Right2Information

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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.

5 Responses to “How RTI Act came to his rescue”

  1. […] in December and he was able to get the property reassessed. The full article can be read here: How RTI Act came to his rescue Right2Information __________________ Visit FAQ & Fully Searchable RTI […]

  2. RAPHAEL L RAJKUMAR said

    I shall share with all our readers my experience with the effective use of RTI Act with remarkable results.

    First in Oct 2006 I sent three Passports of my family members for renewal. We submitted the passports at Madurai collecting center. We received two passports renewed in Dec 2006. The third passport was not received till Feb 2007

    We sent many reminders for the third passport with no result. We made a personal visit to Trichy. We were told that they did not receive the third application.

    We got a certificate from Madurai center with the details such as date of dispatch, Speedpost number etc. They continued to maintain silence. At this point I wrote a letter seeking the status of my application under RTI Act by affixing Rs.10 court fee stamp.

    The act requires that we should send a DD for Rs.10 to Central Govt Depts.

    I sent a copy of my letter to Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. MEA, Delhi asked the Passport Officer, Trichy to act immediately on my letter. To my pleasant surprise I received a phone call within 3 days asking me to go over to Trichy in person with a fresh application to receive the renewed passport the very same day. I did not trouble myself by travelling to Trichy. After a few days we received the passport renewed along with the old passport. This proves that Trichy passport office misplaced my application form. After the letter under RTI Act they searched and located the old application form.

    Second:

    My father-in-law a retired DSP had died leaving behind Pension arrears amounting to Rs.1.8 lakh. I applied to the Madurai Treasury with all the papers in March 2006
    I received the first installment of Rs.25000 in Aug 2006. The second claim for Rs.1 lakh was recommended and sent to Commissioner of Treasury and Accounts, Chennai for sanction. For the next 6 months there was no action or progress. Then I took the RTI ACT as the weapon and wrote a letter affixing Rs.10 Court Fee stamp. To my surprise I received an immediate response from the Secretary with a written regret letter for the failure and arranged for the payment immediately. The third claim of Rs.44000 was received in the next 3 months. All the above were received without paying even a pie as bribe. Thanks to RTI Act.

    Third:

    Madurai Corporation was sending me repeated notices for payment of property tax for my house. I was replying to their notices stating that I had paid the taxes in excess with proof. They did not bother to look at my reply. I made many trips to the office with no result. In frustration I wrote a letter under RTI Act asking them to confirm the arrears in writing. Exactly on the 30th day I received a reply informing that there were no arrears.

    Fourth:

    I had bought one portion of my parents’ house and registered it in the year 2000. Other part of the house was in my name. So I was given two Property Tax numbers. I requested Madurai Corporation in 2000 to merge both numbers and treat it as one property.

    No one cared to look into my application and was sitting on it in spite of many representations expecting that I would bribe them. After 8 years again I applied with all the papers under RTI Act. The very next day the Asst. Commissioner who was the Public Information Officer (PIO) spoke to me and confirmed that action was being taken on my petition.

    Next day he deputed a clerk and got the details from me. After a few days another officer visited the site and explained to me the reply that he was going to give me. I received the order merging the two Tax numbers.

    All the above were accomplished without bribing any one.

    Therefore I make an earnest appeal to all our readers not to bribe officials to get things done. If your claims or demands are justified and within rules you need not pay even a pie to anyone. We can reduce corruption in Govt Offices to a great extent with the help of RTI Act

  3. narayani ramaswami said

    Respected sir/madam
    sub:regarding family pension

    my husband A.Ramaswami died in march 2008,till date i have not received any response from the madurai treasury for my family pension where my husband was gettng pension,eventhough we have submitted all the papers to madurai treasury. I dont know what to do.I am a aged widow,having severe health problems. Kindly guide me in this matter.

    Thanking you
    NarayaniRamaswamy

  4. Dear Sir, How much of Arrears Of Lesse money was not Paid by Madras Race Club to Tamil NaDU Revenue Dept.

  5. horoscope said

    horoscope

    How RTI Act came to his rescue « Right2Information

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