Thursday, July 29, 2010

Govt need not give copies of documents inspected under RTI

Govt need not give copies of documents inspected under RTI

Mayura Janwalkar / DNA

Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:09 IST

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the central government to not give copies of documents that were open to inspection.

The case was filed against Kanhaiyalal Talera from Pune who had alleged that his land near the Lohegaon airport in Pune was "wrongly acquired" by the airport authority, the ministry of defence and the civil aviation.

Talera had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005, seeking the layout for the extension of the runway. He had sought the information stating that there was no need for his land to extend the runway. The air force allowed Talera to inspect the document pertaining to the airport and the runway map.

However, Talera said that if he was allowed to inspect the documents, he should also be given the copies of the documents under the RTI.

When the ministry of defence turned down his application, he filed subsequent appeals up to the Central Information Commission (CIC), which also refused to grant him any relief.

In the high court, arguing for the central government, advocates Jamshed Mistry and Anamika Malhotra stated that if copies of the information were distributed, it could put the security of the airport in jeopardy as they could be misused.

Citing section 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act, they said that the government was under no obligation to reveal information that could pose a security threat to India.

Upholding the government's decision under this provision, the court granted no relief to Talera and dismissed his petition.

Courtesy_

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eight RTI activists killed in seven months

Eight RTI activists killed in seven months

J. Balaji

'In most cases, the top brass knew what was going on'


Maharashtra tops the list with four; Gujarat had two

NGOs plan a rally condemning the killing


NEW DELHI: With the cold-blooded murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa near the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad last Tuesday, the number of whistleblowers killed this year alone has gone up to eight. The Congress-ruled Maharashtra tops the list with four killings, followed by the BJP-ruled Gujarat with two.

The murdered RTI activists were: Datta Patil of Kolhapur (Maharashtra), killed on May 31; Vitthal Gite of Beed district, Maharashtra, on April 21; Sola Ranga Rao of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, on April 11; Arun Sawant of Badlapur, Maharashtra, on February 26; Shashidhar Mishra of Begusarai, Bihar, on February 14; Vishram Laxman Dodiya of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on February 11; and Satish Shetty of Pune, Maharashtra, killed on January 13.

Eyewash

RTI activist Krishnaraja Rao said that after every murder the respective State Government gave a standard reply: "Matter is under investigation. We will find the culprits." He alleged that this is nothing but eyewash. In most cases, the top brass knew exactly what was going on.

"By not penalising slippery public information officers and not compelling evasive public authorities to provide information, the State Information Commissioners too blunt the RTI activist's sword and prolong his battle for years, until somebody gets him in the end," he complained.

Meanwhile, Various NGOs and human rights organisations are planning to undertake a rally from ITO in New Delhi this Monday at 6 p.m. to condemn the brutal killing of Amit Jethwa.

© Copyright 2000 - 2009 The Hindu

Courtesy_

http://www.thehindu.com

Sunday, July 4, 2010

CIC slaps Rs 250 per day fine on info officer

CIC slaps Rs 250 per day fine on info officer

TNN, Jun 24, 2010, 02.03am IST

LUCKNOW: The chief information commissioner (CIC) has slapped a penalty of Rs 250 per day on the information officer of the state home department starting from May 31, 2010, till the time he provides the information sought by an IPS officer under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Prior to slapping the fine, the CIC sought personal appearance of the officer concerned to award him the opportunity to explain the reason behind the delay in providing the said information to the applicant but the officer in questioned not only failed to appear before the CIC but also did not find it important enough to inform the commission about the reason of his absence in advance.

The issue relates to an IPS officer, Amitabh Thakur, who is presently on a study leave for a management course at the Indian Institute of Management - Lucknow (IIM-L). Thakur had reportedly submitted an application to the public information officer (PIO) of the state home department, Madan Kishore Srivastava, on May 29 seeking copies of all the notings, comments, letters, orders and correspondences related to his study leave application that he had applied on April 3, 2008. After the PIO of the state home department failed to provide the information, the IPS officer took refuge of the CIC.

After the due course of hearings, CIC Ranjit Singh Pankaj on May 30 ordered the PIO to provide the applicant with the required information by June 22, 2010 - the next date of hearing the case. In case of failure to provide the information, the CIC in his order stated that the PIO must provide the reason behind it. However the PIO neither provided the applicant with the required information nor bothered to inform the CIC about the reasons for the same or the reason for his absence from the hearing.

Taking serious note of the PIO's conduct, the CIC on Tuesday ordered a fine of Rs 250 per day as per the provisions under Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005, starting May 31, 2010, till the date the required information is made available to the IPS officer. The CIC also cautioned the PIO to provide the applicant with the required information before the case comes up for the next hearing slated for August 3, 2010. In case of failure, the commission will recommend for departmental proceedings against the PIO, Madan Kishore Srivastava.

Courtesy_

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to write an RTI application?

How to write an RTI application?

| July 3rd, 2010 | By: Piyush Goyal |

The Right to Information Act (RTI) is a law enacted by the Parliament of India "to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens." The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir – which is covered under a State-level law. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen (excluding the citizens within J&K) may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 13 October 2005. Information disclosure in India was hitherto restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.

Pre-requisites:

- Your name, address, contact telephone number and your email id.
- Information about Public Information officer, name, address e.t.c. In case you have problems locating your PIO/APIO you can address your RTI application to the Pio C/o Head of Department and send it to the concerned Public Authority with the requisite application fee. The Head of Department will have to forward your application to the concerned PIO.
- Do not adress your RTI application to the PIO by his name, just in case he gets transferred or a new PIO is designated in his place.
- Mode of Payment available with CPIO, the fees, and Contact person to receive the application. (In most of the cases the Assistant Chief Public Information officer, ACPIO or directly the CPIO).

Public Authorities under the centre, states, legislatures and Supreme/High courts have framed separate rules for RTI. The amount of fees and the mode of payment varies and you should check the correct rules as applicable in your case.

Generally, you can deposit your application fee via:

- In person by paying cash [remember to take your receipt]
- By Post through:
Demand Draft/Bankers Cheque
Indian Postal Order
Money orders (only in some states)
Affixing Court fee Stamp (only in some states)
- Some state governments have prescribed some head of account. You are required to deposit fee in that account. For that, you can either go to any branch of SBI and deposit cash in that account and attach deposit receipt with your RTI application. Or you can also send a postal order or a DD drawn in favour of that account along with your RTI application. Please see respective state rules for complete details.
- For Public Authorities under Central RTI rules, DoPT has recently clarified that BC/DD/IPO can be in favour of "Accounts Officer". If the department or administrative unit does not have a Accounts Officer, they are supposed to designate someone, as per DoPT circular.

Application Guidelines:

While filing an RTI application, the framing of the questions is very important. A slight misunderstanding or vague questions gives the PIO a chance to reject your application. Follow these guidelines:
- Use a white sheet of paper to write an application. There is no need to using Note-sheet, or the Court stamp paper. You can use your letter pad for asking for information.
- The matter can be hand written, or typed. There is no compulsion of typing the content.
- Make sure the application is legible and easy to read.
- There is no restriction on number of pages for asking information.
- There are also no restriction on number of questions that can be asked in one application. However, it is generally advisable to ask restrict one application with limited set of questions and generally related ones.

NOTE:

The state of Karnataka has recently passed a amendment to its RTI rules restricting the RTI application to one subject matter and to 150 words. Please see:

- Be very specific & ask to the point questions. Don't ask vague questions.
- Ask as many short questions as you like ,but don't ask for voluminous information.
- Ask information always by writing your name and signature, and not by your post, as only citizen have the right to information.
- Do not ask a question containing 'WHY'! For example, questions like why you failed to pass the bill, is liable to be rejected for not covering under RTI Act.
- You can ask for reasons behind a "administrative" or a "quasi-judicial" decision under Section 4(1)(d), especially if you are a "affected person".
- If the information sought is voluminous, it is better to ask it in the form of CD to save on cost.
- Remember that, you do not need to write the reason for asking the information.
- Mention the payment details like BC/DD/IPO number, issuing bank/post office, date, cash receipt details , etc., towards the end of your application.

Courtesy_

Friday, July 2, 2010

Information officers not well conversant with RTI Act

'Information officers not well conversant with RTI Act'

Raakhi Jagga

Posted: Fri Jul 02 2010, 00:16 hrs

Five years have passed since the Right to Information (RTI) Act was implemented in the country, but public information officers (PIOs) and assistant public information officers (APIOs) are not well conversant with it yet, feels State Information Commissioner Darbara Singh Kahlon. In Ferozepur to conduct an awareness seminar for PIOs and APIOs on Wednesday, Kahlon said these officials were in the habit of taking things for granted and hence failed to provide information within the scheduled 30 days.

"A total of 136 PIOs have been fined between April 2005 and December 2009 for not providing information to the public. At the same time, a total of 250 people have been provided compensation by the commission from various departments as they failed to give information on time," Kahlon told The Indian Express.

He added: "Looking at the poor awareness levels about the RTI Act among the PIOs and APIOs, I decided to conduct awareness seminars and have so far visited 14 districts. I will cover the entire state."

Kahlon said the officers must be sincere while dealing with applications and their responsibility did not end with their transfer or retirement. In case there is any lapse in providing information, the matter is referred to the same officer and not his or her successor.

During the seminar, PIOs complained that applicants from below poverty line (BPL) families often entered into arguments over the payment of photocopy charges, but since the officers don't know the rules properly they cannot handle the situation. "Such confusions need to be cleared. For BPL families, the only exemption is the application form fee. They have to bear the rest of the expenses. These include photocopy charges," said Kahlon.

Courtesy_



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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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This Blog Spot is meant for publishing reports about the usage of RTI Act (Right to Information Act, 2005) so as to create an awareness to the general public and also to keep it as a ready reckoner by them. So the readers may extend their gratitude towards the Author as we quoted at the bottom of each Post under the title "Courtesy".Furthermore, the Blog Authors are no way responsible for the correctness of the materials published herein and the readers may verify the concerned valuable sources.

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