Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

You get infomation that is no information

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 21, 2006

Friends

From my own experience and the following to test cases you will get a glimpse how the bobus avoid or what tactics they adopt in circumventing the RTI Act.

Test Cases:

 

A: Getting Information that is No Information

 

I filed application under RTI querying GVC about the status of my complaint that I had lodged against corrupt officials of Gujarat State Financial Corporation.

 

I got a demand note in time for Rs.10/- to make available the 5 sheets of documents. I sent a draft and subsequently received the 5 sheets. These so called docs were copies of the forwarding letters from the GVC to GSFC & ACB.

 

I have filed an appeal to AA today. Copies of my appeal and application are attached herewith.

 

You will find how cleverly the Public Authority provides information within time frame but practically without parting any useful information at all!

 

To make change in the mind set of the babudom particularly the departments like Police, ACB, GVC or Departmental Vigilance Cell etc would not be easy task. Till now they were questioning and hardly got questioned and perhaps that is why they squirm on slightest provocation.

 

Text from My Application –

 

“……The copy of my last letter dated 29/4/2003 is enclosed with email herewith for your

ready reference.

 

Nothing has been communicated to me so far about the action taken on my application so far.

Please provide the following information with respect to the same:

 

1. Please indicate progress made on my application/return/petition/grievance so far i.e., status.

 

2. Please give the names and designations of the officials who were supposed to take action on my application/return/petition/grievance and who have not done so or shall be complete if the investigation is yet pending?

 

3. I have spent considerable time, energy and there have been considerable financial losses as the corrupt officials of the GSFC are not bothered to redress my grievances as they no fear of any action from the ACB or GVC.

 

4. By when would that action be taken? By when I would know the status and action taken

against my complaint?

 

5. Please give copy or print out of those portions of records whether my contentions supplied

as notes and copies of documents attached and submitted were found to be true or rejected on some ground by officer conducting inquiry.

 

6. Please give a copy of the reply and all copies of documents received by you from ACB and/or GSFC in this mater as well as your report of findings on investigation.

The hard copy of this application under RTI Act 2005 is being posted to you with non-judicial stamps of value Rs 20 as application fee….”

 

Text from Appeal:

“3        Reasons for Appeal:   

1.     I had submitted my application dated 30/6/06 under section-6 of the RTI Act 2005 to the Pubic Information Officer, GVC. I received a letter dated 06/07/2006 on 11th July asking me to pay Rs.10/- for fee for making 5 sheets of docs. On 12th I sent a DD of Rs.10/- by courier.  I received 5 sheets of the documents on July 18, 2006 vide Ref let no GNN/51/06/G dated 14/7/2006. This appeal is being lodged within 30 days from the date of the receipt of the reply from PIO i.e., within limitation period.

2.     All of these 5 copies of the documents given to me are copies of forwarding letters addressed time to time to GSFC or ACB for action sent by GVC.

3.       However the PIO has been candid while stating that he was providing only partial information against my application. The fact remains that none of these forwarding letters even remotely provide any information with regards to the query – 6 points, I had made in may RTI Application dated 30/6/2006. As none of my six points are touched upon I say I have been given NO INFORMATION.

4.       The PIO further states that the information is being collected from ACB & GSFC. The APIO /PIO GSFC has informed me that the Departmental Vigilance Inquiry was completed and the GSFC has already submitted the Departmental Vigilance Report to ACB & GVC.

4.        Prayer:

My simple prayer is to please provide me requested information and certified copies of the requested documents….”

 

 

B: Vigilance Inquiry Report about corruption – whether it is in wider public interest or not?

 

Another application was filed with the GSFC about the same matter requesting departmental vigilance report. I got refusal and I made appeal thereof to AA. It is also annexed.

 

Text from My Application –

 

Particulars of Information required (in brief)

· As per letter date 30/12/2002, a vigilance inquiry was pending. Kindly let us know the status of the matter and make available to us all relevant documents pertaining to this departmental vigilance inquiry including inquiry report and details furnished to Anti Corruption Bureau & Gujarat Vigilance Commission in this matter.

 

Text from Appeal:

 

3          Reasons for Appeal:        

 

1.      I had submitted my application no 2 under section-6 of the RTI Act 2005 to the Pubic Information Officer, GSFC. The application was transmitted electronically by email on 18/06/2006: 6:25 AM.

2.      The appeal is being filed within 30 days of the receipt of information from APIO with respect to my application no2 dated 18/6/07.

3.      I have been denied requested information from Asst Public Information Officer. 

 

Quote:

 

The Vigilance Department of the Corporation has completed the enquuy and the required informationl reply has been given to ACB and Gujarat Vigilance Commission The reporl of concerned department of the Corporation is very confilentiaI and we are unable to provide the copy of the same as mentioned in Clause-8″ of the RTI Act 2005 Further to inform that the instant demand wherein public interest is not invoived in the matter.

 

End Quote.

 

The APIO/PIO has committed grave error by denying me making the report available as he has made wrong interpretation of the Section-8 (giving exemptions in certain cases). As per provision of the law information can be denied if an inquiry is ongoing.

As per section 8 (e) that PIO may deny information in case of fiduciary relationship. Even law permits its disclosure by the public authority in wider public interest. 

 

From no stretch of imagination it can be inferred that the departmental vigilance inquiry report about its own employees establishes any fiduciary relationship.

 

The information pertains to a vigilance inquiry on my complaint of corruption. The corruption falls in public domain and when the inquiry is completed no exemption is available under Section 8 or any of its sub-sections.

 

4.        Prayer:

My simple prayer is to please provide me requested information –

1.       A copy of the departmental vigilance repot on my complaint be made available to me.

….”

 

Now I am awaiting what happens and how my appeals get disposed of by the concerned Appellant Authorities.

 

Y Singh

20/7/2006

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