Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for January, 2007

DoPT the NODAL Agency to adopt RTI is CULPRIT on attacks on RTI:still RTI survives !!

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 30, 2007

DoPT is no good !!

DoPT is messing up eGovernance of INDIA.

All the Secretaries’s of  DoPT should be CRIMINALLY CONVICTED for having done this to CITIZENS of INDIA.

SALARIES and PENSIONS  of all DoPT Secretaries should be SUSPENDED for 20 years.

_______________________________________________

RTI survives another attack

FROM DoPT !!!

Aloke Tikku and Chetan Chauhan
New Delhi
Jan 29th, 2007
Hindusthan Times E paper

A QUIET second attempt to maul your right to information has been put down. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has tossed out the government view that individual commissioners had no powers to decide appeals and issue directions to government bodies, saying this interpretation would make the law “meaningless”.
“No such interpretation can ever be accepted which will make the Act, which confers the right on a citizen to access information, totally unworkable,” a full bench of the commission headed by Wajahat Habibullah held on Monday, staving off the second attempt by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) to take the sting out of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. RTI campaigners Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia welcomed the CIC ruling. “DoPT’s reading of the law had the potential to kill the appeals procedure,” said Kejriwal, a Magsaysay awardee.

The CIC also upheld public access to file notings under the law and rejected the contention that the commission had no powers to tell the department of personnel and training to remove a misleading portion of its website. “No public authority, government or statutory organisation can ever claim that it is above the law,” the commission held in its 25-page decision that asserted the autonomous character of the CIC.

The case had its origins in the railway ministry last year explaining its refusal to allow an applicant access to file notings on the plea that the website of DoPT– the nodal department for RTI – had excluded file notings out of the purview of the law. The commission consequently told DoPT to correct the misleading portion of its website. This was around the same time that the government was making its first abortive attack on the law; finalising amendments to the RTI law that campaigners feared would “cripple” the transparency law.

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Posted in CIC | 1 Comment »

RTI survives another attack :: Jan 29th 2007.

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 30, 2007

 

RTI survives another attack :: Jan 29th 2007.

Aloke Tikku and Chetan Chauhan
New Delhi
Jan 29th, 2007
Hindusthan Times E paper

A QUIET second attempt to maul your right to information has been put down. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has tossed out the government view that individual commissioners had no powers to decide appeals and issue directions to government bodies, saying this interpretation would make the law “meaningless”. “No such interpretation can ever be accepted which will make the Act, which confers the right on a citizen to access information, totally unworkable,” a full bench of the commission headed by Wajahat Habibullah held on Monday, staving off the second attempt by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) to take the sting out of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. RTI campaigners Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia welcomed the CIC ruling. “DoPT’s reading of the law had the potential to kill the appeals procedure,” said Kejriwal, a Magsaysay awardee.

The CIC also upheld public access to file notings under the law and rejected the contention that the commission had no powers to tell the department of personnel and training to remove a misleading portion of its website. “No public authority, government or statutory organisation can ever claim that it is above the law,” the commission held in its 25-page decision that asserted the autonomous character of the CIC.
–>

The case had its origins in the railway ministry last year explaining its refusal to allow an applicant access to file notings on the plea that the website of DoPT– the nodal department for RTI – had excluded file notings out of the purview of the law. The commission consequently told DoPT to correct the misleading portion of its website. This was around the same time that the government was making its first abortive attack on the law; finalising amendments to the RTI law that campaigners feared would “cripple” the transparency law.

Posted in CIC Rulings | Leave a Comment »

How RTI Act came to his rescue

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 13, 2007

How RTI Act came to his rescue

Karthik Subramanian

 http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/13/stories/2007011319560300.htm

A resident has resolved his property tax row “I was made to run from pillar to post despite a court ruling in my favour. Ultimately it was RTI that helped me.”

 

 

 

CHENNAI : A residents’ welfare activist from Pattabiram has used the Right to Information Act (RTI) to settle a 15-year-long dispute with the Avadi Municipality over property tax assessment.

Augustine Roy Rozario, a resident of Cholan Nagar in Pattabiram, said he had disputed the municipality’s assessment of his annual rental value and subsequently the half-yearly property tax in 1989.

“The officials had fixed the tax twice as much as that for other similar houses nearby. I had submitted a revision petition within 30 days of the assessment and subsequently filed petitions at the Tax Appeal Committee meetings. They never revised my tax and ultimately issued a notice in 1992 saying that my property would be attached if I did not pay dues, as calculated by them.”

Mr.Rozario moved the Poonamallee court in 1992, which ultimately gave an order in his favour in 2004. The court ordered that the assessment done by Avadi Municipality was arbitrary. The municipal officers, however, decided to challenge the order as it was granted ex-parte. With no legal action in the last two years, Mr.Rozario decided to seek information under the RTI about the reasons for the delay in re-assessment of his property to settle the issue.

“Not an easy task”

Even though it was the questions he filed under the RTI that finally helped Mr. Rozario resolve the tax dispute, he said the procedures he went through were not easy.

“It was not easy to file the application, as I had to obtain the treasury challan from the Chennai Collectorate, get the head of accounts from the general-secretary of the Thandurai-Pattabiram Consumer Protection Council, remit Rs.10 in cash at the State Bank of India, Treasury Branch, in Thousand Lights, and finally send the application by registered post.”

Mr.Rozario was shocked when his application was returned because of a spelling mistake in the name of the Principal Information Officer.

“I had spelt the name as Varadarajan instead of Varadarajulu. However, the officer was courteous and kind enough to accept the application when he personally explained and handed over the representation.”

Though the Municipal Administration Department had forwarded the RTI application to Avadi Municipality, Mr.Rozario did not get a reply within the stipulated 30 days. He then sent an appeal under Section 19(1) of RTI to the Appellate Authority.

Finally, the revenue officials of Avadi Municipality visited Mr.Rozario’s residence in December and he was able to get the property reassessed.

Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 5 Comments »

`RTI Act will help alleviate poverty’

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 13, 2007

`RTI Act will help alleviate poverty’

Staff Reporter

http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/13/stories/2007011309530300.htm

It will end corruption: Commissioner

 

 

 

KOLLAM: P. Fazaluddin, State Information Commissioner, has said that the revolution evolving through the Right to Information Act will help towards poverty alleviation. He was addressing an awareness workshop on the Right to Information Act organised by the State Information Commission and the District Literacy Mission here on Friday.

Mr. Fazaluddin said that the freedom to ask and the right to know form the basis of any democracy. Until the enactment of the Right to Information Act, the media performed that duty. When the people’s money reached the exchequer, they also have a right to know how it was being utilised, he said.

Transparency in fund utilisation will end corruption and work towards poverty alleviation, he said.

The workshop was inaugurated by District Panchayat president K. Devaki.

Director of the State Literacy Mission M. Jayadevan delivered the keynote address. He said that the Literacy Mission can play a big role in spreading awareness on the Right to Information Act.

District Coordinator of the Literacy Mission S.P. Hariharan Unnithan also addressed the function.

Posted in Kerala RTI | 7 Comments »

Awareness campaign on RTI Act to cover 31 lakh people by November

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 9, 2007

Awareness campaign on RTI Act to cover 31 lakh people by November

Staff Reporter

http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/09/stories/2007010901810500.htm

Pilot project in Kannur, Palakkad and Kollam districts

 

 


  • 8,000 Preraks under State Literacy Mission to be involved in the project
  • Bureaucracy yet to be sensitised to the importance of the Act: Palat Mohandas

     

    KANNUR: The State Information Commission, in association with the State Literacy Mission, will launch a pilot project to spread awareness of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    Chief State Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas said here on Monday that 8,000 Preraks under the Literacy Mission would be involved in the project to be launched in Kannur, Palakkad and Kollam districts. They would contact 31 lakh people by November, he said.

    Stating that the campaign mechanism would be made a permanent entity, Mr. Mohandas said the project envisaged involvement of the Preraks as resource persons who would be able to help the people draft applications for information from public authorities. The Commission would also hold periodical sittings in different districts to let the public know more about the Commission’s proceedings.

    The Chief Information Commissioner said that though the State Government had been bound to train officials in the RTI Act in one year after it was enacted, the bureaucracy in the State was yet to be sensitised to the importance of the Act. The public awareness of the Act was also not satisfactory, he observed.

    Terming the Act as people-centred, Mr. Mohandas said the State Syllabus Committee was examining the proposal for including the contents in the Act in the school syllabus.

    State Information Commissioners P. Fasaludheen, V.V. Giri and P.N. Vijayakumar were also present at the press conference.

    The Commission informed the mediapersons that a total 471 applications had been received as on December 31, 2006 seeking information under the Act and 120 of them had been disposed of. As many as 226 applications had come up before the appellate authority of which 126 were pending. Mr. Mohandas said 60 per cent of the applications for information were individual-based.

    He said the Commission would not intervene in administrative matters to get information sought. The Act could be invoked to get information as available with the public authority.

    Officer found guilty

    The Chief Information Commission said that an officer was found guilty under Section 20 of the RTI Act at the sitting here in the morning. The Commission imposed a fine of Rs.3,500 on Public Information Officer of the District Industries Centre in Kozhikode P.K. Narayanan for delaying the provision of information sought by an applicant. He said that two officers had been punished under the Act earlier.

  • Posted in Kerala RTI | Leave a Comment »

    RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

    Posted by rtiact2005 on January 9, 2007

    RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/09/stories/2007010901630200.htm

     

     

    THALASSERY: As secrecy strangles democracy, which requires transparency for its survival, the Right to Information (RTI) Act is an important milestone marking the shifting from the secrecy-ridden, colonial administrative system to a truly democratic system, according to the State Information Commission.

    An audience comprising political activists, advocates, officials and police officers at a legal workshop on the RTI Act organised by the People’s Council for Civil Rights (PCCR) here on Monday was presented with the details of the Act and told that the enactment was intended to make citizens well informed and intelligent.

    Inaugurating the workshop, Chief Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas said that the Act reminded citizens once again that they were the masters of the country.

    The civil service the country had inherited from the British only reinforced the idea that everything that the Government was doing should be done in secrecy, he said adding that the Official Secrecy Act and the oath of secrecy taken by the Ministers are remnants of the British legacy.

    There were enactments that ensured that information was not passed without clearance from higher officials and that no information was passed to `unauthorised’ people, he said.

    All these enactments cumulatively ensured that all Government proceedings remained secret.

    “Everything that is democratic should have transparency, accountability and predictability of processes,” he said adding that the RTI Act also envisaged participation of the people in the democratic processes.

    Change mindset

    Calling on Government officials to change their mindset to treat citizens as their masters, Mr. Mohandas said that under the Act 98 per cent of information concerning public institutions were eligible to be known to the public.

    The greatest test of the strength of democracy was how much information was available to its citizens, he pointed out.

    `Mother of all freedoms’

    Delivering the keynote address Information Commissioner P. Fasaludheen termed the RTI Act the mother of all freedoms available to the citizens. While more countries were enacting similar legislation ensuring accessibility to information, the RTI Act here, which had been rated fifth best RTI enactment in the world, was yet to be effectively utilised by the public and the Government, he said.

    `Cluster of rights’

    The RTI was a cluster of rights as it encompassed a right to reliable and total information, he added.

    PCCR president T. Asafali presided over the function.

    Senior advocate T.A. Ramadas and District Superintendent of Police Mathew Polycarp were also present.

    Posted in Kerala RTI | 1 Comment »