Saturday, June 20, 2009

RTI Activists Demand For Action Against Dr. Krishna

About 35 Activists representing 15 Forums met Mr. K A Thippeswamy and Mr. Virupakshaiah, Information Commissioners and submitted a Memorandum listing out their demands. A copy of the representation is reproduced below: The Meeting was convened in the Court Hall No.1 of the KIC and Activists demanded immediate action against Dr. Krishna, Information Commissioner. Another round of meeting is arranged on 22.6.2009 at 6 PM with the Chief Information Commissioner to press their demands. During the meeting members raised concern on corruption issue alleged to have been practicing in the Commission at various levels and demanded for an appropriate mechanism to contain the same. Dr.Krishna against whom allegations have been made although present in the Commission did not attend the meeting. AFterwards participants discussd about the future course of action to safeguard the interest of the RTI Users since many applicants are afraid of appearing before the commission to present their cases.

To
Shri. K K Mishra
Chief Information Commissioner
Karnataka State
Bangalore. 20
June 2009
Sir,

SUB :: ASSAULT ON RTI APPLICANT REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION.

We, the undersigned Citizens, strongly condemn the Assault on Mr. Nagesh, a complainant before the Commission, on 17th of June 2009 in Court Hall No.3 of the Commission. We demand an enquiry into the whole episode where Dr. H N Krishna, Information Commissioner is alleged to be involved. We therefore demand for immediate Suspension of all the employees who assaulted Mr. Nages with immediate effect. In the meanwhile we also request you to withdraw all cases allotted to Dr. H N Krishna till the completion of the enquiry since the assault was alleged to be carried out in the presence and supervision of Dr. Krishna.

As a Citizen of this country we also demand the following for smooth functioning of the Commission in the Public Interest.

Stop humiliating the Petitioners while hearing the cases Commissioners should Stop meeting Public Information Officers either personally or over telephone against whom complaints and appeals are pending before the commission .

Commissioners should treat the Applicants with respect and dignity during the hearing of the Petitions. Set up a Mechanism to eradicate corruption that exists in your Commission at all Levels. Stop black listing of Petitioners while passing Final orders which is illegal. Set up a Help Desk for the benefit of Citizens.

Commissioners are not Dictators - Arrange Proper Training for them. Disclose Call List of all Telephones provided to Commissioners. Stop using unparliamentary words and derogatory remarks against Petitioners during hearing of Petitions. Treat Women Petitioners with Respect and Dignity.

If the Commissioners still continue with their old habits then we shall be constrained to take up further action as deemed fit in the Public Interest.

Yours faithfully,
B.H. VEERESHA
MAHITHI HAKKU ADHYAYANA KENDRA
54, 17TH CROSS, M C LAYOUT
VIJAYANAGAR, BANGALORE 560 040
TEL.NO. 9448704693

Rightfully Yours

Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. Transparency is equal to truth. That’s the philosophy of Citizens’ Voice, an open social forum, which has formed an association of users of Right to Information Act (RTI) and today launched an online portal, www.rightto.info/youth for promotion of use of RTI by the youth.It’s the fourth anniversary of RTI and we realized there is no professional body or agency, which uses the Act on a regular basis and assists the common man to benefit from the Act,’’ explains Hemant Goswami of Citizens’ Voice and an RTI activist. The forum, explains Goswami, will encourage interaction between RTI users, support common activities and provide a common platform by forming an RTI user association so there is representation of people with common public interests.

The core group, of about 40 members, are people who use RTI, have a high levels of expertise, and whether you are using RTI for public good or to expose and rectify a wrong done to you, we welcome you to join a process, which will strengthen the democratic character of the country and promote a culture of transparency in Indian democracy,’’ adds Goswami. The portal, believes Hemant, will encourage new and young users to come forward, share ideas, concerns and will be a potent tool to channelize their energy, pent up anger in a positive manner and encourage them to follow their ideals and make no compromises.

Complete Article

RTI exposes bad bread being sold in market

Is your morning slice of bread as fresh as you think it to be? Well...it may not be so, as the six mandatory displays on packaged perishable goods are being printed in illegible letters, a fact taken up by the Weights and Measures Department of the Delhi government. Sources said the department has already fined about four bread companies operating in South Delhi area. Besides this, it has already instructed all its nine zones to make a list of manufacturers of perishables good who are not
following the norms. "Already, four bread companies in south Delhi have been prosecuted between last December and May 2009 for not having made the mandatory display clearly readable. More complains are coming in too," an official with the department said. As per the rules, the firms are supposed to print clearly the name of the product, date of expiry, weight, complete address of manufacturers, maximum
retail price and customer care number. But, it has now been found that most bread making companies were printing the details in almost unreadable letters, especially the expiry date, he said. Interestingly, this malpractice by certain firms came to light through an RTI application filed by one Tek Chand Hingori, a resident of Delhi.

Complete Article

Don't touch the spirit of RTI Act, CIC tells PM

Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that if the government intends to amend the RTI Act, it should be done in a way that the spirit of the Act is not lost. The UPA government has proposed amendments to the RTI Act exempting all file notings except those dealing with social and development issues besides restricting access to pending policy decisions, cabinet documents and exam-related documents. The amendments also envisage increasing RTI fees substantially.

In a letter to the PM, Gandhi said amendments could cause more harm than the expected improvement. "This is a law designed to be used by citizens and over a million PIOs across the nation. However, if the government feels a strong need to amend some parts of the Act, then the spirit of the Act should not be touched,'' he said, adding that the scope of Sections 2 (f), (h), (i) and (j) should not be limited and no exemption should be allowed in Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act.

These are basic sections under the RTI Act which define what is information, who is a public authority and what information can be held back under the RTI Act. Despite the overwhelming opposition to amendments in the law last time, the government has revisited the clause of allowing file notings only of social and development related subjects. Under the draft, all file notings that do not relate to social and development issues will be exempted from disclosure if this amendment is carried through.

Gandhi said the present RTI Act was the result of an extensive consultative process in which citizens and the government engaged in intensive discussions for a long time. "The law has been spread by citizens across the country and they value it dearly. There are some worries in their minds about losing anything in the exercise of their fundamental right,'' he said.

Complete Article

Complete Text of IC Shaliesh Gandhi's letter

RTI expedites probe into dummy writers' scam

When the class XII dummy writers' scam case hit a dead end, Jayesh Patel's RTI application had the government put the case on fast track. The dummy writers' scam in class XII examinations, that shook the state last year, would have got a quiet burial, had it not been for an RTI application by a businessman in Vadodara, who asked for documents from the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB).

Personnel of the Gujarat University police had given a clean chit to all the accused in the case and filed C' summary report in the court on February 5, 2009. The accused included class XII (science) students Harsh Kotak, Komal Patel and the two dummy writers who sat for them in the board examinations. Both Kotak and Patel were accused of faking injury and then getting bright students as dummy writers to write exam papers for them. Even the then GSHSEB secretary HN Chavda, who was supervisor of the examination centre, was accused of helping the students. While the board had given a report to the education department regarding the scam last year, no action was taken against officials involved.

Complete Article

Thursday, June 18, 2009

File notings under RTI: DoPT seeks law ministry's opinion

With ideological differences at the highest levels in government on the issue of allowing access to file notings, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) has sought advice from the law ministry on the issue. File notings have been disclosed by information commissions but government departments have often refused information. The DoPT, on its part, has done nothing to dispel the confusion mentioning the term "file notings" in its website's frequently asked questions.

In fact, there has been a tussle between the Central Information Commission (CIC) and the ministry. Sources in the ministry, however, said allowing disclosure of file notings was not a question between warring individuals. "It is not that DoPT has dug in its heels and does not want to give out filenotings. There is a serious ideological difference between the government. We are trying to resolve this in an amicable manner. We appreciate the CIC's attempt to ensure transparency and we are not against it. We want to make the law more user friendly but that can only happen once these differences are sorted out," a source said.

Complete Article

Class IX dropout uses RTI to help students

Attestation of certificates was always a big headache for students applying for admission at various places. A government resolution had sought to lessen it to a great extent, but students were not aware of it. Thanks to a 19-year-old class IX dropout, who used Right to Information (RTI) to ease out tension from students, they now know about it. Yusuf Juneja, son of a truck driver, demanded a copy of the resolution passed by Gujarat government which allows students to self- attest their marksheets and
certificates. After discontinuing his studies, Yusuf began to work as a painter at Mahiti Adhikar Nagrik Mandal, an NGO in Khambha, his native place in Amreli district.
He wanted to study further but poor financial condition forced him to quit studying. At present he is working as secretary at the NGO.

Complete Article
The Information Commission has sought reports from the State Government and the District Collector, Balangir, on the arrest of a farmer seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Taking suo motu cognisance of a report published in this paper titled `Man gets ticket to jail instead of information', the Information Commission asked a detailed report on the incident from Balangir Collector and the Chief Secretary as well.

Gopabandhu Chhatria, a farmer of Jarasinga village under Deogaon block had to pay the price for seeking information from the block office on the construction of check dam under the National Food-for- Work Programme. He was allegedly implicated in a false case by the public information officer of the block and got him arrested by the police. Chhatria is now behind the bars.

Complete Article

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

SEBI told to be pro-active in helping investors

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to use its power pro-actively to seek information from market intermediaries to address investor grievances. In a recent order, CIC has directed the regulator to ensure that stock exchanges function in a transparent manner, especially in respect of investor protection.

The order in favour of Bhoj Raj Sahu, who had sought information from the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) through Sebi under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, has also instructed Sebi to put in place a grievance settlement mechanism. "It has been the experience of the Commission in the past that investors and other persons dealing with stock exchanges approached the Commission, invoking the provisions of the RTI Act because somehow it is their feeling that Sebi as market regulator was not providing them the type of support and relief they were looking for," the order by Information Commissioner AN Tiwari, said.

Complete Article

NAPM-UP condemns attempts to dilute the RTI Act

Press Release
Dated: 9th June, 2009

In a meeting of the UP RTI Campaign of National Alliance of People's Movements held at Darul-Shafa, Lucknow today participants from 16 districts strongly condemned the move by the State Government to exclude certain areas like information related to appointment of Governor, Ministers, High Court Judges, code of conduct for Ministers and letters written by the Governor to the President from the the purview of the RTI Act. The government had earlier taken out the department of civil aviation from the purview of the Act. These tampering with the RTI Act are against the letter and spirit of the Act and State Government is not authorized to do these. Under Section 24(4) of the RTI Act the State Government can only consider intelligence and security organization for exemption from this Act. The action of the State Government is also against the article 256 of the Constitution.

The notifications issued by the State Government taking out five subjects and the department of civil aviation from the purview of the RTI Act will be challenged in the court of law as well as state wide public demonstrations organized on 15th June, 2009. In Lucknow the demonstration will take place outside the Vidhan Sabha.

In addition a national level meeting will be organized to condemn the action of the State Government as well as to highlight the laxity in implementation of the RTI Act by the Public Information Officers, First Appeal Authorities and the Information Commission of the State. Numerous applicants who attended the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the state of affairs of implementation of the RTI Act in the State.

S.R. Darapuri, Izhar Ahmad, Keshav Chand, Jayashankar, Arvind Murti, Mahendra Singh Rathore, Urvashi Sharma, Himanshu Swarnkar, Mahendra Pratap Singh, Munnalal Shukla, Akhilesh Saxena, Ajay Patel, Neelkamal, Rambabu, Ashok Bharti, Rajesh Maurya, Prem Kumar, Vishwesh, Sandeep Pandey
National Alliance of People's Movements, Uttar Pradesh

Contact: Bobby Ramakant, 9839073355, Arvind Murti, 9839835032

5K RTI cases pending before Gujarat IC

As per the Act information sought had to provided to the citizen within a period of maximum 30 days, but citizens in the state are having to wait for more than two years to elicit any information from concerned departments. List of pending cases in the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), the appellate authority in the state for addressing the RTI appeals and complaints, has already crossed the 5K mark and is rising. According to highly placed sources, the GIC has now around 5,000 appeals and
complaints, which till September 30, 2008 were around 3,410. Thereafter the list has also not been updated. At present the commission is hearing cases from 2007, while all cases of 2008 and 2009 is still untouched.

The major reason behind the high pending list also hinges on the non-appointment of information commissioners in the state, sources claim. As per the act, the government can appoint 10 commissioners along with one chief information commissioner. The general administration department (GAD) through a government resolution in July 27, 2007, had approved the post of two information commissioner and other required staff. Actually, the appointment of the information commissioner is being made by a committee headed by the chief minister himself, in which, a cabinet minister and leader of opposition (LOP) in the state assembly are members.

Complete Article

Maharashtra SCIC has changed Format of intimation for Hearing

Surprisingly today i have got intimation for hearing which has arrived 10 days in advance and is like this....

(1) To... PIO ...
(a) Give clarification as to why u have not provided info in time ?
(b) Why u hav not followed orders of FAA ?
(c) Why penalty should not be imposed on you u/s 20 ?

send reply in advance to SCIC as well as copy of same to applicant and come along with all documents at the time of hearing

2ndly to FAA

(a) as to why you have not taken hearing within 30 days ?
(b) why you have not given opportunity to the applicant to speak ?

send reply in advance to SCIC as well as copy of same to applicant and come along with all documents at the time of hearing

posted by Raja Furia on the HJ board

Differently-abled fights red-tapism with RTI

For almost a year, Rudrakshi Pandya, a differently-abled was pushed around when she demanded her right to a family pension after her father, a retired headmaster of a city-based school, died few years ago. Rudrakshi, was entitled by the government for a pension, under Gujarat civil services (pension) rules as she was unable to fend for herself. Interestingly, pension department had all the requisite documents, including Rudrakshi's medical certificate and even the clearance from the district
education office. But, for reasons unknown, she was denied her right. She later appealed in the high court against this delay and even got a ruling in her favour. But, despite this, her pension was delayed.

It was here that Rudrakshi's mentor, Falguni Mehta, filed an RTI application under Section 7(1) of the RTI Act, which pertains to information being provided within 48 hours of the application with the pensions department. Mehta wanted to know reasons why Rudrakshi's pension was delayed, officers responsible for the delay, the grounds on which pensions for the differently-abled were rejected since 1980 and what punitive actions would be taken if the officers were found guilty. The case finally came up for hearing before state information commission. State chief information commissioner RN Das ruled in Rudrakshi's favour and directed pensions department to provide information within 48 hours.

Complete Article

CIC takes note: govt clueless on martyrs, freedom fighters

The Ministry of Home Affairs says it has no means to identify freedom fighters and martyrs of the national freedom struggle. But this lack of vital knowledge does not deter the ministry from running a fully staffed department — the Freedom Fighter Division — to implement the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980. Under the scheme, pension and related facilities are provided to freedom fighters who are alive, and to families of martyrs.

Following a Right to Information (RTI) request filed by a senior citizen, Karol Bagh resident Panna Lal, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has now ordered the Home Ministry to prepare a "comprehensive list" of martyrs and freedom fighters in the next six months. "It would appear from the records that there is no such comprehensive list of martyrs held by the Government of India," Habibullah said in a recent judgment. Panna Lal's RTI plea had sought to know the "total strength of Indian martyrs from 1857 to 1947".

Complete Article

Now, only five subjects outside RTI purview

The Uttar Pradesh Government amended its last week’s notification on Sunday and reduced the number of subjects it placed beyond RTI Act’s purview from 14 to 5. The nine subjects dropped in the new notification included matters which were actually not in the state government’s jurisdiction and matters which the RTI activists alleged were contrary to the spirit of the Act.

The five subjects covered by the new notification, issued on Sunday, include the appointment of the governor, the appointment of the ministers, ministers of state, deputy ministers, the code of conduct for the ministers and the Chief Minister’s instructions to them, the appointment of judges and the Governor’s monthly report that is sent to the President of India. Addressing a media conference, Cabinet Secretary Shahank Shekhar Singh claimed the government has not made any rule that affects the spirit of the Act. He did not give an explanation for dropping the nine subjects that were originally listed in the notification of June 2.

These nine subjects include the appointment of the Advocate General, the notifications related to the Uttar Pradesh Rules of Business 1975, the Government of India’s Allocation of Rules of Business, the matters related to the other states’ rules of business, probe against ministers and MPs, all matters related to the Padma awards and “cipher works”.

“The government has no right to go beyond the spirit of the law that has been passed by the Parliament. The government’s fear is that it does not possess strong grounds to justify its June 2 notification in case a PIL is filed in this matter,” said a source, explaining the haste with which the state government swung into action and cancelled its earlier notification.

Complete Article

Protest letter against dilution of RTI Act in UP

Protest against dilution of RTI Act in UP
To: H.E. Shri T.V. Rajeshwar
Governor of U.P., Lucknow
Dated: 8th June, 2009
Sub: Protest against dilution of RTI Act.
Honourable Shri Rajeshwar ji,
We beg to differ with the
decision of the State Government to still keep out five subjects from the
purview of the RTI Act. The RTI Act, passed by the Parliament of this country in
2005, empowers the citizen of this country information on all matters except
those covered under Section 8 of the Act. It is against the letter and spirit of
the RTI Act to exclude information related to appointment of Governor, High
Court Judges, Ministers, code of conduct for Ministers and letters written by
Governor to the President from its purview. Section 24(4) of the Act doesn't
apply as these matters are not related to intelligence or security organizations
of the State.
We request you to ask the Government to retract any attempt to
tamper with the RTI Act and restore the original scope of the Act.
Thank You,
Sincerely,
Naveen Tiwari Justice Kamleshwar Nath I.C. Dwivedi
(Retd.) (Retd. IPS)
S.N. Shukla S.R. Darapuri Lokesh Batra
(Retd. IAS) (Retd. IPS) (Retd. Commodore)
Arundhati Dhuru Sandeep

UP govt narrows down the ambit of RTI

The Uttar Pradesh Government has decided to exclude certain information including those related to appointments of Governor, Judges and Ministers out of the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI)." There are certain information like appointments of Governor, Judges and Ministers, code of conduct of ministers and monthly report sent by the Governor to the President, which are not directly related with the public, hence they will be excluded from the RTI Act," Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told reporters here.

He said that a notification to this effect has been issued by the state government.
"Need to issue this notification was necessiated after some applications were received seeking information on these issues. It was felt that it was neither fit nor possible to give any information on these points," he said. He, however, clarified that no amendment or change had been made in the RTI Act as reported by a section of the media.

Complete Article

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Govt's plan for RTI and NREGA

Central to their goal are measures some people might not consider reforms at all. First among them are a National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and a Right to Information Act (RTI). Decried by some economists as a populist sop, the NREGS is in fact designed to revolutionize India's leaky bureaucratic mechanism for dispersing money and to free the poor from exploitative middlemen by channeling an unprecedented level of funds (and decision-making power) to village-level elected officials. Singh believes that, like Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, this stimulus plan will put money in the hands of the people most likely to spend it well and will create a social safety net that will help unleash their productive capacities. Meanwhile, Congress plans to expand the use of the RTI, which was enacted in 2005, and to pass a few new laws to make bureaucrats, politicians and judges more accountable by shining a bright light on their activities.

In a country where even the trash in a government wastebasket is frequently considered classified information, the RTI is groundbreaking. Under the law, ordinary people can for the first time get a look at the books of their local ration shops, say, or at government departments and see what corrupt officials have been skimming off the top, delivering to fictitious beneficiaries, or just plain stealing. And because the information must be made available within 30 days or the official in charge will face immediate punishment, whistleblowers get results from RTI cases much faster than they would from India's progressive but slow-as-molasses legal system.

Still, until recently, no one has pushed RTI far enough to enjoy its full potential. Now Rahul is striving to do just that by urging youth to storm the barricades of the bureaucracy with an ever-expanding number of RTI cases. The effects could be revolutionary. In Uttar Pradesh India's largest state and a place where the Congress Party made a huge and unexpected surge in the recent election Shailendra Singh, a former police officer who now heads the party's RTI cell, became such an irritant in September that the state's chief minister, Mayawati, had him arrested. With the rise of Rahul's youth brigade, there could soon be thousands of other gadflies just as irritating.

Complete Article

Fiery Speeches on RTI & Bureaucratic Abuse of Power

Dear Friends,

At a large public meeting held by our JGM group last Saturday, some dynamic speakers shared their experiences on RTI and Bureaucratic Abuse of Power.

Click here to see and hear them on youtube.com:

1) Y P Singh, former IPC officer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_zZTiyq3ZU

2) Arun Bhatia, former IAS officer – part 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fvRZZN8vGo

3) Manish Sisodia of Kabir, Delhi -- part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBW9xTaeGLA

4) Manish Sisodia – part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV8aKbVXe9o

I am preparing videos of other speakers also, which you can view tomorrow.

Warm Regards,
Krish
98215 88114

RTI application reveals foul play in DU sports quota

A Right To Information (RTI) application revealed foul play with the sports quota in Delhi University (DU). A national level football player was denied admission in 2008 to make way for someone of lesser merit. Eighteen-year-old Abhishek Chandran had just one goal - to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce (B Com) degree at the Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) in Delhi. A national level football player, he had counted on his skills on the field to get admission under the sports quota. Abhishek made it to first place on the waiting list. So when three boys who had made it to the final selection list dropped out, he expected a call from the college. However, he and his family got a rude shock. "My son Abhishek would have walked into the college any day because the vacancy fell on a position of half-line and he was first on the waiting list on the half-line position. But he was discarded, someone else got it," said Abhishek's father, PSM Chandran.

That is when the Chandrans filed an appeal under the RTI Act to find answers. It
revealed that the selections were not on the basis of merit. And this was not the first time students had complained about sports quota admissions. The Chandrans have now approached the Central Vigilance Commission, which has in turn directed DU to conduct an inquiry. But it still remains to be seen if this step will eventually lead to greater transparency in admissions under the sports quota.

Complete Article

26/11 scam: Mumbai cops bulletproof vests faulty

The political blame game has now got another twist after the reply which the Mumbai Police gave to an RTI applicant seeking information on bulletproof jackets used by Mumbai Police. The reply shockingly stated, "Since the file relating to bulletproof jackets cannot be found, the queries cannot be answered.'' But sources within the Mumbai Police have told CNN-IBN that the file was not lost, but was being protected from public scrutiny to possibly avoid controversial details from coming out in the open.

Complete Article

Thursday, June 04, 2009

RTI applies to JNMF, say 3 commissioners

"In the interest of justice, transparency and accountability, the Commission declares the JNMF to be a public authority under the RTI Act,'' observed a bench of IC's Annapurna Dixit, M M Ansari and Satyananda Mishra on Tuesday, giving the trust 15 days' time to put in place a mechanism to receive and dispose of RTI pleas. The case stemmed from an RTI filed by B R Manhas, a senior citizen in JNMF in November 2006. Manhas's plea was a modest one, asking "year-wise financial grant given by HRD ministry and its purpose.'' JNMF shot off a letter to CIC wanting to know if "charitable trusts set up in memory of national leaders come within RTI Act''. In response, Habibullah replied the RTI Act didn't apply to the fund so it wasn't bound by it. But it was Manhas's argument that was upheld by CIC in its latest ruling since
the trust received government funds and was housed within government property Teen Murti House it was accountable to the public.

Complete ARticle

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Youth connect with RTI at workshop

RTI (Right to Information) Act helpline in the city recently completed three years. It has received over 40,000 calls till date. However, the ratio of youth using this service so far has been comparatively low. But, this might change soon. On Sunday, Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), the organisation in-charge of the helpline, organised a one-day workshop at Kochrab Ashram, in association with local chapter of Open Space, a national youth organisation. The workshop focused on developing and promoting awareness about RTI among youth, as well as providing a platform for a varied people to interact with each other.

Harinesh Pandya, from Janpath and MAGP, said, "This workshop was primarily designed to allow youngsters to learn about this tool and allow them to solve any doubts they may have about its operation. It also serves to bridge the rural-urban divide that is apparent among users."

Complete Article

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MEA refuses info in 1972 Cabinet mole case under RTI

It may sound ironical but the information declassified by the US government and put in public domain is still tagged as confidential by Ministry of External Affairs as is evident in a case pertaining to the mole in Indira Gandhi's cabinet in 1972.

After the directions of Central Information Commission (CIC) to provide information in the case, the MEA has accepted that records of discussions of meetings between the then Minister of External Affairs Swaran Singh and US Secretary William Rogers on October 5, 1972 were available but refused to disclose them claiming confidentiality.

The information was sought by Anuj Dhar, author of the book "CIA's Eye on South Asia" which carries details of the case, under the RTI Act.

But it was rejected by the ministry saying it does not take into cognizance reports of foreign governments, newspapers and books as those are unsubstantiated.

Complete Article

Ease Vidhana Soudha restrictions: KIC

Taking note of the difficulties faced by Right to Information(RTI) applicants to enter Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha, the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) has issued orders to the state government to make it easier to enter these buildings. Information Commissioner JS Virupakshaiah, in an order issued earlier
this month, has directed the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR), Secretary, KR Srinivas to take suitable steps to ensure easy access of these buildings.

The order, which was issued on May 13, states that the "Commission directs Sri KR Srinivas, IAS, Secretary, DPAR to issue suitable instructions to the Security or the Departmental Heads to allow the RTI applicants or alternatively the appellant authority may be directed to hear the first appeals after 3:30 pm and also to direct the security in all the gates of Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha to allow RTI applicants or to issue necessary authorisation to the applicants to enter Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha during the time prescribed".

The order was issued following a request by a petitioner, BH Veeresh, to the Commission to issue directions to the government to ensure that RTI applicants are not unnecessarily harassed.

Complete Article

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