Monday, February 22, 2010

Cabinet's advice to the president covered by RTI: CIC

Cabinet's advice to the president covered by RTI: CIC

DNA Monday, February 22, 2010 17:51 IST

New Delhi: The advice tendered by the Union Cabinet to the president in any matter can be disclosed under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the Central Information Commission (CIC) held today.

CIC Wajahat Habibullah quoting a Supreme Court ruling said Article 74(2) of the Indian Constitution implies that such advice "cannot be inquired" into by any court.

"It does not mean that the nature of this advice cannot be disclosed," he said while directing the president's secretariat to allow inspection of files pertaining to communication between former president Shanker Dayal Sharma and former prime minister Narasimha Rao on the issue of extending SC status of convert Christians of dalit origin.

An RTI applicant Franklin Ceasar Thomas had sought details of action taken by the then president Shankar Dayal Sharma on the ordinance for granting scheduled caste status to convert Christians of enumerated castes.

The president's Secretariat refused to grant access to the files saying the then President had not given assent to the ordinance and that as the issue involves previledged correspondence with the president and the prime minister the same has been denied as per provisions of the RTI Act.

Article 74 (2) says the question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by ministers to the president shall not be inquired into any court. Habibullah quoted a decision of the Supreme Court on the Article saying "Its (Article 74 (2) of the Constitution) object was only to make the question whether the President had followed the advice of the ministers or acted contrary thereto, non-justiciable".

"Put simply, this will imply that such advice cannot be inquired by any court. It does not mean that the nature of this advice cannot be disclosed. For this reason and in the light of the Right to Information Act, 2005 CPIO is directed to allow inspection of relevant files," he said.

Thomas had also sought inspection of the files from the prime minister's Office which had allowed the request when the matter reached the CIC.

Courtesy_

RTI activist killed in Pune

RTI activist killed

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Pune, January 14, 2010: Four days after unidentified persons fired outside the south Mumbai house of civic activist Nayana Kathpalia, Right To Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty was murdered on Wednesday morning in Pune.

Shetty, who led a crusade against illegal land transactions in Pune district’s Lonavla region, lived in Talegaon Dabhade on the old Mumbai-Pune highway, 40 kms from Pune. The 39-year-old was returning from his morning walk on Wednesday when a group of unidentified persons attacked him with sharp weapons.

He sustained serious injuries all over the body. His brother, Sandeep, rushed him to Pawna Hospital at Somatane Phata, where doctors declared him dead on arrival. No arrests had been made until late on Wednesday night.

Sandeep lodged a complaint with Talegaon Dabhade police station saying that his brother had been receiving threatening phone calls for the past few days over a land transaction in Maval taluka (sub-district), on which he had sought information under RTI.

Sandeep, in his complaint, had named a city businessman closely associated with politicians.

Shetty, an activist of Bhrashtacharvirodhi Dakshata Samiti (anti-corruption vigilance committee), had used the RTI to force the government to take action against several illegal transactions. He was associated with anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare.

Shocked by the murder, RTI activists in Pune decided to meet on Friday to chalk out their next course of action. Vijay Kumbhar of the Surajya Sangharsha Samiti said that RTI activists across the country have been facing threats and the government should take steps to protect them.

Kumbhar said Shetty had exposed private parties that had encroached on government land in Maval and also irregular constructions in and around Lonavla. He said it was because of Shetty’s follow-up that action was taken against the illegal registration of land transactions.

An NGO MITRA [Movement against Intimidation, Threat and Revenge against Activists] has written to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into Shetty’s murder.

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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