Right to Information – Master key to good governance

A house for IC Kejriwal

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 8, 2006

FROM: sroy1947@yahoo.com 
DATE: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 03:29:27 -0000 
SUBJECT: A house for IC Kejriwal 

I am so glad that Dr.(Prof) Kejriwal has got his house 
finally. (see the story below in Asian Age). Aloke Tikku of 
the Hindustan Times has also filed a similar story but, 
since that Tikku's story is being relied upon by a very 
determined and competent lady now on the warpath against the
CIC I shall say no more concerning this. 

IAS Author Upamanya Chatterjee in his book "The Mammaries of
the Welfare State" graphically describes the corruption in 
the Ministry of Urban "Affairs" when it comes to getting a
house from the Govt. This
involves paying massive bribes to the Minister's P.S. and locating
available houses (which are not on the official list) by skulking
about Lutyens Bungalow Zone at night with a torch searching for houses
which are dark and look unoccupied.

Now that Prof.Kejriwal has his house I can now reveal that I had
carried out some inquiries at the MoUD and the subordinate Directorate
of Estates at the instance of the CIC Registry.

As per the section 4(1) RTI disclosures, house No. 52 Lodhi Estate was
not officially available for allotment. This little "jewel" of a house
had a reserve price of Rs.12 lakhs to be given to the Minister's
personal branch in cash or kind. I was informed of this figure from
the Vigilance Department of the DoE and the dealing sections in DoE
they passed me onto. I couldn't convey this outrageous demand to
Dr.Kejriwal since he is an honourable academic with a missionary zeal
for RTI who would certainly have preferred to live out his tenure from
his suitcase rather than submit to such blackmail and corruption. I
did, however, submit a complete report on the GAMS software database
of the Directorate of Estates in confidence to Dr.Kejriwal.

IC Kejriwal (who also looks after Railways under RTI and knows the
Railway's online computer reservation system intimately) immediately
discerned the significance of this GAMS database and why it should be
accessible to the public. Finding residential accomodation in Delhi is
the biggest heartache for bureaucrats on postings here. Corruption is
rampant in DoE and MoUD and disclosure of this database is being
opposed tooth and nail by Jaipal Reddy since it would expose the rot
in discretionary allotments of Govt Pool housing - which are also used
by the ruling party to compromise bureacrats, MPs and other
non-entitled persons who get these out of turn housing allotments.
These matters are already in the Supreme Court, and disclosure of the
GAMS database is more likely to pull down this UPA Govt than the
Office of Profit Bill.

The CIC in a decision in Nizamuddin's case on 13.July.2006 has ordered
that this GAMS database should be publicly available by 31.July.2006.


Prof. Kejriwal would have been amongst the first beneficiaries of this
proactive disclosure manadated by section 4(1) of the RTI ACT. I am
sure that he was told by someone high up in the MoUD that disclosure
of this GAMS database is not in Sonia Gandhi's or Priyanka Vadra's or
Amar Singh's etc. etc. interest.

Coincidentally Dr.Kejriwal chose to file his very well publicised RTI
request on 2-August and the rest is history. IC Kejriwal has got his
house, but the interests of several thousand Govt Servants looking
forward to the day when they would be freed from the tyranny of Jaipal
Reddy and his PAs have been unwittingly jeopardising by Kejriwal. I
hope that IC(K) makes amends immediately since he is a honourable man.

I would also surmise that the parties in the 13.July.2006 order are
most aggrieved, and the "little lady" is about to sue Habibullah's ass
from here to Timbuktoo, but that is another story. Watch this space...

House is allotted to Kejriwal 8/4/2006 12:43:26 AM
- By Sonal Kellogg (Asian Age)

New Delhi, Aug. 3: A day after filing an application under the Right
to Information Act at the ministry of urban development for
non-allotment of official residence, information commissioner O.P.
Kejriwal got a house allotted to him.

The urban development ministry had not allotted Mr Kejriwal an
official residence since the last nine months after he took charge as
information commissioner and he was forced to live in government guest
houses and at various friends places. Even though he was shown house
No. 52 at Lodhi Estate for allotment two months ago, he was not
allotted the house.

But as soon as he filed an application under the RTI Act after being
fed up with all other efforts, he was allotted the same house he was
shown earlier, in just a day.

RTI activists are viewing this as a powerful evidence of the scope
of the act and they insist that there should be no amendment to the
act as it would just water it down completely and render it
ineffective to fight the corruption that it was purported to do.

Commenting on this, RTI activist Aruna Roy said, "If an information
commissioner needs the act for action to be taken, you can imagine how
much more the common man needs it so the government should not
introduce any amendments to the act, especially exemption of 'file
notings' because only that can tell whose decision it was on a
particular matter."

Another activist, Mr Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for
People's Right to Information, was happy that such an high-profile
case was solved so effectively when the RTI Act was used.

He said, "This is in keeping with even the common people whose
problems have been solved by the use of RTI Act. For example, many
people who went to file their applications for delay of issue of
passports were instead handed over their passports instead of
accepting their applications."

Mr Singh said it just shows that even at his level, Mr Kejriwal had
to file an application under the RTI Act to get his house allotted,
what then can be said of the common man who does not have such access.


One Response to “A house for IC Kejriwal”

  1. sssatchidananda said

    Dear Sir

    I am totally convinced that the RTI needs to be fustregthened and expanded to cover everything in public/ Government and quasiGovt offices including the personnel matters where the cover ups and injustices abound, in the interest of transparency .

    After all, since Govt and PSUs work in public interest, such total sharing cannot hurt the ‘public interest’!

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