Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for June, 2007


Posted by rtiact2005 on June 26, 2007




* Govt. furnishes incomplete info on Cauvery Tribunal expenditure.

* Full information on Sept. 27.

It may be recalled that Star of Mysore had written twice earlier in the column Abracadabra about the indifferent and even scandalous manner in which Karnataka’s case was handled and also presented at the Tribunal by a set of advocates who seemed to have focused more on their “personal interest” than on the case. We will be reproducing those Abracadabras shortly. —Ed

* Anil Dewan alone got Rs. 9.66 cr. !

* Javali and Katharki together claimed Rs. 6.5 cr.

* Then comes Nariman with Rs. 2 cr.

Dharwad, June 26 (TRD)- An application filed by an activist under the Right To Information (RTI) Act has exposed may vital information regarding the Cauvery Water Dispute.

The Founder-President of Puraskara Forum, Krishna Joshi, had asked the Chief Secretary of the State to furnish him all the details regarding the delegations sent to represent the State; the lawyers’ fees and the total expenditure incurred by the State Government since the formation of the Cauvery Tribunal.

Later a complaint was lodged with the Information Commission on Apr. 12 as the officers had failed to furnish the information within the deadline to Joshi.

In this background, an enquiry was held on June 21 and the Commission has expressed its displeasure as incomplete information was furnished by the Department of Water Resources. It has called for a final enquiry on Sept. 27.

Lawyers’ fee startling

Out of the many questions raised by Krishna Joshi, the junior officers of the Department of Water Resources, on behalf of the Chief Secretary, have given answers for only two questions. Out of these two, one remains to be incomplete.

As per the information furnished by these officers, in the period since 1990-91 to 28.2.2007, the 10 Advocate Generals, who appeared be fore the Tribunal, claimed Rs. 1.34 crore as fees.

During the same period, fees for the 18 lawyers who appeared for the State is Rs. 22.10 crore.

Out of the 18 lawyers, advocate Anil B. Dewan was paid the highest fee of Rs. 9.66 crore and the lowest in the list was Advocate Ashok Mathur, who was paid Rs. 3,000 only.

The fee for the famous advocate Fali S. Nariman, who argued for the State since the beginning, was paid Rs. 2.08 crore.

Similarly the advocates, who represented the State since the formation of the Tribunal, S.S. Javali and Mohan V. Katharki, are paid Rs. 3.77 crore and Rs. 2.75 crore respectively.

The lawyers’ fee paid by the State Government during 2005-06 is Rs. 5.19 crore and this is the highest payment made in a single financial year.

Visits to Bangalore

The number of visits made by the advocates to Bangalore to hold discussions are also available. The details are as follows:

Mohan V. Katharki has visited Bangalore 193 times, S.S. Javali 158 times, Shambhuprasad Singh 138 times, Anil B. Dewan 46 times, Sayyed Naqvi 26 times, Fali S. Nariman 19 times, Brijesh Kalappa 18 times, Ranvir Singh 14 times and Sanjay R. Heggade 7 times.

“The expenditure incurred on lawyers is startling. In spite of this huge expenditure, I feel the Government has utterly fail0ed in presenting its arguments effectively. My concern is that all the details regarding the dispute be made available to the public,” says Krishna Joshi. “I will continue to fight till all the information is available,” he declared.

Having won his case to make the entire proceedings of the Information Commission to be conducted in Kannada, he insists that the Cauvery Tribunal should publish its verdict in Kannada and there should be clarity in the details.

Posted in Karnataka RTI | 5 Comments »

IAS officer’s wife e-attacks ‘corrupt’ bureaucracy

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 26, 2007

IAS officer’s wife e-attacks ‘corrupt’ bureaucracy
Bhargavi Kerur
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 08:17 IST


Woman uses website to take on Karnataka babudom after her husband is moved 6 times in 6 months

BANGALORE: A website launched by an IAS officer’s wife in Karnataka that claims to crusade against corrupt bureaucrats has shaken the state’s babudom. JN Jayashree’s site, www.fightcorruption.wikidot.com, details her attempts to secure information through the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Jayashree took recourse to RTI after her husband MN Vijayakumar, who is the managing director of the state-owned Mysore Lamps, was transferred six times between September 2006 and February 2007. Some of his postings lasted only three days. Jayashree said she wanted to unearth the reasons for the ‘harassment’.
Read latest news at DNA

“Failing to get appropriate information, I decided to go public with my campaign,” Jayashree said. She has filed 12 applications under the RTI Act, seeking facts related to the state government’s alleged ‘shielding’ of corrupt officials. “I want to assist people who have knowledge of corrupt practices but are afraid to take these up for various reasons,” Jayashree said.

For his part, Vijayakumar has lodged a compliant against state Chief Secretary PB Mahishi with the state’s anti-corruption ombudsman. Vijayakumar has accused Mahishi of shielding corrupt officers. The ombudsman has ordered Mahishi to respond to the charges by June 27.

When DNA contacted Mahishi, he refused to comment either on the site or on Vijayakumar’s complaint.

Vijayakumar, whose petition is pending, is not talking to the media either.

Although Mahishi has hinted at legal action if the website is not shut down, Jayashree remains unrelenting. “I have launched it as an independent citizen of India,” she said. She has complained to the State Women’s Commission that Mahishi is trying to infringe on her “fundamental right.”

The commission has asked Mahishi to appear before it on July 10. The three-month-old site has drawn appreciation from activists and whistleblowers from across the world. It has even attracted some support from babudom. “If we had more Jayshrees, the system would have been better,” a woman IAS officer has said on the site’s forum.

Posted in Karnataka RTI | 6 Comments »