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Uttarakhand frames rules for effective implementation of RTI Act


akhilesh yadav

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akhilesh yadav

Uttarakhand frames rules for effective implementation of RTI Act

 

Reported by (PTI) thehindu.com on Jan 4,2013

The Hindu : States / Other States : Uttarakhand frames rules for effective implementation of RTI Act

 

Uttarakhand has framed its own set of rules for the effective implementation of the Right to Information Act, with the State Cabinet on Thursday giving its nod to the Uttarakhand RTI rules aimed at removing the bottlenecks impeding the process.

These rules will simplify the task of information seekers by defining in clear terms the responsibilities of Public Information Officials and facilitating the process of filing of petitions under RTI and disclosure of information, official sources said after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Uttarakhand RTI rules make it clear that opinions, advice or suggestions, which are not in a written form, do not fall into the category of information, and personal information, not related to public interest and intruding upon someone’s privacy, are not meant to be disclosed.

In another significant decision, the Cabinet gave its approval to an amendment in the eligibility criteria for the beneficiaries of the unemployment allowance.

Now, more than one unemployed person from a family with an annual income 2.5 lakh can avail of this scheme. As per earlier provisions, only one unemployed member of a family with 1.15 lakh per year could avail of the scheme.

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akhilesh yadav

Cabinet to promulgate Uttarakhand Right To Information Rules 2012

 

 

Reported by thepioneer.com on Jan 4,2013

http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/dehradun/120024-cabinet-to-promulgate-uttarakhand-right-to-information-rules-2012.html

 

The Cabinet has decided to promulgate Uttarakhand Right To Information Rules 2012 to make it more effective. With this decision Information commission, which quite often reprimands or embarrasses government official, will face inimical situation and chances are prevalent to have direct fight between government and information commission.

It may be noted that Section 27 of RTI 2005 confers power to the State Governments to make appropriate rules to make RTI more effective. State Government has created appropriate rules for prescribing information for disclosure, process of application, process of obtaining information, responsibilities of PIOs, first appeal, process of hearing by second appellate Authority, penalty imposed by the Commission, process for the recovery of reimbursement and resolving difficulties under this rule.

As per the rule, opinions, advice or ideas which are not in a written form or content are not information. Enquiring why any work was done in that way, why it was not done in another way, it could have been done in some other way, whether the work was appropriate or not are not information till they are in written or content form. The State Government, periodically, through Pubic Authorities, can publish the prescribed information exempted from suo moto disclosure in its Gazettes. The prescribed information would be converted into record and electronic form within 60 days of the publication.

The public authority would update the prescribed information annually. Hindi or English language would be used. In case the applicant seeks more than one information in single application then the PIO would transfer the application for information not falling under him to other PIO of respective public authority and inform about it to the applicant. In case the sought information is not clear then the PIO would clarify it within 5 days of the filing of application. However, these five days will not be counted in the actual process of providing information. All the information not in favour of public interest and is encroachment to privacy of other person will not be disclosed.

 

The applicants can hire advocate or take help of any other persons to present his side during the process. The penalty imposed upon the PIO could be recovered after two months of Commission’s order. Thereafter, Commission would not take any action or hearings on the issue.

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akhilesh yadav

Tolia demands withdrawal of new RTI Rules

Reported by garhwalpost.in on Feb 05, 2013

Welcome to Garhwal Post...........

 

In a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, former Chief Information Commissioner Dr RS Tolia has mentioned his visit to the venue of a one day fast undertaken by ‘some well-meaning RTI Activists under the leadership of the RTI Club of Uttarakhand opposing the recently notified RTI Rules, 2012 by the Government of Uttarakhand. He has appended a copy of their demands.

In their representation, the RTI Activists have made the following main demands:

(a) The recently notified RTI Rules 2012 be immediately withdrawn by the Government of Uttarakhand.

(b) Instead of unilaterally notifying such rules, the Government of Uttarakhand ought to first put the proposed Draft RTI Rules on its website and seek suggestions on the same and only after seeking the opinions and views of all possible stake-holders, it should notify fresh RTI Rules.

© The RTI Activists, spearheaded by a registered society, the RTI Club, Dehradun have even offered to suggest Model RTI Rules for Uttarakhand which factors in the sentiments and interests of all sections affected by the RTI Act, including the State Government.

(d) The RTI Act 2005 has no doubt been instrumental in exposing a large range of corrupt activities and incidents involving corrupt practices all over the country, including several cases in Uttarakhand. This has led to threats and even assassination of whistle-blowers all over the country. One such case has also been brought to light and that is the assassination of the late Jagdish Prasad Chauhan. The State Police according to the RTI activists has not taken the investigation of this heinous crime with the seriousness that it deserves. They have demanded the investigation to be handed over to the CBI forthwith.

Tolia has said that as the Founding Chief Information Commissioner of the Uttarakhand Information Commission of Uttarakhand (2005-10), considering the contents of and circumstances under which these Rules have been notified, he finds himself in complete support of the demands that have been made by the RTI Activists, led by the RTI Club of Uttarakhand, a genuine organisation of concerned citizens who have been taking up many public causes since its inception.

Aligning himself fully with the demand that has been made by the RTI Activists, he has requested consideration of the following:

A. Accept the demand of the RTI Activists mentioned above, and withdraw the RTI Rules with immediate effect which have been notified unilaterally, without any consultation with a large range of stake-holders, namely, the common citizen, Uttarakhand Information Commission of Uttarakhand, Various Public Authorities under the Executive, the State Legislature and the Judiciary, Press and Media, Academics and the Social Scientists, the NGOs, legal experts, appellants and complainants and so on.

B. Establish a Consortium of RTI for Uttarakhand, which should be either chaired by the Chief Information Commissioner himself, or an eminent public personality, or an acknowledged authority having experience of the RTI Act provisions and its experience all over the country during the past 7 years or so, which should be mandated to consider all suggestions received on better functioning of the RTI Act in Uttarakhand, including any Rules that may be considered for notification. Only after a detailed and exhaustive discussion in this Consortium should the Government consider first drafting the Proposed Rules and after receiving all suggestions on the same consider going ahead with those Rules which would further facilitate effective RTI Act implementation in this State.

C. So far, Uttarakhand has had a good track record of implementation of the RTI Act, therefore nothing should be done, by any section, least of all the Government responsible for framing RTI Rules, which should smack of an attempt to stifle the good progress made by the RTI Act in general in the entire country, and in Uttarakhand in particular.

“I am quite sure that you would not like Uttarakhand State to be categorised with the states that are going backwards and trying to smother the voice of the people and trampling over their civil rights, including the Right to Information,” he adds. “Uttarakhand should move forward as a pioneering state in the country, in effective and model implementation of the RTI Act.”

“I will fervently appeal to you to kindly listen to the demands made by the RTI Activists and direct the Nodal Department to take up immediate steps for withdrawing the notified Rules and take steps for formulating New Rules in consultation with all possible stake-holders of the RTI Act.”

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Dear all,

Readers may recollect our email alert about the new RTI Rules proposed by the Government of Uttarkhand. We have learnt that the new set of Rules have been notified in January itself. So they have technically become operational. The new Rules imply-

1) A public authority will provide information to BPL applicants upto Rs. 100 free of cost in a given month. So if 10 BPL persons seek information in a month, the public authority will stop at the 50th page even if it amounts to giving information to only 2 or 3 people free of cost. All other BPL applicants will have to pay fee at actual rates for getting information.

2) A Public Information Officer (PIO) can suspend the 30-day deadline for disposing RTI applications indefinitely on the excuse that the applicant has not clearly identified what specific information he/she requires.

3) A PIO is empowered to reject a request at his/her discretion simply on the ground that the applicant is seeking information in the form of queries.

4) The Uttarakhand Information Commission is barred from conducting any inquiry while deciding a second appeal before it. So the Commission will be forced to accept what a public authority tells them as the gospel truth during appeal proceedings.

5) The Uttarakhand Information Commission is barred from seeking compliance with its penalty orders. When the public authority reports receipt of the penalty order, the Commission will be forced to close the matter. No further proceedings will be allowed.

6) The Uttarakhand Information Commission is barred from seeking compliance with its compensation orders. When the public authority reports receipt of the compensation order, the Commission will be forced to close the matter. No further proceedings will be allowed.

CHRI has sent a detailed analysis of the new RTI Rules to the Chief Minister, Uttarakhand. In order to build pressure on the Government to restore the more citizen-friendly RTI Rules notified in 2005, CHRI has written to the Chairperson, National Advisory Council (NAC) – Mrs. Sonia Gandhi seeking urgent intervention. A copy of the letter sent to the Chairperson, the Secretary and all Members of the NAC is attached along with the detailed analysis. Kindly circulate this mail and the attachment as widely as possible.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Venkatesh Nayak

Programme Coordinator

Access to Information Programme

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

B-117, First Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave

New Delhi- 110 017, INDIA

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