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Found 22 results

  1. Friends, I am going to file a Second Appeal in West Bengal Information Commission. I will use the Complaint/Appeal Format provided in their home page (http://www.wbic.gov.in/). But I have some confusion about some fields in that document. Please explain with example what I should write under these fields: 11. Verification by the complainant / appellant as under: 14. Page numbering: 15. All index of the documents referred in the complaint/appeal: Direct Link to the Complaint/Appeal Format: http://www.wbic.gov.in/Application%20Format/Application%20Format.doc Regards, Manojit Ghosh
  2. Friends, I am going to file a Second Appeal in West Bengal Information Commission. I sent my RTI Application and First Appeal to West Bengal University of Technology on 04/10/2013 and 09/11/2013 respectively. They never replied. I used Microsoft Word 2010 while writing those letters in my computer. I don't have a printer in my home so I went to a Printer Shop. But they were using old version of Microsoft Word. So there were a few formatting errors in my letters. For example, in the subject line of First Appeal: "First Appeal under Right to Information Act 2005" became: "First Appealunder Right to Information Act 2005" [space was removed between "Appeal" and "under"] Will the University use these against me? And if they do how should I defend myself in Commission? Regards, Manojit Ghosh
  3. I had submitted three Form 6 applications to my Assembly Constituency's ERO's office. One was for transfer of name from one constituency to another, and other two were for inclusion of new names in my area's electoral roll. In spite of the applications being submitted in January, 2013 and document verification being completed in February, 2013 (first week), I have got no information regarding the status of my applications. I visited the ERO's office thrice to inquire but every time they tell me that the work has not started yet. While the AERO's office (who inspected my documents) says that the forms have been forwarded to ERO's office. I now wish to file an RTI query for getting the status. Please direct me on how to move forward as the RTI link on West Bengal Chief Election Officer's website (Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal) is dead.
  4. Dear Veteral RTI-Indians, We know that the Indian Administration is 'ADMINISTERED' by the Bureaucrats who act at the wish and whims of Politicians. Can this happen to the Authorities of Judiciary too. Wish to share this existing irony in our JUDICIARY. Me and my wife are TARGETED by a known group of people who committed burglary/theft/trespass/ransack/gang attack/hired people to attack us and brand me, a hindu as MUSLIM and misbehaved with us many occations including within the police station inspite of Section 144(2) in currency. I want to post a query as below and wish the patrons of RTI to guide me overcome this bureaucracy and red-tapism and misinterpretation by the Judiciary official w.r.t my RTI application towards a court document retrieval. I wanted to know transparency in four investigations by State Police Cases (three in 2009 and 1 in 2011) where corruption/influence/favorism/partiality/deprival of justice at grass-root level are verymuch visible. When I applied RTI on State Police they escaped stating that the papers connected with investigation are 'CONFIDENTIAL' and 'THOSE PAPERS ARE PART OF COURT PROPERTY' and can be had from the respective court. When I applied for the certified copies on URGENT basis, agreeing to pay very high charge on May 2012, the Court Officials said that they are not able to search it and also do not have sufficient man power to do the search. A piece of document which I am supposed to get within 2 or 3 days never came to my hand even after a lapse of 6 months. As an alterntive channel to acquire the same, I applied RTI on the SPIO of CMM Kolkata on 27/6/2012 who was silent even after 30 days. Though not stipulated under the RTI Act, I approached the SPIO to know the pratical reason for the delay and wanted to convice him to do the needful under the Act, he replied orally that the records are being searched out. He also told me that if I prefer I can go ahead and file First Appellate Letter with FAA and also guided me by giving the details of FAA and his address and the like etc., I filed FAA with Chief Judge of City Civil Court, Kolkata who is the First Appellate Authority on Sept 3rd. Meanwhile the SPIO sent three letters to me 19/9/2012, 5/10/2012 & 9/10/2012 which were received by me in normal/ordinary post. The first two letters was containing partial and insufficient replies to few of the information I asked in my application while simultaneously mentioning that the records are under search and the remaining parts will be replied as and when they are searched out. Also the replies were incomplete and showed the malicious way he qualified/treatated a standardised formatted existing procedural documentary information (precisely, a summon calling the defacto complainant at the time of hearing of a police case) as a ‘OPINION’ / ‘ADVICE’ and stated in his reply that these cannot be disclosed under RTI Act. On 13/12/2012, I received an order from Appellate Authority who is none other than the Chief Judge of City Civil Court, Kolkata stating that I was not presence at the time of hearing and the case is dismissed stating that I am not interested to prosecute the case. This order was painted in legal language, such as, ‘NON-PROSECUTION’, ‘LOST INTEREST’ I visited the Office of Chief Judge and pleaded that I was not served any communication seeking my presence. An official guided me to give a letter seeking a recall. I sent the letter seeking recall dated 27/12/2012. On 19/1/2013, Saturday a person knocked at my door at 8:30 am to serve me a notice of hearing on 29/1/2013 at City Civil Court, Kolkata. The notice was ill-languaged as..,’...you are warned to appear...’ I appeared as above at the court room where the general cases and arguments were heard. I was also called in the same court room to hear my RTI Hearing. It was an ex-parte’ hearing, that is, the SPIO of CMM was not summoned to appear and the Judge wanted to hear from me alone. He first asked about my occupation and in which capacity I applied the RTI letter, which is no way connected towards the hearing. The CJ who was in the capacity of FAA, instead of reading from my petitions/letters asked me to elaborate. He, instead of applying the provisions of RTI Act which states that the SPIO is bound to reply within 30 days and non-reply is sufficient cause to raise First Appellate Letter. He was not considering the lapse of SPIO and As I also disclosed that I got reply which is not satisfactorily disclosing the information required, he did not mind to hear this fact atall and said that as he subsequently replied, this case is dismissed and he also went to the extent to tell that ...,..’...it is not my duty to convince you, and you donot have any ground to appeal and your appeal itself is faulty. You can step out and the order will be passed dismissing your appeal...’ The FAA also went to the extent of instructing me to meet the SPIO and request reason for the delay. All these are out of any provision of RTI Act and it seems that the FAA grossly illiterate of the RTI act its spirit and provisions. Please help me get the required information and also the way to book the violators by virtue of their position and power and penalise them as per provisions of RTI Act.
  5. My RTI to CMO, WEST BENGAL on October 14 2011 was replied on Feb 9th 2012, ofcourse after FAA(16th Dec 2011) followed by Complaint letter to WBIC on Feb 6th 2012, that CMO need the RTI Base Letter (My PETITION dtd June 29th 2010, to CMO to refer my 3 time repeat burglary to CBI) Pls refer all attachments & guide me the best course of action from RTI perspective aswellas from 'Missing Govt. Record. Petition to CMO.pdf RTI on CMO.pdf FAA on CMO.pdf WBIC COMPLAINT LTR on SPIO of CMO.pdf REPLY from SPIO of CMO.pdf
  6. Dear ALL My RTI letter reveals that Comsnr, Kolkata Police(CKP) disobeyed order Dtd. 10/3/2010, from his surpermo, HOME(POLICE) DEPT.,(HPD) WEST BENGAL, 'INSPITE OF REMINDERS'. Also revealed the pathetic state of HPD WHICH ITSELF SLEPT OVER own ORDER to the CKP to investigation by superior office over a crime of repeat burglary committed in connivance and abetted by Bowbazar PS of Kolkata Police. Note tht SECOND STRICTHER letter from HPD is dated Feb 17, 2012, copy of which reached me on March 26th 2010. Please comment, if the HPD themselves had slept for 2 years, BUT they question their Subordinate, KP? The funniest thing is that the West Bengal Information Commissioner(WBIC), the Custodian of RTI in WB is STILL SLEEPING OVER a complaint letter ageing 21 months on an RTI Appln on HPD, INSPITE OF MY WRIT PETITION IN CALCUTTA HIGH COURT ON 24th Feb. 2012 which had instructed WBIC to clear-off within 45 days & incidentally, today is THIRTY-FIRST DAY of HC's ORDER. JAIHIND...
  7. Inaction or abstaining from performing duty to atleast to the level of basic and normal level of performance/efficiency/supervisory vigil, etc., all this leads to the end result of DELAY AND PENDENCY at SCIC/CIC. I am a victim of repeat burglary and donot have resourse and ofcourse a honest advocate to takeup my case. I tried the best known shortcut to get the transparency about what is actually happening aboyut my FIR's. I filed an RTI and got fake/fabricated/unreasonable/unreliable 'summary' as 'reply' whereas I expected supporting documents for all such 'stories' written by the SPIO of KOLKATA POLICE. NO, I was only eligible to get the 'scrpit' fo the story, no reasoning, no application of rationale, no SUPPORTING DOCUMENT (WHICH I ASKED FOR IN MY RTI APPLICATION). With the same common sence and confidence on RTI I approached the FAA, who sent me the same reply again. I approached SCIC, THE WEST BENGAL INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S office and lodged a complaint on June 7th 2010, who just sent a SOFT REMINDER NOTICE' which had a time limit of 15 days on February 17th 2011 and kept silent. THESE TYPES OF INACTION/PARTIAL AND RANDOM ACTIONS OF FEW OCCATIONS is nowhere scripted in RTI ACT, I BELIEVE. If a government Compliance agency such as SCIC donot follow its own instructions/directions/notices, what is the purpose of enacting such a useles act, paying to these un-worthy social animals, etc...?> Yes, ofcourse, as a true citizen of India, The HIGH COURTS AND SUPREME COURT DO WELCOME AND ENTERTAIN ME, BUT FOR A PRICE. Yes I raised up and approached the Kolkata HC, which AGAIN proved that it is also part of BUREAUCRACY and ignored one of my points of prayer seeking clarification for delay caused by SCIC for over a year. BUT THE WELLLLLLLLLLL LEARNED HC ASKED THE SCIC TO SOLVE THE ISSUE WITHIN 45 DAYS. If I consider myself 'a rational citizen of India' and STILL believe that the LAW AND ORDER ARE CREATED, ENACTED AND GOVERNED FOR THE WELFARE OF THE CITIZEN, 1. WHY THE COURT DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE INEFFICIENCY OR OTHERWISE OF SCIC FIRST OF ALL, FOR WHOSE LAPSE I NEED COUGH-OUT THOUSANDS AND FILE A WP AT HC ? 2. IF THE HC IS SATISFIED AS TO THE LOW STAFF, LOW TALENTED STAFF AND PRESENCE OF PENDENCY, WHY NOT THE HC ASK WBIC TO PRODUCE A REPORT OF THE NUMBER OF CASES IT RECEIVED, SOLVED AND PENDING ON A MONTH-ON-MONTH BASIS SINCE ITS INCEPTION VIS-A-VIS CATAGORISED ON DEPARTMENT/SPIO WISE AND A COMPARISON CHART THAT CAN DISCLOSE THE FOLLOWING 'AVTARS' OF CORRUPTION. 1. RANDOM HEARING DONE ON CASES WHICH ARE ON THE FAVOR OF WBIC 2. NO SENIORITY/CHRONOLOGY MAINTAINED IN HANDLING CASES 3. SAME SPIO IS 'AVOIDED' FROM FINANCIAL PENALTY TIME AND AGAIN, INSTEAD THE SBIC FOLLOWS A FOUL GAME OF GIVING REPEAT REMINDERS, STRICTURES, WARNINGS, CAUTIONS... TIME AND AGAIN, U CAN NAME IT ANY WAY, BUT NEVER GIVE A PENALTY OR 'MARK' ON THEIR SRVICE RECORD. 4. BY THESE 'GO EASY' WAY HOW CAN A GOVERNING AGENCY OF A LAW PASSED TO BRINGFORTH TRANSPERANCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF GOVERNANCE OF DEMOCRACY BE ESTABLIOSHED. 5. WHY NOT THE HC TAKE IN IT POWER TO PENALISE BOTH SPIO AS WELL AS SCIC..? ARE THE SCIC NOT A CULPRIT, IF SO EVEN THE SPIO WILL ASK PARDON ON THE GROUND OF PENDENCY. 6. IS PENDENCY A UNCHALLENGED SOLUTION TO SKIP TRANSPARENCY. 7. WHAT IS THE LOGIC FOR GIVING THE SCIC 45 DAYS WHEN WHAT I ASKED IS AN INFORMATION WHICH IS ALREADY WITH THEM SINCE 2009 AND WHICH THEY HAD ALREADY 'MANIPULATED' AND SENT IN DIFFERENT FORMS AND VERSIONS WHICH NEVER TALLY EACH OTHER. 8. CANT THE HC HAVE A CLEAR VISION AND TRANSPERANCY IN ITS PROCEEDINGS. 9. LIKE ANY OTHER ACT UNDER THE COURT OF LAW, HERE, 'INFORMATION' DELAYED IS 'INFORMATION DISTORTED', THE 'COURTS' CLAIM THEMSELVES TO BE 'LEARNED' DONOT THEY HAVE ATLEAST 1% 'INTELLIGENT' PEOPLE TO THINK WHAT IT TAKES TO THINK ON THE CORE TRUTH OF JUSTICE. 10. WHY 'LAND MARK' DECISIONS ARE FAR AND RARE AND TO BE A 'FOUGHT FOR' ONE. 11. A SIMPLE APPEAL CAN ALSO LEAD TO A LANDMARK ONE IF THE JUDICIARY HAVE SOMETHING GALLED DEDICATION TOWARDS JUSTICE. 12. IF THE VISION OF COURT ITSELF PROVES TO BE SHORT SIGHTED OR NARROW, WE CAN BLINDLY DECLARE THAT THE EYES OF WBIC/SCIC/CIC AND ALL SPIO/PIO/SAPIO/CAPIO ARE ALL BLIND. DEAR FELLOW RTI-LOVERS, PLS THING AND REVERT. JAIHIND
  8. RTI APPLN TO WBPAR DATED DEC 2 2011 FAA DATED JAN 19 2012 FAA ORDER DATED FEB 6TH 2012, STATING THAT, AS PER PROVISIONS OF 6(3)(ii) THE RTI APPLICATIONS (2) WERE TRANSFERED TO SPIO, HOME(RTI) AND THE SAME COMMUNICATED TO ME, THE APPLICANT VIDE SPIO LETTE DATED JAN 25, 2012, WHEREAS THE SPIO LETTER DATED JAN 25, 2012 NEVER REACHED ME SOFAR. INCIDENTALLY THE FAA IS NONE OTHER THAN THE SPECIAL SECRETARY TO GOVT OF WEST BENGAL, PERSONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS DEPARTMENT, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS WHO DONOT CARE FOR THE DELAY CAUSED IN TRANSFERING THE RTI APPLICATION. THE FAA DID NOT READ THE SECTION PROPERLY, WHICH READS, THAT THE TRANSFER, UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES BE DONE WITHIN 5 DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THE APPLICATION AND IMMEDIATELY INFORMED TO THE APPLICANT. NOW THE AMBIGUITY IS CREATED IN TWO ASPECTS. 1. WHO IS ANSWERABLE FOR THE DELAY IN TRANSFER AND HOW THE RTI ACT HANDLES THE VIOLATION OF TIME SCHEDULE UNDER SEC 6(3)(ii), AND\ 2. WHICH DATE DOES THE RTI APPLICANT GO BY, IS IT THE SUBMISSION DATE + 5 , OR THE ACTIAL DATE ON WHICH THE SPIO OF THE OTHER DEPARTMENT RECEIVED IT, AND BACK DATING TECHNIQUE USED: HOW COME A LETTER DATED FEB 6, 2012 UNDER SPEED POST REACH ME ON FEB 8TH 2012 AND A LETTER PURPORTEDLY POSTED ATLEAST ON JAN 27, 2012 NEVER REACH ME? WHERE IS TRANSPERANCY ? IN BOTH THE CASES THE APPLICANT IS VICTIMISED. PLS CHECK THE ATTACHMENTS, WHICH ARE SELF EXPLAINATORY, AND KINDLY COMMENT.
  9. sidmis

    UBI opens up its accounts

    UBI opens up its accounts as reported by Tarun Toswami in The Statesman, KOLKATA, 19 June 2010 Can a nationalised bank furnish bank account details and balances to an applicant under the Right to Information Act? Yes, it would seem from the conduct of city-headquartered United Bank of India. The bank disclosed account details and balances to the wife of a senior state government officer who had a dispute with her brother, and wanted information about the accounts he and his wife held with their late mother. UBI did so without so much as a by-your-leave from the principal holders in the accounts with clear “either or survivor” operational instructions. The RTI Act states that information not having any relation to public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy cannot be disclosed unless the appellate authority is satisfied that a larger public interest justifies such disclosure. UBI’s own note on the RTI Act says, “We have our obligation of secrecy and we have to maintain the Customer’s Right to Privacy for which we are unable to disclose information about the affairs of our customers.” But none of this mattered in this case. The application under the RTI Act was made to UBI by Mrs. Srilekha Raha, wife of Mr. Atanu Raha, principal chief conservator of forests, West Bengal. She sought details of savings bank, fixed deposit and term deposit accounts held by her mother, late Khela Ghosh “singly or jointly with others” at the bank’s Mayukh Bhaban branch. Disposing of the application by his order dated 20 October 2008, the Public Information Officer of UBI gave out details of (a) two accounts held by Mr. Dipankar Ghosh (1st holder) and Mrs. Khela Ghosh (2nd holder) with either or survivor operational instructions; (b) one Term Deposit account held jointly by the same holders with the same operational instructions, and © four Term deposit accounts held by Indrani Ghosh (1st holder) and Khela Ghosh (2nd holder) with either or survivor instructions. It also furnished details and balances of two savings bank accounts, held by Dipankar Ghosh and Khela Ghosh and Indrani Ghosh and Khela Ghosh respectively. Finally, it furnished details and balances of two fixed deposit accounts in the names of Indrani Ghosh and Khela Ghosh with either or survivor instructions. Not satisfied with this response, Mrs Raha wrote to the Executive Director of the bank on 29 October 2008 seeking balances in each of the accounts. She also sought details of any accounts held by Khela Ghosh with a Sriparna Chowdhury. Within 20 days, that is on 18 November 2008, the Executive Director of the bank, as the designated appellate authority, ordered that all information on account balances be supplied to Mrs. Raha. And within three days, on 21 November 2008, the bank furnished the account balances to Mrs. Raha. However, the bank refused to supply the fresh information sought in her appeal. Mrs. Raha preferred an appeal to the Central Information Commission which by its order of 15 February 2010 asked the bank to “furnish information relating to the existence of any account in the name of late Khela Ghosh and Sriparna Chowdhury”, and this information was supplied to her on 9 March. A furious Mr. Dipankar Ghosh says, “In a family dispute, my estranged sister used RTI to obtain all information of bank accounts which I and my wife maintained with my deceased mother in order to harass me.” He said the Act had been misused by people in power in connivance with a bank which had either been gullible, or had buckled under pressure to willfully misinterpret the RTI Act. On 27 May, The Statesman sent a 12-point questionnaire to Mr. Bhaskar Sen, Chairman and Managing Director of UBI. Specifically, Mr. Sen was asked if the bank had sought consent of the principal holders of the accounts before disclosing sensitive account information; whether the Bank had followed its own Code of Conduct and the provisions of the RTI Act in doing so; whether the bank had spelt out the larger public interest that justified disclosure of individual bank accounts and their balances; whether the bank routinely gave out such details to RTI applicants; in how many cases had UBI given such balance details to RTI applicants, and whether in his view the bank was party to gross abuse of provisions of RTI in Mrs. Raha’s case. On 11 June, UBI’s legal department sent a brief reply to us. Most of the questions we had posed on the bank’s conduct were unanswered. The bank confirmed that Mrs. Raha, claiming to be the daughter of late Khela Ghosh, and enclosing documents to establish this, had sought information from the bank. UBI said: “Considering the fact that Smt. Srilekha Raha is the daughter of the deceased, late Khela Ghosh, on the basis of documents forwarded to the Bank, certain information relating to the deposit accounts of late Khela Ghosh were furnished by Principal Public Information Officer and certain information were furnished by PPIO on receipt of specific direction from the Appellate Authority.” Source : UBI opens up its accounts
  10. As reported by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay at indianexpress.com on Feb 19 2011 Only 711.856 acres purchased though Rs 62.25 crore released from exchequer Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s grandiose programme of distributing land among the poor in the villages, launched on January 30, 2006, had been a total failure. A query under RTI by The Indian Express has found that only 711.856 acres could be purchased by the government for distribution even though a whopping Rs 62.25 crore had been released from the state exchequer over the last five years. Altogether, 4,842 people have benefited from the scheme. Government officials question where the rest of the money has gone. The scheme, called ‘Chas-o-Basobaser Janya Bhumidan Prakalpa’ aimed at providing land to the landless poor in rural areas to farm and set up a home was mooted by Bhattacharjee during his first tenure as chief minister. (he became the CM in 1999) To keep rural vote intact, in January 2006, a few months before the elections, a government notification was issued for purchase of land measuring 5 to 10 acres from “willing sellers” at every block of the state. Single crop land was priced at Rs 80,000 per acre, double crop land Rs 1 lakh per acre and multi-crop land Rs 1. 20 lakh. A three-member committee headed by the Land Reforms Commissioner (LRC) was set up to scrutinise all applications for sale. Even officials of the Land Reforms Department raise questions on how the amount was spent. “Unless the department utilises the money and furnishes the certificate, the finance department will not release the next installment of money,” an official said. “Now even if you spend Rs 1.20 lakh per acre, for 700 acres you end up spending about Rs 8 crore. Our question is where has the remaining amount of money gone? Without utilisation certificates, how could money be released by the finance department?” The Minister for Land and Land Reforms, Abdur Rezaq Mollah, was defensive. “We issued advertisements but there was not much response from the public,” he said. “The idea was noble but if people do not come forward what do you do? So far as the money is concerned, all unutilised money is lying with the DMs’ PL account.” The opposition lashed out at the government on the issue. “It’s a shame and a colossal scandal and it should be thoroughly investigated,” said Saugata Roy, the Union minister of State for Urban Development and a senior Trinamool Congress leader.
  11. akashroy1987

    Ration Card

    We are basically from Asansol, West Bengal. Now in Gujarat. Now the thing is, my grandparents and my dad used to live at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works Colony, Chittaranjan, West Bengal. Since my dad was brought up there, he had his ration card over there. Even my birth place is chittaranjan, so my ration card existed at chittaranjan itself. We moved to gujarat in 1997. My dad tried to transfer the card to our native place, Asansol from Chittaranjan. But the ration card office guys at chittaranjan submitted the old ration cards and before issuing the N.O.C, they asked for the 'last ration purchase slip'. Thats one thing no one would preserve. And since untill then my uncle, my dad, my mom and my grandma used to live together. It was impossible to get that slip anyway. We didnt need the ration card that badly then. So decided to postpone the matter. Later on we moved to gujarat. Without solving the matter. Recently we asked a cousin brother of my dad to inquire about the stuff at the chittaranjan ration card office. If they can give the N.O.C for the cards. But the concerned authorities at the office rightaway stated that the card holders have already submited their respective cards and we are not supposed to keep the cards without issuing the N.O.C. Now my question is what should i do now? I need the ration card very badly. I want to get the N.O.C issued from chittaranjan so that i can get a new card here in gujarat. I dont have a driving licence, a bank a/c, a voter's id card, a pan card. please help me out.
  12. Bureaucrat with two names faces heat as reported by Pranesh Sarkar The Statesman KOLKATA, Nov. 25: The chief executive officer of State Consumers' Cooperative Federation Ltd. (Confed) has been using two names in his official capacity. Mr Sujan Kr Mistry, the CEO, Confed, also uses another name, Mr Sujan Kr Mitra, while signing official documents. Interestingly, the state government recognises both the names of the officer. To steal a line from the BBC comedy Yes Minister, is this a case of yet another top bureaucrat using two names for his two faces, as it were? According to the documents available with The Statesman (see above), the state government has recently issued a transfer order to Mr Mistry. The notification for the transfer of Mr Mistry from the post of CEO, Confed to the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies in the co-operation directorate (headquarters), states his name as Mr Sujan Kr Mistry. But while his name was considered for the above-mentioned transfer, he was referred to as Sujan Kr Mitra in the departmental note sheet. While replying to a set of questions submitted under the Right to Information Act, 2005, the deputy secretary and the SPIO, co-operation department, admitted that the CEO, Confed, is using two names in violation of government norms. A highly placed official at Writers' Buildings, explained: "The reason for this norm is that any official using two names may, say, operate bank accounts in two names and/or possess properties in both names. As a result, it would be almost impossible to prove that the official's assets are in conformity with his income, for example. This apart, it would be tough to establish charges of any irregularities because s/he could always claim it was the other chap!" In fact, questions have been raised as to why the the government did not intervene despite knowing that the official was using two names. When The Statesman contacted the CEO, Confed via fax seeking his reaction regarding use of two names, "Mr Mistry" replied last week: "All the particulars relating to change of my surname ~ from Mitra to Mistry ~ for which I have obtained government permission are lying with my advocate who will be filing an affidavit for a change in surname." While replying to questions submitted by The Statesman under the RTI Act, the deputy secretary and the SPIO, cooperation department, however stated that both his names are in official use and thus violative of government norms. The Statesman
  13. Daily wager stands up against RTI ‘injustice’ as reported by Express News Service | Nov 02, 2008 | Indian Express Kolkata, November 01 Kartik Rojwar, a daily wage earner from a remote Neguria village in Purulia district, has become the epitome of citizen’s empowerment through Right to Information (RTI) Act in West Bengal. On August 8, the state information commission had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the BDO of Puncha Block for furnishing false information to Rojwar and allegedly forging his signature on a document claiming that the public authority had provided the information he had sought. On Saturday, state Chief Information Commissoner Arun Kumar Bhattacharya felicitated Rojwar at a function for his courage to question a public authority and stand up for the right to information. Rojwar had sought information about his wages of four days under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Speaking on the occasion, RTI activists also slammed the state information commission for its lackadaisical attitude in taking up the RTI queries. “In the last one year, the commission has conducted only 67 hearings in cases, where an individual was denied information by a public authority. Even Kerela, which is the second lowest in furnishing RTI information, has heard more than 1,000 cases,” said Moloy Bhattacharjee, an activist. Penalty was imposed on officials only in six cases and compensation awarded in two instances in West Bengal in the last three years, he added. “The commission has done nothing to make the people aware about the Act,” said another activist. Daily wager stands up against RTI ‘injustice’ - Express India
  14. RTI endorses application for final nod as reported in The Statesman, Statesman News Service MALDA, Oct.24: The district RTI (Right to Information) cell today endorsed an application of an information seeker to the secretary of the state Information Commission for his final judgment. The decision was taken when the office of the district registrar refused to show answer scripts of a competitive examination for its departmental recruitment. A Scheduled Caste candidate, who had appeared for the written examination conducted by the district registrar office for the recruitment of 14 lower division clerks, applied to the Malda RTI cell to show his corrected answer script thus challenging the panel which was made by the authorities. On 18 September, Mr Bijoy Kumar Ram, a resident of Tulshihata in Harishchandrapur, submitted his application to see his answer script after being dissatisfied with the final panel published recently, in which his name had not featured. The nodal officer of the Malda RTI cell forwarded the application to the office of the district registrar and asked him to show the marked answer script to the applicant. However, the district registrar was reluctant to follow the RTI Act even for the second time, despite the approval of the officer in charge of the Malda RTI cell, Mr P C Sit. The additional district magistrate, Mr PC Sit, was also the chairman of the selection committee of the recruitment board of 14 LDCs for the office of the district registrar, who asked the district registrar to show the answer sheets. The nodal officer of the Malda RTI cell Mr Pratyarpan Singha Roy said: "According to the RTI Act nothing can be kept in secrecy but the district registrar had not complied with the instruction". Mr Ram, who had expected to obtain more than 51 percent marks, alleged that the office of the district registrar did not examine his answer script 'honestly'. "The district registrar, as information provider, will be liable to a penalty for failing to convey information within 30 days as per the RTI Act 2005," said a senior officer of the district administration. He added: "We will be waiting for the judgment of the State Information Commissioner". The Statesman
  15. Malda official ‘violates’ RTI as reported in The Statesman, SNS, Oct. 17 MALDA, Despite the approval of the officer in charge of Right to Information cell in the Malda district magistrate office, the district registrar is allegedly reluctant to show answer sheets and other related papers, for the recruitment of lower division clerks (LDC), to the applicants. This is for the first time that a Scheduled Caste candidate, who had appeared in the competitive examination conducted by the district registrar office for the recruitment of 14 LDCs, applied to the Malda RTI cell to show his answer sheet. Emboldened by the Right to Information Act, Mr Bijoy Kumar Ram, a resident of Tulshihata in Harishchandrapur, decided to see his answer sheet unsatisfied as he was with the final panel published recently in which his name had not figured. Mr Ram claimed that he had correctly answered 74 percent out of the papers on the basis of which he had expected to obtain more than 51 per cent. The department allegedly selected candidates from the Scheduled Caste who had obtained up to 50 per cent marks. The Malda RTI cell had forwarded the application, submitted on 18 September, to the district registrar and asked him to follow RTI Act. However, the registrar so far has not complied with the instruction. The Statesman
  16. Mr Universe... in his one-room world as reported in Indian Express, Oct 15, 2008, kolkata He stays in a dingy corner deep inside Bagmari’s clustered lower-middle class locality in Manicktala. His room is no more than a 10x8feet ramshackle cell — poorly lit, damp patches all over, rainwater dripping down the walls. The place doesn’t have a separate urinal, and the filth trickles into the room. The 30-year-old bodybuilder Samir Ghosh, the reigning Mr Universe in the 66-kg category, fought more odds to reach the world championship that he had to, to bag the crown in his category in Miami last June. But in his own city, let alone on the national scene, Samir is almost a non-entity. For 12 long years now, Samir has officially been the top bodybuilder in Bengal. He won the junior and senior national titles, peaking last summer with the world crown. His win brought back memories of the 1950s, when the likes of Monotosh Roy and Manohar Aich were ruling the world. But the city’s media turned a blind eye to his achievements. Battle for livelihood Desperate for a regular job, Samir applied for a watchman’s job with the Income Tax department in Kolkata in April this year, under the meritorious sportspersons’ quota. He topped in the first round of tests, but after another round in July, he was told he hadn’t done well enough to get the job. “I knew right away something was wrong with the assessment process. I was confident that I did really well in the tests. So I filed an RTI with the Income Tax department, asking them to explain the marking process. They responded, and their response is even more vague,” Samir said, sitting in his small room, crammed with knick-knacks and trophies tucked away here and there. In their response, the I-T department replied that he had secured 7th position in the tests, while only the top three were selected for the job, but Samir refuses to be convinced. For Samir, this determination to succeed despite the struggle has always been a way of life. “It’s always been a struggle for me, it’s nothing new. When something is a passion, tackling the difficulties of life becomes routine, you don’t mind it. I took up bodybuilding seriously when I was about 15. Since then, it’s been a struggle all along,” he says. Samir lost his mother seven years back. Just a month after Samir was crowned Mr Universe, his father Birendranath, who worked at a nearby chemical shop, was diagnosed with lung cancer and is fighting for life in hospital. Samir works as a physical instructor for livelihood — there’s no money in national and world tournaments — making time for working out on his body and looking after his father’s treatment. “I have decided that, come what may, I will seek justice. I will keep pursuing the case, even if I have to take legal action,” he says. For someone who barely makes ends meet, it’s this determination that reminds one that the person is, after all, a Mr Universe.... Mr Universe... in his one-room world
  17. Officials fined for withholding information as reported by Bidyut Roy Oct 08, 2008, ExpressIndia Kolkata, October 7 More and more Left Front babus are finding the Right to Information (RTI) Act difficult to deal, as they are being fined for stonewalling requests from the rural poor regarding information related to their quota of work and housing under two flagship schemes of the UPA government. In the latest instance, a block development officer (BDO) was fined Rs 25,000 and a panchayat secretary Rs 20,000, in two separate cases. The only thing common in both the cases was that the officials had refused to part with the information sought. In the BDO’s case, the West Bengal Information Commission (WBIC) had to call in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the West Bengal police to track down what turned out to be a forged signature. In June 2007, one Kartick Rajoar of village Neguira, under Purulia’s Puncha block, filed an RTI application with the BDO, Soumen Pal, asking as to why he had not been paid for the four days’ of work. He also asked for the muster roll of the entire Chaitu Bandh scheme for January 2007. Rajoar waited two months for a reply before filing an appeal with the appellate authority, the sub-divisional officer (SDO), on August 13, 2007. After he did not receive any response, Rajoar filed a second appeal with the WBIC on October 23, 2007. When the commission asked the BDO and the SDO to show cause as to why no action was taken on Rajoar’s request, the BDO claimed that Rajoar had received an official reply within ten days of his request, saying he had been paid the wages, and that he should submit the fee required to get a copy of the muster roll. The WBIC passed on this information to Rajoar, who then told the commission that he had received no such information from the BDO. The WBIC called both the parties to a hearing on June 24, 2008, where the BDO produced the original office copy of the reply purportedly given to Rajoar, signed as received by Rajoar. Rajoar, after studying the copy, said the signature was not his and that the whole memo had been fabricated by the official. The WBIC had to ask the CID to probe the matter. It was later found that Rajoar’s signature had been forged. Taking a serious view of the matter, the WBIC imposed a fine of Rs 25,000, the maximum allowed under the Act, on the BDO, to be deducted in five monthly installments from his pay. The BDO also claimed the letter had been received and signed by Rajoar’s daughter. Even this was found to be false. “The malafide intentions of the BDO is further evident due to the fact that he has not mentioned of this fact during the course of hearing or during the explanation submitted by him,” the WBIC observed. In the other case, a panchayat secretary of Hensla gram panchayat, under Arsha block in Purulia district, faced the wrath of the WBIC and a hefty fine for stonewalling requests for information from two villagers, Sunil Kumar Sahish and Gopal Mahato. On September 13, 2007, in a joint request for information, Sahish had asked for the muster roll of one scheme under the NREGS, while Mahato wanted the complete list of beneficiaries under the Indira Awas Yojana. The panchayat office didn’t reply within the stipulated time of 30 calendar days and Sahish and Mahato filed an appeal with the BDO. Though the BDO is not the appellate authority for gram Panchayats, he ordered that the secretary pass on the information by November 21, 2007. Sahish and Mahato then paid the fee specified for the information they had sought. When nothing happened, they moved the WBIC, which asked the panchayat secretary to show cause for the delay. The secretary claimed in his reply that the two had not come to collect the information, to which the commission said on April 28, 2008, that the panchayat should send the information by post. After another wait, the appellants complained once again on June 19 that they had not received any reply. The WBIC scheduled a hearing with both parties on July 24, at which the secretary said the pradhan had told him on January 3, 2008, that no information should be furnished to any body in the pradhan’s absence. The secretary, however, failed to explain his silence from September 13, 2007 (the day he had received the application) to January 3, 2008. The WBIC noted that information should have been furnished within 30 days but the secretary allowed a delay of 80 days, so he should pay a penalty at Rs 250 per day for 80 days, to be paid in four installments. RTI: officials fined for withholding information - Express India
  18. Nothing like a long ride in office vehicle... as reported by Pranesh Sarkar | The Statesman | KOLKATA, Oct. 4, 08 State finance minister Mr Asim Dasgupta's effort to control unnecessary expenditure by reiterating an order that was in force since December 2000, was taken for a ride, in no less than an air-conditioned Ambassador, by the State Consumers' Cooperative Federation Ltd. (Confed). Documents available with The Statesman suggest that public money worth lakhs of rupees were grossly misappropriated by the apex cooperative federation violating the finance department's order. Confed bought an air-conditioned Ambassador (WB-02/6328) for official use in April, 2008. Such purchase usually needs prior approval from the appropriate authorities, but Confed did not seek any permission, misappropriating quite a lot of money. An air-conditioned Ambassador costs more than Rs 3 lakh. Replies to a set of questions asked under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, show that the chief executive officer of Confed, Mr Sujan Kumar Mistry, has used the office car frequently, not conforming to restrictions on daily fuel consumption. He even used the vehicle on holidays without taking prior approval from the department secretary. The vehicle of the CEO, who happens to be a government officer, was also found to be visiting offices of political parties frequently. There are no details or list of the passengers that is usually kept in case of use of official vehicle. The cost cutting order is a standing order since December, 2000, and which was reiterated by the chief secretary, Mr Amit Kiran Deb, on 11 June (Number 454-FB) after the state government decided to provide some relief to common people by reducing the tax on petrol and diesel following the recent fuel price hike. The order clearly states that no new vehicle should be bought by any department until further orders. Having bought the car, Confed violated the order issued to all statutory bodies including local and autonomous bodies, corporations/undertakings (owned or substantially controlled by the state) and institutions that receive grants from the state. Regarding the restriction imposed on government vehicles, the order clearly suggests that non-operational vehicles (which is used by an official exclusively) would be allowed consumption of fuel to the limit of 5 litres everyday. In other words, a government official is allowed to travel 60 km a day in the official car. Further consumption of fuel requires prior approval from the department secretary. This apart, no government vehicle should be used on holidays without prior permission. The Statesman
  19. As reported in thestatesman.net on 28 September 2008: The Statesman Cabinet approval KOLKATA, Sept 26 : The state Cabinet yesterday approved the amendment to the West Bengal Right To Information Rules 2006. allowing other forms of payment like non-judicial stamp paper, demand draft and postal order to be used in addition to “court fees” amounting to Rs 10 which a person wishing to get information under these rules has to furnish with his application. Mr Sandip Srimani, government counsel informed this to the Division Bench of Mr S S Nijjar, Chief Justice and Mr Justice Sanjib Banerjee of Calcutta High Court today. The Division Bench suggested that the proposal of paying cash of this amount for the application be also considered. The amendment follows a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Human Rights Law Network seeking that non-judicial stamp paper, demand draft and postal order be taken with such application as fees beside “court fees” which are only available in the court premises .
  20. As reported by Pranesh Sarkar in thestatesman.net on 13 June 2008: The Statesman Govt still reluctant to divulge details KOLKATA, June 13: Is the state government transparent enough to divulge details of the land leased out to Tata Motors in Singur? Apparently not. The state government still appears to be reluctant to make public details of the deal or the lease agreement with Tata Motors for its proposed small car factory land in Singur. The state chief election commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar Bhattacharya, had to issue an order asking the state public information officer of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation to provide information to Mr Salil Kapat, convener of Indian Society for the Fundamental and Human Rights, regarding the land deal in Singur when he faced bureaucratic buck passing for nearly a year after submitting questions in this regard under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Mr Kapat had submitted questions under the RTI Act on 8 June, 2007 seeking some particulars about the land deal between Tata Motors and the state government. He wanted to know the names of the parties between whom the deed of transfer or lease was executed regarding the land for Tata Motors in Singur, and whether any exemption was granted in respect of the registration. He also wanted to know about the market value of the land assessed by the registering authority including the details of the deficit stump duty and registration fee payable thereon. These details which the applicant sought were related to two departments, department of finance and department of commerce and industries. The commerce and industries department was ready to provide the information within its purview, but the the finance department had allegedly refused to provide information on their part citing some technical problems. Mr Kapat then made two appeals to the West Bengal Information Commission seeking justice. Finally the state chief information commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar Bhattacharya, conducted a hearing where concerned authorities from the finance department and WBIDC were present. After the hearing, the commissioner ordered the WBIDC to furnish all the information to Mr Kapat within 15 days.
  21. As reported by ENS in expressindia.com on 28 July 2008: Commission not keen to punish, RTI stumbles in state - ExpressIndia.Com Commission not keen to punish, RTI stumbles in state Kolkata, July 27 Almost two years since the inception of the state Information Commission, the Right to Information Act in the state is yet to make inroads. First, nearly 1, 500 applications that reach the state’s commission are too few compared to other states. Plus, the commission has imposed only three penalties and awarded one compensation so far, as its directives have been restricted to issue show-cause notices to state public information officers (SPIOs). In comparison, Tamil Nadu’s information commission has slapped nearly 250 penalties in the three years of its existence, even as it receives 400 applications everyday. The Punjab Information Commission has imposed 46 penalties in 5687 applications, it has received till date. Penalty case 1 An applicant Ratikanta Pal had sought some information from the Mugkalyan Benapur panchayat office. When he did not get any reply, he approached the commission, which asked secretary of the gram panchyat to furnish an action report within 15 days. Two months later, Pal informed the commission that he had not yet received any information. The commission then slapped a show-cause notice on the SPIO. Yet, the secretary did not send any reply to the commission nor furnished any information to the applicant. The SPIO also did not turn up at the two hearings held by the commission. Subsequently, the commission imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 -the maximum penalty amount- on the secretary and the state public information officer of the gram panchayat. Penalty case 2 Raghunath Chakraborty, a resident of Jangipara in Hooghly, had requested the Chief Medical Officer for certain information. When he did not furnish it, the case was referred to the information commission. When the commission issued a show-cause notice to the CMO, he furnished false information. When the applicant proved that the information was wrong, the commission imposed a penalty of Rs 15,500 on the CMO and the state assistant public information officer of Hooghly. Penalty case 3 An applicant Indranil Ballav of South 24 Parganas submitted an RTI application seeking some information, which was ultimately furnished by the district registrar. Ballav complained to the commission that the information was incomplete and contradictory. The commission observed that not only there was considerable delay in providing the information, it was also contradictory. The commission then imposed a penalty of Rs 1750 on the district registrar of South 24 Parganas in an order dated March 25, 2008. Compensation case Saroj Kumar Khettry requested the SPIO of the cooperation department to furnish certain documents. When he did not get any response, he approached the commission, which ordered the SPIO to submit the information. The SPIO, however, provided the wrong documents. When issued a show-cause notice in this regard, the SPIO admitted to supplying the erroneous information due to an inadvertent error by department clerks. The commission ordered the cooperation department to compensate the applicant with an amount of Rs 1000 for the ‘harassment’ caused to him. Leniency galore There are, however, several cases, when the commission did not take any action. The case of Swati Banerjee, for instance. Banerjee, a part time lecturer with the Lady Brabourne College, was shown the door after being with the institute for 20 years. She requested the higher education department to provide the government orders by which the post of lecturer was created and subsequently abolished. But the department admitted that it could not find the requisite documents. The commission observed, “When the government has issued orders for the creation of some posts, there should also be some orders for abolishing the posts.” The commission said, “Neither any order of abolishing the posts nor any order terminating the service of Banerjee was actually issued.” Notably, while the commission pointed at the grave administrative failure in the case, it did not take any stern action. All the commission did was to ask the public authorities to gear up its machinery. Chief Information Commissioner, Arun Bhattacharya could not be reached to comment on why the commission did not take proper action in the case. A senior official, however, admitted that the government had ‘requested’ the commission to show leniency.
  22. sidmis

    Bengal lags behind

    Right to Information: Bengal lags behind By Our Bureau The Hindubusinessline.com, Wednesday, Jul 02, 2008 Kolkata, July 1 When it comes to sharing information with the public, West Bengal is lagging behind other States going by the number of applications seeking information filed at its different departments. This was stated by Mr A.K. Bhattacharya, the State’s Chief Information Officer here on Tuesday. Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on the Right to Information (RTI) Act organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, Mr Bhattacharya said, “It is true West Bengal is lagging behind other States in the number of applications. However, it is faring better in terms of quality.” When asked to elaborate, he said, “People here can easily access information through the Web sites of different departments.” When asked about the number of RTI applications filed last year, he said it was difficult to share such information unless a written request was sent to the Information Commission’s office. However, he said that “last year nearly 15,000 RTI applications were filed in the State in comparison to about 1.5 lakh applications in Maharashtra.” Of the total number of applications, 1,500 came to the Information Commission as complaints and second applications, he said, adding that 90 per cent of such cases were settled by the Commission. “Corporates are known to be more transparent than the Government and public authorities should follow them as far as transparency is concerned,” he said. While Mr Bhattacharya pointed to a lack of awareness on RTI among the people and authority, Mr N.G. Khaitan, Senior Partner, Khaitan and Company, said, “It is the duty of the commission and other bureaucrats to inform people about their basic right to information.” Mr Bhattacharya said the State Commerce and Industry Department had recently submitted details about the deal between the State Government and Tata Motors for the Singur small car factory. “The information should have been provided earlier when it was more relevant,” he added. The Hindu Business Line : Right to Information: Bengal lags behind
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