Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nearly 30 million cases pending in courts

Over three million cases are pending in India's 21 high courts, and an astounding 26.3 million cases are pending in subordinate courts across the country.At the same time, there are almost a quarter million under-trials languishing in jails across the country. Of these, some 2,069 have been in jail for more than five years, even as their guilt or innocence is yet to be ascertained. This has been revealed by official figures emerging from the home ministry's department of justice, under a Right to Information Act application placed by a citizen.

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Benaras Hindu University fined for harassing Phd Scholar

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the Benaras Hindu University for "harassing and desisting" a PhD scholar from pursuing his rights under the RTI Act. Taking note of the University's adverse behaviour, the apex information body has ordered an inquiry into the matter, besides directing its information officer to provide the details to the Varanasi-resident Raj Kumar Upadhyaya free of cost by January 25 next year.

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Young guns join mission accountability

A group of youngsters has been scanning all UT and Central Government offices for proper implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The volunteers are part of a joint initiative of the Society for Prevention of Crime and Corruption and the Burning Brain Society. The youngsters have been visiting the offices in group of twos and threes since December 15, posing as common citizens trying to submit applications under the RTI Act and requesting for the proactive disclosure under Section 4 (1), (b) and (c) of the Act.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

RTI expose: `Imported wheat unfit for human consumption`

Addressing a press conference today, Somaya distributed a copy of the reply of the Sindhudurg district collector to the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) act. The reply clearly states that out of 8,404 tonnes of wheat — bought by the state government from Food Corporation of India (FCI) — since October 2006, nearly 3,777 tonnes was found unfit for human consumption by the Pune-based laboratory.

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Keep corp info confidential: CII tells govt

A showpiece legislation proposed by the government to deepen its data base about economic activity in the country has met with a less than enthulsiastic response
from industry. On behalf of industrial houses, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has reacted coolly to the Collection of Statistics Bill, 2007 moved to replace the Collection of Statistics Act, 1953, that empowers the government to seek sensitive corporate data. CII says the new law will make it mandatory for an informant asked to furnish any information under the provisions of the Act when asked to do so by government.

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‘NCW, PMO misled by Noida police’

Questioning the action taken by the Noida police to prevent the Nithari killings, the victims’ kin and activists working with them have alleged that officers of the Noida police misled the National Commission for Women and, subsequently, the Prime Minister’s Office was misled too. Commodore Lokesh Batra, an RTI and social activist who is planning to organise a meet at Jantar Mantar on December 29, said today, “We need to let the world know how officials from our governance system, who could have saved many lives if they had gone about their duties properly, have all gone scot-free.”

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Centre must give info on firms with minority govt stake: CIC

In a significant decision, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that the Union Government has to reveal information about companies even if it does not hold a controlling stake in them. A three-member bench of the Commission held this while hearing an RTI plea that challenged government's refusal to disclose details on fixed assets of BALCO saying it had no managerial control on the company after its disinvestment of 51 per cent stake to Sterlite Industries.

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Residents oppose power substation

Residents of Jai Vijay Society in Vile Parle (E) have challenged the BMC's permission to relocate a power sub-station next to their building compound. The residents, who have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, have questioned the permissions "which put lives of citizens at risk". Even the sanctioned redevelopment plan of Haripad that Jai Vijay society obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act did not show an electric sub-station on the plot. Finally, when Jai Vijay residents obtained the details from the BMC, they were shocked to learn that the wall of the new sub-station would be the same as their building's compound wall.

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Red tape worms

Information is the key to any battle, and no one knows this better than
government officials. So what do they do when the Right To Information (RTI) Act
ensures that they can't refuse information legally? Create other sorts of
roadblocks to discourage the public from asking uncomfortable questions. In the latest instance, three Delhi Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) have asked for 'fees' from an RTI applicant who sought details of impounded vehicles that lie dumped at police stations in the city. The law is clear on the 'fee' for RTI applications: Rs 10 at the time of filing an application. If an applicant needs data from official files, it will be supplied free of cost. But if he needs photocopies of files etc, then the cost is calculated at Rs 2 per page. Instead of asking for the legal fee, the three DCPs asked the applicant to deposit Rs 50,000 as 'fees', which includes photocopying charges and per day salaries of the officers given the job. Interestingly, this demand was made after three other DCPs had already supplied the same information to the applicant without asking for any extra fee, paying only for photocopying charges.

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HRA takes up displacement issue with govt

Rights defender Human Rights Alert, HRA, has submitted an application to the state home department under the Right to Information Act,RTI, seeking information as to the measures taken up by the state government toprotect the human rights of the civilians rendered internally displaced people due to the ongoing military operations in the border areas of Chandel district. The information sought by the human rights body include details as to casualties sustained in the course of Operation Samtal-II, the number of civilians killed or injured and the number of civilians displaced from their respective villages as a result of the operations.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Govt official fined under RTI

The Manipur Information Commission has for the first time imposed a stiff monetary penalty upon a senior official of the state government for failing to furnish information sought by a member of the public under the provisions of the Right to Information Act. The information commission has ordered IAS officer S Budhachandra to
pay a total amount of Rs. 9250 as fine within a period of 30 days for his failure not only to furnish the information sought under the RTI Act, 2005, but also to respond to orders issued by the commission in connection with the matter, while he was serving as state public information officer, SPIO, directorate of education (schools).

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Cabinet deliberations will be disclosed after decision taken, says CIC

Disregarding the Centre's refusal to disclose details of Cabinet deliberations, the Central Information Commission has directed it to reveal the file notings on the government's decision to prematurely terminate services of a senior Hudco official. "A Cabinet decision, the reasons thereof and the material on the basis of which the decision was taken, is liable to be disclosed once the decision has been taken and the matter is complete," chief information commissioner Mr Wajahat Habibullah said.

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Invitation: National Youth Convention on Right to Information

Dear Friends,

The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI), with JOSH and other local organizations would like to invite you to participate in a National Youth Convention on Right to Information and Democracy, to be held in Beawar on the 11th and 12th of January 08. The Convention will draw upon JOSH's experience in working with the urban poor and middle class youth on issues of transparency and accountability.

The purpose of this convention is to emphasis the importance of youth participation and prepare a road map for their contribution to the Right to Information movement. Since this Convention will be organized by a campaign with limited funds, we will request all participants of the Convention to bear their own costs for travel to Beawar. A registration fee of Rs. 50 will also be charged from each participant to help contribute towards basic food and accommodation costs.

For further information please contact:
Aheli Chowdhury 09811765959 / Saurabh Sahrma 09811 872752/Suchi
Pande 09811333041 Bhanwar Megwanshi 09352110451, MKSS 09929519361
Or via email at josh4india@gmail.com or at ncpri.india@gmail.com or
at mkssrajasthan@gmail.com


In solidarity,
Shailesh Gandhi (Convener, NCPRI), Suchi Pande (Secretary, NCPRI), Saurabh Sharma (JOSH), Aheli Chowdhury (JOSH)

SIC comes to rescue of paralysed man

The State Information Commission has come to the rescue of a paralysed man Rakesh Kumar Talwar, who had sought information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act on why the district administration sent letters regarding his compensation on his old address. SIC held that the delay in giving information to Talwar, and the unpleasantness in the Public Information Office (PIO), caused him harassment and mental tension.

The Commission has held that "not only had there been delay but also great harassment and mental tension caused to the applicant (Talwar) due to the unpleasantness in the Public Information Office." Talwar had gone to PIO to get information, following written instructions received by him to do so.

Complete Article

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

BU comes under KIC scanner

Bangalore University is set to pay a heavy price for letting lakhs of files gather dust for over 25 years. The Karnataka Information Commission has taken note of BU’s failure to digitize its documents, as mandated under the Right to Information Act, and asked the varsity to explain why it has not done so.

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GHMC makes RTI money spinner

Government bodies are devising ingenious ways to discourage lay people from using the powerful Right to Information (RTI) Act. In the latest instance, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has asked an applicant to pay a whopping Rs 1.29 lakh for seeking a certified copy.

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Delhi Police ask for money to give data

Believe it or not, senior officers of Delhi Police have actually asked for money from an applicant seeking information under the Right to Information Act. RTI activist JS Bhattacharjee wrote to the Delhi Police’s Public Information Officer in November seeking details of impounded vehicles that lie dumped at the scores of police stations in the capital. The PIO shot off a letter to 15 deputy commissioners of police to provide information to Bhattacharjee under the law. Three DCPs — in charge of IGI airport, East and West districts — wrote back asking Bhattacharjee to deposit almost Rs 50,000 as “fees” for getting the job done.

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Now you can seek info on leave tours of babus

For lakhs of public servants and bureaucrats, across the country, this could come as a shocker. Been on a foreign tour to study roads or educational practices? You owe an explanation to the public. Any citizen can now seek personal information — quantum of leave availed, tours or foreign tours — of any public servant under the Right to Information Act. Taking a cue from the United Kingdom (UK) Data Information Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has given a whole new definition to personal information of public servants in the country.

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Info kiosks in Delhi courts by Feb

With a view to provide litigants easy access to information about their cases, the city’s courts will soon have electronic information kiosks. Starting early next year, these kiosks would be installed at all the four lower courts - Tis Hazari, Patiala House, Karkardooma and Rohini, and would be operational by February. According to sources, five kiosks will be set up at each lower court, making the process much more transparent while drastically reducing the time and confusion faced by litigants.

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No RTI to seek govt`s opinion on interpretation of laws: CIC

Citizens cannot invoke their right to information in seeking opinions and advices from government over interpretation of a law, the country's apex RTI body has held. This was said by the Central Information Commission (CIC) over a retired senior officer's plea seeking from the centre an interpretation of an income tax act provision over tax exemption limits on rent payable by an assessor.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In search of a Vajpayee's ID day draft speech

Noting that the non-availability of records of drafting of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Independence day speech in 2002 as "most unusual," the Central Information Commission has directed the PMO to make "renewed effort" to trace the documents within 20 days.

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MSEDCL exposes Rs 1.3-crore theft

In a significant development, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has pulled up Subhas Tippanna Nelge, a high tension (HT) consumer at Sai Capital on Senapati Bapat road, for illegally distributing electricity to his 16 tenants. A provisional bill of Rs 1.30 crore has been served to him, which has to be paid by December 31. This information was given by the MSEDCL in its reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application submitted by Suryakant Shirole, a resident of S.B. road.

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Nawanshehar NGO tries RTI Act on Punjab MLA's performance

Elected Repersentatives! Sit up and work as your own performance as MLA, MP or minister is now open to public scrutiny, thanks to the Right to Information Act, 2005which has empowered the common man to the hilt. The Nawanshahr-based Human Empowerment League of Punjab (HELP) has shown this by getting information about the performance of all the three MLAs-Jatinder Singh Kariha, Mohan Lal Behram and Chaudhary Nand Lal, all Akalis- representing the district, under the Act. The organisation had sought from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Secretariat as to what were the questions posed by these MLAs during the previous two sessions of the Sabha and how much time they had spent in Vidhan Sabha during the sessions.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pravin's in-camera statement can be accessed after 20 years

Pravin Mahajan was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday, but thereason as to what prompted him to kill his elder brother Pramod Mahajan might remain under wraps for 20 long years. "Under section 8 of the Right to Information Act, information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court can not be accessed," said Shailesh Gandhi, a noted RTI activist. "However, another section allows this information to be given out after 20 years," Gandhi said. The full judgment of the sessions court is not yet available. So unless the judge himself had referred to Pravin's testimony, it will remain under wraps for next 20 years.

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Civic secretary's office to put records on web

The official records of the municipal secretary's office will be opened for common people. Replying to an application under the Right of Information (RTI) Act, Sharad Samel, municipal secretary and appeal authority in the case, ordered that all information related to the municipal secretary's office should be on the PMC website within a month.

Complete Article

RTI used to seek info on rivals

Political parties, corporate houses and NGOs are using the Right to Information Act to get information about their opponents - both political and business rivals. In the recent elections in Gujarat, the Opposition Congress used the information obtained through the Right to Information Act to expose the lack of performance of the state government in areas like safety of women, farmers suicides, largescale closure of small businesses and implementation of the grand schemes announced by chief minister Narendra Modi. Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharati Solanki said they obtained several types of information from the state government under the RTI Act. He said it was an excellent way of knowing the truth about various departments of the government and their workings.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Education dept seeks refuge in ‘secret’ clause

In What can be called a mockery of the Right to Information Act, the Chandigarh Administration’s Education department has denied routine information to a local resident citing its secret nature. While the Education department has denied information to the applicant, it has allowed him to inspect the “secret” documents on any working day.

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RTI disclosures: Noida in trouble

The State Information Commissioner (SIC) has asked the Noida authority to explain why its website has for close to two years been providing incorrect details of the Right to Information Act and implementing its provisions the way it chose to interpret them. The glitches, and the authority’s defiance of the SIC’s orders, were pointed out by Commodore (Retd) L.K. Batra, an RTI and social activist. He has sought compensation for appellants.

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HC allows marks' disclosure

The Delhi High Court has allowed disclosure of marks obtained by candidates in judicial services examination conducted by it. The court took the decision on the recommendation of a three-judge committee appointed by HC Chief Justice, following refusal by its information officer to disclose the marks obtained by candidates in the Delhi Judicial Services exam.

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Parliament, RTI tussle likely over expunged remarks

The Central Information Commission (CIC) says yes, but the Lok Sabha secretariat says no. In a move that is likely to pit the CIC against Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, the former says it can seek information even on remarks expunged from Parliament. However, Lok Sabha secretariat sources say the RTI or the CIC “has no jurisdiction over Parliament and there is no question of revealing information on expunged remarks”. Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, however, told DNA that he “can seek information on expunged remarks also”.

Complete Article

Sunday, December 16, 2007

CIC to inspect Par House to oversee facilitation of RTI pleas

In the wake of a complaint that the Parliament House did not have a facilitation centre to cater to applications filed under Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has said it will inspect the august premises.

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Overseas Indian Citizens entitled to info under RTI Act: SC

The Supreme Court opined that an Overseas Indian Citizen (OIC) is entitled to seek information from the authorities under the Right to Information Act (RTI). A bench of Justices S B Sinha and H S Bedi asked Kunal Saha, an OIC from the US to move a fresh application by citing his OIC status before the Medical Council of India (MCI), Kolkata branch for seeking information on the inquiry report pertaining to his wife's death.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

JU, CHRI meet on 'Strengthening RTI Act in JK'

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO working for the practical realization of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth, and the University of Jammu are organizing a day-long public consultation on the subject–“Strengthening the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act”.

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RTI on NADT curriculum

"Another interesting module this year would be the one of Right To Information. We will discuss how it is in the larger interest of the public that income tax officers should have complete transparency," he added. Said a senior officer at NADT, "Confidentiality breeds corruption and trainees will be taught on how to be honest and share information with the common man on the taxation process. The need of the hour is to sensitise the officer trainees who will one day head income-tax offices across the country." The NADT is perhaps one of the few institutions which is laying stress on RTI in its curriculum for trainees.

Complete Article

Major anomalies in PDS unearthed

Challenging bureaucratic smugness and the corrupt system under the Right to Information Act, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Assam has unearthed major anomalies in the Public Distribution System of Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar. Revealing its findings before media persons on Tuesday in the capital city, the KMSS said that the scandals in distribution of flour, rice and other food and essential items in the three districts would be placed before the public one by one.

Complete Article

Babus block RTI and get away with it

Bureaucrats are blocking RTI and they are not even being penalized for it. There are files that have remained shut for years and will remain shut in the RTI office, because the babus don't want to give access to people with queries, despite the much hyped Right to Information Act. What is worse is that the Central Information Commission is not even penalizing them for it, ironically.

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Defence Ministry's request for exemption under RTI rejected

The Defence Ministry's request for exemption from the Right to Information Act has been turned down by the Committee of Secretaries which has asked it to come up with a fresh proposal if it wants the benefit for its intelligence wing. The Committee meeting, chaired by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, also rejected a similar request from the CBI for exemption and inclusion in the second schedule of the RTI, under which as many as 22 organisations have been included for whom the Act was not applicable, official sources said today.

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Rare govt records missing at National Archives

Rare government records pertaining to events leading to abolition of privileges of erstwhile rulers of Indian states appear to be missing from the National Archives here. Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh came to know about this through an RTI application in which he had sought information on these records. The National Archives said that the documents could not be traced and they were looking for it.

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Govt to reply on steps taken to safeguard atomic power plant

Seen as an alternative energy source, how safe are the country's atomic power stations from nature's threats? Concerned over the safety hazards at a nuclear plant in Rajasthan, an amateur astronomer Manoj Pai moved the Central Information Commission inquiring on precautionary measures taken by the Centre to safeguard them from natural calamities.

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Man scores against ex-wife in dowry harassment case

Men allege that anti-dowry laws are often used to harass them. One man is using the Right to Information Act to prove his point. “My entire family was ruined after the dowry case. I lost my job and my family's honour even though I did not do anything wrong,” says Bhagat Singh, who won a case against his former wife by using the Right to Information Act.

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PIOs duty bound to reply to RTI applications

The Central Information Commission has said that every information officer is duty-bound to reply within a stipulated time to all queries made by citizens. The order came in the case of a State Bank of Saurashtra information officer who had refused to reply to an RTI applicant saying it was not necessary to respond to queries made by every citizen.

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RTI reveals education tax diverted in Tamil Nadu

The information collected by the Catalyst Trust, a voluntary organisation devoted to clean politics, good governance and citizen awareness, and the Citizens Centres that have come up under its aegis, gives rise to fears of diversion of crores of rupees collected as education tax. Here is a sampler: In 2006-07, the Chennai Corporation collected Rs 60.30 crore as education tax, of which Rs 30.11 crore has been coolly transferred to general account, and Rs 6.39 crore shown as unspent, in spite of many schools subsisting in woeful conditions. Apparently, only Rs 24 crore was spent on education.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Information officers to reply to all RTI pleas: CIC

The Central Information Commission has said that every designated information officer is duty- bound to reply within a stipulated time period to all the queries made by citizens. The order came in the case of State Bank of Saurashtra -- an associate bank of country`s largest lender Sbi, the information officer of which denied reply to an RTI plea made by one Mohammed Rasulbhai saying that it was not necessary to respond to queries made by every citizen.

Complete Article

CBI prosecution arm doesnt maintain list of cases

The CBI, which is expected to keep a tab on cases under trial involving it, has claimed it has no records of the cases pending in various courts throughout the country. Even the Central Information Commission (CIC) has expressed its inability to come to the rescue of one of CBI's lawyer who feared that the non-maintenance of list of its pending cases could compromise the agency's ability to pursue prosecution.

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RTI activist seeks action against PMC officials

Alleging that the the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officers have failed to abide by the order of information commissioner to penalise two of its officers for delaying the information sought, the applicant has demanded strict action against the officers for the contempt of commission order.

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'Govt not actively promoting RTI Act': Anna Hazare

Criticising the state government for making no effort to promote and propagate the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI), veteran social crusader Anna Hazare on Sunday stated that the government has shown a lackadaisical attitude in implementing the RTI Act. Hazare was speaking at the Sajag Nagrik Mahiti Adhikar award distribution ceremony organised by city-based organisation Sajag Nagrik Manch (SNM).

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HC rejects plea questioning Bachchan ad on UP

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition challenging an order which rejected an application questioning megastar Amitabh Bachchan's assertion in advertisements that crime was less in Uttar Pradesh during the Samajwadi Party regime. The petitioner had challenged the decision of the state information commission which had rejected his application seeking to know from Bachchan the basis of his claim in the advertisement in which he said: UP mein hai dum kyonki jurm yahan hai kam.

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DU collges not aware of Right to Info?

Even two years after the Right To Information (RTI) Act was enacted, Delhi University (DU) colleges are not complying with the rules pertaining to this law. Violating the section 4 of the Act, none of the 86 colleges have put up any details, on the website or notice board, regarding the powers and duties of its officers and employees, budget allocated, particulars of plans, proposed expenditures and reports of disbursements made, the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, among others.

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IAS officers loot funds meant for Kargil heroes

Funds collected for victims of the Kargil war, Orissa cyclone and Gujarat earthquake were misused by top IAS officers in Punjab, documents accessed using the Right to Information Act prove. CNN-IBN Correspondent Jyoti Kamal reports the documents prove that officers posted as deputy commissioners in Ludhiana, Patiala and Sangrur misappropriated and misused crores of money while heading the Red Cross societies in their districts.

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RTI plea to spur telecom litigation

A new application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act signals possibility of fresh litigation in the telecom sector. This RTI attempts to expose the telecom ministry's decision-making that led to announcing September 25, 2007 as a cut off date for processing LoIs for new telecom licences.

The growing number of RTI filings and letters of appeal to the Prime Minister, by telecom companies, parliamentarians and foreign governments are not only creating problems for the telecom ministry, but also trying to highlight India's complex investment climate to international investors.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Concern over encroachments on ponds at Thoraipakkam

The scramble for property on the Information Technology corridor has begun to claim the usual casualties — waterbodies. Several small ponds in the area have either vanished or are steadily being encroached upon. While some residents are protesting, the process is largely silent. T. Rathna Pandian of the Kancheepuram District Exnora has been attempting to gain information about a pond that is less than a km off the IT corridor in the Thoraipakkam village panchayat limits. Apparently, pattas had been given in 2001 for land that is usually under water during and after the rains and on which no houses or huts existed previously. He gathered this information by filing an application under the Right to Information Act.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pravin's in-camera testimony out of public domain till 2027

The Pramod Mahajan murder trial took an interesting turn on Friday when the accused, Pravin Mahajan, went under oath to give a testimony in his own defence. Pravin's version of what happened at the BJP leader's apartment here on April 22, 2006, before the gun shots were fired will be out of the public realm till 2027 because the proceeding was declared in-camera by court. This information cannot be made public because of section 8 (3) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act which says that all "information that is expressly forbidden from being published by a court of law" can be provided to an applicant under RTI 20 years after the occurrence of the event or matter in question.

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Govt to divulge safety test data on GM crop

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the government to make public information on safety tests data of a genetically engineered crop, while noting that such details need to be divulged as a matter of "public interest." The Department of Bio-technology (DBT) which failed to comply with the Commission's order passed in April this year to disclose details about toxicity and allergenicity data of four genetically modified (GM) crops, has now been directed to divulge data on BT brinjal.

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Bourses under RTI? SC to decide

Dragged to courts by stock exchanges, Central Information Commission now wants the Supreme Court to resolve whether bourses can be brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act or not.

"One case is in the Bombay High Court and one case is in the Delhi High Court (over the issue of bringing bourses under the transparency legislation). We are now moving to get those cases transferred to the Supreme Court," chief information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah told PTI.

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CIC favours greater financial, administrative autonomy

The Central Information Commission that has blazed a new trail in ensuring transparency in governance favours greater financial and administrative autonomy so that it is not dependent on government for its functioning. However, the apex body itself is not clamouring for amendment of the RTI Act to vest itself with more powers, since it would like to test the limits of the existing law before doing that. "What is really required is administrative and financial autonomy. At present, we are totally dependent upon the government both for administrative structure and for our finances," Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Wajahat Habibullah, said.

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Info rap & penalty on IIT

The Central Information Commission has rapped the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, for denying information on selection of OBCs as faculty to a former member of Parliament. The IIT has been ordered to pay the airfare of K.N. Murukes, who represented Tamil Nadu’s Karur in the 10th Lok Sabha. “It’s a small victory, the fact that IIT is being penalised. But they still haven’t provided the information I’d asked for,” Murukes told The Telegraph.

Murukes had asked the IIT for details of its appointment procedures, specifically those related to OBC applicants. Under the right to information act, all applications seeking information must be replied to within 30 days. Under special circumstances, the public authority can take up to 45 days. The IIT, however, took 90 days to respond and, when it did, the reply was incomplete, the information commission concluded. In addition to Murukes’s travel expenses, the institute may have to shell out as much as Rs 25,000 as fine for the delay. The commission has issued a showcause notice to the IIT seeking an explanation.

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