians, bureaucrats and their relatives. The scandal has already led to the resignation of Ashok Chavan, the former chief minister of Maharashtra. Other state officials are also under the scanner. Public Distribution Scam in Assam: In 2007, members of an anti-corruption non-governmental organization based in Assam, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, filed an RTI request that revealed irregularities in the distribution of food meant for people below the poverty line. The allegations of corruption were probed and several government officials arrested. Appropriation of Relief Funds: Information obtained through an RTI application by an NGO based in Punjab, in 2008 revealed that bureaucrats heading local branches of the Indian Red Cross Society used money intended for victims of the Kargil war and natural disasters to buy cars, air-conditioners and pay for hotel bills – among other things. Local courts charged the officials found responsible with fraud and the funds were transferred to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. IIM’s Admission Criteria: Vaishnavi Kasturi a visually-impaired student, in 2007 was denied a seat in the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, one of the country’s premier management institutes – despite her impressive score at the entrance examination. Ms. Kasturi wanted to know why, and wondered whether it was because of her physical disability. She filed an RTI application to request the institute to disclose their selection process. Although she failed to gain admission to the institute, her RTI application meant that IIM had to make its admission criteria public. It emerged that the entrance exam, the Common Admission Test, actually mattered little compared to Class 10 and 12 results. Absconding Teacher: Soon after the Act came into force, parents in Panchampur village in the district of Banda, Uttar Pradesh, used it to track their local school teacher, who rarely made an appearance in the classroom. After learning from RTI activists that they could seek attendance and leave records of the government school teacher, 15 villagers filed an applicationasking about his whereabouts, and also questioned the responsibility of the Primary Education Department in such a situation. Immediate action was taken: a new school teacher was appointed to the village school, and an enquiry was ordered against the absconder. Chandigarh--Smoke Free City: In 2007, Chandigarh became the first smoke free city in India, which meant banning smoke in indoor spaces as well as prohibiting it in outdoor public places likes parks and markets. But Hemant Ghosh didn't expect his RTI applications to lead to such a landmark decision, which would influence other cities to enforce smoke-free laws in the years to come. His work is widely regarded as the trigger for the campaign to create awareness about the hazards of smoking, involving public service messages on television and cinemas, which has grown over the years. Soon after the Act came into force, Ghosh inundated the governments of Punjab and Haryana with over 300 queries on how The 2003 Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA),which sets out provisions to address smoking in public places, was being implemented in their shared capital. According to the 2003 law, his application asked whether the No Smoking Area Smoking here is an offence warning was displayed in offices and premises under government control." In 2007, 1,800 "warning boards" appeared in all government departments, police stations, hospitals and schools. Ghosh, who heads a Chandigarh-based NGO called Burning Brain Society, said that he was only trying to hold the government accountable. "What has been most satisfying is to see this replicated across the country," he said. Almost ten years on, however, another RTI application filed by Gaurav Bansal, a 21-year-old resident of Chandigarh, revealed that only fined 78 people were fined for smoking in public in 2013, which included 61 people in just the one area of sector 19. "Despite the claims of the administration to make the city a smoke-free one, only 78 persons were challenged (fined) in an entire year," he said. The Seven Ponds: In 2010, K.S. Sagaria smelt a rat when the paperwork showed that seven ponds had been constructed for below poverty lines families in Kushmal village of Orissa, but no one in the village could spot them. So he filed an RTI application which revealed that the ponds were never dug, the “labourers” who worked to “construct” the ponds included dead people. Following complaints, the administration suspended the officials involved in the subterfuge, and the project was renewed, but this time, the villagers vowed to keep a check on its progress. Scholarships For Students: While several of his classmates and their parents were fretting when they didn't receive their scholarships for the academic year of 2011-2012, nine-year-old Manoj, a student at the government primary school in Vailpoor, Nizamabad district of Telangana, filed an application. In his application directed at the Labour Welfare Department, the class 4 student asked why the money had not reached the students, and by when they could expect their scholarships. Manoj's RTI application secured scholarships for 10 students, who are the children of beedi workers. School Uniforms: When students of Gulrahai Primary School in Allahabad did not receive their school uniforms in December 2006, nine parents filed an RTI application questioning the administration about the missing uniforms, which led to school dresses being delivered in the first week of January, 2007. Parents of a government school in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, also procured school uniforms by filing an RTI application. Unjustifiable restrictions imposed by CBSE on the examinees: A must- read information which may be helpful to a large number of our fellow citizens. A landmark decision with respect to unjustifiable restrictions imposed by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Patna on the examinees delivered by Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Prof.M.Sridhar Acharyulu (Madabhushi Sridhar). This is one of the best decisions delivered ever by CIC which may be useful to a large cross section of society. The appellant, father of a student has sought copies of the answer sheets of his son for the subjects Maths and Science of 12th Class examination appeared in 2013 and the related matters. The information sought was denied by CPIO on the following grounds: 1. The request for the supply of evaluated answer sheets was made, not by the candidate, who appeared in the examination, but by his father, as the rules framed by the CBSE vide its Notification dated 17.06.2013 mandates the candidate should to make application. 2. The last date for the receipt of requests through online for the supply of evaluated answer sheets was 3.7.2013, and the RTI request, made by the candidate’s father was 12.8.2013. 3. Requests/applications for supply of answer sheets should be made only through online within 10 days from the date of declaration of the result. 4. After downloading the hardcopy of the printout of the request/ confirmation page, from the website, the candidate should get the same reached to the CBSE office, before the specified date, along with the fee and other prescribed enclosures. 5. Among the documents to be enclosed along with the application, there is an undertaking from the candidate, written in his own handwriting and under his own signature and not by anyone else on his behalf. The signature should correspond to that present on the Admit Card of the candidate. The candidate cannot question the evaluation done by the examiner. The candidate can only point out the errors in the totaling of marks, or the answers which were not evaluated by the examiner. These errors should be communicated by the candidate in writing to the CBSE within 10 days from the date of receipt of the evaluated answer sheets. There is no provision in the CBSE Rules, for the revaluation of the answer sheets again. 6. The candidate should also undertake that the copies of his answer sheets shall not be given to any institution or school for display, commercial purpose or to print media. The Commission considered that the respondent authority has created several unreasonable conditions to either limit or delay and deny the right to information of the student who appeared for the examination conducted by CBSE in 2013. The reasonability and legality or validity or otherwise of the contentions of the CBSE are given below: 1. The CBSE has no authority to impose such restriction on the rights of minor and his guardian. The natural guardian (father) has a legal duty and authority to secure the rights and benefits of the minor boy. In that capacity he has every right to seek right to information of his son be implemented and any injustice occurring to his son in evaluation of his answer scripts which might affect his career forever. The CBSE did not explain in reasonable terms why it has denied the natural guardian from exercising his legal duty to secure the legal interests of his son including his right to information. Hence the reason cited to deny the ‘father’ is unreasonable and illegal and also in violation of rights of the minor boy. The CBSE has no authority to impose such restriction on the rights of minor and his guardian. Hence the Commission holds that the appellant who is the father of the candidate is entitled for the copies of the answer sheets of his son, which shall be supplied to him. 2. Application was submitted beyond last date prescribed by the CBSE. The appellant has exercised his right to information under RTI Act, 2005 according to which the public authority should give information held by it. The CBSE has not denied the fact of holding the answer scripts of the son of appellant as on the date of RTI application. Once the RTI has been filed, it has no authority to destroy the answer scripts since the demand under statute is pending. Hence the contention that appellant approached beyond the last date does not hold good under RTI Act. 3. The candidate has to sign undertaking papers relinquishing his right to reevaluation has been imposed unreasonably. If a student has a legally recognized right to reevaluation, why should he relinquish it simply because he wanted to exercise another legal right to information by seeking to have copy of the answer script? The recognition and guaranteeing of right to information is aimed at making the public authority ‘accountable’. But by imposing this condition the CBSE is not only restricting that right to information, but also insulating itself from being accountable. This condition that student should sign off his rights by an undertaking is a serious obstruction to right to information of minor boy and his guardian. 4. Condition to relinquish right to share answer script with others, media to question the wrong evaluation etc. Another unreasonable condition imposed by CBSE is that candidate shall not display answer script after obtaining it under RTI Act. He should not share with print media also. These are unconstitutional restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution. 5. Condition against using information for commercial purposes. This is yet another unreasonable condition on use of information obtained under RTI Act. The CBSE wanted the appellant to file an undertaking saying he would not use it for commercial purposes. How can CBSE impose restrictions on the use of information obtained by the citizen, which were not imposed by the Right to Information Act, 2005. CIC has passed following Directions/ Order: 1. The undertakings prescribed by the CBSE have the effect of seriously obstructing the access to information beyond what was permitted by the Right to Information Act, 2005. By prescribing such rules and imposing conditions such as above, the CBSE tried to legislate something which is not prescribed or authorized by the Parliament through the Right to Information Act, 2005. 2. The Commission directs the CBSE to put in place such system with conducive practices by which the Right to information of the appellants is not limited but facilitated, by removing the obstacles such as undertaking to give up their legal rights, as mentioned above. 3. The Commission further directs the CBSE to pay a compensation of Rs.25,000/ to the appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order for harassing him and compelling him to sign illegal undertaking to give up rights. The Commission directs the CBSE to furnish the certified copies of the answer scripts as required to the appellant, free of cost, within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. Massive stink over Planning Commission's Rs 35 lakh toilets: The government may be speaking of austerity and curbing expenditure on various public schemes, but the the Planning Commission must not have got that memo and an RTI application has revealed a massive Rs 35 lakh to renovate two toilets at Yojana Bhavan. According to the RTI application filed by activist Subhash Agrawal, not only were the two toilets renovated for this sum, an additional five lakhs was spent on installing a smart-card system which restricted access to the toilets to 60 senior officials who work at the complex. NDTV reported that the commission also planned to install security cameras in the corridors leading to these toilets to ensure equipment was not stolen. The 35-lakh toilets were, according to plans, to serve as models for upgrading another three toilets in the building at a later stage. Whether they would also have access through smart cards was not clear. The petitioner S Agarwal meanwhile, hit out at the Planning Commission, and said his RTI application had revealed that another three such toilets were in the works. "It will not end here. Some other government and public offices will follow the same trend. This kind of wasteful expenditure when the government is talking about austerity and when the planning commissioner says that Rs 28 is the poverty line, is ridiculous", he said. The revelations of the RTI application has drawn massive criticism from opposition parties. Senior BJP spokesman Balbir Punj said that the revelation was 'shocking' and strongly condemned the move. Meanwhile the news has prompted the phrase Rs 35 to start trending on Twitter, with some well intentioned 'toilet humor'. @Roflindian said, "Spending Rs 35 lakhs for two toilets must be the most expensive way to relieve a south block in the morning", while @RameshSrivats said "By spending Rs. 35 lakhs on renovating two toilets. India has made it clear that it is an emerging superpower." There have also been some obvious references made to the extravagance of the planning commission, particularly comparing the large sum of money to the much criticized Rs 28 urban poverty line that was decided upon by the members of the commission. Travel costs of Planning Commissioner Montek Singh Alhuwalia were also criticized in a recent report in The Hindu. columnist P Sainath argued, based on RTI information obtained by other journalists, how massive the overseas travel expenses of Montek, who is otherwise known for his justification of the poverty-line argument, were. The highlight of Sainath’s article was that the average daily expense of Alhuwalia was Rs. 2.02 lakhs during his overseas travel between May and October last year. Using Montek’s own Rs 26 a day calculation, this could have sustained a poor person in rural India for more than 20 years! http://www.firstpost.com/india/massive-stink-over-planning-commissions-rs-35-lakh-toilets-333970.html https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-most-valuable-information-ever-asked-using-the-RTI-Act-in-India http://rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_RM_A_2014_000014_M_174361.pdf https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/10/14/a-look-at-some-rti-success-stories/ https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/10/13/rti-10-years_n_8277290.html
  7. ashakantasharma

    RTI Success Stories

    RTI File notings helps 70-yr-old uses RTI to get dead son’s records Posted by rtiact2005 on August 5, 2006 70-yr-old uses RTI to get dead son’s records New Delhi, PTI: A 70-year-old woman from Haryana has used the Right To Information Act to gain access to files regarding the pension and other benefits of her son, a Delhi Traffic Police constable who was killed in a road accident over five years ago. A 70-year-old woman from Haryana has used the Right To Information Act to gain access to files regarding the pension and other benefits of her son, a Delhi Traffic Police constable who was killed in a road accident over five years ago. Laxmi Devi of Bhiwani district in Haryana had appealed to the Central Information Commission (CIC) for gaining access to file notings made by authorities on her son’s dossier regarding the payment of terminal benefits totalling about Rs 4 lakh and his family pension. The CIC’s ruling giving her access comes amidst a controversy over a government proposal to amend the RTI Act to prevent the public from viewing most file notings. Laxmi was left penniless after her son Anoop Singh’s death on January 29, 2001 as her daughter-in-law Mamta, who was drawing the family pension, re-married in August 2005, her petition said. Press in INDIA playing into the hands of BABUS and Politicians by not reporting about RTI and it’s effectiveness ? Posted by rtiact2005 on July 23, 2006 hello, we just organised during 18 – 21 july 2006, a four day awareness campaign at Distt head quarter of Juanpur, a small town in eastern UP. when the distt admin knew abt it they suggested that there was no need for such campaihn as the distt admin was itself doing a campaign. but we persisted. and the response was very good. ppl from all over the district flocked the camp whcih was lcoated at the DM office itself. the first two days press gave very good coverage. but next two days there was a complete black out from ALL Newspapers. we have unconfirmed reports from insiders in the press and the distt admin that the distt admin asked the press not to carry our reports as they were having a tough time handling the difficult public questions plus it was leading the ‘babudom’ in trouble. i will post a complete report shortly, regards, sachin agarwal Society for People’s Action Change and Enforcement (SPACE) ph: 94152 55042 : 93350 15366 RTI exposes Janawad scam Posted by rtiact2005 on July 16, 2006 Rajan Mahan http://www.ndtv.com/template/template.asp?category=National&template=Rti&slug=RTI+exposes+Janawad+scam&id=90240&callid=1 Sunday, July 16, 2006 (Rajsamand): RTI has once again helped come to the rescue of people in nailing those responsible for the “mother of all Rural Development scams” in Rajasthan. In the 1990s, the Janawad Panchayat in Rajsamand district began spending over Rs one crore annually the highest among the 9000 panchayats in the state. Over 70 per cent of the money was siphoned off by a corrupt nexus between the Sarpanch and government officials. The scam was not exposed with the help of any sting operation or hidden cameras but by villagers who used their Right to Information to nab the culprits. A government dispensary in the district is at the heart of the scam in Janawad Panchayat. Though it was built in 1960s but in 1998 the then Sarpanch siphoned off nearly Rs two lakh claiming it to be a new building. Compulsory details Two years later the Rajasthan Information Act made it compulsory to display on Panchayat offices the details of all development works. And villagers soon caught the Sarpanch’s corruption. “They never built a new dispensary, they just fudged government records to make this false claim. In reality, this was built about 40 years ago when I used to study in school,” said Chaman Lal, Resident, Janawad village. Using their Information rights over 70 villagers then collectively demanded the records of their Panchayat and the frauds this revealed is truly staggering. Forty-nine out of the 146 works undertaken simply did not exist. The list includes five wells, seven roads and six primary schools, which existed only in government records but were never built on the ground. “The Right to Information is a strong law and people must use it. In Janawad, government officials colluded from top to bottom for their corrupt deals. Similarly, we need to constantly monitor their work and fight collectively if we want to curb corruption,” said Shanker Singh, Coordinator, MKSS. Tough action Once the government took tough action against the corrupt. The Sarpanch was jailed and 13 government officials involved in the scam were suspended. And annual social audits of Panchayat funds were made mandatory. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had once stated frankly that of every rupee of development funds, barely 15 paisa actually reach the poor on the ground. But villagers here have shown that if people fight together, the Right to Information can help change this situation and combat corruption effectively. Khetramani finally gets her land records through RTI – a case successful Posted by rtiact2005 on July 15, 2006 ———- Forwarded message ———- From: nishikanta mohapatra <nishimohapatra@yahoo.co.in> Date: 15-Jul-2006 12:04 Subject: [antibriberycampaign] Khetramani finally gets her land records through RTI – a case successful Khetramani finally gets her land records through RTI Submitted by CYSD, Bhubaneswar Khetramani Samantrai bought a small piece of land near Dhauli, Bhubaneswar from Subha Behera. Karunakar Swain a notary prepared the land deed documents, which was submitted at the District Sub-Register Office (DSO) in Bhubaneswar after completion of the legal formalities. But Khetramani did not receive the original documents in spite of producing the receipt of the deed. Khetramani Samantrai and Karunakar Swain have been constantly visiting the DSO since the last one and a half years but the clerk concerned did not hand over the documents to them. On 13th July 2006 she came to the RTI camp held in CYSD Bhubaneswar, seeking guidance as to how she could redress her grievances using RTI. At the camp, Khetramani was assisted by volunteers in filling up the application for information under section 6 (1). A few volunteers accompanied her to the DSO and approached the head clerk to know the cause of the delay in providing the original documents. The response from the clerk was not very convincing. The case was discussed with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the DSO. When the volunteers insisted in registering the complain through RTI, the PIO intervened and asked the officials to look into the case and produce the land deed papers immediately. The head clerk then produced the document in *15 minutes* and officially handed it over to Khetramani who finally got justice after resorting to the RTI tool. — “From today you have to wear a crown of thorns. Strive ceaselessly to cultivate truth and non-violence. Be humble. Be forbearing. The British rule no doubt put you on your mettle. But now you will be tested through and through. Beware of power; power corrupts. Do not let yourself to be entrapped by its pomp and pageantry. Remember you are in office to serve the poor in Indian villages. May God help you.” – Mahatma Gandhi on August 15, 1947 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL096.PDF Posted in RTI Success Stories | Leave a Comment » Victim’s father exercises RTI Posted by rtiact2005 on July 13, 2006 Victim’s father exercises RTI SURYA Agarwal Lucknow, July 11 http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5922_1741758,0015002500000005.htm THE AASHIANA rape victim’s father has turned to the Right to Information Act in a bid to pin the accused down. Sabruddin has filed an application at the district magistrate’s office under the Act. He has sought information on whether three of the accused, who are lodged in a juvenile jail, are actually minors. While surrendering in court, the trio had submitted documents which said they were minors. They are on trial in a juvenile court. The rest of the accused are facing trial in the court of the additional district judge. Sabruddin wants to know if the three accused possess arms licences. If these licences have been issued in their names, no other evidence is required to prove that the accused are not juvenile. Sabruddin will also seek information from the Regional Transport Officer’s office on whether driving licences were issued in their names. He said, “They are not juvenile. All the evidence supporting their claim is fake.” The victim, too, had said that the accused were not juvenile. The father, however, feared that influential family members of the main accused could cause obstacles in getting details from the departments concerned. The main accused, nephew of a don-turned ruling party leader, had first surrendered before a court and claimed he was a minor. Earlier, he had obtained a stay against arrest from the High Court. Police investigation and the evidence corroborated that the don’s nephew was the first to abduct the girl from Aashiana area on May 2, 2004. This was confirmed by the victim herself. The car used in the crime was owned by the elder brother of the main accused. The victim had also stated that it was this youth only who was leading a group of goons in the car. The girl was later taken to the Kapoorthala shop of the youth and from there to a plot owned by the family of the main accused. The accused had taken turns on the girl there, too, before throwing her out of the car near Daliganj railway crossing in a semi-unconscious and critically injured state. Posted in RTI Success Stories | Leave a Comment » RTI is very powerfull and effective tool in our hands – So, go ahead and use it Posted by rtiact2005 on July 8, 2006 Take heart, they used RTI to defeat LDA-builder nexus HT Correspondent Lucknow, July 7 http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/5922_1738669,0015002500000000.htm THE BUILDER-LDA nexus is a familiar story. The combine’s invincibility is an equally familiar knowledge. But, it’s not so now. On October 12, 2005 the Right To Information Act (RTIA) was born and an 85-old-woman-grandson duo utilised its lethal power to optimum effect. Ashish’s grandmother had entered into an agreement with M/s Smart Builders for constructing the Gauri Apartments on their Hilton Road land near the Meera Bai Marg. Everything was fine till the builder had violated the agreement. Gauri Apartments was to be a seven-storey building but the promoters had made it into a nine-storey mansion. “We were aghast,” said Ashish. “This would have landed us in big trouble as we had signed documents for seven floors. We found that be it the map, compounding, application or affidavits – all had been forged and submitted to the LDA. So we approached LDA to show and give us original documents. But they refused.” But Ashish was desperate to take the battle to its logical end. He had quits in the US and in Mumbai to be by his grandma’s side and fight the case. From January 2005 till October 2005 Ashish had made umpteen rounds of the LDA office. For obvious reasons, LDA officers did not let him have a look at the documents. “From the chief engineer to the LDA secretary and the V-C, we approached all but none helped,” Ashish said. By then the RTIA had been announced. Ashish was bracing up for another round of battle, this time armed with the newborn Act. Even before the RTIA came into force, Ashish procured a copy of the Act. He studied it well, did his homework and launched the battle afresh. “On October 12, 2005 the RTIA came into force and on that very day I filed an application demanding various documents and information. Ours was the first application under RTI. In fact, all the first 16 applications under RTI were ours. When the 30-day period elapsed after the first application was filed, I reminded LDA of it. That did the trick. The LDA did their best to delay things but eventually gave in bit by bit. Towards the end of November 2005 they had to show me some files,” Ashish told the people who had come to the RTI camp at the Ambedkar Mahasabha office on Vidhan Sabha Marg on Friday. Speaking on the importance of studying the Act properly he said, “Had I not read the RTIA properly they would have fooled me. I would have been happy that they showed me the files. But instead, I asked them to give me copies of the documents. They asked me to pay Rs 3,000. I did. But again they dithered. Finally, they gave me unsigned and unstamped photocopies. But I demanded certified documents. And then finally in first week of December they gave me a lot of documents that I had demanded. On the basis of it, I filed an FIR against the builder.” The increase in the number of floors was not the only anomaly that the builders had managed, they violated other things too, Ashish said. He said when all this was going on, the builder had started giving possession of the flats to the owners. “They did it even when the Fire Department was yet to give its NOC to the building. In fact, the Fire Department had raised objections regarding fire safety standards adopted,” he added. After the duo won their war, a citizen filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the LDA, while Ashish Dixit moved the High Court. Though the story tells what the RTI can do, Ashish could not but resist a comment, “Believe me. RTI is very powerful and an effective tool in our hands.” So, go ahead and use it. Posted in RTI Success Stories | Leave a Comment » Power of RTI : read this : Can have adverse entry on PIO officals PR Posted by rtiact2005 on July 8, 2006 ramesh wasudeo Says: July 8th, 2006 at 10:03 am emy wife’s as well as my income tax assessments were not fianlized for past 6 years although they were filed in time with requisite papers. i realised that my IT file was not complete for overseas travel last year. my CA had been visiting IT office regularly since last year but invariably returned with mere promises. during November 2005, i personally went to ITO and handed over an application givingphotp copesof all past returns with enclosures and requested them to finalize. there was no rssponse since then inspite of visits and enquiry by my CA. i therefore filed and RTI application seeking progress on my letter of november and present status on my past six years assessment. the divisional commissioner told me that if i did not get any intimation during course of next year, my return is deemed accpeted and ITO need not send you assessment order in such cases where there is no discrepancy or recovery. i told hom that during past 6 years, my self and wife had filed 12 returns and except one, all rest 11 returns were filed with demand for refund order and none were received. he then agreed and asked me to hand over my RTI application a inward clerk who was summoned. i followed the clerk to his desk and he placed acknowledgement stamps on my second copy and made entry in his inward register and rose from his chair for lunch. i asked him as to where i can pay Rs.10/- by cash or through court fee stamp that i carried. he said he had no idea and i must meet commissioner again. commissioner called establishment officer who was totally clue less as to how i was to make payment. finally he gave me a contact asst commissioner at aaykar bhawan. at my instance he tore the office copies taht i handed him. then there was wild goose chase. i went to aaykar bhawan and met one of the PIO asst commissioner there. he spent over two hours to find out as to what is the procedure, what is the chalan number and what are the heads of account under which the cash is to be realized by tresury. finally he got me specific challan form xeroxed in his office and after a lond delay, the specific accounts head details for major and minor account. i completed the challan and went to SBI versova only to learn that i must go to RBI alone for deposit. from kewal semlani, i learnt his friend’s number who told me to go to churchgate RBI near nirmala niketan. after waiting for an hour at 1 p.m the accoy=untant opened his cage and accepted my money. he returned two copies of challan duly stamped. next i visited my ITO office and seposited RTI applications with challan and returned. my phone started ringing after two days and the ITOs – there are seperate ITO for me and wife, have been pestering me to visit ITO office ay my convenience. now when i go there, i get the senior OTO to offer me tea and snacks while my assessment is getting finalized. they have lareadt given me to checks totalling 41,000/- for others, they have asked for indemnity bond and some proof like xerox of bank passbook etc. most of atatchments they have lost and are untracable. now they are pleading that i shold withdarw my RTI application as by 11thjuly, fine will commnse on commissioner who is official PIO. he may also get adverse entry in his CR. in next two days, they are finalizing all my claims and issue refund cheques so that i give them discharge. that is the power of RTI. rameshw asudeo. Posted in RTI Success Stories | Leave a Comment » Couple uses RTI for self-empowerment Posted by rtiact2005 on July 8, 2006 Couple uses RTI for self-empowerment http://www.ndtv.com/template/template.asp?template=rti&slug=Couple+uses+RTI+for+self-empowerment&id =89940&callid=1&category=National NDTV Correspondent Watch story Saturday, July 8, 2006 (New Delhi): The Right to Information (RTI) has emerged as a powerful tool that can be used to hold governments accountable. Besides resolving issues of everyday life, it also helps in influencing major government policies. In the continuing series, NDTV tracks the self-empowerment story of Arif and Zamila Banu. “I bought a flat two and a half years back in my wife’s name. After I bought the flat, the builder gave me a copy of the registry. But I found out later that I needed to get a transfer copy and a blueprint for the flat. I went back to the bank officials, but they said that all the papers had been given. “I had prior knowledge of RTI and that is how I filed one in my wife’s name. I sent this RTI to an officer in the RBI. I received a call within five days from the bank. They asked me about the harassment I had faced. I told them everything. After which they told me that I would have all my paper work done by the next day. “Sure enough, by morning, all my papers were with me. With the help of RTI, I broke the nexus of the bankers and builders who were making me run around. I appeal to all my fellow citizens to understand the power of RTI. We must remember that all these government officers are answerable to us,” said Arif. The RTI is being described by most people as one of the most important pieces of legislation, which makes the bureaucracy and government accountable. Posted in RTI Success Stories | Leave a Comment » Spy who came back from Pak jail resorts to RTI Posted by rtiact2005 on July 7, 2006 Spy who came back from Pak jail resorts to RTI Incarcerated in various Pakistani jails for eight years, Kishori Lal Sharma is yet to get any compensation from the government. Raakhi Jagga http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=191643 Ludhiana, July 6: For 61-yr-old Kishori Lal Sharma, a former agent of the Indian military intelligence, the years between 1966-1974 was spent in various jails of Pakistan. Today, he is yet to be compensated. The financial promised by the state government is yet to come. On September 5, 2005, Punjab government had announced that it would provide financial aid for people like Sharma. The money was to be given from the discretionary quota of the Chief Minister within a month.“I submitted my file with all supporting documents on September 9, 2005, to then Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma. But I’ve not heard anything about my case since. Whenever I ask, the file is untraceable,” says Sharma. “After I had sent my file to the DC office, I was told that it has been forwarded to the secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Chandigarh. I checked there as well, but they told me that they are not aware of any such file.” Finally on Tuesday, he filed an application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, asking the Deputy Commissioner about the status of his case. Sharma did this through the group of youngsters who have organised a 15-day RTI awareness camp at Model Town Extension. Jaskirat Singh, the coordinator of the RTI campaign in the city, told Newsline: “We have asked the first appellant (DC) to tell the status of the case and the dispatch number of the file, when it was forwarded to Chandigarh.” “I am a trained automobile engineer and was assigned the task of finding out the faults in the tanks supplied to Pakistan by China in the aftermath of the 1965 war. But I was caught in 1966 and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment,” Sharma says. In 1974, however, he was released under the Simla Agreement along with a few others. “I was just 32 and got married four years later. In jail, I had to bear all sorts of tortures. But they don’t let you die.” Sharma started work in a private firm and now lives in BRS Nagar. But the government “did not provide any financial help since then and at 32 I had to make a fresh start. I was lucky. Because of my professional qualifications, I managed to get a job. But even after the announcement by CM in September, 2005, nothing has happened. Perhaps RTI can be a ray of hope for me.” The RTI awareness camp has entered its sixth day. Till date, over 50 complaints have been received pertaining to the DC office, MC, SSP, income tax department, PUDA, DTO, Chief Secretary, Punjab and many other departments. Apart from Ludhiana, a few complainants had come from Jalandhar and Amritsar as well, said Jaskirat Singh. Posted in RTI Success Stories | 2 Comments » The TN Right to Information Awareness Campaign Posted by rtiact2005 on July 5, 2006 From: Guru Subbaraman <guru.subbaraman@gmail.com> Reply-To: chennairti@googlegroups.com To: chennairti@googlegroups.com Date: Jul 3, 2006 10:50 AM Subject: The TN Right to Information Awareness Campaign. Hi, The national RTI awareness campaign titled “Drive Against Bribe” has started and will go on till July 15. Information about this campaign can be found at www.rightoinformation.org . The Tamil Nadu campaign will begin on Monday, the 10th of July. Around 45 organizations in 19 districts will work together in this campaign. We will soon update all information related to this campaign on our blog/website. We encourage all of you to step forward and volunteer for a few hours during the two weeks of the campaign. Regards, Guru Posted in RTI Success Stories | 2 Comments » https://right2information.wordpress.com/category/rti-success-stories/
  8. ashakantasharma

    RTI Success Stories - Vikaspedia.in

    This village has finally tasted the power of RTI: For about two years, Suvarana Bhagyawant made rounds of the panchayat office to get her grandfather's death certificate. Every time, the official there would tell her to come later or pay a bribe of Rs 500 to get the work done. Suvarana, a resident of the Ambhegaon village, needed the certificate so that her grandmother could apply for the widow pension scheme. Finally, Suvarana filed a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. She got the certificate within eight days. "This piece of paper is like a weapon for the powerless to fight against corrupt establishment,'' says Suvarana, pointing to an RTI application. For the villagers of Ambhegaon, the RTI Act has come as long-awaited rain in a drought-prone area. Today, we tell the officials that if they do not look at our problems, we will file an RTI query,'' says Archana Bhagyawant. She was forced to file an RTI query after the officer demanded a bribe of Rs 150 for the issuance of a new ration card. "I waited for a year and finally when I filed an RTI query, I got it within three weeks. The sarpanch personally delivered it at my home,'' said Archana. Suvarana and Archana are part of a unique initiative begun by the Public Concern for Governance Trust (PCGT)-in partnership with the Bahujan Hitay Trust-that aims to improve the quality of lives in villages in Kalyan by using RTI. Voices raised over the issue of overcrowding of jails through RTI: UP jails are overcrowded. Jails in the state lodge prisoners far more in number than they can accommodate comfortably. What makes it a case of human rights violation is that more than half of the prisoners in the different jails of the state are under trials. Out of 81,027 prisoners lodged in various jails of the state, 55,460 (more than 60%) are under trials. Many of them have been behind bars for much more number of years than what the punishment for their offence would have allowed. The response to an RTI query by national working committee member, NCPRI, Raja John Bunch, by IG (prisons) showed that the total number of prisoners lodged in state jails is more than the maximum population of prisoners that each of the jail can support. In March 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a notice to the Centre and all states giving them five weeks' time to respond to a PIL which said that 64.7% of the total prison population of the country comprises of under trials. There are about 2.41 lakh under trials in Indian prisons. SC issued the notice to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as well and 'urged it to intervene and direct government to frame a policy to grant bail to prisoners facing trial for offences in which punishment ranges between three and seven years.' “Sir, did you get a cut on my dam?” The agriculture department official told Banabai Kumre that nothing would come of her complaint of corruption, because he had already paid hush money to the district collector and the chief minister. So the septuagenarian did what she thought was best: she went to Mumbai and asked the Maharashtra’s chief minister if he had received a cut on the check dam on her land. Banabai hails from village Kharula in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district. Banabai’s family of six barely managed to make ends meet. Though her extended family of more than 20 owned a farm as big as 10 hectares, only parts of it were cultivable where they grew jowar, pulses and paddy. But their routine was upset in early June this year when a check dam flooded after a spell of heavy rains. The rushing waters destroyed the seedlings on Banabai’s land. The dam was not very old. It was constructed barely a year ago. Banabai decided to report the matter to the agriculture department’s office at Yavatmal tehsil. After all Rs 3 lakh was spent under the prime minister’s relief package for constructing the dam. An inspection team of the department visited the site on June 16,2008. It confirmed Banabai’s allegations that inferior quality material was used to construct the dam. Fearing consequences, the supervisor with the agriculture department, who was involved with the construction of the dam, went to Banabai’s house and unleashed a volley of threats. He accused her of breaking the dam and told her that he had “fixed” all higher ups. Unfazed, Banabai filed a second complaint with the district collector, mentioning the supervisor's threats and demanded that the official be suspended. She alleged that only Rs 1 lakh had been spent on the dam, instead of the officially sanctioned Rs 3 lakh. She also alleged that instead of black soil, murum (a local variety of thick gravel) was used to construct the dam. But there was no action. So Banabai went back to the collector’s office on July 1, and asked him directly, “ Tumhi paise khalle ka (did you take a bribe)?” The collector was initially speechless. But within moments his team was in a hustle. An inspection team was dispatched immediately to the check dam site.The memory of that day is precious to Banabai. “The inspection team and I had to travel by the collector’s own lal divyachi gadi’ (official vehicle with a red lamp), because there was no other vehicle at the collectorate at that time,” she says with a smile. The team’s findings confirmed Banabai’s allegations. With media support, Yavatmal district’s panchayat Samiti resolution supporting Banabai’s demand and intervention of the Chief Minister, action was taken against the supervisor. Better Road for Bagepalli Bagepalli is a small town 100kms north of Bangalore with tree lined, tarmac roads. That was until one day, the government officials thought Bagepalli would be better off with double roads & street lights. Road works began in March 2005. Markings were done unprofessionally; dividers were built even before the roads were made making traffic movement haphazard, causing many accidents and deaths. Thankfully for Bagepalli in November, Sakshi Trust presented an RTI workshop that Toufeeq a staffer from ADATS (An NGO), had attended. Towfeeq then used RTI to find out the real story of Bagepalli’s roads. He says, “nearly Rs 1.32 crores were sanctioned for the road but no work was done. Of this 1.32 crores, 1.15 crores was shown as spent in response to my RTI application. WE finally went and confronted the JE with the information he had and he apologized and promised to fix the road. Thanks to RTI the road work is finally being completed.” Toufeeq is now a RTI trainer and conducts RTI training is vernacular languages like Kannada and Telugu. Official fined Rs 18,000 under Info Act In the second incident of penalising an erring officer under the Right to Information Act in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) T N Shrivastava fined Morena District Woman and Child Development Officer (DWCDO) Sajan Aluna for failing to provide information sought under the Act within the time limit and not abiding by the appellate officer's order. The CIC imposed the fine of Rs 18,000 after not being satisfied with the explanation given by Mrs Aluna, who was earlier given show cause notice on the second appeal by Mr Balwant Singh Haihayavanshi, who had sought certain information from the department on December 31,2005. The Act came into force on October 12,2005. The DWCDO rejected the application on the ground that the applicant had been suspended after preliminary inquiry. On an appeal, the Morena District Collector directed the DWCDO to provide copies of the document on payment as the applicant had not sought any confidential document. After dillydallying on one pretext or the other, the DWCDO allowed the applicant to deposit Rs 1200 to provide copies of the documents. The second appeal was made as the required documents were not supplied. The Chief Information Commissioner found Mrs Aluna's conduct as ''unfortunate'' and directed to provide the required documents within seven days. A fortnight ago, Tahsildar R S Chouhan of Gyaraspur in Vidisha district was fined Rs 25,000 for refusing to provide copies of land transfer deed to an applicant under the Right to Information Act. Rajasthan villagers use RTI to end woes Besides losing dealership, the ration shopkeeper was also forced to pay poor families in the village over Rs Four lakh, the cash equivalent of the grains he had sold illegally. Revat Ram and his friends used the Act to get all records of their ration shop in Himmatsar village and by exposing how grains meant for the poor were being black-marketed at a ration shop in Bikaner district. After the move the villagers got the dealer removed. ‘’Earlier we used to be afraid that if we speak against the Sarpanch, he will not give us jobs under drought relief. But now we feel bolder and think that through the new law we can put an end to his frauds,” said a local resident. And now it seems people across Rajasthan are keen to use their information rights. Bunglings have led to 15 sarpanches being removed and a dozen officials suspended. Karnataka villagers insist on Right to Food People in Rural Karnataka have combined the campaigns for the Right to Information and the Right to Food to fight hunger. Poor villagers have successfully participated in social audits and public hearings to demand that the rations due to them are allotted to them at the correct prices. "They were not giving us our monthly rations. We complained, and the officials invited us for a meeting. Now we get rice at Rs 3 wheat at Rs 2 a kg," says Chandramma, a member of the self help group in the Chennagiri Village. "There are nine programmes of food security, but people did not know about them. We staged street theatres and conducted public hearings to spread awareness," says K B Roopa Naik, Channagiri Taluka, Davangere. Positive fallout of the public hearing has been the marked improvement in the quality of food grains which is now being supplied in the villages."After a week of public hearing the people got ration cards and new ration shops were opened," says N M Muthappa, Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka."For the first time women were confident enough to ask why they were not being given rice and wheat at the correct price. This movement must spread to every village and every taluka," says Seetamma, President of the self-help group in Davangere. It can now be hoped that the new tools of empowerment will enable the people to ask tough questions and demand answers as well as action. http://vikaspedia.in/e-governance/about-rti-act-2005/rti-news-update http://cic.gov.in/
  9. Appellant had sought details of application in which inspection was allowed, copy of FIR lodged on non tracing of files, action taken by RCS for not following direction given by RCS. Commission directed the PIO, RCS to provide certified copies of FIR stating 'record has been lost' and number of co op. societies which they had not complied with the direction of RCS and what action had been taken against them. CIC_SA_A_2015_000477_M_159573.pdf
  10. Hello, This is question from me,what is the amount of money that was spent today for printing the message of PM Naredra Modi for spreading the message with the glory of BJP in every news paper of INDIA.As this is quite sensitive I would also like to know is the fund spend from the govt of INDIA or by the party itself .
  11. Friends, I wish ti share a success story of one common man of Degam village,Armoor Mandal of Nizambad dist of NEW TELANGANA STATE.Mr.Naresh whose grand father was having more than one acre land in the village which was under cultivation and after his death his son Mr.Nallanna was cultivating the said land and unfortunately he died in a road accident and at that time NARESH the RTI Applicant and his SON was a small boy.Over the years the land was occupied by the villagers and started cultivating it.When Naresh came to know of this when he grew up he approched the Tahasiladar with documents but no avail.He represented to the grievance cell of the Collector who use to conduct Village meetings and severl times went to collectorate and other revenue officials but no avail.One day seeing this young man frequently visiting Collectorate the Eenadu RTI cell representative asked him as to what is his problem and Naresh explained the whole story.Then HE DRAFTED ONE RTI APPLICATION TO SURVEY THE LAND BY PUTTING GOVT.SURVEYOR AND HAND OVER POSSESSION.This resulted in survey and handing over PANCHANAMA and basing upon this HE GOT HIS LAND RESTORED TO HIM .This is the POWER OF RTI IF RIGHTLY USED.9Source Eenadu TELUGU DAILY,HYDERABAD dated 3rd.June,2014)
  12. RTI Act 2005 Success Story: I had submitted RTI application to Income Tax Department asking them to show me the documents I submitted, the form I had then filled in 2009 for PAN card application. But they made a mistake in my father's name in the PAN card, then, and I had to pay Rs 100 to make necessary changes. I had asked them through RTI to show me my original form and refund my money if not my mistake. And guess what? They have refunded my money. The question is not about money. It is about they accepting their mistake. This is the power of RTI Act 2005. Use it!!!!!
  13. Raju Muthuswamy

    Success at last!!!

    Thank you for this wonderful site!!! I would, also, like to thank Veeresh for answering my calls and SMSes promptly even though he was busy. And, also for the thread "RTI for beginners" I used it to get my medical records from Central Prisons, Bangalore. I am wrongfully accused in a case by traffic police and am fighting back. I needed the copy of my records of my medical treatment in Central Prison. Initially, they tried to say no but after complaining to the DIG, Central Prisons Authority, PIO asked for more information from me and sent me the copy of the medical records (a single copy of A4 sheet) free of cost. This is all I needed to argue my case.
  14. राजस्थान सूचना आयोग ने अभिषेक जैन कि द्वितीय अपील याचिका पर सुनवाई करते हुवे राजस्थान तकनीकी विश्व विध्यालय के कुल सचिव को सही समय में सूचना प्रदान न करने के लिए फटकार लगाईं है . अभिषेक जैन ने अपने आर टी आई आवेदन के माध्यम से राजस्थान तकनीकी विश्वविद्यालय के लोकसूचना अधिकारी से उतरपुस्तिका के निरिक्षण एवं उनकी प्रतिया देने कि गुहार लगाईं थी जिस पर लोकसूचना अधिकारी ने विश्व विध्यालय के नियमों का हवाला देते हुवे अस्वीकार कर दिया था, प्रथम अपील ( कुलसचिव ) ने भी परीक्षा नियंत्रक के जवाब को बरक़रार रखते हुवे अपीलार्थी को सूचना उपलब्ध नहीं करवाई थी . अभिषेक जैन ने अपनी प्रथम अपील याचिका में आर टी आई कि धारा 7 के तहत व्यक्तिगत सुनवाई कि मांग कि थी परन्तु कुलसचिव ने कोई व्यक्तिगत सुनवाई प्रदान नहीं कि थी . इस पर आयोग ने द्वितीय अपील याचिका कि सुनवाई के दौरान विश्व विध्यालय को फटकार लगाये हुवे कहा कि माननीय सुप्रीम कोर्ट एवं माननीय जयपुर हाई कोर्ट के निर्णय के उपरांत भी अपीलार्थी को सूचना ना देना विश्व विध्यालय द्वारा किया गया निंदनीय कृत्य है . आयोग ने अपील को स्वीकार करते हुवे कुलसचिव को आदेश दिया कि वे इस आदेश पर अभिषेक जैन को 10 दिनों के भीतर आमंत्रित करे एवं उतर्पुस्तिका के अवलोकन करवाए तथा अपीलार्थी के चाहने पर सूचना के अधिकार के अंतर्गत प्रमाणित प्रति भी उपलब्ध करवाए .
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