Friday, September 19, 2014

Pondicherry: CF not accepted as Fees under RTI Petition

Central Information Commission
Room No. 305, 2nd Floor, ‘B’ Wing, August Kranti Bhavan,
Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi­110066
Web: www.cic.gov.in Tel No: 26167931
Case No. CIC/SS/C/2013/000115
Dated: 26.4.2013

Name of Complainant: Mr. B. Bharathi 
Name of Respondent: Law Department, Chief Secretariat, Puducherry. 

ORDER

The Commission has received a petition dated 5.2.2013 from Mr.B.Bharathi against the Law Department, Chief Secretariat, Puducherry for deemed refusal to his RTI request dated 11.11.2012.

2. On perusal of the documents submitted by the Complainant it is observed that he has submitted a Court Fee Stamp of Rs. 10/- alongwith his RTI application which is not the prescribed mode of payment as per rules. Rule 3 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (Regulation of Fee and Cost), necessitates that RTI requests should be accompanied by an application fee of Rs.10/- by way of cash against proper receipt or by Demand Draft or Bankers cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Public Authority. 

3. The instant complaint fails the maintainability test because the prescribed RTI-fee has not been paid by the complainant to start the RTI proceedings.

4. The Complainant is advised to submit a fresh RTI application along with fee of Rs.10/- as per RTI Act, 2005.

(Sushma Singh)
Information Commissioner


Ruling on SIC’s role in dealing with appeals

Ruling on SIC’s role in dealing with appeals

MADURAI, September 19, 2014

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

The State Information Commission (SIC) must enquire into second appeals filed before it under the Right to Information Act, 2005, by issuing notices to the officials and not dispose them of mechanically by asking them to reconsider the applicants’ requests, the Madras High Court Bench here has held.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by an RTI applicant, Justice T.S. Sivagnanam directed the SIC to issue notice to the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB), who had reportedly not provided the exact information sought for by the petitioner. The judge pointed out that the petitioner had filed his RTI application on August 31, 2013. The PIO of TRB replied to it on September 28, 2013. But not satisfied with the reply, the petitioner went on appeal to the first appellate authority in the TRB. It was not considered for long and hence he preferred a second appeal on December 16.

The SIC forwarded the second appeal to the Chairman of TRB with a direction to treat it as a first appeal. The petitioner objected to the methodology adopted by the SIC by making representations on several occasions. But he did not receive a positive response and hence the present writ petition.

The petitioner said the only option available for the SIC while dealing with the second appeal was to enquire into the matter and impose penalty on the officials for not providing the exact information or to recommend disciplinary action against them. The SIC was not empowered to forwarding the second appeal to treat it as a first appeal.


Also read the Full Text of the Judgment is at: http://goo.gl/GtmVMv

Mad HC: Disclose reason for seeking information under RTI


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HC denies information on judicial post appointment

Manish Raj, TNN | Sep 19, 2014, 03.53 AM IST

CHENNAI: Distinguishing between the 'right to information' and the 'right to seek information', the Madras high court has upheld its own officer's refusal to part with information relating to appointment of officers in the court. 

The matter pertains to B Bharathi who filed six applications before the high court under the RTI Act seeking information on: his complaint against the chief metropolitan magistrate, Egmore; recruitment rules for the post of registrar general; action taken on his application filed in October 2011 regarding the appointment and selection of registrar general along with copies of petitions he had filed earlier; and his complaint against the magistrate and the action taken. He also sought information and file notings of his complaint against a woman advocate. Along with these, he filed 47 other complaints before the court. 

In reply, the high court's principal information officer (PIO) said Bharathi was asked to inspect the files concerning the magistrate in January 2012. But he sought more time and filed a complaint to the registrar general alleging non-furnishing of information. This was later dismissed. It had also been communicated to him that there were no recruitment rules for registrar general. As Bharathi had made the complaints himself, how could he not have the copies, asked the PIO. His complaint against the advocate was pending before the court. 

Bharathi then appealed to the CIC seeking information on his 53 applications. The Central Information Commissioner (CIC) directed the registrar (administration) and the designated Public Information Officer (PIO) to provide attested photocopies of the relevant documents for his six appeals. It asked Bharathi to send a tabular statement listing all complaints pertaining to his 47 applications. It, however, said disclosure of information must be commensurate with smooth functioning of public authorities. This was a case where an individual had "overloaded and diverted its resources." 

The PIO then moved the HC stating that Bharathi's aim was to "derail the administration by misusing the RTI provisions and bring it embarrassment and ridicule." Countering this, Bharathi said the state machinery had colluded to deny him justice. The bench of Justice N Paul Vasanthkumar and Justice K Ravichandrabaabu said the appointment of registrar could not be brought under the RTI Act as it pertained to the internal functioning of the court and was not related to public interest. Also, Bharathi did not "disclose even the basic reason for seeking information". His complaint against the magistrate had been closed and the matter regarding the advocate was pending. The CIC's order regarding the other 47 applications was "bereft of any material particulars," said the bench. 


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தகவல் கோரும் நோக்கத்தை தெரியப்படுத்த வேண்டும்: உயர் நீதிமன்றம் உத்தரவு

பதிவு செய்த நாள்: செப் 19, 2014 00:01

சென்னை: 'தகவல் பெறும் உரிமை சட்டத்தின் கீழ், தகவல் கோருபவர், அந்த தகவல்கள், தனிப்பட்ட நலனுக்காகவா அல்லது பொது நலனுக்காகவா என்பதை வெளிப்படுத்த வேண்டும். குறைந்தபட்ச விவரங்களையாவது தெரிவிக்க வேண்டும்' என, சென்னை உயர் நீதிமன்றம் உத்தரவிட்டு உள்ளது.

புதுச்சேரியை சேர்ந்தவர் பாரதி. இவர் தகவல் பெறும் உரிமை சட்டத்தின் கீழ், சில தகவல்களை அளிக்கும்படி, சென்னை உயர் நீதிமன்றத்திடம் கோரினார்.ஆறு தகவல்கள் சென்னை, எழும்பூர் தலைமை பெருநகர மாஜிஸ்திரேட்டுக்கு எதிராக அளித்த புகாரின் மீது எடுக்கப்பட்ட நடவடிக்கை, உயர் நீதிமன்ற பதிவாளர் ஜெனரல் பதவிக்கான தேர்வு விதிமுறைகள் உள்ளிட்ட, ஆறு தகவல்களை அளிக்கும்படி கோரியிருந்தார்.இதற்கு, உயர் நீதிமன்ற பதிவாளர், தேவையான கோப்புகளை, உயர் நீதிமன்றம் வந்து பார்த்துக்கொள்ளலாம் என, பாரதிக்கு தகவல் தெரிவித்தார்.இதற்கிடையில், தனக்கு தேவையான தகவல்கள் தரப்படவில்லை என, பதிவாளர் ஜெனரலிடம் முறையிட்டார். அது, தள்ளுபடி செய்யப்பட்டது.

அதையடுத்து, மத்திய தகவல் ஆணையத்திடம் முறையீடு செய்தார். அவர் கோரிய தகவல்களையும், உரிய ஆவணங்களையும், கோப்புகளில் உள்ள குறிப்புகளையும், மற்றும் 47 புகார்கள் தொடர்பான விவரங்களையும் அளிக்கும்படி, உயர் நீதிமன்ற பதிவாளருக்கு, மத்திய தகவல் ஆணையம், கடந்த ஆண்டு ஜனவரி யில் உத்தரவிட்டது.

இந்த உத்தரவை எதிர்த்து, சென்னை உயர் நீதிமன்றத்தில், பதிவாளர் மனு தாக்கல் செய்தார். பாரதி கோரிய விவரங்கள் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டதாகவும், இருக்கிற தகவல்கள், அனுமதிக்கப்பட்ட தகவல்கள் வழங்கப்பட்டதாகவும் மனுவில் கூறப்பட்டது.இம்மனுவை விசாரித்த நீதிபதிகள் என்.பால்வசந்தகுமார், ரவிச்சந்திரபாபு அடங்கிய, 'டிவிஷன் பெஞ்ச்' பிறப்பித்த உத்தரவு:

தகவல் பெறும் உரிமை சட்டத்தின் கீழ், தகவல் கோருபவர், அந்த தகவல்கள், தனிப்பட்ட நலனுக்காகவா அல்லது பொது நலனுக்காகவா என்பதை வெளிப்படுத்த வேண்டும். குறைந்த பட்ச விவரங்களையாவது தெரிவிக்க வேண்டும்.அந்த விவரங்கள் தெரிவிக்கப் படவில்லை என்றால், தகவல் பெறும் உரிமை சட்டத்தில் கூறியுள்ள, அம்சத்தை பூர்த்தி செய்வதாக கருத முடியாது. தகவல் பெறும் உரிமை என்பது, தடையற்ற உரிமையாக கருத முடியாது. அது, நியாயமான கட்டுப்பாடுகளுக்கு உட்பட்டது.

எனவே, தகவல் கோரப்படுவதன் நோக்கத்தையும், அந்த நோக்கத்துக்கு சட்டப் பின்னணி இருப்பதையும், தகவல் கோருபவர் வெளிப்படுத்த வேண்டும்.கோப்புகளை பார்த்துக் கொள்ள, பாரதி அனுமதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளார். பதிவாளர் ஜெனரல் பதவிக்கு, தேர்வு விதிமுறைகள் இல்லை என, அவருக்கு தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. சில தகவல்கள் இல்லாதபட்சத்தில், அந்த தகவல்களை வழங்கும்படி பதிவாளரை வற்புறுத்த முடியாது.நீதிமன்றத்தில் நிலுவையில் உள்ள, வழக்கு தொடர்பான தகவலை பெறுவதற்கு, பாரதிக்கு உரிமையில்லை. நிலுவையில் உள்ள வழக்கு தொடர்பான ஆவணங்கள் வேண்டும் என்றால், விதிகளின்படி, சான்றளிக்கப்பட்ட நகலைக் கோரி விண்ணப்பிக்க வேண்டும்.

ரத்துகோப்புகளில் உள்ள குறிப்புகள், தகவல் பரிமாற்றங்கள் மற்றும் ஆவணங்களை பெறுவதற்கு உரிமையில்லை. எனவே, அவர் கோரிய தகவல்களை அளிக்கும்படி, மத்திய தகவல் ஆணையம் உத்தரவிட்டது தவறானது. அந்த உத்தரவு ரத்து செய்யப்படுகிறது.இவ்வாறு, 'டிவிஷன் பெஞ்ச்' உத்தரவிட்டு உள்ளது.


Also read the related stories

1. Full Judgment of Madras HC is at: http://goo.gl/Vb9lNh

2. CIC Decisions at: http://goo.gl/9ZxuWi

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lakhs of pending appeals threaten to kill RTI Act

Courtesy_
Dinamalar ePaper

Also read the related stories

DNA Special: Eight years on, lakhs of pending appeals threaten to kill RTI Act

Saturday, 12 October 2013 - 8:01am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Mayank Aggarwal and Sudhir Shetty DNA

Even as India celebrates the eighth anniversary of the Right to Information (RTI) Act that made common man feel empowered and was instrumental in exposing nearly all big scams in the last few years, pendency of appeals and complaints piling up at the information commissions are making it toothless. According to estimates, across the country, several lakhs of appeals and complaints are pending.

Since October 12, 2005, when the RTI Act came into force, common man in India has embraced it whole heartedly using it for things like getting a ration card to exposing scams such as the 2G spectrum. Numerous attempts to dilute the transparency Act, hailed amongst the biggest achievements of the Congress-led UPA-I government, were defeated time and again by activists and the common man.

But what is easily defeating the RTI Act and the spirit of those using it is the poor functioning of information commissions in the states as well as the Central Information Commission. Issues such as pendency of appeals and complaints at the information commissions are killing people's enthusiasm towards the transparency act leaving them frustrated.

"My appeal at CIC regarding proactive disclosures by the Ministry of Defence and Railways was decided after two-and-a-half years. The Commission had asked the public authorities to comply with the order in eight weeks. But it has been two years since then and no action has been  taken on that decision as yet. I have filed one more RTI application to know what happened to the compliance of that order," CJ Karira, who is involved in running an online community of around four lakh RTI users, told DNA.

Recounting experiences of many RTI applicants, Karira said a long wait at the information commissions for appeal is discouraging people in a big way.  "Information Commissions, which themselves are expected to help in ushering in transparency, are the biggest roadblocks as they are not even revealing details about appeals and complaints pending with them. Phones of some information commissions are not working as they have not paid their telephone dues," Karira added.

Pendency of appeals and complaints at the Central Information Commission  itself stands at over 19,000.

"More thanr 50,000 complaints and appeals are still pending with the Maharashtra Information Commission. Madhya Pradesh Information Commission has not settled even a single case in the past one year. It is headless. It even does not have a commissioner. So, basically the information commissions needs to pull up their socks otherwise the act soon will become meaningless," Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative told DNA.


Also read the related stories

Is the RTI Act gradually becoming ineffective? 

15 Mar, 2014

Since its enactment in 2005, the Right to Information (RTI) Act has raised expectations amongst the citizens while evoking fear amongst the corrupt. However, the working of the transparency law has raised serious questions about the future of the Act. The Act is facing challenges from multiple fronts. High number of appeals There are nearly 1.5 lakhs appeals are pending before the different information commissions in the country, some of which since 2011. The high pendency is on account of low number of information commissioners and less disposal from the existing number of Information Commissioners. The figures show that: 
  • More than 24,000 appeals are pending before the central information commission
  • More than 35,000 appeals are pending before the Maharashtra State Information Commission
  • More than 24,000 pending are pending before the Karnataka State Information Commission 
  • Denial of information on flimsy ground 
The lack of disciplinary action against the erring public information officers (PIOs) has led to absence of fear amongst the officials. Statistics shows that the number of PIOs are penalised is less than 5 per cent of the cases. A penalty can be imposed under section 20 of the RTI Act if the PIO has not furnished the information sought within 30 days, or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information. Absence of penal action has led to a situation where denial of information is becoming common. Some of the common replies for denial of information are:
  • the query is not specific
  • the documents are voluminous
  • information is not available
  • documents are missing or not traceable
  • the information is in public domain
  • deemed refusal where the applicants don't get a response or gets a reply after much delay. 

Infrequent penalty on PIO 

According to a statistics, penalties have been imposed on PIOs in only 1,000 cases of the more than 1.7 lakh appeals that were disposed in the eight years since the RTI Act has come into existence. Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi feels that if the PIOs don't have the threat of penalty, then RTI is under threat. 

Attacks on RTI activists 

Attacks on the RTI activists cause a threat to their lives leading to a scare amongst the information seekers. As per statistics compiled by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), nearly 250 individuals have been allegedly harassed or attacked physically or their property damaged. 

Judicial delays 

Many progressive orders of the Information Commissions have been stayed and are hence held in abeyance. 

Absence of political will 

The ruling class belonging to all the major political properties does not seem to be interested in enforcing the RTI Act on their own selves. 

Lack of awareness

There has been an increase in the awareness levels amongst the citizens but the number of those who still have little or no information about the transparency law is very high. Many of the Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities are not adequately trained. Suo-motu disclosure remains a distant dream. Will appropriate steps be taken to add teeth to the RTI Act?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

RTI applies to private schools: CIC

RTI applies to private schools: CIC

NEW DELHI, June 7, 2014

LEGAL CORRESPONDENT

Every recognised school, including private ones, is bound to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission has said.

The CIC order gains significance as it gives private education sector employees, especially teachers, a fighting chance to seek transparency on any calls made by the school managements.

The decision is based on an appeal filed by Sadhana Dixit, a former teacher of Jindal Public School, who was refused copies of her service book on the ground that it was exempt from the RTI law.

In a recent order, Information Commissioner Professor M. Sridhar Acharyulu said the school, whether a public authority or private body, has a duty to comply with the regulations of the Delhi Education Act and maintain records, which in turn gives the employee an inherent right to access information on those records.

Hence, the school is directed to discharge its obligation under law by furnishing the information sought by the appellant [Ms. Dixit].

Courtesy_

Also read the FULL Decision of CIC

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
(Room No.315, B­Wing, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi 110 066)

File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/000658­SA

Appellant: Ms. Sadhana Dixit

Respondent: Diretorate of Education, GNCTD, Delhi

Date of Hearing: 19­-05-­2014

Date of Decision: 29­-05-­2014

Information Commissioner: Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu

Referred Sections: Sections 3 and 19(3) of the RTI Act

Result: Appeal allowed / disposed of

The appellant  is present. The Public Authority  is represented by Ms. Tara Walwekar, DEO, Zone­ 21, Office of DDE, Distt. SW B Zone­21, GNCTD, New Delhi. 

FACTS

2. The  appellant submitted that through his  RTI application dt. 17­9­12, she is seeking copies of her appointment letter issued by Jindal Public School, staff statement of all the employees,  acquaintance roles (PBR), certified copy of her service book, etc.  PIO replied on 19­10­2012  which was upheld by  FAA  by his order dt. 18­12­2012.  Not satisfied with the information, she filed 2nd appeal before this Commission. 
  
Decision:

3. Heard the submissions. The appellant sought copy of her service book which is maintained by the school and the school claims that it would not fall under RTI Act. The respondent authority has provided the information which is available with them. On a query asked by the Commission, the appellant stated that the school management was not transparent and not ready to show the leave record of the teachers working there. They even refused to give a copy of the appointment letter. That is why she   has chosen to file an application under the RTI Act. As an employee/former employee of the school, the appellant  has every right to information about her service book, leave record, appointment details and any other information pertaining to her service. The Jindal Public School, whether it is a public authority or private body, has a duty under sections 4 and 8 of Delhi Education Act 1973, to abide by the regulatory conditions of service, payment of salaries as prescribed, etc for which the school has to maintain the records, which provide an inherent and implied right to information to their employees. Under Right to Education Act 2009 also the recognized school is under an obligation to appoint eligible teachers and provide them prescribed wages. This also reveals that it has given inherent right to information to the teachers from their employers. If the appellant in her capacity  as ex­-employee of the school has right to information under any legislation such as Delhi Education Act, that will fall under the purview of section 2(f) of the RTI Act which gives the PIO, Appellate authority and the Information Commissioner, power to enforce her right to information. Hence, the school is directed to discharge their obligation under law by furnishing the information sought by the appellant to the respondent authority, who in turn is directed to provide the same to the appellant within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. 

4. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.

Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu, Information Commissioner

Address of the parties:

1. The CPIO under RTI, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, O/o Dy.Director of Education, Dist. South West(B), Najafgarh, New Delhi.

2. The PIO under RTI/Manager, Jindal Public School, Dashrathpuri, 3Dwaraka­Palam Road, New Delhi ­ 110 045.

3. Ms. Sadhana Dixit, RZ­F­14, Mahavir Enclave, Street No.4, Palam Dahri Road, New Delhi ­ 110 045.


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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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