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Archive for the ‘Maharashtra RTI’ Category

Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on February 28, 2008

Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: “Shailesh Gandhi” <shaileshgan@ gmail.com>
To:all RTI@yahoogroups. com>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 17:42:01 +0530
Subject: Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund
After a 27 month RTI saga the Chief Minister has conceded that
the Maharashtra CM’s fund will come under RTI scrutiny. But the path to
reach here has been a long and chequered one. On 26 October, 2005 I asked
for some simple details about the money spent from the CM’s relief fund
which was refused by the PIO, on the grounds that it is a Registered Trust
with no Government controls, hence not a Public Authority. A first appeal on
21 February 2006, by me arguing that this was a Public authority in all
senses, prompted the first appellate authority to give a decision it would
be a breach of Legislative privilige! A second appeal was filed to the
Information Commission on 10 April, 2006, and the Single Commissioner held a
hearing on 1 June, 2006, but did not issue any order. I argued that if the
Legislative assembly chose not to ask questions on a particular matter, it
could not supercede my Right to Information. After repeated questioning
about this by Citizens and media, the full bench of the Maharashtra
Commission was called on 7th December, 2007. Four Commissioners- one each
from Nagpur, Aurangabad and Pune met in Mumbai with the Chief Commissioner
in Mumbai,- for the hearing. After I made my opening argument for a minute
the State lawyer said they wanted to make a written submission and that the
Advocate General would place the State’s arguments, hence the matter should
be adjourned by six weeks. I protested that the State could have presented
its submissions earlier and the Advocate General could not be the only
person in the State to present arguments. Besides, if at all an adjournment
was desired, the State should have asked for it earlier. After the full
bench had assembled, the State was only flexing its muscle and devaluing the
Commission by insisting on an adjournment. The Commission however was
willing to agree to the State’s demand, and the next hearing was fixed on
7th January, 2008. On that day, again the four Commissioners assembled in
Mumbai and the Advocate General presented the same arguments which the PIO
and the First Appellate authority had presented. I also argued that the CM’s
relief fund trust had 12 members- six ministers and six secretaries who were
all Public servants, and every paper or telephone of the CM’s relief fund
was Citizen’s money, apart from the argument of the disclosure being a
breach of legislative privilige being completely illogical. The Advocate
General also told the Commission that they had recently written to the
Legislature to elicit their opinion. My protests notwithstanding the
Commission again gave in to the State’s diktat and decided on another
hearing on 29 Jaunary, 2008 for giving final orders.

On 29th January, the Advocate General stated that they felt it was
necessary to give their arguments made on 7th January in writing to
‘crystallise’ what they had said. My protests that the Commission was
allowing the State to denigrate the Commission and thereby the RTI Act fell
on deaf ears. The decision has still not been given by the Commission. In
the meantime I asked the Charity Commissioner for details of the Trust and
got information that apart from the initial filing of details in 1967, no
details had been filed! Media had also been highlighting all this and on
27th February, 2008 the CM displaying sagacity announced that the details of
the CM’s fund would be disclosed under RTI.

The same cannot be said about the senior officers in the State who
doggedly refused to give information in a show of arrogance. The Advocate
General also does not appear to have been keen to advise in the letter and
spirit of the law, but was only concerned with defending what he perhaps
perceived as his clients, ” the Government officers”. I wish the Advocate
General would understand the RTI act better since he will have to give an
opinion in future as well on a matter which has become very important for
Citizens. The Information Commission also appears to be willing to be taken
around the mulberry bush by the State, and this will result in a devaluing
of the position of the Commission and concomitantly the RTI Act. I am hoping
the Commission will display wisdom and give its reasoned order atleast now.

In one sense however, this is a true triumph of democracy with RTI being
the tool to bring accountability; Citizens and media highlighting a gross
mistake; and the CM at some point acknowledging that the State had been in
error, and taking corrective action. On this count I would thank the CM for
not sticking to an arrogant position, and graciously accepting the Right to
Information.

shailesh gandhi

28 February, 2008

PS.: As per the CIC’s order on 15 March, 2008, details of PM’s Relief fund
have to be given under RTI. However my RTI application asking:

As of 31st March, 2007 I want the details of the amounts deposited in banks
or any other place, in the following format:

Name of bank or Institution where

Money is deposited
Interest rate at which money deposited

Has been rejected, on 4 January, 2008 refusing to give even this
information, saying it may amount to ‘disclosure of information including
commercial confidence, trade secrets or disclosure of intellectual property
the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of third
parties’! There is also another still more obfuscating reason given,
claiming fiduciary relationship of the officers holding the information.
There is a balance of over 1400 crores, and my first appeal has also been
rejected without any reasons. At the current disposal rates of the CIC, the
second appeal I have filed might be heard after the present Shri Habibullah
retires.
Love
shailesh
All my emails are
in Public Domain.
www.satyamevajayate .info
Mera Bharat Mahaan…
Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 20 Comments »

State Info Commission bows to judiciary on RTI Act applicability

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 12, 2006

State Info Commission bows to judiciary on RTI Act applicability

http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=204706

While the RTI Act completes one year of existence on Thursday, no apparatus for dissemination of information under the RTI Act, 2005, has yet been created by the Bombay High Court. A Solapur citizen, therefore, failed to receive any information from the judiciary and the State Information Commissioner dismissing his appeal has avoided any confrontation with the judiciary

Pune, October 10; The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, applies to the judiciary. Even the Supreme Court of India has designated its own public information officer (PIO) and the appellate authority (AA) to process requisitions filed under the Act seeking information from the judiciary. The State Information Commission of Maharashtra, however, in a decision on September 27 has endorsed the decision of the District and Sessions Court in Solapur denying information to a requisitioner because no rules have been framed by the judiciary in the State and as such no requisition can be entertained. The judiciary is expected, under the RTI Act, to frame its own rules for dissemination of information under the Act. Apart from the Supreme Court, a few high courts in the country like Karnataka have already framed the rules and designated PIOs and AAs as required by the Act. Some, like the Bombay High Court, have still not created the apparatus. The Solapur district and session court being administered by the Bombay High Court has no other choice than to abide by a circular issued by the high court administration that the application of the RTI Act to judiciary was still under consideration and as such no PIOs and AAs had been designated in Maharashtra. But Dr Suresh Joshi, chief information commissioner of Maharashtra, has powers to direct the high court to expedite framing of rules and setting up of the apparatus in all district courts for dissemination of information under the Act. It is already late by a year. Joshi, however, apparently decided to play it safe and avoid a confrontation with the judiciary.

As for the requisitioner, Angad Keshavrao Panchal, a resident of 169/Chitrakut building, Dnyaneshwar Nagar, Twin Solapur, Solapur – 4, the only remedy left is to file a writ petition against the decision of the state information commission, ironically, with the same Bombay High Court. Going by the details of the matters noted by chief commissioner Joshi in his decision (on appeal 2006/407 A/02), Panchal on November 14, 2005, harnessed the newly implemented RTI Act demanded from the Registrar of District and Sessions Court at Solapur information on pending criminal matters. The administration of the court promptly responded on November 24 and informed him that the RTI Act had not applied to the judiciary yet. Panchal, scrupulously going by the provisions of the RTI Act, regarded this as a refusal to provide information by the public information officer of the court, filed the first appeal with the ‘‘appellate authority’’ of the court on January 12, 2006 and submitted it in the office of the registrar of the district court. Quoting information commissioner Joshi from his decision (which is in Marathi), in response, S L Bhagat, district judge, Solapur, wrote to the requisitioner stating that

a) a reply had already been given to his communication on November 24, 2005, b) the requisitioner, therefore, should not continue any correspondence in the matter with the administration of the court,

c) otherwise strict action would be taken against him and

d) his second letter dated January 12 was filed.

Panchal, again going by the provisions of the RTI Act, took this as the refusal by the appellate authority and filed the second appeal with the state information commission on March 10.

The matter came up for hearing on September 27. Requisitioner Panchal was present. District and Sessions Judge of Solapur S L Bhagat, who apparently was summoned for hearing by a communication from the commission on August 25, wrote back saying:

a) The Hon High Court of Bombay by its circular number R/1611/48/2006 issued on February 15, 2006 has stated that the matter regarding applicability of the Right to Information Act, 2005, to the judiciary is under consideration of the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Bombay.

b) Accordingly, the High Court has not yet designated the district and sessions judges as appellate authorities (under the RTI Act) and registrars of district courts as public information officer.

c) As such, this office is of the opinion that provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, are not applicable to the judiciary in the present circumstances.

Information Commissioner Joshi in his decision accepted this contention of the Solapur district and sessions judge and dismissed the second appeal. Joshi, in addition, quoted a communication received earlier from the High Court of Bombay informing the commission that draft rules under the Act had been framed and the process of getting the approval of the Competent Authority under the RTI Act (that is, the chief justice of the high court) was still on. In the meantime, tomorrow, on October 12, the RTI Act completes one year of its existence.

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 3 Comments »

Court directive on speed breakers violated: Khardekar

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 20, 2006

Court directive on speed breakers violated: Khardekar

In its reply Sangamwadi ward office claimed that of the 19 speedbreakers nine have been completely removed and remaining have been constructed as per the norms. While at Kasba peth five speed breakers are yet to be removed at Yerwada all the speed breakers have been removed. Vishrambaugwada ward office has removed 73 out of 80 speed breakers so far.

Khardekar claimed that the civic administration had failed to pay attention to the condition of the speed breakers.

‘‘Speed breakers across the city are in a bad condition. While a few are below the height specified by the Court, others are broken and incomplete,’’ he said.

As for getting only half the information under the RTI, Khardekar said he would be taking the matter to the appellate authority.

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 1 Comment »

RTI query: Why was auditor transferred? Official reply: Under political pressure

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 22, 2006

RTI query: Why was auditor transferred? Official reply: Under political pressure

Anuradha Nagaraj

Posted online: Monday, March 27, 2006 at 0000 hrs

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/1258.html

Maharashtra: On record: NCP MP Pingle sought transfer of auditor who probed his Nashik bank

var dc_UnitID = 14; var dc_PublisherID = 2690; var dc_AdLinkColor = ‘blue’; var dc_open_new_win=’yes’; var dc_adprod=’ADL’; var dc_single_line = ‘yes’; NASHIK, MARCH 26:In response to a Right to Information query on why a special auditor from Nashik was transferred before he completed his term, the Cooperative, Marketing and Textile Department has stated that the decision was taken “under political pressure”.

Going one step further, the detailed reply says that the transfer of special auditor A M More, probing charges of corruption in the functioning of the Nashik District Cooperative Central (NDCC) Bank, was done on the insistence of Nashik MP and bank’s director Devidas Pingle, who is from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

“In this transfer case, there were many requests made, both in writing and orally, by local representatives. Based on this the transfer was considered,” states the reply, adding that the department is inundated by such requests everyday and is under pressure to oblige them.

Days after More was transferred, on February 17, Pandurang Bhau Karanjakar of the Brashtachar Nirmulan Samiti filed a request under the RTI Act, asking the cooperatives department why More had been transferred barely a year after he was appointed in the district. On March 16, Karanjakar received four pages from Information Officer D B Patil, including departmental notings on the matter.

More had moved to Nashik in 2004 and audited NDCC bank’s 2004-05 records. In his report, he had pointed out serious lapses in the functioning of the bank and highlighted alleged corruption. The report also made serious note of the bank’s inability to recover loans from certain individuals.

On February 4 this year, More was suddenly transferred to the Tribal Development Authority in Nashik, before he could complete his three year tenure.

As per documents provided in response to the RTI query, the Cooperatives, Marketing and Textiles Department received a request from Pingle saying that since there were complaints against More, he should be transferred out of the district.

Pingle’s first reaction to the report was one of complete denial. “It has nothing to do with me,” he said. “My party workers or office staff may have sent the transfer request.” But later, he added: “In any case, More had done a long stint in Nashik earlier. He was transferred out for just six months before being brought back in.”

Ironically, the department had initially rejected the transfer request stating that since More had not completed his tenure, he could not be moved out of Nashik district.

anuradha.nagaraj@expressindia.com

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 3 Comments »

Landmark RTI Decision :: Shailesh Gandhi

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 16, 2006

shailesh gandhi
B2 Gokul Apartment, Near Asha Parekh Hospital,Poddar Road, Santacruz (W),Mumbai-400054 ,

Tel: 022-32903776; 26001003, 98200 27305. Email: shailesh2@vsnl.com

July 16, 2006

The time for providing information for requisitions filed under Right To Information is 30 days. While Section 7 (1) of the RTI Act specifies a period of 30 days for the Public Information Officer(PIO) to give the information, it also states  “Provided that where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.”

Citizens have tried to use this proviso in some cases, but I am not aware of any case, where the Information Commission has upheld this contention. Now we have, what may be a landmark decision with far-reaching implications for Citizens to correct the general apathy of many Government agencies to the safety of lives of Citizens. This may also be one of fastest decisions from the Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra, Dr.Suresh Joshi. Sandeep Jalan and I filed two RTI requisitions with the PIO of  H-West ward of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. Sandeep had mentioned open drains in Khar, and I had mentioned three large open trenches and pits in Santacruz.  The Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai had assured Citizens that all construction and digging on the roads would be over by 31 May,- before the advent of the monsoon. This was evidently a promise which neither he, nor any other officials meant to fulfill. When heavy rains struck in the first few days of July, and the roads had waterlogging, the open drains and large open pits and trenches (some over 5 feet deep), certainly posed a danger to lives of Citizens.

Sandeep and I filed the RTI requisitions asking for the names of officials responsible, and the action taken against them on 4 July. We had also asked by when action would be taken to correct this life-threatening danger. The PIO did not reply even in over 100 hours. We therefore filed  complaints to the Chief Information Commissioner on 10th July. Accepting our contention that a life-threatening issue needed a fast disposal, Dr.Joshi fixed a hearing on 13th July. During the hearing he pointed out to the PIO and the Ward officer who had come that they had failed in providing the information in the stipulated time. He pointed out that he would take penal action, unless they acted fast to take corrective action. In Santacruz, they finished the work on one trench and got MMRDA to fence the others within 12 hours, so that atleast the danger to Citizen’s life would not be there. In Mumbai itself I would encourage Citizens to file similar RTI requisitions wherever such open manholes or large trenches -over 5 feet,- are there, and are not fenced properly. If we put enough requisitions this year and force the authorities to take remedial action immediately. Maybe next year they will not repeat this criminal neglect.

For other such matters wherever Public utilities are working in a manner which could endanger people’s lives, we could act to make our Public Authorities more accountable.

Giving a proposed application below for such instances in Maharashtra.

In other States, with a change of format, it could be used by all Citizens.

Also attaching the landmark decision of the Information Commission, for easy reference

Annexure A

(see rule 3)

Format of application for obtaining information under the

Right To Information Act, 2005

To,

The Public information Officer,

.. Ward,

Address of Municipal Ward office.

(1)    Full name of applicant:

(2)    Address:                                                 Telephone number:

(3)    Particulars of the information required

(i)   Subject matter of Information:   Dangerous & Life threatening manholes/pits.

(ii)  The period to which the information relates:. Current

(iii)      Description of the information required:  There are dangerous and Life threatening open

manholes/pits at ..(mention locations)

For these I want the following information:

1.. Names of officials responsible for this.
2.. When would corrective action be taken to remove the threat to Citizens lives.
3.. Details of action taken against the officials responsible.
I wish to point out that under the provisions of Section 7(1),  when the “information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.”. This open manhole/pit can cause loss of life to Citizens.

(iv)      Whether the information is required by post or in person:  In Person-Please phone me, or send the information by hand-delivery. I will pay the necessary charges.

(the actual postal charges shall be included in additional fees)

(v)  In case by post:

(Ordinary, Registered or Speed)

(4)    Whether the applicant is below poverty line:  Not applicable

(if yes, attach the photocopy of the proof thereof.)

Place:

Date:                                                               Signature of applicant

022 32903776; 26001003
All my mails are in Public domain,
and do share them if you wish.
http://www.satyamevajayate.info

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 8 Comments »

You can now get info under RTI in 48 hrs

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 16, 2006

You can now get info under RTI in 48 hrs


[ 16 Jul, 2006 0316hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1758614,curpg-1.cms

 MUMBAI: In another possible first for the Right to Information (RTI) movement in Mumbai, activist Shailesh Gandhi has successfully used section 7(1) of the RTI Act which states that relevant information has to be provided within 48 hours if the life and liberty of the individual is at stake. Gandhi had filed an application about uncovered and unmarked drains.

As reported by TOI on July 11, Gandhi and his friend Sandeep Jalan filed applications under the RTI on July 4, seeking information from the assistant municipal commissioner, H (west) ward, after they noticed uncovered trenches and storm water drains near their houses in Bandra and Santa cruz.

The application referred to open drains at the entrance to shops at Mangal Bhavan building, Khar Pali Road, open pits and trenches opposite Standard Chartered Bank in Santacruz (W).

It asked for the names of the officers who are responsible for ensuring that such pits and trenches are filled and levelled and also the action being taken against them for failing to perform their duty.

It also asks the time- frame within which these trenches will be levelled. “One can fall into those pits and be seriously injured,”said Gandhi, explaining why he and Jalan wanted the information to be given within 48 hours.

In fact, three months ago, a schoolgirl from Bandra had a narrow escape when she fell into an open manhole at Carter Road, which was then being made concrete. Just weeks after this, an Andheri resident fell into an open manhole at a road on which concretisation work was underway and died.

After the assistant commissioner did not reply to Gandhi and Jalan, they forwarded their complaint directly to the information commission on July 10. On July 13, information commissioner Suresh Joshi called both parties for a hearing.

Joshi accepted that the 48-hour rule applied in this case, a possible first for the use of this section. His order notes that “possibly, public information officers and their superior officers are still not clear as to which information calls for action within 48 hours, which has bearing on the life and death of the applicants.”

It adds that “as regard giving information to them within 48 hours, the officers have clearly failed in their duty under the RTI Act”.

The power of the Act is clear from this case. BMC officers visited the spots before attending Joshi’s hearing and came armed with possible solutions. Even though the pit outside the Standard Chartered bank was dug by the MMRDA, Joshi asked the BMC to direct the MMRDA to fill the pits and put fencing.

“The pit outside my house has already been fenced,”Gandhi told TOI on Saturday. “We want that lots of more people should file RTI applications about similar problems, so that next year, civic officials will do all the work in time, knowing that otherwise they’ll be hauled up by the public,”said Gandhi.

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 1 Comment »

Where is the Justice, RTI or NO RTI? I am father of victim of 498A, I am 77 years old !!

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 16, 2006

  • Gope Lalwani Says:
    July 16th, 2006 at 2:30 pm e
  • Can any body help and investigate Nagpada Police Station in Mumbai to get me Justice? 
  • I am father of victim of 498A, who’s son committed SIN of
    sponsoring a Indian Girl to marry her in US.

    I have been named in the complaint and declared proclaimed
    offender listed on look-out-list at Indian Airports for arrest
    without Bail.

    As a matter of fact, I did not attend my son’s marriage ceremony
    nor lived with them during the period of their marriage. I was
    out of USA during the period.

    Here are the facts, and your opinnion shall be appreciated.

    In this case; a Criminal Complaint was registered in India
    against entire US Citizens family under section 498A with the
    collusion and connivance of the police.

    She is a Law Attorney of 10 years legal practise in Mumbai..
    Her father is also Senior Law Attorney at Mumbai High Court

    They got US citizens arrested at Mumbai Air-port, while returning
    from short visit to India visiting 92 years old ailing grand Mother,
    in
    June 2003 after about 2 months of receiving and acknowledging the
    US Decree of divorce of April 2003, in which, she has been
    named “blackmailer and extortionist” in proceedings.

    1. She did not disclose in the F.I.R ” registered in December 2002
    that the Divorce proceedings were going on against her in US
    court
    and she had filed her response in September 2002 asking for
    Rs. one crore as alimony alternatively restoration of conjugal
    rights.

    2. She did not disclose in the complaint that she had travelled to
    US on
    sponsored fiance visa (K-1) to marry in US with US citizen.

    3. She stated in the complaint that she married in India with a US
    Green Card Holder Indian Citizen and named all the members of
    of the US citizen family as” Indian Citizens residing in US”. No
    proof to support the statement has been furnished nor the
    evidence
    has been recorded in the F.I.R.

    4. Her Passport was neither inspected nor verified nor passport
    number entered in F.I.R as required by law, with the connivance
    of Mumbai Police.
    Nor the US Immigration Visa was investigated which she said in
    the complaint that she had acquired the same by fraud from
    US Consulate in Mumbai
    (The production and Inspection of her passport would
    have rendered the said complaint fraud and fraudulent)

    5. She did not disclose to US divorce court during court proceedings
    in January 2003; that she had filed a criminal complaint in
    India earlier
    in December 2002 under section 498A of Indian Penal Code, and
    obtained Non-bailable Arrest Warrants and got posted at Air-
    ports
    in India for arrest as proclaimed offenders.

    7. She has however left India and settled in Dubai for good

    Complainant had also sought assistance of “abused women’s”
    organisation in US in the divorce matter, but the organisation’s
    lawyer withdrew as soon as it became clear that her case was
    based on “Blackmail and Extortion”.

    She has not made any allegations ( such as made in the police
    complaint in India ) to the US women’s organisation’ or US police.
    This is clear evidence of Manipulation, Misuse, Mockery and Naked
    Abuse of Indian Legal and Judicial System by the unscrupulous
    woman and her father both belonging to legal profession.

    Where is the Justice, RTI or NO RTI?

    Can any body help and investigate Nagpada Police Station in Mumbai to get me Justice?
    Regards
    Gope Lalwani
    Pennsylvania USA

  • Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 4 Comments »

    How the PMC used the right to info

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 14, 2006

    How the PMC used the right to info
    Abhijit Atre
    [ 14 Jul, 2006 0046hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1748664.cms

    PUNE: The Right to information Act, which has become a powerful tool in the hands of civic activists and the general public, came in handy for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to extract information from another government department.

    In what could be the first such case in Maharashtra, the PMC effectively used the Act to procure the ‘closely-guarded’ information on tax returns filed by city traders to check whether there is any octroi evasion by them.

    The sales tax department had been sitting on the PMC’s applications. That’s when the idea of exercising the provisions of the RTI Act came to the mind of octroi department chief Nitin Gosavi.

    Gosavi told TOI that the octroi department had prepared a list of traders, particularly wholesale distributors of electronic goods, hardware, plywood, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals and cloth merchants, who were suspected of octroi evasion.

    However, the department was unable to verify its findings as it does not have the power to raid the godowns of these distributors.

    Hence, it applied to the sales tax department, seeking details of the value added tax (VAT) returns filed by these traders to find out their official turnover and compare it with the octroi paid, he said.

    Though the sales tax department has agreed in principle to provide information, it sought time and there was no guarantee when it would be given, Gosavi said.

    The use of the RTI Act proved successful because within 30 days, the sales tax department provided information on VAT returns filed by 57 traders and promised to provide data on the remaining shortlisted traders at the earliest.

    Gosavi said he had not sought the approval of the civic general body (GB). “Even a common citizen can get this information under the RTI Act. My officials or I do not need a special permission.

    Moreover, we sought the information to curb octroi evasion and thus achieve the target set by the GB itself.” The gross annual target of octroi collection for the current year is pegged at Rs 577 crore as against Rs 430 crore in the previous year.

    Posted in Maharashtra RTI | Leave a Comment »

    Rising trend in Maharashtrians’ use of the new legislation

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 11, 2006

    Rising trend in Maharashtrians’ use of the new legislation

    SANJAY JOG

    Posted online: Monday, July 10, 2006 at 0000 hours IST

    http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=133370

    People in Maharashtra are increasingly becoming aware of the power of the Right to Information Act (RTI). Before the central law, the state had its own legislation, repealed last year after the former came into effect. From unearthing corruption cases to the current status of potholes and from seeking the status of jobs in government departments to exposing the government’s claims of lack of political interference in transfers, the RTI has played a major role.According to Maharashtra’s chief information commissioner, Suresh Joshi, over the last eight months the Acts have played a major role in curbing corruption. The largest number of applications his office receives is against municipal corporations, municipal councils, the education, home and revenue departments.

    Consider this. Initially, the Mumbai police chief completely denied that there was political interference in police transfers. However, after the information was sought under the Maharashtra RTI, the police chief admitted that political interference does take place and informed that action has been taken against 71 officers and 64 policemen. A warning has been issued to everyone not to resort to this in future.

    In another case an 86-year-old farmer used his right to information to prevent his strawberry fields near Mahabaleshwar (the hill station developed by British rulers) from drying up. The dalit farmer’s troubles had started when revenue officials suddenly took charge of a natural spring that irrigated the fields in Adale village. More, the farmer, was not even informed of the decision, and the officials dismantled his water pump. However, the officials had to backtrack.

    A citizen now has the right to ask most government organisations for information through the Public Information Officer (PIO), who must be appointed in all bodies and departments. The PIO must give the information within 15 working days, or in some cases 30 working days. If there is delay in giving information, a penalty of Rs 250 a day could be imposed on the PIO personally. If there is delay in giving information by the PIO, or the reply is unsatisfactory, an appeal can be made to the Appellate Authority (AA) appointed by the head of the organisation. And then to the Lokayukta.

    Joshi says only 25% of applications come from rural and remote areas. On the other hand, the lower middle class is resorting to RTI to extract details. He has asked the rural development department to discuss the Act’s enabling provisions in gram sabhas.

    Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 2 Comments »

    The Mumbai spirit :: “shailesh Gandhi”

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 7, 2006

    Mumbai has been on the National News radar for the last three days for its torrential rain.
    In the meantime, we had seen a surfeit of enthusiastic volunteers sitting without much work most of the time.
    Our RTI applications have been:
    1st-   71
    2nd   32
    3rd   53
    4th     4       
    5th   11 Mumbai flooded and holiday declared but two of our doughty volunteers Shankar Narayan and Bhaskar Prabhu reached and filled 11 applications!
                 All of us in Mumbai owe them a lot for demonstrating the Mumbai spirit.

    6th- The Met had predicted very heavy showers and advised people to stay at home. But sure enough a large number of volunteers came to the Govt. Law College.
    At any given time there were more than 30 volunteers present.Since we had a lot of volunteers, a young team went to Dharavi,- a slum. They went with a banner and some posters and got ten RTI applications made there. At the venue we had Sanjay Ubale,- senior and dynamic young Bureaucrat,- visting us in the morning, and offering a lot of useful ideas. Shri Kiran Jadhav-DIG, CBI came in the afternoon and we certainly had a very interesting interaction.
    The Citrizen turnout was better than the earlier days, and we ended the day with 127 applications at the venue. Alongwith the 10 at Dharavi, we had 137 today.
    Thus we have now made a total of 308 applications. We are hoping we will see the upward graph in the next few days. We have the volunteers cwho are very enthusiastic,
    and hopefully we will use their positive energies.
    A few intereseting cases of applicants whose RTI applications were made:
    Imtiaz Mohammed has waited 2 and a half years for a passport.- 9321043755
    A canteen contractor who is not getting his deposit refunded by MCGM
    Mrs. Ramli Pradhan- Transfer of ration card has already taken 6 bmonths.
    P.N.Gangar has waited for 6 months for a PAN card.
    Students of St.Xaviers and other young volunteers  went and distributed leaflets at Churchgate station.
    An outstanding volunteer today was Varsha Shah who notched up 28 applications.
    We are now seeing the beginning of an interesting period. I hope the rains are a little kind.
    Love
    shailesh

    022 32903776; 26001003
    All my mails are in Public domain,
    and do share them if you wish.
    http://www.satyamevajayate.info

    Posted in Maharashtra RTI | 3 Comments »

     
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