Monday, January 30, 2006

Fed-up, student tries right of info

Satyam applied for revaluation and his marks in general course were increased by 21 in June 2004. On July 2, 2004 he applied for revised DMC of honours in Public Administration, but he is still waiting for the revised DMC, as the marks increased in general course were to be added to that scored in honours course. The student sent at least six reminders to the university but it was of no use. Finally, the dealing clerk in the examination branch told him to apply for duplicate DMC for honours, which means that his original has been lost. Fed up with system, Satyam has also filed an application under Right to Information Act (RTI), while applying for duplicate DMC.
Satyam has sought information from Controller of Examination in writing, "Where is my revised original DMC of honours? If it has been prepared and dispatched, then what is the date of preparation and date of dispatch by post under UPC?" Satyam told TOI that no receipt or acknowledgement is given to a student who submits his original certificate for honours for getting revised certificate if his marks are changed after re-valuation in the general course.

Complete Article

Sunday, January 29, 2006

One pothole, more than 200 kg of asphalt mix

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) F-South ward office has disclosed that it used 208 metric tonnes of asphalt mix to repair 945 potholes following the deluge in July last year. That’s 2,08,440 kg or about 220 kg per pothole.

Complete Article

Bihar RTI implementation

Bihar Information Minister Arjun Rai today said that the Right to Information Act will be effectively implemented in the state and steps were being taken to ensure that the people could avail details of various developmental schemes on demand.
Addressing a press meet here, Mr Rai said the district offices of the Public Relations department would be computerised and would be connected through Internet.

He informed that the information department building in the state capital was being made high tech and it would be completed by March.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Jyoti Basu’s 14 foreign trips cost state Rs 18 lakh only...

The state government has stated that it incurred an expenditure of Rs 18,25,600 in connection with the foreign trips of former chief minister, Mr Jyoti Basu, between 1987 and 2000.

The government said this in a letter to the state BJP president, Mr Tathagata Roy, on 25 January. Mr Roy had asked for the information from the state government, exercising the right of a citizen in accordance to the Right to Information Act.

Complete Article

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RTI exposes: Examiner's recklessness costs student's life

Pondicherry, Jan 24: Making use of the provisions of the Right to Information Act, the parents of a second year student of Pondicherry Engineering College have obtained excerpts of the report of the inquiry commission that had identified the causes for the suicide by the student in July 2003.

Pondicherry additional district magistrate G Ragesh Chandra, who was the inquiry officer, had stated in the report submitted to the government in April last, that the inquiry authority had noticed that the prime cause resulting in the death of the student was "reckless, careless, incompetent and inattentive" evaluation of the student's answer sheet by a mathematics lecturer in Annamalai University.

Complete Article

Monday, January 23, 2006

When an info commission finds fault with the High Court

Here’s more power for the Right To Information (RTI) activists and citizens who have been using this Act. That, suo motu disclosures by every government department is mandatory has been spelt out in a landmark order of the Karnataka Information Commission which did not even spare the High Court.

Complete Article

Saturday, January 21, 2006

'Take advantage of RTI Act to be informed citizens, change society’

“Students of management and business administration need to learn how to work with the government within the framework of laws and regulations. For this, it is important that they know how the government functions. The law on right to information is a vital tool in this regard.” This was stated by Dr Yogendra Narain, Secretary-General, Rajya Sabha at a seminar on “Right to Information: Challenges before management” at Jaipuria Institute of Management, in Lucknow on Friday.

Complete Article

Friday, January 20, 2006

In Goa, Right to Information Act, a mirage

Although the central Right to Information Act came into force on October 12, 2005, the state government has still not constituted the state information commission, has not appointed the state information commissioner, not notified the public information officers of some departments and also not notified the rules for the Act.

But the state government’s lethargy in implementing the RTI in Goa has caused citizens to suspect that the government and its babus are trying to suppress transparency by denying citizens their right to know.

Complete Article

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Manisha Verma's report on the EGS scam

Case studies of villages in three talukas of Solapur district where work proposals were made by breaking every rule in the EGS manual and bypassing every procedure prescribed by law, starting from the field visit to technical scrutiny and sanction.

Manisha Verma, the then collector of Solapur, writes in what she calls ‘case studies’.

Complete Article

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

EGS scam in Maharashtra: report obtained under RTI

The Rs.9.1 crore Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) scam unearthed by the former Solapur Collector Manisha Verma in July 2005 may have faded in a whimper, as do many controversies, but her detailed report to the divisional commissioner on the malfunctioning of the EGS in Solapur district may well throw light on the general malady afflicting a noble scheme that's earned a notorious reputation.

The Indian Express has procured the complete report under the Right To Information from the divisional commissioner's office last fortnight.

Complete Article

Patna University enforces RTI actt

Patna University (PU) has enforced the Right to Information Act, 2005, with a view to containing corruption and holding public authority accountable to the governed. A notification to this effect was issued by PU recently. PU computer programme officer K P Singh has been appointed as the information officer.

Complete Article

Chhattisgarh to apprise Centre over RTI blues

With the Right To Information (RTI) Act coming into force, people living below the poverty line, entitled to get any amount of information free of cost, are apparently being used by influential people putting many government departments in a fix.

As per the provisions of the RTI Act, which came into effect from October 12 last year, those from the BPL families are exempted from depositing the prescribed fee for seeking information and they are entitled to get written information free of cost. Besides, information concerned has to be provided within 30 days

Complete Article

Punjab prescribes exorbitant Fee

Three months have passed since the passage of Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI) but the progress made by the Punjab Government to live up to the spirit of the Act is lacking till today. Interestingly, both the Centre and State governments are under the supervision of the Congress led coalition, but Punjab seems to be undoing what the UPA has done by passing this Act.

RTI specifies a nominal fee fixed by the respective Commissions which has to be submitted along with the application fee. It is clearly specified in the Section 7 (sub-section 5) of the Act that the `fee prescribed shall be reasonable'. Subsequently, the central government has fixed Rs.10 as the application fee and Rs.2 for each page created or copied. But the Fee Rules released by the Punjab Government has prescribed exorbitant fee of Rs.50 with the application form and Rs.10 per page created or copied. Besides this, for information provided in diskette or floppy the central government has fixed a fee of Rs.50 while the Punjab government has fixed a fee of Rs.50 for floppy and Rs.100 for diskette.

IFDR condemns such exorbitant fee prescribed by the Punjab government. It is against the provisions of RTI and is extremely biased against the common people. The government has forgotten the principle of cost which should have been applied while framing these rules. It is anti-people and is aimed at dissolving the potential of the RTI. IFDR demands immediate correction in the fee rules so that these can be brought at par with the central government. Even Karnataka and Rajasthan governments have adopted the fee specified by the central government. Further, RTI states that as soon as the rules are notified these shall be laid before the State Legislature. But the government seems to be disinterested in this matter. Even the opposition has not bothered to take up the matter and wishes to be a mute spectator to these developments. Punjab government has also shown laxity in suo moto declarations of Public Information Officers in various departments and most of the offices have till today not received any notification in this regard.

RTI has special significance for our democracy since it opens up immense possibilities for evolving a new political culture in India. But Punjab government seems to be unwilling to live up to the provisions of the Act. We demand that the government should take immediate corrective steps in proper implementation of RTI.

- Yogesh Snehi

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dharna to demand institution of Rajasthan Info Commission

NCPRI with some other organisations,NGOs and people working on RTI ,is organising one day dharna at Badi Chopar Square, Jaipur at 11:00 AM on 19.01.2006. The dharna is to demand the institution of the Rajashtan Information Commission and the appointment of the Information Commissioners.

Request all to be present in large numbers! Letter of invitation

Penalty against PIO for leving unreasonable fees

Dear all,

This is the FLASH NEWS. We just received telephonic call from Sri T R Ravi that half an hour(4.30 pm). Back the PIO has deputed 3 of his staff to his house and handed the Information sought for by Sri T R Ravi without collecting any fees. Further they have informed Sri T R Ravi that the State Information Commissioner has imposed a Penalty of Rs 15000/- on the PIO ( ARO BMP Chickpet) Further Details and Order Copy are Awaited and This was due to intense Arguments and Presentations made to Sri Thippeswamy State Information Commissioner , By Two Katte Members on the Callous way BMP Officials are making on RTI 2005 applications .
We Think that this must be First Case of Imposing Penalty under the New Law and by the Information Commissioner in Karnataka .
Hats off to Sri T R Ravi and all his friends in Nagara Nagarika Samithi.
Kria Katte

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Show cause to PIO for unreasonable fees

Applicant: T R Ravi of Nagara Nagarikara Samithi ,Ramachndrapura, Bangalore 560021 and member of Kria Katte .

Applied on 11/11/2005 for four Documents to Asst Revenue Officer Chickpet Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (PIO)seeking information on an Property and the Revenue Collections .
On 14/11/2005 The PIO sent him a reply with 2 Documents stating that He had appropriated the INTIAL FEES for these 2 documents at rate of Rs 5/- each and other two documents are ready and to be collected on payment of Rs 5/- each that is Rs 10/-
Mr T R ravi the Applicant lodged an Complaint with the Information Commissioner on this Demand for High and Reasonable fees .

The Information Commission vide their Proccedings No KK.COM.08.05 dated 30/11/05 issued an show cause notice to the Subject PIO as follows
"Show cause why an enquiry should be intiated against you for seeking unreasonbly high fees for obtaining information in excess of the fee prescribed under Karnataka Right To Information Rules 2005" .
The Commission called for Explanations from the PIO by 25/12/2005 .
The PIO failed to Submit his Explanations till date and the Due Date .
The Info Commission on 27/12/2005 vide their Procceddings SIC/08/DOOA/05
Has now issued Further summons for the PIO to appear Before for Explanations and Not Submitting Replies to its Show cause Notice on 16/01/2006.
We are given to understand that Commission having Taken Serious note Non submission of Reply to its Show cause Notice May Impose Penalties on the erring PIO in this case The Asst Revenue Officer Chickpet BMP .

-Kria Katte

Saturday, January 14, 2006

RTI effect: Random 5 pc of EGS muster rolls to be checked

A day after the The Indian Express first reported how corruption is wrecking the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in Maharashtra villages, the EGS Department today ordered divisional commissioners and district collectors across the state to check 'a random five per cent' of EGS muster rolls and works carried out since October, 2005.

Complete Article

Friday, January 13, 2006

BMP officials scared of Begum to give information to media

It has been 90 days since the Right to Information Act came into force in the country and the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is working hard to find ways to shroud vital information from public scrutiny. To make the matters worse, the BMP officials told this website’s newspaper that now they are being told by the mayor not to talk much even to the media.

“We are pulled up by the mayor if we are quoted in the media on technical issues regarding the infrastructure and city governance. Officials are told to give information and opinions only to the Mayor's office,” said a bureaucrat.

Complete Article

Thursday, January 12, 2006

S. Ramakrishnan is Tamil Nadu CIC

The State Government on Thursday took a significant step to make the Tamil Nadu Information Commission functional by appointing the Commissioners.

A retired officer of the Indian Administrative Service, S. Ramakrishnan, has been named the State Chief Information Commissioner, and two other retired officers have been appointed Commissioners. They are G. Ramakrishnan and R. Rathinasamy.

Complete Article

Assets & Liabilities stmt of an officer cannot be held to be a private document of the official

Appeal number LD1 RTI 2005

Appellant: Respondent:
Shri.G Ventakatesh Bhovi, Shri.GS Lakshmipathy,
Convenor,All india Dalit front, Deputy Secretary,
Jaraganahally, Public Information Officer,
No 36,JP Nagar Post, Labour Department,
Bangalore-560078 Karnataka Government

Brief summary of case:

RTI Application date: 25-10-05
Information demanded: Service register extract; assets and liabilities statement for period 1-04-1996 to 31-03-2005 of Shri.Ramachandrappa, Joint Director(Administaration),Directorate of Employm,ent and Training, Bangalore

Rejection of application by PIO: 28-10-2005.
Reason given by PIO for rejection: Service register extract; assets and liabilities statement not available in this office but is with the Accountant General and also would be an invasion of privacy of the concerned officer hence can not be given.

Reasoned order of Appellant Authority:
Assets and Liabilities statement of an officer can not be held to be a private document of the official.
Section 8(1)(j) of RTIA-2005 clearly states that information which can be sough by state legislature, can not be denied to any other applicant.

Kind Regards,
Veeresha BH
India RTI

Cong threatens using RTI on phone tapping issue

The Congress today threatened to use Right to Information Act, if the Delhi Police failed to make public, the details of the CDs seized in the Samajwadi Party phone tapping issue. The Congress said disclosure of conversations recorded in the phone tapping episode were essential to put an end to the controversy in which AICC president Sonia Gandhi was being accused by the ruling SP.

Complete Article

On accessing file notings, the CIC has struck the right

Institutions are only as resilient as the people who run them, especially if the institution happens to be the new kid on the block. The Central Information Commission is very much a work in progress, its credibility — in fact the credibility of India’s right to information regime — hinges crucially on the men and women who comprise it. It is reassuring, therefore, that the man who currently heads it, Chief Information Commission Wajahat Habibullah, has chosen to read the word “information” in the Right to Information Act in a maximalist rather than minimalist manner.

Complete Article

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

In model Maharashtra, the dead are paid to siphon off job funds

Thane Public Works Department (PWD) records say that in January 2005, Ganga Ghatal of Bopdari village, it's on Mumbai's doorstep received Rs 961 for 11 days of "excavating soft rock" for a village road. Ganga's supposed fingerprint is an ink blob, certifying the payment for work on the Rs 5.1 lakh 900-m Bopdari-Chandoshi approach road carried out under PWD engineer P M Patkar.

But The Indian Express obtained muster rolls from PWD officials under the Right to Information Act and went to Bopdari to find that Ganga got no money - he had killed himself a year earlier, in 2004.

Complete Article

You can access file notings, govt stand not binding on me, says IC

Pitting himself against a defiant bureaucracy, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has said that as far as he is concerned, file notings come under the definition of information and, therefore, are accessible under the Right to Information Act.
He has also made it clear that the Department of Personnel's definition which excludes file notings and the PM's recent guidelines on making only select notings public are not binding on him.

Complete Article

Maharashtra CIC's commendable position

Dr. Suresh Joshi,
Chief Information Commissioner Of Maharashtra,
New Administrative building, Mantralaya, Mumbai.

Dear Sir,

I had the privilege of sharing the podium with you in the Seminar on the Right To Information Act held at the Jitendra Chauhan College of Law last evening.

Apart from your erudite explanation of the Act and its purpose, you made two very important announcements, which will go a long way in strengthening the implementation of the RTI act. On consulting with other members of the NCPRI working committee, we felt that we would like to felicitate and congratulate you for these.

During your speech, you made two important points:

You very correctly took the position that file notings are permitted information as the Act stands and have declared that you will permit demands for file notings from requisitioners of information.
You also clearly announced that though there is no time limit specified in the Act for disposal of Second appeals by the Information Commission, you will ensure a norm of disposing second appeals within four weeks.

By these clear announcements you have demonstrated two important characteristics which will have a very far reaching positive impact on the working of the act:

You have upheld the eminent Constitutional position given to the Commission by unequivocally stating that you will act as per the law, and will not accept fallacious interpretations from anybody;- no matter what their position. This gives us great hope for the future of this Act.
You have demonstrated your willingness and commitment to set norms and follow them in the spirit of the Act, even where the RTI Act has been silent. This ability to lay down the discipline and publicly announce it, shows a rare willingness for accountability.

On behalf of the National Campaign for People’s Right To Information we thank you for espousing the letter and spirit of the Right To Information Act. We also appreciate the fact that you have done justice to the eminent Constitutional position and responsibility thrust on you at a very historic moment of the Right To Information campaign. We are sure you will consistently maintain this proactive stance to ensure that Right To Information leads to a true participatory democracy for India.

We look forward to working with you,

Best regards,

Yours truly,
Shailesh Gandhi
Working Committee member of
National Campaign for People’s Right To Information- NCPRI

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bihar lags behind in implementing provisions of RTI Act

The Bihar Government is yet to constitute a State Information Commission under the provisions of Right to Information Act (RTI), adopted by the Parliament in June last year, nor has any action been initiated so far to implement other provisions of the legislation.

Bihar's Personnel and Administrative Reforms secretary Ravi Kant said that the SIC would be constituted soon, and denied that the non-constitution of the commission was ''not hampering in the common people getting the information they desired.'' Meanwhile, the state's Information Minister Arjun Rai said that the Nitish Kumar government would implement the RTI Act in letter and spirit as it was committed to bring transparency to the government's functioning.

Complete Article

Know your RTI through

Want to know about the Right to Information (RTI) Act? All you have to do is to tune in to the programme Tila Tila Daar Ughad (Open Sesame), to be broadcastby All India Radio (AIR), Pune at 7.16 am on Saturdays. AIR and Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) have tied up to produce a 52-episode programme, which will be broadcast to all districts in the State for a period of one year. Probably the first of its kind in the country, the first episode will be aired this Saturday.

Complete Article

DDA bid to implement Right to Information Act

40 directors appointed as Public Information Officers. Name, designation, work profile and number of PIO given on the form. The applicants can deposit their applications in all the seven offices of DDA at Vikas Minar, Vikas Sadan, Khel Gaon, Dwarka, Rohini and Vasant Kunj where the forms are being received.

Complete Article

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Punjab and Haryana HC goes slow on RTI

It's been close to three months since the Right to Information (RTI) Act came into effect, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court has not designated any public information officer yet to provide information to citizens requesting information under the Act.

The appointment of the information officer was mandatory under provisions of the Act. The RTI Act came into force on October 12, 2005—the 120th day of the passing of the legislation in the Parliament

Complete Article

Right to Information? LDA says... my foot!

If you think that the Right to Information Act (RTI) has provided you with the freedom to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, consistent with public interest try asking LDA.

After mulling the queries for over a week, mandarins at the LDA rejected all the three applications stating that the information was either unavailable or never gathered in the context in which it was sought.

Complete Article

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Test case for Third Party Clause

In what is being seen as a test case for the Right to Information Act, which became a national enactment from October 12, an appeal seeking the income tax returns filed by Applause Bhansali Films—the makers of the film, Black—has been rejected by the income tax authorities.

Complete Article

Monday, January 02, 2006

Haryana RTI rules declared

Those seeking information under the Right to Information Act in Haryana, would have to submit applications in a prescribed form and fee either in cash against proper receipt or by treasury challan, to the concerned State Assistant Public Information
Officer (APIO) or State Public Information Officer (PIO).

While stating this here today, an official spokesman said that an application for obtaining any information under sub section (1) of section 6 would have to be accompanied with a fee of Rs 50. For providing an information under sub section (1) of section 7, the fee would be Rs 10 for each page in A-4 or A-3 size paper created or copied and in case of a paper larger than that of specified in clause (a), the actual cost of such a paper would be charged.

Complete Article

Right to Information sans intimidation

The real tragedy is that our Constitution makers included ‘the right to information’ as part of the Constitutional guarantees relating to freedom of speech and expression. This right was later upheld by the Supreme Court in one of its landmark orders relating to governmental control over newsprint and illegal bans on the distribution of newspapers. The successive Congress Governments showed indivisible contempt towards the Supreme Court on the one hand and the common people of India on the other.

Complete Article

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