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Success at last! Persistence only pays, even with RTI!!


rajasury
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Congrats! However, withdrawing the second appeal is not, in my humble opinion, the right move. You should have made them present their case in the hearing and see them writhe in embarrassment. Govt. officials ( I am one too!) never learn unless they get the rough end of the stick at least once. Anyway, the Commissions are too 'govt. friendly' that they wouldn't have imposed any penalty. Just the experience they get will deter them from trying to frustrate future applicants

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I too feel that the 2nd appeal should not have been withdrawn.

(1) I am not sure if the offer for withdrawal of 2nd appeal was communicated in writing to the applicant.

(2) I think the case is still open for the applicant to file a complaint for delay, harassment and inconvenience as the PA supplied info partial or complete only after receiving the notice for hearing.

nk agarwal

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Congrats! However, withdrawing the second appeal is not, in my humble opinion, the right move. You should have made them present their case in the hearing and see them writhe in embarrassment. Govt. officials ( I am one too!) never learn unless they get the rough end of the stick at least once. Anyway, the Commissions are too 'govt. friendly' that they wouldn't have imposed any penalty. Just the experience they get will deter them from trying to frustrate future applicants

 

I appreciate the concersn expressed by 'sreesnake', 'kaira' and 'nkagarwal'. When I said mentioned in my earlier thread that 'I plan to withdraw my appeal', I didn't mean that I would not appear before the Commission and enter into a compromise deal with the public authority. In fact, I went and appeared before the Commission yesterday. The PIO too appeared and as 'sreesnake' wanted, the PIO was writhing in embarassment, though that was not my intention.

 

The issue of whether the Society is a public authority under section 2(h) was, in fact, taken up by the Commission. By answering the questions posed by the Commission, the PIO was made to realise that they are under the control of the State Government and hence they are, in fact, a public authority under section 2(h).

 

And finally, I'm not the one who wants to score points over others and make the other person feel inferior. I am of the firm opinion that this Act should not be used to settle personal scores. What is required is only getting the required information. When I got the information and a promise was made that whatever information required would be provided, I felt there is no meaning prolonging the issue. The purpose is achieved, thanks to the support and guidance given by this forum. Keep up your good work. Give your valuable opinion also. Thanks again.

Raj:)

 

Raj

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Rajsury......too appeared and as 'sreesnake' wanted, the PIO was writhing in embarassment, though that was not my intention. And finally, I'm not the one who wants to score points over others and make the other person feel inferior. I am of the firm opinion that this Act should not be used to settle personal scores.

 

I am sorry if my post made me sound like a demon who wants to see others writhe in embarrassment or one who wants to score points over others or settle personal scores. For shouting out loud, what do iI have PERSONAL with that PIO?

Day in and out we see public authorities trying frustrate the RTI act by making the information seekers go around in circles by flagrantly flouting simple rules. The plain fact here is that the PA in the instant case fully well knew that they came under the purview of the RTI Act (any dunce who gets his pay check of some form from the govt. should know) and had the gall to reject information requests under the pretense that they were not public bodies. Atul hit the nail on the head.....only taking the process to its logical end will make the issue get recorded in black and white and make persistence redundant.

Rajsury....just suppose that your appeal had been withdrawn...what happens? There is no record of the PA being summoned for enquiry. There is no order on the issue terming the PA as a public body....nothing in black and white. So what happens is that, when the information authorities (PIO, AA) change, there is every possibility that the new incumbents try out the same technique with new applicants. This is not fiction but happens all the time. On the contrary, the very fact that the PA had attended the enquiry (which they look down as a needless harassment) and an order pronounced on it becomes recorded...and becomes something that the successors will have to compulsorily follow. Pursuing an issue to the end using legal means permitted in the RTI act is definitely not settling personal scores.

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My experience relevant to this thread.

 

My RTI was rejected with utter disregard to the Act without giving any reason. Orally PIO said "We don't give information which we don't want to. Tumse jo banta hai kar lo (Do what ever you can).

 

I went through all the hassles of first appeal, second appeal, hearing of second appeal. Even after the second appeal hearing was over the PIO was smiling and confident.

 

Came the decision of IC holding PIO liable for penalty. And now the PIO changed his colours. He sent letter of apology to the IC with the assurance that such a mistake will not be repeated in the future.

 

The IC did not impose the penalty. Few months later, RTI request was again turned down by the same PIO (without giving reason) the FAA said, "even though the information does not fall in any exemption category the PIO has correctly rejected the request"

 

Orally, "Look, you can't do any harm to us for not giving info"

 

Need any comment?

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It looks you are loosing heart. This is the die hard attitude of the babus and it will take a while to change, if at all. Put their verbal uttering in writing and file a complaint u/s 18 read with section 20. Don't ever miss the chance to penalize the delinquents and don't ever let them go Scot free.

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It looks you are loosing heart. This is the die hard attitude of the babus and it will take a while to change, if at all. Put their verbal uttering in writing and file a complaint u/s 18 read with section 20. Don't ever miss the chance to penalize the delinquents and don't ever let them go Scot free.

 

Not the least (loosing of heart).

 

My post was in response to the decision of withdrawing of second appeal.

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I agree with Atul Patankar 100%. I understand your view point. It's quite true that the babus, who knowing very well that they are covered under the RTI Act, try their best to claim that they are not.

 

However, when the information is supplied by the public authority (which they were refusing earlier) before the date of hearing before the SIC, (these details are to be filled up in the format sent by the SIC) the Commission, of course, pulls up the public authority but normally refrain from passing anything adverse in the speaking order, unless of course, the PIO is unapologetic. But if the PIO is apologetic, the Commission normally chides him and passes an order to the effect that the case is closed as the required information is supplied by the PIO.

 

In such cases, would such order of the CIC mean confirmation of the body as public authority? i.e., if the PIO had earlier rejected the information citing that they were not covered by the RTI Act, and subsequently furnish the information and the CIC based on the facts close the case, does it indicate that theCIC concluded them to be a public authority? Can the eminent persons in the forum throw some light on the issue?

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Yes. But it has not yet reached me. Once I receive the copy, surely I'll post it in this forum. Thanks to all for your comments and good suggestions. In fact many have enlightened me on many aspects which I have not thought of. Kudos. Great work by you all, spending your time and helping out, correcting and guiding others. Hats off to you all.

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My experience relevant to this thread.

 

My RTI was rejected with utter disregard to the Act without giving any reason. Orally PIO said "We don't give information which we don't want to. Tumse jo banta hai kar lo (Do what ever you can).

 

I went through all the hassles of first appeal, second appeal, hearing of second appeal. Even after the second appeal hearing was over the PIO was smiling and confident.

 

Came the decision of IC holding PIO liable for penalty. And now the PIO changed his colours. He sent letter of apology to the IC with the assurance that such a mistake will not be repeated in the future.

 

The IC did not impose the penalty. Few months later, RTI request was again turned down by the same PIO (without giving reason) the FAA said, "even though the information does not fall in any exemption category the PIO has correctly rejected the request"

 

Orally, "Look, you can't do any harm to us for not giving info"

 

Need any comment?

 

Have you filed a Complaint before the IC? They would definitely pull up the erring official. Are you taking up the issue further?

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  • 2 years later...

Sreesnake not told anything wrong!!,,, no need to afraid to anybody. He answered with logic and as per the rule,,,, but do those things extraordinary courage needs, not everybody having that(include me!):D

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  • 2 years later...
I am sorry if my post made me sound like a demon who wants to see others writhe in embarrassment or one who wants to score points over others or settle personal scores. For shouting out loud, what do iI have PERSONAL with that PIO?

Day in and out we see public authorities trying frustrate the RTI act by making the information seekers go around in circles by flagrantly flouting simple rules. The plain fact here is that the PA in the instant case fully well knew that they came under the purview of the RTI Act (any dunce who gets his pay check of some form from the govt. should know) and had the gall to reject information requests under the pretense that they were not public bodies. Atul hit the nail on the head.....only taking the process to its logical end will make the issue get recorded in black and white and make persistence redundant.

Rajsury....just suppose that your appeal had been withdrawn...what happens? There is no record of the PA being summoned for enquiry. There is no order on the issue terming the PA as a public body....nothing in black and white. So what happens is that, when the information authorities (PIO, AA) change, there is every possibility that the new incumbents try out the same technique with new applicants. This is not fiction but happens all the time. On the contrary, the very fact that the PA had attended the enquiry (which they look down as a needless harassment) and an order pronounced on it becomes recorded...and becomes something that the successors will have to compulsorily follow. Pursuing an issue to the end using legal means permitted in the RTI act is definitely not settling personal scores.

 

sreenake, Sorry for this so belated reply from me. I agree with you 100%. I got your point in pursuing an issue till the end.

 

When the final order of the Information Commission was posted on their website and also sent to me, there was no mention about the discussion about whether the society is a public authority or not. It only says that the society had shared the information with the applicant and hence 'the case is treated as closed'. Little disappointment.

 

Thanks to the forum for sharing the member's views.

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This is general tendency of members not to report back, so do not feel so much for not providing feed back.

Even I should have done the same thing of withdrawing complaint/appeal when I receive information as what I want is information alone.

Who knows what IC decides ?

(Same case was reported at CIC. The society secretary has during CIC hearing, informed that he has brought the information and stated to IC that he is handing over that information before IC. Hon.IC said no need, you need not provide information.)

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I have started another thread, though it's continuity of this.

 

The same society, to my another query now, rejected my request stating the same reason that they are not a public authority as held by Hon'ble SC. I, then, browsed and found the following news item published by 'The Hindu' dated October 11, 2013.

 

[h=2]They don’t come under the definition of ‘public authority’ in the Act[/h] Cooperative societies will not come under “public authority” as defined under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act and hence are not liable to provide information to the general public under this law, the Supreme Court has held.

The powers exercised by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and others under the Cooperative Societies Act are “only regulatory or supervisory” and will not amount to dominating or interfering with the management or affairs of the society so as to control it. “Supervisory or general regulation, under the statute, of cooperative societies, which are body corporate, does not render [the] activities of the body so regulated subject to such control of the state so as to bring it within the meaning of “state” or instrumentality of the state,” said a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri.

Writing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said citizens could have access only to information “held” by and under the “control of public authorities,” with limitations. “If the information is not statutorily accessible by a public authority, as defined in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, evidently, that information will not be under the control of the public authority. Resultantly, it will not be possible for citizens to secure access to that information…”

The Bench pointed out that citizens forming cooperative societies “is now raised to the level of a fundamental right and the state shall endeavour to promote their autonomous functioning. Parliament, with a view to enhancing public faith in the cooperative institutions and insulating them from avoidable political or bureaucratic interference brought in the Constitutional (97th Amendment) Act, 2011.”

Recognising that the right to privacy was a sacrosanct facet of Article 21 of the Constitution, the law put in a lot of safeguards to protect the right under Section 8(j) of the RTI Act, the Bench said. “If the information sought for is personal and has no relationship with any public activity or interest or it will not sub-serve the larger public interest, the public authority or the officer concerned is not legally obliged to provide that information.”

The Bench disposed of appeals filed by Thalappalam Service Coop. Bank Ltd. and others against a Kerala High Court judgment, which held that cooperative societies would come within the ambit of the RTI Act. “We have found, on facts, that the societies, in these appeals, are not public authorities and, hence, not legally obliged to furnish any information sought for by a citizen under the RTI Act,” the Bench held.

Any review petition filed in this case? Any idea what is the finality?

 

There is absolutely no transparency on the part of many Co-operative Housing Societies, in allotting house sites. They take money in advance, before approval of the layout by CMDA or DTCP and then allot the site based on the seniority of payment of money. There is no transparency in the seniority list prepared. They don't get the local body approval and they don't satisfy the conditions putforth by the CMDA/DTCP; but allot the house sites to applicants, resulting in difficulties faced by the allottees in building houses there and at times, the approval also withdrawn by CMDA/DTCP, for not satisfying the conditions laid down by them. Someone has to curb it. RTI was helpful. But now .....???

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