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Maharashtra: Activist challenges transfer of information commissioners

akhilesh yadav

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akhilesh yadav

Reported by indianexpress.com on 04 July 2013

Activist challenges transfer of information commissioners - Indian Express


Activist challenges transfer of information commissioners


Based on documents procured under the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005, an activist has challenged the transfer of state information commissioners (SIC) effected in the state last year.

In his letter to the governor, RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar cited the legal advice given by the advocate general in an earlier case in 2007-08. Last year, state chief information commissioner (SCIC) Ratnakar Gaikwad had transferred three SICs — M H Shah from Nashik to Pune, Bhaskar Patil from Amravati to Nagpur and P W Patil from Nagpur to Nashik. Kumbhar and other activists had stated that the SCIC did not have the right to transfer under the RTI Act and had asked such transfers to be revoked.


In 2007-08, Kumbhar said, the legal view of the transfers were quite complex. "Documents state that the then SIC Nagpur Vilas Patil had requested to the high power committee for his transfer to Nashik. The committee under the chairmanship of Chief Minister accepted his request and sent recommendation of transfer to the Governor," he said. The governor's office observed that as there was no provisions for SIC's transfers in the Act and asked the law and judiciary department to get the opinion of the advocate general. In his report submitted to the Governor on February 14, 2008, the AG had stated that SIC can be transferred provided he resigns from his post.


"After resigning from the present post, he could be freshly appointed to Nagpur, which would be treated as a fresh appointment," the report stated.


Kumbhar added that the three SICs were appointed for specific region by the committee and the appointment letters were signed by the Chief Secretary. "It is clear that even the high power committee can't transfer an SIC then how CIC order can execute such transfers" he said. Gaikwad, when contacted, said under Section 15(4) of the RTI, Act, the CSIC is fully empowered to take decisions independently. It reads as under — 15(4)-General Superintendence, direction and management of all the affairs of the SIC shall vest in the SCIC. He shall be assisted by SICs and may exercise all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the SIC autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act. "Please ask these activists who is otherwise empowered?" Gaikwad asked.

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akhilesh yadav

Reported by SM Fasiullah in beyondheadlines.in on 05 July 2013

RTI Files Pile Up, Appoint Full-time State Information Commissioner – AAP | Beyond Headlines : An attempt to 'report a cause aright'


RTI Files Pile Up, Appoint Full-time State Information Commissioner – AAP


RTI files are piling up in the Konkan division office of the State Information Commission (SIC) in Maharashtra, primarily due to unavailability of the commissioner to take up and address the queries.


Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Ravi Srivastava filed an RTI before the State Information Commissioner, Mumbai and sought information on efficiency of SIC of Konkan Region. The office is bound to respond in a fixed time-frame, but there’s no binding on SIC to settle 2nd appeal or complaint in a definite time-frame.


Position of Konkan division SIC is vacant since the then existing officer got transferred in May 2011. Then the state had given additional charge of Konkan region to Pune SIC, M.B. Shaha, instead of appointing a full-time commissioner. This decision has scuttled the very purpose of RTI Act, expressed Mr. Srivastava.


The RTI reply reveal that after assuming the additional charge of Konkan Division on 15th August 2011, Mr. Shaha attended office at Konkan Bhawan Navi Mumbai for only 73 days in the last 23 months i.e on an average 3 days a month.


This resulted in a huge backlog of thousands of 2nd appeals, and numerous complaints are pending with the Konkan division office (Refer scanned document). The data shows that since 2010 the commission received 11,113 2nd appeals out of which just 4,724 were disposed off.


“For all practical purposes if SIC is going by FIFO (First in first out) method all 2nd appeal applicants are waiting their appeal to be heard since his appointment i.e August 2011,” noted Mr. Srivastava.


“As on May 2013, 6389, 2nd appeals are pending with the SIC, this is pathetic and defeats the very purpose of the RTI Act. This also speaks volumes about Government’s intention, which is to scuttle the information then providing it to applicant.


“Such delays on the part of concerned officials frustrates and demoralizes the applicants and erodes their confidence in redress-al system. This encourages and flourishes corruption in Public distribution and defeats Governance.”


When it comes to 2nd appeals, the commission received a total of 1376 complaints since January 2010, out of which only 563 were disposed off, showing that complainants since June 2011 are waiting for action on their complaints.


“This is despite the fact that more then 2 dozen Indian Administrative service (IAS) officers are idling, waiting for appropriate assignment at the cost of Taxpayers money,” stated Mr. Srivastava.


AAP appeals to the State Government for a swift action and demands appointment of a full-time SIC in Konkan Division, with the hope that all the pending appeals and complaints would be disposed off properly before the year-end.

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akhilesh yadav

Reported by Anand Mishra in asianage.com on 08 July 2013

Info chief


Info chief’s low attendance revealed in RTI query


Information commissioner of the Konkan region M.B. Shaha, has showed up to work for only 71 days out of the 22 months.


Since the post of the information commissioner in the Konkan region had been lying vacant since the last three years, Mr Shaha, who is the information commissioner for Pune, was given an additional charge of handling the Konkan region. Ever since his induction, the cases of pending appeals and complaints have increased drastically.


A performance figure of the RTI office, obtained from an RTI query itself, has revealed the same. An RTI figure shows that since 2010, the commission received 11,113 second appeals, out of which only 4,724, that constitute merely 42 per cent of the total appeals, have been disposed off so far. This commission disposed 418 cases out of 3,060 cases of the second appeals in 2001, while its performance improved in the next year when the commission disposed 2,987 out of 3,294 cases filed as second appeals.


The commission received a total of 1,376 complaints between January, 2010 and May, 2013, out of which only 563 (41 per cent) were disposed off. Almost 500 complainants have been waiting for a response since June, 2011. “This is the scene despite the fact that more than two dozen Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are idling, waiting for appropriate assignment at the cost of taxpayers’ money,” said Ravi Srivastava, chief convener of the Aam Admi Party in the Thane district and RTI activist, who procured this RTI query. He has dashed off this figure to the chief minister, and has demanded to keep a full-time information commissioner who could clear the backlog of appeals and complaints within a stipulated period


He said, “There are specific time frames within which a reply has to be made to RTI queries. But, the disposal of the first and second appeal has no such bindings on the Information commissioners. So, I have demanded that the CM should fix such bindings.”


However, commenting on Mr Shaha’s performance, another noted RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “Mr Shaha’s disposal rate and quality of decision has been very pathetic. The Konkan division needs another information commissioner immediately.”


Despite repeated attempts, Mr Shaha was unavailable for comment.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Super Moderator

[h=1]Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra government to file affidavit on info chief's power[/h]

The Bombay high court on Monday directed the state government to submit an affidavit on the PIL filed by an RTI activist stating that the chief information commissioner (CIC) encroached on the jurisdiction of the governor. The affidavit has to be filed in three weeks. The order was given by chief justice Mohit Shah and justice BP Colabawalla of the Bombay high court.

What exactly is the issue?

Due to vacancy and mounting second appeals, state CIC Ratnakar Gaikwad had changed the bench of Ravindra Jadhav, information commissioner of the Amravati bench, to Pune bench.

What's the problem in it?

RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who filed the PIL, questioned the move of the commissioner. In the PIL, he stated that the info chief misused his power under the RTI Act. He contended that he can only supervise the functioning and that appointing a commissioner to a bench can be done only by the governor. Anil Galgali, another activist who too had complained on the issue, had written to the government on the powers of the commissioner and its appointment. He was told that names for commissioners are to be recommended by a committee led by the chief minister and the appointments done by the governor.

What does CIC have to say?

state chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad did not reply to the message sent by dna. The next hearing of the case is scheduled to be heard on February 9.


Read More: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-bombay-high-court-asks-maharashtra-government-to-file-affidavit-on-info-chief-s-power-2052300

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  • 3 months later...
akhilesh yadav

The Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the state's Chief Information Commissioner from transferring any district Information Commissioners to any other district until April 27.A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice V L Achliya passed the stay order and directed the Advocate General to appear before the court in the next hearing. The court passed the order while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who challenged the transfer of the Amravati district Information Commissioner to Pune.Read at: Bombay High Court prohibits transfer of district Information commissioners | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

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akhilesh yadav

PUNE: The Bombay high court has directed the state chief information commissioner (CIC) not to transfer any state information commissioner (SIC) till a further order is issued by the court.A high court bench of Justices Naresh H Patil and V L Achliya passed an interim order to this effect on April 17, while responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Pune-based activist Vijay Kumbhar. Kumbhar has challenged the state CIC's powers under Section 15 (4) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, regarding transfer and posting of SICs.Read at: HC restrains CIC from transferring information chiefs - The Times of India

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