Updates from RTI Gujarat
Posted by rtiact2005 on July 14, 2006
Today, State chief information Commissioner Mr. R. N. Das and Secretary,
Administrative Reforms & Training Department (ARTD), Ms.Anita Karwal and team from Sardar Patel Institute of Public Adminstration (SPIPA), visited the camp. We shared with him soem fo the major issues regarding RTI implmetnation in Gujarat, that we have come across campaign. We attach a copy of the same for your reference.
Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel
MAHITI ADHIKAR GUJARAT PAHEL
C/o Janpath, B-3, Sahajanand Towers, Jivraj Park, Vejalpur Road, Ahmedabad –380051;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ph: 079-26821553; 09924085000
13th July 2006
State Chief Information Commissioner,
2nd Floor, Office Economics and statistics,
Sector – 18,
Dear Mr. Das,
We, on behalf of “Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel”, would like to share with you our concern regarding implementation of Right to Information Act in Gujarat. Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel is forum of organisations and activists working on RTI for past four years, and is actively associated with national process like National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, CHRI etc.
After enactment of the act, we are focussing upon training, awareness building and advocacy at both grass root as well as policy level. In addition to above, Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel has started state level RTI Helpline – 9924085000, to assist citizens in difficulties faced while making use of RTI.
Currently, Gujarat Pahel is hosting and coordinating Anti Bribery Campaign in Gujarat at Kocharab Ashram, Paldi- Ahmedabad from 1st July to 15th July. It’s a nation-wide campaign being held simultaneously in 48 cities of the country by joint efforts of civil society groups, organisations, activists and media partners.
In the campaign till date over 1200 people visited the campaign to seek guidance so as to how she/he can use RTI to make the system accountable. In all 900 applications were filed. Our telephone help line received 1350 calls during the campaign period. We felt it appropriate to share with you major issues we have come across.
Pro-active Disclosure Not Ready: Every public Authority were supposed to prepare pro-active disclosure ready by 12th October 2005. During the campaign, volunteer assisted some of the citizens to file their applications in AMC, District registrar of co operative society’s office, DEO-Ahmedabad City, PF commissioners office and found that proactive disclosures are not ready. When asked, PIO was not much aware and cocenr about the 17 manuals and gave vague answer.
The Citizens from kutch, Jamnagar, Panchamahals, Maliya, Dahod also complained that even after giving written request for proactive disclosures, PIO refused to show them the same. Vikasata Jati Kalyan Board have not prepared their proactive disclosure manuals even after order of state chief information commissioner MR. P. K. Das.
Unreasonable fees: Number irregularities are being found in charging the fees. For instance, from, Mr. Babubhai Parmar, was charged Rs. 20, Application fee though he had attached copy of his BPL ration card. There are cases where Rs.20, Application fee being charged for Pro-active disclosures. Mr. Imran from Sabarkantha was asked to pay Rs.12 per page for the information, In several cases citizens were asked for Rs. 50 for first appeal. Mr. Arab was asked Rs.4.75 lakh rupees for the information asked, out of which 24,000 pages were charged @ RS.15.
Citizens being threatened: Mr. Ashwin Joshi, when filed an RTI Application in treasury office, Dhari, Amreli. He was threatened of filing a case in atrocity act. Sojitra Police Inspector for filing RTI application asking the progress done on his complaint filed in 1996 threatened Mr. Nalinbhai Pandya. We suppose this should be major issue of concern.
Besides this, large number complaints are for not accepting the applications, not issuing receipt of the fee and application and making it compulsory to file and application in format and pay the fees in by means other than cash, Sign boards of PIO not present in the offices, citizen’s are told that PIO is on leave thus application cannot be accepted.
The detailed analysis of calls and cases received during the campaign will be shared with you soon.
(on behalf of Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel)