Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for June, 2006

Right to Information Act to accelerate development: Speaker[Bihar]

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Right to Information Act to accelerate development: Speaker
Patna | June 30, 2006 4:57:42 PM IST


 Bihar Assembly Speaker Udai Narain Choudhary today said implementation of Right to Information Act would accelerate pace of development in the state.

Inaugurating a regional workshop on “Right to Information”, Mr Choudhary said implementation of the Act formed the basis for good governance and the need for dissemination of information.

The workshop was organised by Smriti Seva Sansthan and AMIC in collaboration with FES and UNESCO.

Mr Choudhary said the Act was one of the fundamental rights listed in the Constitution and it should be protected.

He said people had a lot of expectations from the present government in Bihar and asked members of the bureaucracy to work with full responsibility as they were directly involved in execution of different development projects.

He said the development had no meaning if the people did not get benefit, adding transparency was a pre-condition to good governance.

Condemning the recent row between a Minister and an MLA, the Speaker reminded the people of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s exhortation for making any sacrifice for the sake of development of the state.

He stressed on strengthening basic infrastructure in the state and called for concerted efforts to solve the problem of scarcity of electricity and also construction of high quality roads.



Posted in Bihar RTI | 2 Comments »

STF, PAC, intelligence, security kept out of RIT [Uttar Pradesh]

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

STF, PAC, intelligence, security kept out of RIT
Lucknow | June 30, 2006 10:48:01 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh government today approved a proposal of keeping four police departments out of the purview of Right To Information (RIT) Act, 2005 in the state.

In a cabinet meeting here, the departments kept out of the RIT include Special Task Force (STF), Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Intelligence wing and security wing of UP police.

However, this exemption would not be entitled to these units in case of corruption or human rights violation.


Posted in Uttar Pradesh RTI | Leave a Comment »

New law to make state officials more responsive

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

New law to make state officials more responsiveAdd to Clippings
[ Friday, June 30, 2006 03:24:32 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


PUNE: Starting July 1, state government officers in Maharashtra will face departmental inquiries and will be punished if they fail to clear applications, files and proposals of common citizens and organisations within a week.

Thanks to the relentless efforts of noted social crusader Anna Hazare, the state government has issued a notification announcing that the execution of the special act, aimed at curbing the delay by its officers and employees in discharging their duties, will start from July 1.

The said act will also make it mandatory for the government to effect transfers of all government officers and employees, except Class IV workers, after the stipulated three years.

Also, the legislation prevents the government from effecting frequent transfers of officers before the stipulated three-year tenure, except in case of emergency and under exceptional circumstances.

Maharashtra is the first state in the country to have introduced this act, titled ‘Maharashtra Government Servants (Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties) Act, 2006’. The full text of the new Act is available at http://www.maharashtra. gov.in/pdf/gov transfer notification.pdf.

Hazare, who had pressed for this legislation, will be in Pune on July 1 to enlighten the Right to Information (RTI) Act activists, representing 15 states in the country, about the new legislation. He will appeal to them to initiate measures to impress on their respective state governments to enact similar legislation.

Posted in Maharashtra RTI | Leave a Comment »

Strategies for RTI Applications . . .

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Strategies for RTI Applications . . .”Malik, Veeresh” veereshmalik@gmail.com 


a) If a Public Authority makes submitting and receiving an RTI Application difficult for you, or if the experience impacts your self-respect, then submit it by the “via APIO _______ Post Office” method STRAIGHT to the CPIO of the President of India, PMO or Governor of that State right away, adding a line that the relevant Public Authority was not co-operating and so you are forced to go to the added effort of submitting it to the CPIO of the President/PMO/Governor, under the RTI Act. I have done this ample number of times, it is perfectly legitimate, and gets the message across very well to all concerned. By rights, the submission of an RTI Application should be as simple as buying a Railway ticket. Till then, if we have to utilise the help of the Super PIOs at President/PMO or Governor, then so be it.

b) If a Public Authority tries to draw you into personal meetings or telephone conversations, then please request them to set up a specific agenda before-hand, and stick to it. Ideally, such meetings should be avoided, but if you have to meet them, then let it be at neutral locations, sitting in a public park or on a railway platform is a valid proposition. The written word is all that has value, and truth is in numbers; much of the rest is hot air.

c) If a Public Authority tells you by whatsoever means that such-and-such activity is not their responsibility, then politely tell them that the activity is not the issue, the information pertaining to the activity is the real issue. Again, to draw an example of the Railways, if the Chairman Railway Board says that something pertaining to Indian Railways in North East Frontier Railway or in Katra (where they have an Out-Office) is not his responsibility, then response should be that the information is all you seek, and if Chairman Railway Board can not get information about NEF Railway or Out-Office/Katra, then he should either seek retirement, or fire his staff.

No Public Authority will ever admit that information for something in his domain can not be made available. Their internal power lies in messing around with this very information. For example, Ministry of Road Transport can say that they have nothing to do with State Highways or Private projects, fair enough, then why were they running around when the Prime Minister went to inaugurate Highways in Karnataka? Or Ministry of Health & Family Welfare may say that they have nothing to do with a Primary Health Centre in rural Orissa, then why did their Minister or Officials go abroad to attend conferences on the subject? Get the drift?

d) If a Public Authority tells you that such-and-such information, especially those pertaining to break-up of funds spent/collected, are “classified” or “not available”, then please wave a copy of a Railway Time-Table and fare-chart at them, and ask them to do a logical comparision. It usually stuns most Public Authorities who are used to even keeping the price of a bus ticket or what a bottle of water costs, as a confidential document.

e) Courtesy CN Kumar of Bangalore, the strategy of filing a simple complaint, and then waiting for 2-3 months when the reply does not come, and THEN filing an RTI Application, is excellent. You get the action AND you get the information, for the same 10/- rupees.

f) And finally, CIC Wajahat Habibullah is publicly stating that the largest number of RTI Applications they get seem to be for departmental queries on promotions and other similar issues. It is up to us to file more public interest RTI applications, of the sort that General Jatar has done from Pune on motor vehicle utilisation, or the sort that Shailesh Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal file on their issues. And various others. And when any of us run into problems with specific CPIOs, like Arvind did with CPIO/AIIMSc, then the rest of us should file a few RTI Applications on that CPIO. Like I did with the CPIO/Indian Oil, when he “rejected and returned” an RTI Application to an applicant from semi-rural Ghaziabad.

g) I tend to use the Indian Railways example a lot, because they do have some of the best cash-management and fiscal audit systems in the world now, truly speaking I know from my work life that their cash management and internal audits are now setting world benchmarks, that the biggest and best corporations and Governments worldwide are looking at them with respect for this and other wonderful things, and that they are also the same Government of India. Sure, leakages are there everywhere, but anybody aware of the subject can see up front how Indian Railways are tightening up things for overall benefit of stakeholders over the last few years.

And at the end of the day, the main purpose of the RTI Act is to try and evince public participation in trying to block theft of public money. Both at input and output stage. Wave a Railway Time-Table at somebody trying to refuse you information, and see the logic emerge in most cases.

I say again –  as an Indian in India out of choice, and with a background in the logistics as well as infotech industry, I get a very good and proud feeling when my foreign clients and contemporaries take the example of Indian Railways and Mumbai dabba-wallahs for basic efficiencies.

For example, I have been taking the NHAI, DoRT&H and others in multiple RTI Applications just to find out more about this business of tolls and other fees collected all over the country by contractors. Likewise, I am pursuing the Civil Aviation Ministry and various Authorities under it for the freebies thrown at so-called VIPs. The loss to the Nation with the current method of collecting tolls or providing freebies by AAI is best compared to if the Indian Railways gave a favoured contractor a train route for free and then gave the contractor the rights to collect whatever they wanted for a passenger or goods train as well as keep whatever they could earn by way of advertisements – property development – etcetc . . .  without any due process on remitting the collections back to the Government of India.

Thank you for reading this.

Veeresh Malik

Posted in RTI Application Samples written | 2 Comments »

NGOs’ campaign: rights & bribes

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

NGOs’ campaign: rights & bribes

Ahemdabad, June 29: THE name may be misleading, but the ‘Anti-bribery campaign’ — to be launched by a collective of over 70 organisations here on Saturday — has its focus on the ‘right’ place. The campaign will provide information on the Right to Information (RTI) Act to ‘‘so that the common man knows where to get information and how, instead of doling out bribes to get work done,’’ says Jagdeep Chokher. Chokher is the convener of the Mahiti Adhikar Pahel, an umbrella organisation of more than 70 NGOs in State and an Association of Democratic Reform (ADR) member.

Conceptualised by Delhi-based NGO Parivartan, the nationwide campaign will be launched in 48 cities, he says. ‘‘In Ahmedabad, more than 150 volunteers will provide RTI-related information at Kochrab Ashram in Paldi, from Saturday onwards. They will provide information on particulars like, filling up forms, applying for information and framing of questions from 11 am to 7 pm till July 15,’’ says Chokher. The volunteers are grassroots activists from across the State, including students and lawyers. They have undergone a training session, he adds.

‘‘What is positive about this Act is that it is not only time-bound but also fine-bound. For the first time ever, the onus for providing information has been specifically laid on government employees,’’ said Chokher.

‘‘We would like government officials to help us spread awareness and receive the applications that we help fill up. This would help the cause tremendously,’’ said Rahul Mangaonkar, an activist.

Posted in Antibirbery Campaign | Leave a Comment »

RTI act empowers common man

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Radhika Bordia


Friday, June 30, 2006 (New Delhi):

The Right to Information campaign kicks off across the country on July 1. Ordinary people now refuse to cower down before the system and have used the act to fight back.

Nanu, a daily wage labourer, was thrown out of the food and supply office when he tried to get a ration card made.

A 70-year-old rickshaw puller from Madhubani in Bihar struggled for five years to get a home under the Indira Awas Yojana. The officer in-charge asked for Rs 5000 just to process the application.

These are just some of the names of people across the country who refused to be bullied by a corrupt system. When pushed to desperation they fought back with the Right to Information Act.

The power of an act like Right to Information is that it belongs to each one of us and allows us to know what we are entitled to and find out what the government is spending money on.

The act thus becomes a powerful tool in the hands of the common man to fight corruption.

From July 1-15, camps across the country will not just publicise the act but trained volunteers will also help people file their applications.

Several people across 52 cities are involved including students, lawyers and housewives.

At the Government Law College, the venue for the Mumbai camp, final training sessions are being held for volunteers. More than 200 have already attended the sessions.

Some people have described this as one of the most important pieces of legislation, which makes the bureaucracy and government accountable.

Posted in Antibirbery Campaign | Leave a Comment »

Information panel summons MC officer

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Information panel summons MC officer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The Punjab State Information Commission (PSIC) has summoned the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for not providing information on the upkeep of public parks under the Right to Information Act.

Acting on the complaint of a local resident, the PSIC has directed the PIO to appear before it on July 19 either in person or through a representative.

Mr Pawan Sood, an office-bearer of the Federation of Park Management Committees, had complained to the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) after the local body had supplied him with incomplete information, including some details he had never asked for.

The MC authorities had worked hard to prepare a four-page reply to his letter but most of the information given had nothing to do with that required by him.

Fuming at the reply, that took months to reach him, Mr Sood had shot off letters to Mr Rajan Kashyap, the Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab.

Besides, Mr Sood shot off a letter to the Public Information Officer of MC apprising him of the situation. Asking him to read the questionnaire carefully, Mr Sood asked for the item-wise information as soon as possible.

Mr Sood said he had asked the MC for providing him the details of allowances given to the employees for development of parks in the city but he was told about the money spent on their salaries every month.

In yet another question, he had asked the MC to give him the details of the expenditure incurred on every park in the city during the past four years.

He had asked in detail about the money spent by the Parking Management Committees (PMCs) and the contractors, respectively, on every park.

The MC, however, provided him with a list of amount released to some contractors during the past four years.

He was supplied with this much of information only after he had complained to the Chief Information Commissioner against the MC authorities for not supplying information under the Right to Information Act in March this year.

In a letter written to Mr Kashyap, Mr Sood had stated that he had requested the MC Commissioner to furnish details of expenditures incurred on the maintenance of parks and green belts during the past four years.

He added that he had personally handed over the letter to the Commissioner’s office on February 17.

‘‘I got the information in May and that too was of no use to me. There is no park-wise information on money spent on fountains, lights, construction of boundary walls, grills and their painting. Moreover there is no detail about maintenance of lawns and flower beds etc, ’’ he said.

The issue of management of parks has been a bone of contention among the MC authorities and the Park Management Committees.

The city has witnessed a battle of sorts between the two with the issue reaching the Punjab State Human Rights Commission also.

While the PMCs in the city have been managing the parks well on their own in comparison to those maintained by the MC, which are in a state of neglect, most of them were not provided with the funds. 


Posted in Punjab RTI | Leave a Comment »

Anti-bribery campaign under RTI from tomorrow

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 30, 2006

Anti-bribery campaign under RTI from tomorrow
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
A group of citizens and non- government organisations has come together to launch an anti bribery campaign using the Right to Information (RTI) Act from July 1 to 15 in Ludhiana. This is a part of a nationwide campaign which will cover 42 cities in the same time period. Venue for the camp will be SCO-8, second Floor, Model Town Extension Market, Ludhiana. RTI Experts and trained RTI volunteers will be present at the site and will write applications under the RTI Act for citizens who come to them with their grievances and also guide them further on the procedures to follow.

According to Mr Jaskirat Singh, coordinator of the campaign: “RTI is a very powerful tool in the hands of the citizens of this country and it empowers them to obtain any information from government offices. This can be used to force corrupt officials to provide services to the ordinary citizens without taking bribes or delaying their work indefinitely.”.

Jaskirat Singh pointed out: “It is important to note that we can assist them only if they have a grievance pending before a government department whose time limit has passed, for example. it takes a month to issue a new ration card,10 days to issue a tatkal passport and 45 days to issue a regular passport. RTI cannot be used before the time limit prescribed by the government department or the citizens charter, for the given work has passed.”

Mr Hitendra Jain, general secretary, Resurgence India, who is a very well known RTI activist of Punjab, has also extended full support to the campaign. “I am very happy to know that RTI activists are now getting together in Ludhiana. Their coming together will give a big boost to the use of RTI and bring about a lot of positive changes and transparency in the functioning of departments and agencies”, he said, while warning that it will require lot of hard work to bring about such changes.

Any one who comes to the camp for getting their RTI applications written must remember to bring photo copies of the receipts of their original applications submitted to the departments concerned. If they do not have the receipts they should bring photo copies of the original application itself.

Issues which people might bring to the camp can include issue of passport, license, various certificates like marriage certificate, death certificate, birth certificate, SC/ST certificate, OBC certificate etc, inclusion of name in voters’ list, issue of voter ID cards, correction of water, electricity, telephone bills and other legitimate problems with a department like change of faulty meter, providing new water or electricity connection, filing of FIR,claiming various kinds of refunds or payments like tax refund, medical reimbursement, Provident Fund etc.

Posted in Antibirbery Campaign | Leave a Comment »

Invitation to Anti-bribery campaign

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 29, 2006

From: anjumanara begum <begum_anjumanara@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:44 pm
Subject: Re: [eGovASSAM] Invitation to Anti-bribery campaign

Date: June 29, 2006

Dear Friends,

Greetings from North East Network! 


North East Network has been closely associated with the National Right to Information Campaign, which is being conducted across the nation. Today we have Right to Information Act 2005 in place, which can be used to address questions of transparency and accountability of the government. In order to disseminate the use of this Act to citizens across the country, a large number of individuals, NGOs, a prominent TV news channel – NDTV and leading national newspapers are coming together to launch a nationwide Anti-bribery campaign using RTI. During this 15-day campaign (July 1 to July 15, 2006), citizens will be guided on the use of the Right to Information Act and the making and filing of RTI applications across the nation.

As a part of the campaign North East Network in collaboration with other organisations and individuals has planned a campaign in Guwahati within the period July 1-7, 2006 at Chandraprababha Saikiani Bhawan, Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti, near Guwahati Club from 11:00 a.m -5:00 p.m.


Kindly visit us at the above mentioned address and within the dates mentioned as per your convenience and show solidarity for the cause. Your participation will be highly valued.

For more detailed information about the campaign kindly contact our Legal Associate Anjuman Ara Begum at NEN Guwahati office at 0361-2603833, 2631582 (Tele/Fax) Time 9.30am- 5.30pm.

You can also visit the website http://www.antibribery.org and www.righttoinformation.org.  


Thanking you,

Your’s sincerely, 


Dr.Monisha Behal


North East Network
J.N Borooah Lane
PIN 781001
Telephone:(91-361) 2603833, Telefax:(91-361) 2631582
Website: www.northeastnetwork.org  

Posted in Antibirbery Campaign | Leave a Comment »

Word complaint effectively: Ex DGP

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 29, 2006

Word complaint effectively: Ex DGP
HT Correspondent
Lucknow, June 28


FRAMING OF questions while filing a complaint under the Right to Information Act (RTI) is important. The first few questions should be able to fix the accountability of the officers of the department. The questions should ideally be framed to strike the officers when they read the complaint the very first time, said former DGP Ishwar Chand Dwivedi.

He said: “Complainants must follow it up with questions on daily progress since the department received the complaint, name of officer supposed to take action, what action would be taken against the officials for not ignoring the job and by what time the work would be complete. The questions should be hitting, simple and objective.”According to Dwivedi, it is not necessary to write on forms prepared by any department. Dwivedi said: “Complainants may file petition on a plain sheet of paper.

They have to deposit Rs 10 in cash for asking any specific information.” Retired IPS Officer SK Darapuri said: “No matter for how many pages the question runs, the complainant need not pay any extra money.”According to Darapuri, the information officer has to provide all information the complainants ask for. It is imperative that after receiving a complaint, the information officer must pass on the desired information to the complainant within 30 days after receiving the application, he said.“In case the officer fails to respond within the stipulated period, the complainant may make fresh appeal to his seniors.

Even if senior officials failed to respond in 30 days, the complainant may move a petition with chief information commissioner. If found guilty, the information officer can be penalised with anything from Rs 250 to 25,000 from his salary,” he said.

Hindustan Times, in association with a host of other organisations, is carrying out a campaign against corruption across the country. In Lucknow, an awareness drive for RTI will commence from July 1.

Posted in Uttar Pradesh RTI | 1 Comment »