Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

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 Before the central law, the state had its own legislation, repealed last year after the former came into effect.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.

2 Responses to “Rising trend in Maharashtrians’ use of the new legislation”

  1. Landge ajay babruwan said

    Social justice deparment of india in this department co op sociaties how many loan propalas are coming and how many sanction and how many not sanction why these propasals not sanction

  2. Landge ajay babruwan said

    Social justice deparment of Maharastra in this department co op sociaties how many loan propalas are coming and how many sanction and how many not sanction why these propasals not sanction

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