Right to Information – Master key to good governance

CIC Trips yet again

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 20, 2006

In a significant letdown in what ought to have been a landmark
decision on importance of Section 4 or RTI ACT, the Chief IC of India
has fumbled and bumbled yet again in his decision on revealing the
GAMS database of the Ministry of Urban Development for the public.

This database is maintained by the Director of Estates in the MoUD and
is secretly used by the Private Secretary of the Minister Sh. Japial
Reddy to allocate government accomodation at his whims and fancies
(read major corruption and power to oblige and favour).

In fact numerous persons entitled to government accomodation are so
irked by this latest order of CIC that they are contemplating a writ /
Contempt petition against him in SC in the infamous L&D matter wherein
Amar Singh and other non-entitled biggies are squatting in type 7
houses when they are not getting govt acco. themselves.

Anyway, the CIC has set 1-Aug as the date for GAMS to be available
fully to the public – lets wait and see.

For everyone seriously interested in RTI and this matter, follow this


From:    Send an Instant Message “sroy1947” <sroy1947@yahoo.com>

Date:    Thu, 20 Jul 2006 04:51:17 -0000


From: Gita Dewan Verma mpisgplanner@yahoo.com

To: mpisgmedia@architexturez.net

Subject: [mpisgmedia] MOUD database on govt acco: CIC decision

Sender: mpisgmedia-bounces@architexturez.net

Errors-To: mpisgmedia-bounces@architexturez.net

Nizamuddin ji, Harphool Singh ji, Rajinder and I had
made a complaint to CIC about govt accomodation data
held (in Oracle database known as GAMS) by Directorate
of Estates (DOE) / MOUD not being meaningfully
accessible in violation of s.4 of RTI Act. Our
grievance is that the non-transparency directly
disadvantages those entitled to govt acco in
especially lower Types and affects all by spawning
corrupt practices and housing supply distortions.

In their Comment the Respondents did not address our
grievance, Grounds, Prayer or Complainants 1 to 3.
They converted the examples by which the s.4 violation
was illustrated to my suggestions and said those are
being incorporated in new website by NIC to be in
place by July end. I put in a Rejoinder. Hearing was
on 13 July and the decision was on CIC website by next

I am very worried CIC has not only not taken a view on
database access but has also taken the view that it is
alright if already computerized data has not been made
accessible even in July 06 and has even cited s.4(2) &
s.4(3) in support of this.

I am worried CIC rejected additional prayer - for
consideration of compensation options for communities
of Complainants 1 to 3 - on the grounds that it was
not originally a prayer and that it was not pursued at
the hearing (even as I think I had excessively pursued
its rationale, leading to our Ground H being
reproduced in full in the decision).

I am also worried by the errors in the text of the
decision, for which I have requested correction. I
have also sought information of procedure for seeking
reconsideration of the complaint.

Complaint, rejoinder (incl summary of Comments) and
request about errors are at:

I am also generally worried by my hearing on 13 July.

I appreciate that Chief Information Commissioner (who
took the hearing) is making all efforts to amicably
resolve all matters and so welcomed the welcoming
Comments of DOE. But I had vigorously argued ours was
Complaint and presented its concerns and ALL the
points in our rejoinder. Yet only some points stand
out in the decision that seems not to capture our
Complaint at all.

I had objected to the Comments ignoring the other
Complainants altogether (para 2a). Chief even asked
Respondents to send Comments to them. I had repeatedly
clarified that my objection to our Complaint being
viewed as my suggestion was that professional ethics
forbid use of Complaint procedures to gain
professional privileges (para 2b). This was after
Chief asked Respondents to invite me to inspect new
website when done (me! who needs click-path-finding
help with even azPlan! for a moment I thought this was
brilliant planner-jhelo-penalty idea, but quickly
noticed it was not meant like that). I had pointed out
we had chosen not to resort to NIC complaint procedure
but to RTI Complaint procedure because of broader
issues of s.6 outpacing s.4 (para-2c). NIC
representative assisting the DOE rep had confirmed NIC
Complaint procedure.

I had vehemently objected to the term
user-friendly-website, which Chief had said was common
cause of Complainant and Respondents, as something not
same as RTI Act compliant level of access to data in
database (para-3). Chief agreed not to use that term.
I had objected to Respondents saying RTI Act commenced
in October 05 and pointed out that the illustrative
anomalies converted to my suggestions could also have
been fixed in the existing weekly-update procedure
(para-3a). On this I had argument with DOE rep as to
whether or not their weekly data was time-stamped. I
had also said I did not believe they had any
consultation procedure as their website did not even
announce the upgrading (para-3b). DOE rep had got a
bit irritable and said our views on RTI Act compliance
might not match and I *suggested* they publish on
their website, to start evolving consensus, what they
consider RTI Act compliant database access (para-3c).
I had also said, since NIC rep was present, that I saw
nothing also on NIC website about that and had made
the point also to speaker from NIC at recent national
seminar on open document format.

I had fussed about our s.4 Grounds not having been
addressed in Comments. Chief had said he was now
reading from Grounds and that I had left out in
quoting from s.4(1) in (A) the phrase about reasonable
time. I had argued he and I could not debate Grounds
as Respondents have not opined and we cannot debate
reasonable-time at all, as that is not in s.4(1) for
data already computerized, was not plea of Respondents
who had ample time till Oct 05 and had just said their
new website will be up in a month or two after having
said it will be so end July in Comments in which they
had entirely ignored Complainants 1 to 3 who are
hugely aggrieved by unreasonable delay, which was a
Ground, H, in Complaint and reiterated in rejoinder.
Chief then read Ground H and asked Respondents for
their view. DOE representative said if we show
specific cases of mis-allotments action could be
taken. I said if they show their data we will see and
show cases.

I felt trapped into being mean to DOE and NIC. Under
different circumstances I would have been overjoyed at
the opportunity to inflict plannerly complaining on
nerds over their chai-biskut. But I was determined to
press the s.4 Complaint as that. When Chief referred
to me as activist, I even said while objecting that I
had been Senior Feline handling also Estate Management
R&T for MoUD-HUDCO and could have discussion with
MoUD-DOE in also that capacity but was before him with
citizen-n-professional grievance against clear and
admitted RTI Act violation not for any freewheeling
activism or career advancement. Since Chief has heard
me a few times and has made on occasions indulgent
remarks about how I carry on, I also requested he set
aside biases if any and view this case in perspective
of serious s.4 issues. He did say to Respondents that
I perhaps expected they lead other MOUD agencies in
s.4 compliance.

I think what I provoked was not interest in s.4 but
bafflement about my objection to our Complaint being
reduced to its examples converted to my suggestions.
Chief tried to clarify to me a different perspective
with the example that if someone tells him the
Commission is slow he views that as suggestion rather
than complaint. But that only baffled me more. I asked
how and why he treats grievance as suggestion;
violation is violation and complaint is complaint, why
must the complainant be made to feel uncooperative for
asking for proper action if the points of complaint
are admitted or feel privileged if admitted points of
complaints are welcomed as suggestions of the
complainant...  I figured we had hit one of my
ossified mental blocks and just had to get out of the
building to breathe.

I am terribly disappointed. I hope whatever MOUD-DOE
is committed to doing by end July brings cheer.


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