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TN: RTI activist arrested in Chennai


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RTI activist arrested in Chennai


CHENNAI: The Chennai police on Wednesday arrested RTI activist and Satta Panchayat Iyakkam president Siva Elango for allegedly preventing chief information officer K Sripathi from discharging his duties.


Elango visited the information commission office at T Nagar and insisted the RTI officials to reply to his queries.


He asked the information commission office to furnish the details of the advertisements issued by the state governments from 1991 to 2014. When the information officials refused to oblige, Elango created a ruckus.


Following this, the Sripathi informed the Teynampet police and lodged a formal complaint.


The police picked up Elango from the information commissioner' office. They booked him under sections 353 (preventing a government servant to discharge his duty), 294 (b) (abusing) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.


He was remanded in judicial custody after being produced before a magistrate court at Saidapet.

Read More: RTI activist arrested in Chennai - The Times of India

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Chennai: Police arrest RTI applicant for refusing to stand at hearing


CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC), in an unprecedented assault on the spirit of the Right to Information Act, under whose provisions the commission is set up, called in the city police to arrest an applicant for refusing to remain standing up and asking to be allowed to sit down in front of a two-member bench hearing an appeal by the applicant at the commission's headquarters in Teynampet here on Wednesday.

There is no rule that an RTI applicant should remain standing during an appeal, but when NGO Satta Panchayat Iyakkam (Legal Panchayat Movement) president Siva Elango asked for a chair during the hearing of a second appeal after TNSIC rejected his RTI application and first appeal, chief information commissioner K S Sripathi and commissioner S F Akbar refused to accede to the request.

When the SPI president took a chair, the commissioners informed the Teynampet police and lodged a formal complaint. Police picked up Elango from the TNSIC headquarters and booked him under IPC Sections 353 (preventing a government servant from discharging his duty), 294 (b) (obscenity) and 506 (1) (criminal intimidation).

Police presented Elango in a magistrate's court, which remanded him in judicial custody for 15 days. Elango is currently in Puzhal Central Prison here.

RTI activists seeking to expose corruption have been at the receiving end of threats and attacks by politicians and bureaucrats, and some of them have even been murdered for their efforts, but this is the first time that a state information commission has gone out of its way to stymie an appeal for information and intimidate an applicant, activists in the city said.

Elango, who has filed several RTI applications and represented various applicants, said TNSIC members and staff have routinely sought to derail his petitions for information and harass him. "On Wednesday commission staff even deflated the tyres of my motorcycle," he said.

Wednesday's hearing of Elango's second appeal was on an RTI application he filed on February 22, seeking details of advertisements issued by the state government from 1991 to 2014. "I approached TNSIC after the government failed to reply to my application," he said. "Instead of penalising the PIO concerned for not providing the information on time, the commissioners have been misbehaving with me during the proceedings."

Chief information commissioner Sripathi was unavailable for comment, but commissioner Akbar said TNSIC had given Elango "sufficient opportunities" to obtain the information he requested. "He did not follow some procedures," he said. Asked what specific procedures he was referring to, Akbar said, "I cannot divulge everything that happened during the hearing."

SPI general secretary Senthil Arumugam said information commissioners in the state continue to be lax even after applicants protested against them. "They should treat applicants with some dignity. Unfortunately, they safeguard errant PIOs instead," Arumugam said.

Enraged by Elango's arrest, RTI activists said they will organise a sit-in protest at the TNSIC headquarters on Friday. Lok Satta Party (TN) spokesperson N Narayanan issued a statement condemning the TNSIC after Elango's arrest.

Activists have been urging the commission to webcast proceedings on its site and allow applicants to record proceedings. In July 2014, SPI released a video that captured commission member P Thamilselvan abusing an applicant during the hearing of an appeal.

TOI recently reported that the number of RTI appeals disposed of by TNSIC plunged by more than 50% in 2014 from the previous year. Statistics from the commission's website (Tamil Nadu Information Commission) show the number of appeals the commission attended to dropped from 19,889 in 2013 to 8,121 till November 2014. The commission receives an average of 60,000 RTI applications a year.


Chennai: Police arrest RTI applicant for refusing to stand at hearing - The Times of India

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Today Times of India Chennai has reported that RTI activist was arrested based on complaint by SIC for taking a chair to sit in front of SIC during hearing. Is it justified?

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harinder dhingra

Dear Esteemed Members of this August Forum,


Yeh Kya Ho Raha Haion?


Are We Living in 2015? Are We citizens of Independent India?


I thing the answer is NO because this used to happen before 1947 when we were a Colony and the same is happening even now seeing the above case.


The ruling class forgets that they are trustees of common citizen who are being paid to do their job and common citizens are real "owners". They deserve to be treated that way. If Hon'ble Commissioners have to be seated so has to be RTI applicant because both are humans.


This is most deplorable conduct of IC/s which I condemn with all the might and humility under my command. I condemned Hon'ble IC of CIC in treating learned CPIO/s in this fashion (although at the risk of getting all un-favorable decisions from the said IC of CIC) and so do I condemn this barbaric attack on fundamental rights of a fellow RTI Activist.


What harm has He done? He sat on the chair to argue the case. We all do this every day and everytime. This is how hearings are conducted in CIC/SIC.


Let us all condemn the actions of Hon'ble CIC of TNSIC & SIC of TNSIC.


I am ashamed.



harinder dhingra

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harinder dhingra

For the kind attention of Moderators,


Please merge this thread with Learned Karira's thread on the same subject. As of now there are three thread on same subject.




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harinder dhingra

"refused to move OUT after which the Police were informed and he was arrested ."


He was so called "asked to leave the room in which hearing was going on" and since "he did not comply the Police were called and they (Police arrested) him.

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SIR please

QNS1 -Sir is it allowed ?


QNS-2) sir is it good in taste to do so initially? May be after hearing is over.


Qns3) sir was can applicant take shelter of temple of law INSTEAD OF `` REFUSE '' .


Do title match with cited line having REFUSED AFTER OVER.

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this news has appeared in all the additions of Times of India and I have also seen in mornig at Hyderabad, as Mr.Harinder singh dingra rightly said when the work of RTI activist is completed , he need to move out gracefully but continuing to stay amounts to obstruction of government work and is punishable under IPC.

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The CIC of TNSIC is possibly the worst IC in India as far as his attitude is concerned.

There have been several complaints against him and also the rest of the ICs in TNSIC in the past.

Some videos have also been recorded and uploaded on this portal.

What can you expect when such people are appointed as CICs ?

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harinder dhingra

Learned Mr Aston Marteen & Learned Mr. Koteswararaonerrella Sir/s,


This is the story of APSIC in which it was said that our dear friend was not moving out after the hearing was over whereas the version of our friend is that when he took chair to sit, the Hon'ble Bench objected to it as they (Both Hon'ble IC/s) wanted the appellant to stand and argue "as is done in the court of law".


Now after getting a call from a friend whom I have never met and who is into RTI activism told me that there was the issue of our learned friend of taking the chair to sit and argue the case after being objected to. The TNSIC is against our friend in question for his raising issues even of TNSIC itself.


Sitting miles away, if the later story is true than it is disgusting and I condemn it with all the humility and power under our command. Are we in 2015 Sirs? We got independence in 1947, Is not It?


We are civilized country and we are having issues of sitting on a chair. I am ashamed.


AND IF the earlier story is correct than my friend who is in Prison should have shown the right way of walking out and protested in more civilized manner.


Truth has to come out and esteemed members of the Chennai could help us out in this and poresent the real picture.


harinder dhingra

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I have heard that the arrested RTI activist seeks information(for 15-20 years period) on all topics continuously to all PAs causing a lot of works to all PAs. In the sprit of RTI it is correct but as an individual it may appear as a hobby to PAs who has to comply his series of petition and there after appeals. SIC might have looked him in that sense.Being RTI activist is very sensitive and he should be sensible also.

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I have heard that the arrested RTI activist seeks information(for 15-20 years period) on all topics continuously to all PAs causing a lot of works to all PAs. In the sprit of RTI it is correct but as an individual it may appear as a hobby to PAs who has to comply his series of petition and there after appeals. SIC might have looked him in that sense.Being RTI activist is very sensitive and he should be sensible also.


Neither above can be a suitable reason for arrest nor its a suitable reason for not offering or PROVIDING ON ASK , MERE A CHAIR .


though above fact may be suitable for few suggestions of honble SIC,/CIC ,

as p.a. or pio gets .


I respectfully disagree with this reason for any point of case related.


If rti is public audit its obvious informed citizen will file applications .

Appeals will arise if not given.







Sorry sir.I can't agree only if one does so he will be treated so.


I think rule to stand is actually when you DIRECTLY TALK TO HONOURABLES or when witnessed or if CRIMINAL ON CALL.then also only till testimony.




AND WHEN YOU HEAR CONVERSATIONS , You may sit - I think so. In a chair with respect - I think so.


If basic facilities of availability of chairs are TOTALLY NOT IN PA(NONE CHAIRS FOR ALL EQUALLY) .then its another matter.

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There is no such thing as "standing up" in front of a Information Commissioner !


What do you think is an appellant ? A lower KG student standing in front of his/her teacher waiting for punishment ?


Stop respecting "chairs" occupied by persons, but respect the "person" occupying the chair and that too ONLY because you respect his qualities / character / work / contribution.




Offering a chair to someone visiting one's office is a matter of courtesy and manners......which should have been taught to someone by their parents or by their teachers. Government is not supposed to "teach/train" persons who are public servants for more than 30 years as to how to behave with courtesy with visiting public.




One also has to be bold and smart and instead of creating a ruckus and ending up in police/jail, one should use one's humour and language to put the everyone else in the Commission in their place.


So many times I have refused to get up when a Commissioner enters the room by simply asking "show me the rule which states that appellant is to stand up" ?


Even when told that "chairs" are unavailable in the room, I have volunteered to stand or sit on the floor.


Once, in one SIC, I was sitting waiting for a hearing when I was asked to get up and make way for the PIO to sit down saying "Saarkar aa gayee...aap uthiye".

Simply replied : "Yeh kursi pey kisi ka naam nahin likha hai. Waise bhi PIO na to Lady hain, na hi senior citizen aur na hi physically challenged. Unkey paas bhi to do tangen hain....kripiya khadey rehne dijiye". Turning to the PIO : "Aagli baar aap RTI ka uttar theek dena aur tees din key andar dena toh aissi khadey hone ki naubat hi nahin ayegi"...everyone burst into laughter !




Always remember one simple thing as far as RTI is concerned:


1. The IC and CIC is "temporary" - they retire after 5 years or at 65 years of age

2. The PIO is "temporary" - he can be transferred / retired

3. The FAA is also "temporary" - he can also be transferred / retired




An RTI applicant is permanent. He does not tire or retire.


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Sajib Nandi

Netizens slam RTI activist Siva Elango's arrest in Chennai


Reported by Christin Mathew Philip in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 8, 2015

http://Netizens slam RTI activist Siva Elango's arrest in ChennaiReported by Christin Mathew Philip in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jan 8, 2015


CHENNAI: The arrest of RTI activist Siva Elango for refusing to stand during a hearing in the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) in Chennai on Wednesday has invited sharp criticisms from activists.


RTI activists across the country have expressed their anger against the TNSIC on social media.


"I feel this is an insult to the sovereignty of the citizen. Every citizen must get the right to sit when deposing before any judicial or quasi-judicial authority. An insistence that a citizen must stand in such situations is feudal and an insult to the dignity and respect to human rights," former Central Chief Information Commissioner and RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi wrote on his Facebook page.


Mumbai-based NGO Mahiti Adhikar Manch has urged activists across the country to send protest letters to the TNSIC.


Bhaskar Prabhu, convener of the NGO, said: "RTI activists should protest against such behaviour of the TNSIC. The information commissioners should behave as ambassadors of the Right to Information Act."


Prakash Kumar, a netizen, said: "Shame on TNSIC for insulting appellant during hearing of the appeal. This is violation of human Rights and unconstitutional. #StandWithSivaElango".


"An RTI applicant has not committed any crime by filing an RTI application. Why such shock treatments are given to him? This is also contempt of our Parliament which has passed the RTI Act. This shows the mindset of commissions and such commissioners should be sacked and action should also be taken against them," said Mahendra Kumar Gupta.


RTI activists said they would organize a sit-in protest at the TNSIC headquarters at 2:30 on Friday. For details contact 8144178687.

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Results for #StandWithSivaElango









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Some of Govt officers including ICs are still in British Raj mentality. They are still to make up their attitude for respecting the common man of a democratic country, where a very common man can be President or Prime Minister. It is this common men who elect representatives, who then select ICs. Thus ICs owe their chair to the common man, who is denied simple courtesy to sit on a chair.


I think we can express our dissatisfaction by:


1. Filing petition with the Governor and Chief Minister through emails


2. Sending emails to TNSIC expressing our displeasure.


3. The victim may be guided to move NHRC OR HIGH COURT.


4. RTI Activists of TN should immediately come to the rescue of the victim of such high handedness.


5. Some one should file RTI with TNSIC, seeking information regarding summoning police.


Such arrests have been made in Mumbai, Lucknow and perhaps Bengaluru at the instance of ICs in the past.


I recall that in a nearby district, in 2013 a RTI activist was slapped by a lady DSP [who is FAA] in her office. The activist moved high court and the lady DSP had to apologize for her act before the activist and the court. This was covered in many news papers.

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Seating in Tamil Nadu Information Commission hearing hall :


The chief IC of Tamil Nadu, sits on a dias with a single chair just like in a court.


At a lower step, is a desk for registrar/assistant who passes papers to and fro from the chief IC.


Rest of the room is at a still lower step. It contains tables and chairs : one for PA and other for Appellant.

But neither of them are encouraged to sit.


The hearings are closed door hearings and no one outside can hear what is happening inside. There is a person outside the door who calls the case numbers and names of people. He allows no one to go near the halls.


When your case is called you go in. Once the hearing is over (as per the chief IC and not necessarily the appellant) you are told to leave.



Shahji, Will follow your advice and act on it.

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I had visited Gujarat Information Commission at Gandhinagar in 2013. Each IC was having good facility for appellants with proper chair oposite to IC. Other observers also had decent facility to view proceedings with proper and clean chairs etc. No one was asked to stand up even during hearing of the case.

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With reference to post No. 19 above of Shri Girija Siva, it appears CIC of TNSIC has adopted ambiance and procedure of judicial courts, forgetting that SIC is not a court. Even under Consumer Protection Act and rules it is mentioned that forum should not appear as courts mandating that it should be informal in look and procedure, so that complainant feels comfortable. However, certain forums do have court like furniture and sitting arrangement mainly because president of the forum is retired district judge and it is difficult to come out of old mentality.

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The hearings are closed door hearings and no one outside can hear what is happening inside.


. He allows no one to go near the halls.




Res. Members


I am really confused on one point.


Can CIC/sic conduct hearings or decisions in closed chambers ?


Who else are allowed to attend other then parties?


Can media attend ?


Can media attend in tnsic ?

Are there any code of conduct for hearing?.


Courts give decisions in special circumstances IN CLOSED CHAMBERS .

Can CIC/sic adopt process for always ?

Do any rule exists for this closed hearings?


Can public ask for permission to attend /see hearings of other then self?


Really it will be helpful if someone enlightens on above.


At least we will ask for same citing rules.


I believe closed door hearings or decisions is complete separate jurisdiction ? Do CIC haves jurisdiction to do so ?


If chairs are there why permission or insist needed ? Can't we take one without permission.

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Sec 19(10) states:


(10) The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, shall decide the appeal in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed.


The problem is that TN (and many other states) have not prescribed the Rules/Procedures for the SIC to decide appeals.


Even the new Central RTI Rules (of 31 July 2012) do not state anything about "open hearings" - although the old RTI Rules of 2005 did mention that the Commission shall pass its orders in an "open chamber". I had protested about this when the new RTI rules were introduced but sadly no one supported me thinking it is a minor issue.


Now, you are seeing the result.




The RTI Act is all about Transparency.......what "transparency" is the SIC showing by holding hearings behind closed doors ?

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Sir matter is not small its of huge concerns.you had raised earlier point of huge concern.I believe so.


if the petitioner points out patent error of law ,

The hearing takes place in closed door chambers

by honourable judges of courts without assistance of lawyers of both sides.


I believe CIC not even decides in SERIOUS matter of law hence can't opt for closed.

Such conduct or matter should get accepted & heard by hon. Courts .


I believe its a pressure on appellant if PROCEEDINGS IN CLOSED.


WHEN hon. Courts do so WITH REASONS how can SIC do so permanently?


Do sic or cic haves jurisdiction on above subject complaints as non compliance or over compliance of act ? Can we file complaints to CIC on matter of CLOSED and will it be heard ?


Sir if there is absence of any prescribed PROCEDURES .will law process of court of open hearings will imply .


If no procedures how can it be CLOSED .IS IT HR VIOLATION by ideas in absence of procedures ?

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