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Where should the buck stop? Is RTI Act limited to Grievance redressal like getting passport, voter ID, EPF?


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Where should the buck stop? Is RTI Act limited to Grievance redressal like getting passport, voter ID, EPF?

 

How do we use it constructively, say to help Government in formulating newer policy, or doing gap analysis on ongoing projects e.t.c.

 

What are your view points?

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  • Bimal Kumar Khemani

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  • pooorabyoura

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colnrkurup

In Utopia the RTI Act can do miracles. The cityzen can become the eyes and ears of government. The cityzen can obtain information on anything they find not functioning fairly. Give feed back to government and do miracles in both ways. But we are now in Kansiram's Paltan or in Cucumber city. So, Ke..Zara..Zara

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mahekovoor

dear kurup sir,

 

will you please go through "RTI Redirection" thread posted by me and offer your comments as the incident is in kerala?

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s.s.mahendrakumar,

Would you mind asking the other user via PM/Visitor Remarks than in the middle of conversational thread?

Thanks!

 

The cityzen can obtain information on anything they find not functioning fairly.

Has Innumerable number of queries regarding obtaining of Passport ever revealed what wrong with the system? If the "system as a whole" was not wrong, how has the pressure tactics of RTI Application reaped benefits to applicant and not others. Theoretically, RTI Application is just for getting information, and it is not a court order, then how it works selectively.

 

In my view there is potential operational flaw in the process and procedure, which allow few to get the passport and others to slog.

 

Is it not RTI we must use to study those flaws, interpret it at the cutting edge level, and then do gap analysis and suggest the Government to improve. Isn't now we have the wherewithal to start from the scratch: the power to dig for information?

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Bimal Kumar Khemani
Where should the buck stop? Is RTI Act limited to Grievance redressal like getting passport, voter ID, EPF?

 

How do we use it constructively, say to help Government in formulating newer policy, or doing gap analysis on ongoing projects e.t.c.

 

What are your view points?

 

The buck does not stop here. Let us use RTI in case we do not get proper information, we sould fight to get the PIO penalised. In case the penalty is imposed than we should write the Appropriate authority to evove CONDUCT OF SERVICE RULES against the PIO to get him suspended and we start doing it, just imagine the scenarion which would emerge, there after.

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fightin498a

Having said that, I come to the Question asked here.

Even if the Buck should stop somewhere, the time for it to stop is not even close yet. There are still a lot of hurdles within the act itself, that needs to be ironed out first to make it even 50% effective of what it's intended to be.

 

One of the example of such hurdles, I can give, is the rampant misuse of the powers given in Section 28 of the Act. Look at the immensely prohibitive rules made by most of the State High Courts! Do you think they're even close to the spirit of the original RTI Act with the citizen-repelling rules they've made?

e.g. have a look at the RTI rules made by the Karnataka HC and the Orissa HC. Both these courts have made it extremely painful and expensive, if not virtually impossible, for the common citizens to get any information from any courts in the state.

Can anyone correct them?

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mahekovoor

sorry kushal,

 

i am quiet knew to this forum and not familar with many modalities.

 

actually,i wanted to consult col kurup in my thread as he is a prominent rti activist in kerala,and hence made a post in between.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

s.s.mahendrakumar,

Would you mind asking the other user via PM/Visitor Remarks than in the middle of conversational thread?

Thanks!

 

 

Has Innumerable number of queries regarding obtaining of Passport ever revealed what wrong with the system? If the "system as a whole" was not wrong, how has the pressure tactics of RTI Application reaped benefits to applicant and not others. Theoretically, RTI Application is just for getting information, and it is not a court order, then how it works selectively.

 

In my view there is potential operational flaw in the process and procedure, which allow few to get the passport and others to slog.

 

Is it not RTI we must use to study those flaws, interpret it at the cutting edge level, and then do gap analysis and suggest the Government to improve. Isn't now we have the wherewithal to start from the scratch: the power to dig for information?

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As I see we are crystalizing on three set of variables here:

 

1. The Machinery limitations and success to implement RTI Act i.e. CIC/IC/PIO...

2. The people commanding position of power and are repository of public action.

3. The procedure and process of the Government.

 

The baseline of this particular discussion is 'what after the information is available', can RTI response enable us to bring about good governance? Can the information so collected make a dent in Para 3 above?

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Bimal Kumar Khemani
The whole system is corrupt.I am in the process of filing RTI application in regard to the misuse of Laws by the Police and Income Tax autorities.

 

I am working with NGO Save Indian FAmily, Gender Human Rights Society, Save Family Foundation and we have achieved a great success agains the women (particularly wives) who are misusing the 498a.

 

I filed one RTI To police asking me to provide the amount of Rs. as claimed to be spent on the marriage as it is observed that parents of brides are basically spending huge amount and not paying anything in income tax.

 

We are shocked to find the reply of some districts that above 2.5 Lacs of cash transaction has been taken place. Whereas as per Inocme Tax Act no transaction above 20 000/- is permissible as per act.

 

But the hurdle is our Information Commissioner sitting in the CIC has lack of courage like that of Hon'ble Wajahat Habibullah.

 

I had a look on the book published by V.K,Puri on RTI Digest , but it is totally in favor of PIOs, AAs etc whereas there is one more book in the market which is written by Dr. Neeraj Kumar on RTI Act by Bharat Publication , that book really is worth buying.

 

The reluctance of the PIOs and AA is very high in providing the informaiton even when they have been fined , showcaused , but they are making every effort to frustrate the applicant.

 

But lets not get tired by their efforts which they want.

 

Dear Naru

In case u have suceeded in getting a PIO penalised. Then it is advisable to report the matter to higher authorities demanding to take action against the officer concerd and punish him as per the guidelines laid under THE CONDUCT OF SERVICE RULES.

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The indifference of various Info Commissions especially in states like Tamilnadu, which fail to take up 2nd appeals & complaints immediately and allows it to be kept pending for months and years, is making the RTI to go the Consumer Protection Act way, whereby time limits were fixed, but in reality allowed to go on for years together. And in course of time (with the passage of a few years) delay will be seen to be a matter of routine.

 

So civil society should evolve steps to tame information commissions, through protests and possibly through PIL's, to safeguard the power of the RTI Act.

 

For instance the following RTI application made over to the TN information Commission is pending for the past over 7 months.

 

 

Request for information U/s 6(1) of the RTI Act

 

 

 

V.MANIKANDAN 25.5.09

Advocate Chennai

Chamber No 263,

High Court, Madras.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To

The Public Information Officer

Tamilnadu Information Commission

1st Floor, Teynampet, (Near Vanavil)

Anna Salai,

Chennai - 600 018

 

1) Who are the PIO & AA of the TNIC (Tamilnadu Information Commission)? What are their respective qualifications, and professional backgrounds, and when were they appointed ?

 

2) Why has the TNIC NOT complied-with section 4 (b) (3) & (6) of the RTI Act, even 3 and a half years after the coming into force of the RTI Act, whereas it has to be completed within 120 days ?

 

3) When the TNIC itself does not comply with the RTI Act, how does it expect the other PA’s to comply-with the Act ?

 

4) Is the Tamilnadu government impeding the TNIC from carrying-out its statutory functions by giving step-motherly treatment or interfering at a political level ?

 

5) Has all the infrastructure requirement necessary for TNIC been provided-for by the TN Government ?

 

(A) Does the TNIC have any outstanding issues with the Government of Tamilnadu, vis-à-vis, infrastructural facilities, manpower shortage, etc, and is there any pending correspondence, between the TNIC and the TN government, regarding the same. If so provide the details thereof.

 

(B) Is the attitude of the TN government to the TNIC friendly, and does the government respond in a timely manner to the grievances, requirements of the TNIC staff, and officers ?

 

© Is the TNIC receiving full co-operation from the TN government, vis-à-vis enforcement of the RTI Act, and if not what are the specific areas of non-co-operation ?

 

(D) Has the TNIC been provided with internet facilities, and have the commissioners been provided with laptops ?

 

(E) What is the total cost incurred on account of running the TNIC including salaries, infrastructure expenditure etc, every month ?

 

 

6) Why is the TNIC displaying a phobia for the Tamilnadu State government and its officers ? If there is no such phobia, why has the TNIC paranoid about enforcing the penalties imposed under the RTI Act against the PIO’s ?

(A) In how many cases has the TNIC found fault with the PIO’s (PA’s) for violation of the RTI Act, and sought an explanation as to why the monetary penalty and/or disciplinary action should not be directed to be initiated against them ?

 

(B) In how many of the abovementioned cases has the TNIC received the explanations, and in how many cases has it actually imposed monetary penalties and/or recommended disciplinary action? Please give the list of officers alongwith their designations who were penalized by the TNIC ?

 

© Did the TNIC follow-up on the abovementioned cases and ensured that its orders imposing penalties were complied-with or not ? If the TNIC failed to do so what are the reasons therefore, and who is responsible for the same ?

 

(D) In how many cases have the PIO’s (Public authorities) failed to respond to the TNIC’s notices calling upon them to explain as to why the statutory penalty ought not to be imposed upon them ?

 

(E) Who are the PIO’s and how long have they not bothered to give their explanation to the TNIC ?

 

(F) Why is the TNIC not summoning and hearing the applicant (aggrieved person) when it comes to scrutinizing the explanation of the PIO’s for their non-compliance of the RTI Act ?

 

 

 

 

 

7) Whereas the Kerala State Information Commission has put up on its website the list of persons penalized by monetary penalty, list of PIO’s subjected to departmental action and compensations awarded to the applicants under the RTI Act, the TNIC has not only suppressed the said information on its website, but also is terrified about government officials as repeatedly uttered by Mr.Dhandapani the Registrar of the TNIC who used to claim that if the TNIC awarded and executed the fines, the RTI Act might itself be repealed. What has prevented the TNIC from posting the details of penalties on its website ?

 

8) Does the TNIC hold the view that the penal powers conferred upon it by section 20 is mandatory or discretionary ?

 

9) Against how many orders of the TNIC has the Madras High Court/Supreme Court been moved ?

 

(A) How many writ petitions/Writ appeals/SLP are pending against the TNIC ?

(B) How many are pending for more than 6 months ?

© How many of the pending writ petitions/Writ appeals/SLP contain challenges bearing identical questions of law ?

(D) What steps has the TNIC taken to expedite the cases ?

(E) Who is/are the lawyers engaged by the TNIC to contest the cases ?

(F) What is the expenditure incurred on legal expenses by the TNIC ?

(G) Would the TNIC consider the suggestion to get all the cases tagged together and mention the same before the Chief Justice for a special hearing of the matter ?

(H) Is the TNIC aware of techniques employed by various persons to prevent it from receiving High Court’s notices ?

(I) Why has the TNIC not appointed a standing counsel ?

 

10) What are the cases in which the TNIC’s orders been challenged in the High Court and which are the cases in which the High Court ordered notices to the TNIC and in which of the cases has the High Court stayed the orders of the TNIC ?

 

11) In which of the above cases has the TNIC not received the official notice of the High Court, and in which of the cases has the TNIC not filed its reply to the High Court ? What are the reasons for not filing of reply by the TNIC ?

 

12) Has the TNIC received the High Court’s notice in WP 25498/09 challenging the decision of the TN government to bring the V & AC under the RTI Act ?

 

13) Does the TNIC subscribe to the view that the decision of the TN government to exempt the V & AC is legal and within the RTI Act ?

 

14) Has the TNIC ever brainstormed about the question as to the fact that if the EOW, CBCID etc are to be exempted under the RTI Act, then the same logic would apply to all the police stations in Tamilnadu ?

 

(A) If it did analyse this aspect and concluded that the decision to exempt them is illegal, then what has it done to ensure that the illegal act is set aside ?

 

(B) Does the TNIC have the powers to set aside the said illegality on its own accord ?

 

© If not why has the TNIC not moved the court seeking to quash the exemptions as illegal ?

 

15) Even if TNIC had not bothered to analyse these aspects, would it be brought to the notice of the Commission by the TNIC ?

 

(A) Provide me the decision taken by the TNIC on this subject.

 

16) Has the TNIC ever attempted to ascertain as to how many PA’s are there under its jurisdiction ?

 

(A) If so how many are there ?

(B) If not, what are the reasons therefor ?

© What are the various PA’s, and why is the list not published on its website as a proactive disclosure ?

 

17) Only 35 departments are mentioned on the TN government’s website as coming within the RTI Act. No list of PIO’s has been furnished.

 

(A) Does the TNIC have the powers to ensure that the TN government discloses the identity of the PA’s & the PIO’s ? If so under what provision of law ?

 

(B) If it does have the powers what has the TNIC done to ensure that the TN government complies-with the requirements ?

 

18) None of the PA’s in Tamilnadu have complied-with section 4 (b) (3) & (6) of the RTI Act, even 3 and a half years after the coming into force of the RTI Act, whereas it has to be completed within 120 days.

 

(A) Does the TNIC have the powers to ensure that the PA’s in Tamilnadu comply-with section 4 (b) (3) & (6) of the RTI Act? If so under what provision of law ?

 

(B) If it does have the powers what has the TNIC done to ensure that the TN government complies-with the requirements ?

 

19) When did the TNIC set out its task of organizing a website (specify the date on which any file relating to a website for the TNIC emanated).

 

(A) When did it assign a designer to do construct the site and what was the time period allotted to him to complete the work ?

 

(B) How much was fixed as his remuneration/fee ?

 

© When did he complete the site, and when was it hosted on the internet ?

 

(D) Why are the functions page, cause list page, circulars and directions, show cause notices, training and seminars, pages which are about half of the website still empty/blank ?

 

(E) By when would the entire website be completed ?

 

(F) Would the TNIC consider transferring the website project to a more competent designer such as the one who maintains the CIC or the Kerala SIC website ?

 

20) If the TNIC is a transparent organization why does it not publish a causelist ?

 

(A) On what basis does the TNIC give priority of hearing of cases ? Does the order in which cases are heard being influenced by extraneous considerations such as favouritism, etc ?

 

(B) Is any staff member of the TNIC capable of influencing the seniority of cases, as a quid pro quo for monetary considerations?

 

© Are there complaints/appeals of the years 2008, 2007, 2006 pending disposal at the TNIC, whereas 2009 cases are being heard and decided currently. If so please state the reasons therefore, and the number of such cases pending.

 

21) Is the TNIC Non-functional since 26.11.07 ? If not why is the list of disposed case statistics restricted upto 26.11.07 ?

 

22) It was reported in the newspapers that a writ petition was filed against the appointment of the registrar of the TNIC namely Dhandapani. Provide a copy of the affidavit and typeset filed alongwith the said writ petition. What is the status of the said writ petition, and has the TNIC filed its reply to the High Court ? If so please furnish a copy of the reply.

 

23) Has the TNIC complied with the requirements of section 25 of the RTI Act ? If so please provide certified copies of every report since 2006.

 

24) If the report prescribed by section 25 has not been prepared and dispatched, please state the reasons therefore, and who is the authority who is to be held responsible for such failure, and what action would he be subjected to and by when would such action be taken ?

 

25) How many RTI applications have been received by the PIO of the TNIC since his appointment, and how many have been rejected ?

 

26) How many PIO’s have functioned in the TNIC since the introduction of the RTI Act ? Provide their names, designations and date of appointment.

 

27) How many of the abovesaid PIO’s have been issued notices by the Tamilnadu Information Commission asking them to why the penalty prescribed by section 20 of the RTI Act should not be imposed upon them for violation of the RTI Act.

 

28) What are the replies sent by the said PIO’s to the TN Information Commission ? Provide certified copies thereof.

 

29) Has any PIO of the O/o the TNIC, been imposed any of the penalties prescribed by section 20 of the RTI Act. If so please provide full particulars thereof, alongwith a copy of the TNIC’s orders to that effect.

 

30) Has the said penalty that was imposed been executed in each case ? If not what are the reasons therefor ?

 

31) Why is the TNIC displaying a phobia for the Tamilnadu judiciary and its PIO’s ?

 

 

 

(A) If there is no such phobia, how many complaints/appeals have been received every year against the judiciary’s PIO’s

 

(B) In how many cases has summons been issued to the PIO’s/AA’s to answer the complaint/appeal ?

 

© If the TNIC believes that the PIO’s of the judiciary have no time to attend the complaints/appeals made to the TNIC by the citizens, then does the same logic not apply to Non-judiciary PIO’s ?

 

32) Whereas the TNIC passes orders directing the PA’s to comply-with the directions and file compliance report, it is seen that the PA’s do not do so, and the TNIC seems to ignore its own orders. What steps would the TIC moot to ensure that its orders are complied-with ?

 

33) What steps has the TNIC taken to ensure that the PA’s in TN especially the judiciary takes steps to comply with section 4 (1) (a) of the RTI Act ?

 

(A) If no steps were taken what are the reasons therefor ?

 

(B) Whereas, nowadays, lawyers get their briefs mostly typewritten by computers, and if e-filing is encouraged and mandated, section 4(1) (a) of the RTI Act is automatically complied vis-à-vis future records. Would the TNIC take up this suggestion and strive to get it implemented, by using its good offices ?

 

34) Why has the TNIC NOT complied-with section 4 (b) (3) & (6) of the RTI Act, even 3 and a half years after the coming into force of the RTI Act, whereas it has to be completed within 120 days ?

 

35) Since its inception, has the TNIC received any threats or notices from any person/organization that felt aggrieved by its decision threatening the TNIC with legal action, etc, in respect of the contents of its decisions, which threat was intended-to or had the effect of intimidating the TNIC from performing its duties freely and fairly ?

 

(A) What steps did the TNIC take to counter such threat ?

 

(B) Why did the TNIC not lodge a criminal case vis-à-vis such threat ?

 

© Is there any other legal safeguard that empowers the TNIC to initiate action against the person who caused such threat/intimidation, such as powers to punish the person who caused the intimidation for contempt, etc ?

 

36) Has the TNIC taken any steps to ensure that the citizens from outside Chennai are provided-with video-conferencing facility to attend hearings, in the manner done by the CIC ? If not what are the reasons therefor ?

 

 

Yours Un-Informedly

 

 

V.MANIKANDAN

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I did not understand from the above two posts how does it relate to topic of discussion.

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Bimal Kumar Khemani
The indifference of various Info Commissions especially in states like Tamilnadu, which fail to take up 2nd appeals & complaints immediately and allows it to be kept pending for months and years, is makin

 

.....video-conferencing facility to attend hearings, in the manner done by the CIC ? If not what are the reasons therefor ?

 

 

Yours Un-Informedly

 

 

V.MANIKANDAN

 

 

as a RTian , I do not approve such applications

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pooorabyoura

The RTI Act 2005 itself is too crude to make an effect. But the RTI concept itself has created a silent revolution. A new version of the Act will be necessary to give further impetus to this movement. Expect a radical revision before 2013!

 

Hoping for a turnaround over the next 5 years would be daydreaming. At the same time, denying the change that has occured, and is occuring, would be the mark of a cynic.

 

By 2025, we would not have (or need) a separate RTI Act.

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pooorabyoura
Look at RTI intervention by public in 26/11 and Ruchika case.

 

Yes. There is a populist side to it too. When the news is hot, everyone wants to be in on it. There is then a quantum jump in RTI applications on the topic.

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Atul Patankar
There is a populist side to it too. When the news is hot, everyone wants to be in on it. There is then a quantum jump in RTI applications on the topic.

 

Very pertinent observation, poorabyoura.

 

However, these applications are the reason why some senior police officials were issued notice in the missing file case. Though the lime light may find something else, the message that you can not hide behind files - available and lost - is loud and clear.

 

If at least on officer looses his job, or even looses his pension over this 'shoddy' business, next babu will certainly think twice before 'misplacing' a file.

 

Let us pray similar result are also achieved in Ruchika Case and the pending Mithari killings case.

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rtiindia.org's movement regarding awareness on Right to information has been supported by the competent members who used to guide the new comers regarding filing of applications, appeals and complaints. The point raised by Hon'ble Kushal Pathak is a thought provoking, Where should the buck stop? Is RTI Act limited to Grievance redressal like getting passport, voter ID, EPF? Sir, due to the efforts of competent personalities the changes have been made in Right to Information ACt in Madhya Pradesh. The state Govt had made changes in fees and appeal rules. The amendment had been made regarding photocopies of documents provided to the BPL applicant limited to 50 pages, provided the information sought is directly related with the applicant. Sir, it will be quite a difficult task for an uneducated person to argue with the Govt official for proving the legitimacy and relevance of the information sought by him.

Sir, the amendments should be made not on the cost of the excuse to the Govt on the pretext of changes. The Govt by making amendments in the rules of right to information is depriving the poor and marginalized persons of the society and the officials are trying to find out the ways to deny information to the applicant.

Sir, we want that by making discussions on the issue the rtiindia.org will be able to bring it to the attention of eyes and ears of people in power. The rise in encroachments and roaming animals cause immense traffic problems. A few days back continuously three people died in Phagwara due to dog bites. One lady died due to stray dog's scratch by nails on the head as she was going for a walk. The dog took hold of her shawl. As she bowed to stretch her shawl, the dog attacked her with his hand. Though she had been duly injected but due to the scratch on the head the virus attacked on the brain and she died on third day. Civic authorities are mum and don't provide any solution to the dog menace. So, such type of the problems are in number. Malnutirition among children. Last year more than 20 people died due to water borne diseases in our town, Why the people are forced to drink water that is mixed with human excreta as the water pipe lines and sewerage pipe lines are planted side by side. The Sewerage pipes that had been laid have leakage and the like wise the water supply pipes due to the old laying of pipe lines are leaking. So the drinking water get contaminated but no body is there to listen to pleadings of people.How many people die in road accidents are unnumbered. Keep on writing to health and family welfare minister and the concerned medical departments and administration. What is the solution.

Sir, this is the real scenario and challenging one. Sir, as we want to change the system, what efforts we can apply. We can awake the people to choose RTI. But as our competent guide can train the people to file RTI applications. I made lot of representations but there is no change in the system. Sir, we people use the RTI applications to solve the on going problems and we people convince the people, as we know it is not magic lamp but the lives of the general public is still miserable. Lot of people die every year due to water borne diseases in rainy season but no body is to check the cause.

Sir, what is going on and what we people get with filing RTI applications is a negligible part of justice. You should provide help to solve these type of problems concerned with general public. Yes you can make changes in the society by finding the solution to the problems in your discussion portal of RTI. Dear members of rtiindia.org You have immense power to make changes, the need is to guide the public how to apply it and with your great efforts the changes can be made.

Rajneesh madhok,

B-xxx/63, Nehru Nagar,

St. No. 2, Railway Road,

Phagwara (Pb)

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