Monday, March 31, 2008

CIC to govt: Place Ambassador`s letters on Oil-for-food scam

The Central Information Commission has directed the Centre to present before it copies of letters sent by Indian Ambassador in Iraq to the government in 2004 allegedly giving details on non-contractual beneficiaries in the Oil-for-food scam. The Commission passed the order on an RTI application filed by Bangalore-resident Arun Kumar Agrawal who was denied the details on the ground that divulging the information would affect India's relations with Iraq.

Complete Article

Officer fined for delay in giving information under RTI Act

The information commission has imposed a fine of Rs 10,750 on the public information officer, superintendent of police, South, Mr Shekar Prabhudesai for delay in furnishing information under the Right to Information Act. Its order, on March 27, stated that there was a delay of 43 days which it described as "willful, deliberate and malafide."

The commission comprising of the state chief information commissioner, Mr A Venkataraman and the state information commissioner, Mr G G Kambli, also recommended disciplinary proceedings against Mr Prabhudessai for willful disobedience of orders and said that the penalty amount be recovered from the April and May salary in "equal instalments."

Complete Article

RTI effect - Mah Pollution Body impose fresh conditions on DOW's Chakan plant

Belatedly though, the state-run Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has chosen to rein in the DOW Chemicals International Pvt Ltd (DCIPL), by imposing fresh conditions on it for carrying out Research & Development (R&D) activities at its controversial Rs 300 crore Chakan plant, near Pune. In its revised consent issued to the MNC in the wake of vehement protests by affected villagers and RTI activists against the environmental hazards likely to be posed by it, the MPCB has made it mandatory on the part of DCIPL to obtain a clearance from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India. Acting at the behest of a special study committee headed by State Environment Secretary S Goyal, the MPCB has also directed the wholly-owned enterprise of the US-based DOW to obtain statutory permissions from the office of Directorate of Industrial Safety & Health Services and Department of Explosives, informed official sources say.

The MPCB's revised consent to DCIPL, which overrides the consent issued earlier to the company on October 19,2007, comes in the wake of continued protests by the people of Shinde-Vasuli village, near Chakan, and an intense campaign being carried out by Pune-based RTI activist-cum-senior journalist Vinita Deshmukh who, through her crusade in her weekly tabloid "Intelligent Pune" has exposed chinks in the DOW enterprise's "camouflage" that its Chakan plant is an R&D centre and not a manufacturing plant.

The Daily Pioneer
MARCH 30,2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Co-operative housing society secretary is liable to act as a PIO: SIC Khan

In order to serve the purpose of providing information under RTI Act 2005, there is a provision to appoint public information officers in the offices of public authorities as per the Rule-5 of Chapter-2. Hence, under the Rules-5 and 19, according to the letter 3704/ prash-1, dated 27-12-2005, the UP Housing Avam Development Board appointed assistant housing commissioner/ assistant registrar as a PIO (public information officer) and joint housing commissioner/ joint registrar as first appellate authority in order to provide information to the general public about the co-operative housing societies in the respective areas of the officers. Thus, access to the information needed to be easy for the applicants and to end the mounting hassles, Dr. MAA Khan, Housing Commissioner, issued a letter (Number 3273) following the article 2 (J) (III) along with 2(A) of RTI Act 2005, dated November 16, 2006 in which it was noticeably stated that the secretary of the co-operative housing societies is liable to work as a PIO to general public for absolute transparency in the system.

Complete Article

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Right won to scan script

An examinee is entitled to see his evaluated answer scripts under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Calcutta High Court ruled on Friday. Justice Sanjib Banerjee, while delivering the order, directed Calcutta University to show the script of mathematics paper V (B.Sc) to Pritam Ruz, who had appeared in the graduation Part II exams from Presidency College last year.

Complete Article

CIC frowns over Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings

The Centre's reluctance to reveal file notings under the RTI Act gives an "adverse" view on the functioning of the government which could otherwise take credit for enacting the transparency law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has said. The CIC's observation came as it blamed the DoPT -- Centre's administrative authority in terms of RTI Act -- for its website's content saying that citizens cannot get access to file notings under the Right to Information law.

Complete Article

GM brinjal battle goes to HC

It's a classic case of commercial interest vs public interest which could set an important precedent. Genetically modified brinjal — expected to be the country's first edible GM crop — could find its way to your plate soon. But first, Delhi high court will have to decide whether the company conducting its field trials can keep data on health and environment safety tests out of the public domain on the grounds that the information is a "trade secret". A representative of environmental watchdog Greenpeace sought access to the data under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

Complete Article

RTI Effect: IITs keep selection process simple

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), has posed questions that have foxed many a student. Now that people using the Right To Information Act are asking the institutes to disclose how they select their students, the JEE has had to change its entire selection procedure.

Complete Article

70% second appeals in two days

It took two days to dispose of 197 of the 278 Right to Information (RTI) appeals made to the state information commissioner. In Pune division alone, there are about 3,200 pending appeals. To clear the appeals, Kuvalekar tried an innovative idea of reconciliation between the appellants and the authorities. A two-day camp was held to dispose of the appeals through reconciliation. Kuvalekar said there will be a four-day camp in May to clear more RTI appeals. Kuvalekar, who took over as SIC in February 2007, he has decided 450 appeals and held hearings at district places to help appellants and the authorities. Kuvalekar said, “The expected effect of the law
and its utility to the society will not be felt unless the appeals are disposed of

Complete Article

Kannur Collectorate renovation: Where did all the money go?

The People's Council for Civil Rights, Thalassery, which has collected detailed figures concerning the renovation work of the Collectorates under the Modernising Government Programme (MGP) in the state, invoking the Right to Information Act, has taken up the issue with the Chief Minister and demanded a probe. The highest amount of Rs 4.25 crore was spent on Kannur Collectorate. The amount spent on the renovation of the Ernakulam Collectorate, the industrial nerve-centre of the state, was only Rs 4.14 crore. The amount spent on the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Collectorates were Rs.45.27 lakh and Rs.2.98 crore respectively, according to the information supplied by the State Public Information Officer at the Land Revenue
Commissionerate, Thiruvananthapuram.

Complete Article

RTI mess: Delhi Police demand money to give information

The Right to Information Act might be hailed as people's power in democracy, but data under it may not come for free for an NGO that wanted information on missing children. 'Nav Shristi' - an NGO working for women and child rights - was shocked when two police stations in the capital demanded Rs 12,274 each for disclosing information on missing and kidnapped children in Delhi under the RTI. ''We were prompted to file an FIR after coming across complaints from poor people that police was not taking their cases seriously,'' director of the NGO Reena Banerjee said.

Complete Article

Keep pvt bodies out of RTI act purview, MCCI urges govt

The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has called on the
government to keep private organisations beyond the scope of the proposed Right to Information Ordinance 2008. Citing the examples of several other countries where such laws require only public authorities and companies wholly owned by the state to disclose information, MCCI President Latifur Rahman said the intent and purpose of such a law should be ensuring transparency and accountability of actions of public
authorities by allowing access to information which is under their control and possession.

Complete Article

34 raps boosted his career!

The Right to Information (RTI) Act after all is not as dreadful as most of us have come to believe it. Officials are still managing to escape its teeth. Take the case of an executive engineer with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) J B Pawar, who clearly takes the cake for being fined for a record 34 times for having failed to provide information sought under the RTI Act. The penalties made Pawar poorer by about Rs 35,000, but his career graph moves up every year. An application moved by a social activist, Vihar Durve, has revealed that Pawar was slapped fines ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 on as many as 34 occasions.

Complete Article

No policy for the transfer of IAS officer in Punjab

It's official. There are no prescribed procedures/policy regarding postings and transfers of IAS officers in the state of Punjab. The information came to light thanks to an RTI query by Kamal Anand. Worse, in the absence of any policy, officers seem to be working as per their wishes, paying little heed to the mandatory norms. As many as 52 IAS officers out of the total 149 posted in Punjab have not even submitted their Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) for the year of 2006-07 (till March) even as 2007-08 is set to end soon. Interestingly, as per norms, the ACR must be submitted annually so that the officers' performance could be assessed.

Times Of India Chandigarh; Date:Mar 24, 2008;

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear All,

The Stastics of disposal of cases for the month of February 2008 @ KIC is given below for the information of the Activists:-

Cases pending at the end of January 2008 is 1843
Number of Complaints and Appeals received during February 2008 is 614
Number of Complaints & appeals disposed during February 2008 is 529
Number of cases pending at the end of February 2008 is 1928.
Number of cases heard during February 2008 is 643
Appeals & Complaints pending less than 3 months is 1194
Appeals & Complaints pending more than 3 months is 721
Appeals & Complaints pending more than 12 months is 13


With regards,
Anil Kumar
CONVENOR-KRIA KATTE

[posted on the Humjanenge group]

Monday, March 24, 2008

Digging Dirt

The Act calls for massive spending of public money and there is scope for corruption. However, experience from districts where NREGS has been implemented with some success reveals that it is possible to curtail corruption and use the funds to transform local economy. Social audits and judicious use of the Right to Information Act by civil society groups and activists have exposed misuse of funds. Muster roll verification exercises conducted by trained student volunteers in various states indicated corruption in NREGS.

Complete Article

Listless in the city

A short report, prepared by The Calcutta Samaritans, in association with Griha Adhikar Manch and members of the homeless community in the city, reveals the extent to which the publicity of the BPL list has been neglected. Most of the ward and borough offices refused to display the list. An assistant engineer of a borough, having exhausted all means of dissuading the Calcutta Samaritans and its associates, finally said that the list was displayed somewhere in the building, and it was up to them to seek it out. Far from providing assistance to the illiterate, scores of perfectly valid applications from the homeless community were rejected without citing proper reasons. Till March 1, about 1,200 homeless people have successfully submitted their application. Only 44 have been given receipts. Finally, and perhaps not all too shockingly, several well-to-do people, some of them members of political parties, have found their way into this much-coveted list.

The anomalies in the drawing up of the BPL list are thus two-fold. There is, first, a procedural glitch. The Calcutta Samaritans and its associates have so far filed seven petitions under the Right to Information Act, 2005, in order to find out the details of the list — the guideline for its preparation, names of the officers involved in its preparation, the methodology followed, and so on — but to no avail.

Complete Article

Time for RTI phase II: Anna

Social crusader Anna Hazare on Saturday called for a law to enable legal action against administrative officials, who in response to right to Information (RTI) application, are clearly found guilty of inaction in a project or on issue. “This is the next phase of the RTI Act revolution. If, through and RTI application, there is a clear evidence that a certain officer has not taken action in matters, then he should be pulled to court. An act to this effect needs to be passed to make bureaucrats answerable,” Hazare said.

Times of India, Pune Edition,
Sunday, 23 March 2008

Taxman's return gift is Rs 40,000 cr

The government paid out a staggering Rs 40,000 crore as income tax refunds in the last financial year and Mumbaikars got more than 30 per cent of it. Rs 40,000 crore represents 15 per cent of the total income tax collected across the country for 2006-07. In Mumbai alone, Rs 12,850 crore was returned to income tax payees in 2006-07, the highest for the year. These details were made available by the income tax department on an application filed under the Right to Information Act by DNA.

Complete Article

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pune fast tracks pending RTI petitions

There are 3700 cases pertaining to Right to Information Act pending with Maharashtra's Pune Division alone. Delays that threaten to derail the democratic process, but Pune is attempting to fast track this right. Justice has been fast-track where there's a public forum in Pune where members of the public get to meet the information officers at a two-month-long Special Appeals Disposable Program.

Vijay Kuwalekar, Information Commissioner said, ''We organised this programme because 3000 appeals were pending. The backlog sets a bad precedent.'' So in true letter and spirit of the RTI Act, 300 appeals were disposed of in just two days. Something will cut down on justice disposal time for each appeal from a year to just four months.

Complete Article

Students, NGO protest against felling of trees on PU campus

FOR THE first time in the city, a group of citizens, students and members of civil society organisations got together to protest against the cutting of trees on the campus of the Punjab University. Students alleged that not only the trees marked in the auction list and the application for permission were being cut but rather trees were being selected on the basis of their commercial value. Most trees were deliberately wrongly numbered and a design to cut double the number of trees for which the sanction was sought is clearly visible, they said. As per the information received under the RTI act by these students, the university authorities auctioned 149 trees for over Rs 23 lakh to some private contractors after declaring more than 110 trees as causing threat to people and buildings.

Complete Article

Pune fast tracks pending RTI petitions

There are 3700 cases pertaining to Right to Information Act pending with Maharashtra's Pune Division alone. Delays that threaten to derail the democratic process, but Pune is attempting to fast track this right. Minajuddin Qazi taught in an Urdu school in Solapur for ten years when his job was terminated for no apparent reason. Qazi filed an RTI application in June 2006, but didn't help bringing justice soon. But now to justice has been fast-track where there's a public forum in Pune where members of the public get to meet the information officers at a two-month-long Special Appeals Disposable Program.

Complete Article

RTI Act plea shows SICs ill-equipped

When Rajya Sabha MP MV Mysura Reddy set out to seek information under RTI Act from the implementing agencies - State Information Commissions - little did he realise that law enforcers could become law breakers. Out of the 26 commissions he sought information from, 17 did not even acknowledge his applications. This is not all. Even the nine commissions that responded either complained of lack of funds and staff or did not furnish the complete information in the required format.

Complete Article

Thursday, March 20, 2008

RTI effect: Probe ordered in 27 districts

Bowing to public pressure since the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) had unearthed large-scale anomalies in the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Golaghat, Sivasagar and Jorhat on the strength of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the State Government has ordered thorough investigations in the PDS in 27 districts. Meanwhile, the co-operative department has suspended the managing committees of 11 co-operatives and removed the secretaries in Golaghat district.

Complete Article

Soha Ali Khan in a gun trouble

Soha Ali Khan found herself in the middle of a controversy, suddenly out of nowhere when an RTI (Right to Information) application filed by an animal activist revealed that the actress was issued a gun license in the year 1996 when she was only 18 years old. What further created trouble was the fact that the gun was used by Soha's
father, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, to hunt black-bucks in Jhajjar district in the year 2005. It may be recalled that a case had been booked against Pataudi Sr. under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for allegedly poaching wild animals including the endangered species blackbucks, for which he had served three days in jail before getting bail. It seems like poor Soha has to face the brunt now as the gun was issued in her name and that too when she was below the permissible age-limit of 21 years.

Complete Article

RTI appellants in patch-up mode

Manoj motichand gandhi had reason to smile on wednesday when eight of his appeals against the information officers of an institute in baramati were disposed of in one sitting. his opponents and the office-bearers of the institute too were happy. the mood at the two-day special camp, organised by state information commissioner vijay kuvalekar to clear pending rti appeals in the office of information commissioner in pune division, was upbeat. many applicants had turned up for the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country to clear the cases with the information commissioner. the backlog of cases has been piling up at the offices of various information commissioners who are finding it difficult to clear them.

Complete Article

Sleeping Gera costs Gujarat citizen's their fundamental right!

The Right to Information (RTI) Act has its origin in the need for survival of the people and their fundamental rights. But the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), whose job is to enforce the Act, finds its own survival in question with no staff being allocated by the state government six months after it was sanctioned and a backlog of a whopping 3,665 cases to dispose. And, the man who could have given GIC the teeth, PK Gera, an IAS officer of 1985 batch, has not shown any willingness to ensure that his department allocates the people. All that Gera has to say is that “it is GAD that is not allotting the staff.” Gera says these staff could be allotted once the two new commissioners are appointed, activists point out that these commissioners too are part of the same GIC. “The 35 additional staff sanctioned are for the new commissioners. Let them take charge and staff will follow,” Gera insists.

Complete Article

Over 200,000 RTI applications received

Over 200,000 Right to Information (RTI) applications were received by various central government agencies between October 2005 and March 2007, the Rajya Sabha was informed Thursday. In a written reply, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Suresh Pachouri said: "As per the information furnished by the Central Information Commission, 207,860 applications were received under the RTI Act by various public authorities of the central government during October 2005 to March 2007."

Complete Article

RTI Expose: Govt, industry creating science on asbestos use

The government and the Indian asbestos industry are colluding to "generate" a science that will help the industry survive a global move to cut down use of the cancer-causing material. Several prominent trade unions and civil society groups have
complained to the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers against such a move, presenting evidence secured through the Right to Information Act proving that industry and the ministry was "manufacturing" convenient science.

Complete Article

Do your homework before you bother us: principals tell Education Dept

The Director of Public Instruction (Schools) has issued showcause notices to ten principals of government schools for "failing" to furnish details sought under the provision of the Right to Information Act (RTI) by an applicant. But these principals say they have already forwarded the details asked for by the department within the stipulated time period. Unfortunately, nobody from the department acknowledged they had received this information. On the contrary, they have now been slapped with showcause notices, the process of replying to which is lengthy and disturbing, principals have said.

Complete Article

Flagging RTI to win PCO back

Remember the SMS Narendra Modi sent to lakhs of voters over the mobile phone network after leading the BJP to a second successive victory in the December 2007 elections? "I am CM, I will always remain CM. For me, CM is Common Man. The country's first 'RTI on Wheels', a mobile Right to Information (RTI) assistance centre, mounted on a specially designed vehicle, will be flagged off by a 'CM'.

The event at Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration on Monday will see Usha Dhavan, a physically challenged and poor woman, flag off the vehicle. Scores of people like Dhavan have made their voice heard in the bureaucracy with the help of RTI.

Complete Article

IIT-JEE cutoffs fell to single digits in 2007

For all its reputation as one of the toughest competitive examinations in the world, IIT-JEE has seen a dramatic fall in standards. Or so it seems from the steep fall in the cutoff marks of each of the three subjects in the last examination as compared with those of the previous one. In 2006, the cutoff marks in maths, physics and chemistry were 37, 48 and 55 respectively. The corresponding marks for IIT-JEE 2007, in a bizarre twist, fell to as low as 1, 4 and 3.

Complete Article

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tell us why you need to know

So, you want information , through the Right to Information Act from the Bangalore police? Be prepared to state the reason for asking for the information, though this is not the norm if information is sought through the Act. This was what allegedly happened to frazer town resident S A Hafeez when he was asked for information under the RTI Act 2005 , turns out that the police officials were following the format mandated by the outdated Karnataka information Act 2000. The karnataka Information Commission(KIC) observed that the format applied by the police was illegal and that they should stick to the law.In fact, the police were following the older KRIA which is null and void in the wake of the Central RTI Act2005

BANGALORE MIRRIOR
MARCH 13, 2008

Bangalore Dev Auth Commissioner is shown the door

An RTI Activist had sought information on 122 alternative sites and a preliminary inquiry had revealed fraudulent deals. The transfer appearantly has made after the alternative site scandal in BDA came to fore . The govt acted by intially transfering BDA secretary G C Rajshekar . Senior IAS officer & BDA commissioner M K shankarlinge Gowda was transfered on saturday.Another Prominent transfer was of Revenue Secretary S M Jaamdar

posted by Vikram Simha on the HJ group

Chief Information Commissioner ordered by Bombay High Court to be present

In the matter relating to the failure on the part of the Medical Directorate to provide information, the Bombay High Court had ordered the Chief Information Commissioner to be present in the High Court on Friday (March 14). Acting on a writ petition filed by Chief Officer R.K. Mohite, through his advocate PM Pradhan, the appellant retired from the Directorate of Health two years ago. A bench of Justice Jainarayan Patel and Justice Nishita Mehtre after hearing the appellant ordered the presence of the Chief Information Commissioner to the High Court. The advocate for Mohite argued that the Chief Information Commissioner should have directed the Directorate to provide the information to Mohite. The High Court had ordered the Chief Information Commissioner ot be present in the Court today and present the correct facts. As he failed to be present in the Court as directed, the Court has ordered the Mumbai police commissioner to serve summons on the Chief Information Commissioner to be present in the Court on Friday.

Sakal
Mumbai, 13 March

Special hearing for pending RTI cases

To expedite the pending cases under Right to Information (RTI) Act, a special hearing will be held on March 18 and 19, at the office of Divisional Commissioner in Pune. A total of 313 cases from Pune division, pending till September 2006, will
be heard on these two days. The complainants, information officers and appellate officers will attend the hearing sessions. over 3000 RTI cases are pending before the information commision at pesent. A case is expected to be disposed off within six months of filing. Pune Divsion Information Commssioner Vijay Kuvalekar said " over 50 percent of the pending cases are likely to be settled at the specail hearing. Depending on the success of this initiative, another special hearing will be organized in May for cases pending from Septemeber 2007onwards."

Maharashtra Herald, Pune,
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

15 cases of code violations by TV channels in 2007

Even as the Government admitted under the Right to Information Act to issuing a total of 206 notices to different television channels for telecast of objectionable material between October 2004 and March 2007, information placed on the site of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as on 21 January this year lists only 65 cases.

This figure also contrasts glaringly with Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi's statement to Parliament in March last year that a total of 166 notices were issued during 2006-07 for violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes at the instance of an Inter-ministerial Committee set up under Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.

Complete Article

RTI for private sector

Right-To-Information Act has induced de-sired accountability in government-departments and organizations covered under the Act as public-authorities. But in an era of free economy where all essential services including banking and communications are open and rather dominated by private-sector, country's mute public needs proper accountability for those controlling at least essential services in private sector. Private banks and telephone-operators are badly harassing and looting their customers by gimmick and unfair means with no action or reply coming on communications addressed to them.

It seems that concerned government agencies and departments controlling these private bodies reach on some under-table under-standing for public being harassed by allowing private-sector to mint money for their own benefit. Till India follows South Africa to extend RTI Act to private sector, there should be adequate and wide-spread publicity about little-known institutions like Banking Ombudsman and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) so that people may have forum to complain about erring private-sector.

Complete Article

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Minority stakes by govt bodies don't bring org under RTI: CIC

An organisation in which a minority stake is owned by a government-controlled body cannot be held accountable under the RTI Act as it is not funded by the government even "indirectly", the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held. "It is common knowledge that government in its sovereign function creates a number of public authorities to engage in commercial and even profitable business activities. But when such public authorities, as part of their business activities, create other commercial bodies or gain stakes therein, it would not mean a direct or indirect involvement of the government," Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said in a recent order

Complete Article

Survey soon to find out how far RTI has achieved its goal

RTI activists will conduct a nation-wide survey soon to find out how far the Right to Information Act has achieved its desired objective of bringing transparency and accountability in the government`s functioning. The survey, to be launched by the National Campaign for People`s Right to Information (NCPRI), an umbrella body of over 100 organisations working on right to information, will go to the people, NGOs and government officials to seek their views on how the act has benefited and the challenges being faced.

Complete Article

Saturday, March 08, 2008

RTI awareness campaign in Gaziabad

Dear Friends,

In conjunction with the Daily Life Assistance (DLA) Newspaper, the RWA Federation Gaziabad, the Law Department of Mewar Collage, and Kabir, we will be holding this one week long (9th March 2008 - 16th March 208) campaign to promote the awareness and active use of the RTI Act in addressing individual, local, and development related issues with day to day governance and policies. Advertisements and newspaper articles about this effort have appeared in various papers over the past week and will continue to follow the campaign informing more and more people about RTI.

We encourage you all to join the more than fifty RTI volunteers at any of the various booths throughout Gaziabad. There will be booths in -

- Ambedkar Park, (Navyug Market in front of Urvashi Cinema),
- Civil Defense Park (Gandhi Nagar),
- Shiv Mandir (D Block, Shastri Nagar),
- Lohia Park (in front of Park), Sahibabad,
- Ambedkar Park (Vaishali), and
- Lilavati School (Vijay Nagar).

We would also like to cordially invite all of you to the Opening Ceremony which will be inaugurated by Shri Gyanendra Sharma, Information Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh. The keynote lecture will be delivered by leading RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal. This will be held at -

Yog Sadhna Kendra, L Block, Kavi Nagar, Ghaziabad on March 9th, 2008 at 10:00AM.

Best Regards,
Kabir Team

Friday, March 07, 2008

RTI exposes DOW's lies

DOW Chemicals International Pvt Ltd, which has recently released large advertisements in vernacular newspapers of Maharashtra - claiming that its premises at Chakan is an environment friendly Research and Development Centre only and not a manufacturing plant - may not be telling the complete truth. Information procured under the Right to Information Act (RTI) by Intelligent Pune, from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has revealed that the pollution control body has given its consent to use 20 chemicals, listed as hazardous (in the Schedule I of the manufacture, storage and import of hazardous chemical rules) under the Environment Protection Act (EPA), for manufacture for its research activities. The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) too has rushed through the proposal as has been revealed in the file notings of its head honcho.

by Vinita Deskhmukh, Editor, Intelligent Pune

Complete Article

Thursday, March 06, 2008

SAARC countries to replicate Right to Information

SAARC countries have decided to replicate the 'Right to Information' in their countries keeping in view their socio-economical limitations. This was agreed at a two-day conference of 'Forum of Ministers of Social Development of the SAARC Region' in the capital on Thursday. The meeting was attended by the representatives of Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India.

Complete Article

The CPI (ML) Liberation , Malda branch file RTI application

The CPI (ML) Liberation , Malda branch, today submitted an application to the Gangarampur Block development officer in south Dinajapur seeking information in detail, under section 6 and 8 of the Right to Information Act 2005, about the bond distributed among farmers for storing potatoes in the cold storage of Gangarampur Cooperative Marketing Society.

After inquiring into the police firing following an agitation staged by the local potato farmers on 27 February at Kaldighi in Gangarampur, the CPI (ML) Liberation leaders claimed that the cold storage authorities had sold off bond at high prices to the big merchants depriving the poor and marginal farmers. The CPI (ML) leaders also alleged that Gangarampur Co-operative Marketing Society is suppressing facts by hiding the computer and preparing a new list of bonds distributed to the farmers. They demanded administrative inquiry against the society seizing the hard disk of the computer to unearth earlier records of bonds distributed to farmers while the society claimed that the computer was damaged by the angry farmers.

Complete Article

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Answer script suit in high court

Several students turned up at the high court on Wednesday to attend the hearing of a case filed by a Presidency College student, asking to see his answer script under the Right to Information Act. Pritam Rooz, the third-year mathematics honours student, had requested the Calcutta University authorities to show him his honours
paper V answer script. He had appeared for the paper last year during B.Sc Part II. The university authorities had turned down the request. Rooz then moved the high court, stating that the university had violated the Right to Information Act by not allowing him to see his answer script. On Wednesday, Justice Indira Banerjee fixed the matter for hearing on March 7.

Complete Article

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Social welfare penalised Rs. 25,000 under RTI Act

The Manipur Information Commission has ordered the state social welfare department to pay Rs. 25,000 as penalty for not providing information sought by an applicant under the Right to Information Act, 2005 which is in force in the state.

The order of the commissioner was issued yesterday asking the social welfare department to pay the fine within 15 days under section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005 from the date of issue of the order for not furnishing the information or for malafidely denying the information under sub-section (1) of section 7 of the Act.

Complete Article

No keeping away information now

With implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and increasing awareness about one's rights, not only litigations pertaining to denial of information under the act have increased in courts, but also the demand for advocates has increased considerably. Taking no chance of getting penalised or summoned by courts, in case
they are unable to supply the demanded information, government and private institutions are hiring advocates to contest their cases in the courts. Majority of cases that come to courts are mainly related with information not supplied, incomplete information or information other than the demanded one.

Complete Article

Monday, March 03, 2008

Dead leopard haunts forest dept

The sad tale of the leopard which died in a well after being tranquillised by the staff of Nagpur Forest Division at Khapri-Thana (Fukeshwar) near Nagpur on May 26, 2007, has once again come to haunt the department after 10 months. Chandrakant Rambhau Chimote, a resident of Nandanvan Layout, who had sought information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act 2005, has charged the concerned officials with concealing information on the medicine that was used by the department to tranquillise the leopard which died after falling into a well at Fukeshwar.

Complete Article

CBI to provide information to undertrial

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the CBI to provide documents related to an accused in a corruption case. Normally it denies undertrials access to details related to their pending trials under the transparency law, CIC's order came in connection with a RTI plea of Delhi resident Dhirendra Krishna seeking documents from CBI. He claimed that over 80 hearings and years of court proceedings have not culminated into framing of charges against him. ''In the normal course, it has been our practice not to substitute our judgement for that of the prosecuting agencies in cases under prosecution, as to what will or what will not impede the process of investigation. ''In this case, we find that the prosecution has been proceeding for
years without caring to even frame charges,'' Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.

Complete Article

Close to their chest

Samir Dey, a resident of Barrackpore, sought some information from the directorate of commercial taxes. A few days later, a North 24-Parganas police team grilled him for daring to ask questions.

Sajid Kamal, a resident of Naihati, wanted to find out from Kalyani University the refund process for students filling up forms for the second-year examination without clearing the first-year examination. Instead of answering his queries, university officials threatened him.

Both Dey and Kamal, empowered by the Right to Information Act (RTIA), 2005, demanded information from two government institutions. But instead of information they got intimidation. The state information commission is receiving complaints from people like Dey and Kamal, who have faced harassment for daring to ask questions.

Complete Article

Protest against fee hike on Friday by Burning Brain and NyayaBhoomi

On Friday the 7th March, several RTI activits are planning to protest before the
Ministry of Home in Delhi against the hike in RTI fee from Rs.10 to Rs.50 by
Chandigarh Administration.

The activists will include volunteers from NyayaBhoomi and Burning Brain and
other individuals. We invite RTI enthusiasts, activists and well-wishers to join
us at 1 pm.

Please contact Rakesh Agarwal at 09873-222-222 or Hemant Goswami at
09417-868-044 to confirm your participation.

Rakesh Agarwal

[posted on the HJ yahoogroup]

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