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Archive for the ‘RTI Activists’ Category

Online Petition in Kannada against Amendment to Karnataka RTI Act 2005

Posted by rtiact2005 on May 19, 2008

Online Petition in Kannada against Amendment to Karnataka RTI Act 2005

http://www.petitiononline.com/kmhk2008/ (Kannada)

http://www.petitiononline.com/krti2008/ (English)

http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/10/stories/2008051056860300.htm (My online campaign)

http://www.hindu.com/2008/04/20/stories/2008042057940100.htm

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/May62008/editpage2008050666567.asp

http://www.thehindu.com/2008/04/14/stories/2008041454550600.htm

http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/19/stories/2008051953620600.htm

http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Apr172008/state2008041763173.asp

http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/10/stories/2008051057300300.htm

http://www.petitiononline.com/savertia/ (National RTI)

The signatures and optional comments may be please made either in English or Kannada or both.

Regards,
Tanveer
Syed Tanveeruddin

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Posted in Karnataka RTI, RTI Activists, RTI Campgain | 14 Comments »

“SMS CAMPAIGN – RULE 14” and SAVE RTI Act in INDIA.

Posted by rtiact2005 on April 22, 2008

Request to all Citizens of INDIA to ACT on this  ” SMS CAMPAIGN – RULE 14 ” and SAVE RTI Act in INDIA.

Let us show the all BUREAUCRATS that Citizens of INDIA means Business.

IT’S OUR RIGHT. An inalienable right has been conferred on citizens.

`Right to Information Act will empower common people’

The legislative intent is clear; we are entitled to know how our money is spent. The onus is on us to make the Act work.

In effect, therefore, the right conferred on the citizen is an exhaustive one. It allows him to assess and examine every government decision, to study the reasons recorded by the government for taking a particular step, and to utilise information so gathered to ensure that government acts in a transparent and just manner.

Indeed, the preamble to the Act puts it well when it says, “democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information” and adds these “are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed”.

SMS message to send is:

SIC KKM sir,
“Your Malafides proved in amending RTI rules — We demand your resignation to ensure Supremacy of Democracy”


______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________

Karnataka State Information Commissioner for Right to Information Act is   Mr. K. K. Mishra.

The mobile numbers for KKM are:

1.   9448291111 ,
2.    9844491100

Please SMS the above message to SIC KKM.

Please tell your friends to do the same. Send this to as many as possible. So that we can put presurre on SIC  KKM.

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ __________

THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS for this ” SMS CAMPAIGN- RULE 14 “

Please go through the following Statements:

A. On March 15th 2008, In Raichur, SIC K K Mishra as per Hindu article,

RTI Act is fine, says Misra .
Raichur: The former Chief Secretary and State Chief Information Commissioner K.K. Misra has said that there was no need to bring any amendment to the Right to Information Act (2005).
Mr. Misra was here on Friday to attend to some pending cases related to the Act.
He said the Act had been formulated with an intention to streamline the administration and protect the interest of the public.

______________________________

______________________________ ______________________________ ___

B. On April 19th 2008 meeting with RTI Activists SIC K K Mishra told them that he did not know anything about the Ammended Rule 14 of the RTI Rules , which Empowers an PIO to limit replying to RTI Request for only one first Question , if the RTI Request is covering two are more Subjects and is worder beyond 150 Words .

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______

C. As per Hindu article dated APRIL 20, 2008, says RTI: new rule restricts quantum of information.

It looks like SIC K K Mishra was responsible to bring about chnages to RTI Act 2005 in Karnataka State. Please read the article below. URL is provided. Thanks to RTI Activist Mr. Y. G. Muralidhran from CREAT to explain these things clearly to Hindu paper, other press people and to general Public.
BANGALORE: It has come to light that the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) recommended that the State Government amend the Karnataka Right to Information (RTI) Rules 2005 to restrict the quantum of information sought in a single application.
This was discovered by Y.G. Muralidharan, consumer rights activist and founder of Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT), who evoked the RTI Act only to receive this startling piece of information.
“Having grown in a culture of secrecy, the tendency to find reasons for denying information to the citizens is not surprising. But one never expected that the KIC would advise the Government to take the drastic step of amending the rules, which cuts the roots of citizens’ right to information,” Mr. Muralidharan told The Hindu.
______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _______


” KKM Malafidely has given misleading statement that RTI does not need any Ammendement and KKM became instrumental in Ammending the RTI rules to curtail citizens right, as such KKM has become tainted, hence KKM need to resign honorably to ensure supremacy of democracy ”

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ___________

There are other reasons also why SIC KKM need to RESIGN. Please go through the following.

D. on May 3, 2005 the Karnataka State High Court directed that a complaint of perjury be filed against Misra for “knowingly withholding important facts and documents from the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka and making false statements in the affidavits filed in this Court.”

______________________________ ______________________________ _________________

The above events shows the CHARACTER and INTEGRITY of K K Mishra.
Also KKM’s appointment as SIC is allready in question since 2005.
With all these things how can KKM continue as SIC of GoK ???
How did GoK appointed K K MIshra as the SIC of GoK with all the baggage.
______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _______________________________
Now it is very clear that Shri.K. K. Mishra is:
ž       Not a person having Eminence In Public Life, hence not qualified to the office of the State Chief Information Commissioner.
ž       Prima facie held to be involved in an offence involving moral turpitude, by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, which as good as conviction.
ž       Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.
______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _______
Please read this SC ruling:
Any officer whose integrity is doubtful should not be promoted to a sensitive post.
—————————————————————————————–
Supreme court Orders Transfer Of UP Chief Secretary within 7 days
Just recently Supreme Court of INDIA has given a ruling that a tainted person should not be occupying a SENSITIVE and RESPONSIBLE POST in the State of UP.
SCIC is such a Sensitive and Responsible post.
————————————————————————–
SC tells UP govt to shift Neera Yadav

http://www.ndtv.com/topstories /showtopstory.asp?id=17905 &frmsrch=1&txtsrch=Chief +Secretary+of+UP <http://www.ndtv.com/topstories /showtopstory.asp?id=17905 &frmsrch=1&txtsrch=Chief +Secretary+of+UP>
NDTV Correspondent
Thursday, October 6, 2005 (New Delhi):
The Supreme Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to shift controversial official Neera Yadav from the post of Chief Secretary within seven days.
______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _______________
KK Mishra’s has lost his Integrity as per High Court Order of Karnataka State //

KK Mishra is a TAINTED PERSON // TAINTED PERSON can’t be occupying Sensitive and Responsible post. //
KK Mishra was sworn on Saturday 30/7/2005, BEFORE the retirement date of 31/07/2005. This as per records available from GoK. //
This looks like BOGUS APPOINTMENT of KK Mishra to the post of SIC of Karnataka State.
This was done by then CM Dharm Singh, Opposition Leader Yeddiyurappa and then Information Minister Shivaram.
All these THREE people need to be questioned now.

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _________________

Please read this article.
First RTI appointment runs into trouble
Wednesday September 21 2005 00:00 IST
TOP STORIES
Sep 21, 2005
NEW DELHI: Even before the Right to Information Act has come into force, the very first and so far the only appointment made under it has provoked a controversy.
Karnataka is the first state to have appointed its chief information commissioner as part of the independent appellate machinery that is required to be in place by October 12 in the states as well as the Centre.
But questions are already being raised on the appointment of the commissioner by the Dharam Singh Government: K K Misra was appointed on July 30 immediately after his retirement as chief secretary of Karnataka.
A local NGO, Ella Kannada Vedike International (E-KAVI), called upon the state Governor to suspend Misra immediately and initiate the process of his removal from office.
Reason: Barely four months ago, the Karnataka High Court passed strictures on Misra in the PIL related to the Rs 2,250 crore Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project.
The irony is, in its judgment delivered on May 3, the High Court directed that a complaint of perjury be filed against Misra for “knowingly withholding important facts and documents from the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka and making false statements in the affidavits filed in this Court.”
______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ _____________________

All of this shows that SIC K K Mishra is a person without CHARACTER and INTEGRITY.
HENCE, EKAVI had written to Governor of Karnataka State in 2005.

______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ___________________


Demand For Removal of Shri.KK Misra, Karnataka State Chief Information Commissioner under Section 17 (3) (b) & 17 (3) (e) of the Right To Information Act-2005.

Demand For Removal of Shri.KK Misra, Karnataka State Chief Information Commissioner under Section 17 (3) (b) & 17 (3) (e) of the Right To Information Act-2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005
To,
The Hon’ble Governor,
Karnataka.
Sub: Demand For Removal of Shri.KK Misra, Karnataka State Chief Information Commissioner under Section 17 (3) (b) & 17 (3) (e) of the Right To Information Act-2005
Sir,
We wish to bring following acts of omissions during implementation of the Right To Information Act-2005 by Government Of Karnataka:
1. Section 15 of the Right To Information Act-2005 stipulates a minimum qualification for a candidate who shall be appointed as State Chief Information Commissioner, which are as under:
” The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be Persons Of Eminence In Public Life with wide knowledge and experience in Law, Science And Technology, Social Service, Management, Journalism, Mass Media Or Administration And Governance.”
2. We understand that that Mr.KK Misra who has been appointed as State Chief Information Commissioner vide notification number DPAR 77 RTI 2005 Bangalore Dated 30th July 2005, does not have the required qualifications for appointment as State Chief Information Commissioner.
3. The basic qualification required is of “Eminence In Public Life”. Government of Karnataka has been directed by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka to File criminal cases against Shri.KK Misra and prosecute him as under:
ž Under Sec. 340 of Cr.PC for “Knowingly Withholding Important Facts And Documents from the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka and Making False Statements In The Affidavits Filed In This Court” in the Rs 2,250 Crores Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project Case.
ž On charges of ” Perjury And Withholding “ documents in the Rs 2,250 Crores Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project Case. Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka also directed the Registrar General to file a complaint in this regard under section 388 Cr.PC.
4. A person who Lies And Cheats to Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka as above cannot be called as a Person Of Eminence In Public Life.
5. Shri.KK Misra’s appointment seems to have been made fraudulently violating the stipulated norms as laid down under section 15 of the Right To Information Act-2005, which are as follows:
ž There is no documentary proof in public knowledge that, a meeting of the committee formed for the appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner was held. Hence it seems only minutes were drawn
ž In view of the circumstantial evidence in above Para it can be deduced that List of eligible candidates for appointment as State Chief Information Commissioner was never prepared.
ž Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council were never consulted while appointing Shri.KK Misra as State Chief Information Commissioner, which is the normal practice in any appointments made by government to important positions.
6. It appears that Shri.KK Misra has appointed himself as State Chief Information Commissioner by abusing his position of Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka. It is very brazen attempt to misuse his official capacity as he retired on 31st July 2005 and Appointed as State Chief Information Commissioner on the same day i.e. 31st July 2005
7. A bureaucrat who presided over the state govt administration till recently cannot be considered independent enough to be the final apex appellate authority under the Right To Information Act. There would be disputes regarding requisitioning of information elicited from government functionaries when he was the chief secretary. He cannot legally/morally decide these disputes now as the information commissioner.
8. This principle is followed scrupulously by the judiciary. Judges do not hear cases where any person who was their client while their practicing law figures in, or if there is anyone closely related, closely connected etc involved. The matter is passed on to other judges.
9. Here we have only one chief information commissioner. Even if we presume that such matters will be passed on to the information commissioners, it must be noted that they are subordinate to the chief info commissioner who continues to be the boss and final arbitrator of the decision being dished out by the commission. So we cannot have such a person as State Chief Information Commissioner.
10. His continuation in the post will seriously jeopardize / violate people’s fundamental right to information which has been upheld as an integral part of article 13 (1) of the constitution of India.
11. From all above submissions it becomes clear that Shri.KK Misra is prima facie held to be involved in an offence involving moral turpitude, that too by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka. This as good as conviction, for an institution as important as State Chief Information Commissioner, whose duty is to set up practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
12. From all above submissions it also becomes clear that Shri.KK Misra has developed Other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.
13. Now it is very clear that Shri.KK Misra is:
ž Not a person having Eminence In Public Life, hence not qualified to the office of the State Chief Information Commissioner.
ž Prima facie held to be involved in an offence involving moral turpitude, by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, which as good as conviction.
ž Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.
14. Hence we request you utilise the powers vested in your office and your discretion to act under following Sections of the Right To Information Act-2005 and REMOVE KK MISRA FROM THE POSITION OF STATE CHIEF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER IMEADIATLY To Save Sanctity Of New Born Right To Information Act-2005 for charges summarized in Para number 13:
Section 17 (3): Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Governor may by order remove from office the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if a State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be,—
Section 17 (3) (b): Has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Governor, involves moral turpitude; or
Section 17 (3) (e): Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.15. The whole nation is anxiously awaiting your action in this regard. The success or failure of the Right To Information Act-2005 depends upon your quick and rightful action.
Yours Truly,
Copy to:
1. The Hon’ble President of India.
2. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
3. The Hon’ble Chief Minister Of Karnataka.
4. The Hon’ble Dy Chief Minister Of Karnataka.
5. Smt.Sonia Gandhi ji, The Chairperson United Progressive Alliance, The Chairperson National Advisory Council, and President, Indian National Congress, New Delhi.
6. Shri.H.D.Devegowda, Former Prime Minister, National President Janata Dal (Secular) & Member of Parliament.
7. Shri.Prakash Karat, General Secretary, CPI (M).
8. Shri.A.B.Bardhan, General Secretary, CPI (I).
9. Shri.L.K.Advani, Leader of Opposition, Loka Sabha.
10. Shri.Jaswant Singh, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha.
11. The Central Vigilance Commissioner, New Delhi.
12. The Loka Ayukta, Karnataka.

______________________________ ___________________________


Posted in Govt. of INDIA, Karnataka RTI, RTI Activists, RTI Campgain | 3 Comments »

RTI ACT :: Meeting with President

Posted by rtiact2005 on November 2, 2006

As a followup to the letters/emails/petitions to the President from
across the country and world, Demonstration at Vigyan Bhawan and then
assurance by the President to meet and hear the aggrieved(with the
functioning of CIC ) citizens, we met the President this afternoon .
We appealed to him to intervene in the functioning of the Information
Commission,which has made a mockery of the Right to Information Act in 
its very first year.

Initially we briefed him about the RTI Act and the ray of hope it
awakened in the common man. The President was also apprised of the
functioning of CIC where 

- an appellant is often not called for hearing. Appeals are 'disposed
off' without an appellant being heard.

- The officers, who are violating the RTI Act by not giving
information,have not even once been penalized as per the provision of
the Act, by the CIC.

- As a result, the rate of pendency of appeals is rapidly increasing.

- Public Information Officers feel fearless and challenge the
information applicants by not complying with providing information.

- In its hearings the Commissioners do not treat the citizen at power
with public authorities. Hearings are rescheduled if the public
authorities want it. If an appellant is a few minutes late the hearing 
is dismissed.

- Appeals made by students for transparency in the examination system
are dismissed on the dubious ground that transparency in the
examination system could adversely affect the integrity of the system.

The President gave a serious hearing to the difficulties. During the
half an hour meeting He took personal notes on separate note sheets to 
all the points that were discussed. The best part of it was that it was 
not a one sided meeting, he discussed at almost every point and after 
understanding our viewpoint he proceeded to next point. This was a good 
sign.

Finally we requested him to institute and independent enquiry Under
Section 14 of the RTI Act, We said that  "He holds the balance between 
the State authorities and the common citizen who have no means other 
than the RTI Act, to seek justice from a system, which asks for bribes at 
every step. If the Act is not given a chance to be put into practice 
and if the custodians of the Act, the CIC throttles the Act then 
intervention by the President alone is the hope of the common man."

The President said that he'll go into all the details provided by us
and then assured us that he'll do the needful.

Manish Sisodia
09868875898
--------------------------------
I am sendig the appeal also, which we submitted to the President.
---------------------------------

An Appeal to the President of India Shri A P J Abdul Kalam
by the citizens of India – the users of the Right to Information Act 
2005.

Dated: 25.10.'06
The President of India, Shri APJ Abdul Kalam
Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi

Respected President,

We the citizens of India and the users of the RTI Act 2005 are greatly 
concerned about the functioning of the Central Information Commission 
and the State Information Commissions. The National RTI Act 2005 came 
into effect a year ago. Several states including Delhi had similar Acts 
in force for the last 4 to 5 years. During this period, a large number 
of under-privileged people began to see a ray of hope because they were 
able to get their food rations regularly as a result of using the Act. 
About 200 poor children in resettlement colonies of east Delhi were 
able to get admission in proper schools. People began to get their work 
done without having to pay bribes.  Some of these cases are mentioned in 
an enclosure to this letter.

A great deal of hope was generated when a nation wide campaign was 
launched to create awareness about the RTI Act last July in 55 towns of the 
country simultaneously with the active participation of NDTV. Cynicism 
was on the decline for once, and people began to feel that through the 
use of RTI they could change things for the better.
However, this wave of hope has turned into despair due to the
functioning of the Central and State Information Commissions. They
were entrusted with the implementation of the RTI Act to bring about
transparency and accountability in government functioning, but in fact 
they are making a mockery of the Act.

An analysis of the orders passed by the Central Information Commission 
(CIC) revealed the following:

1. In 71 percent of the total appeals received by the Commission, the
CIC  'disposed of' appeals without calling the appellants. The CIC did 
not adhere to the principles of natural justice, which requires
hearing the appellants to ensure that denial of information is in
accordance with the exemptions listed in the law. The Commissioners
have publicly stated that they do not need to hear people before
dismissing their cases.

2. The CIC has not imposed penalty in even a single case during the
first year on officials guilty of denial of information which amounts
to serious violations of the RTI Act. The RTI Act explicitly provides
for penalty in such cases. Out of the 1500 cases decided by the CIC so 
far, penalty had been imposed in only two. One has already been
withdrawn and the other is in the process of being withdrawn. CIC had
issued show cause notices in 59 cases without result or penalty. With
nothing to fear, the government functionaries and public authorities
have increasingly begun to withhold information. Public Information
officers are taking advantage of this situation, and openly
challenging the right of the people to know.

3. The pendency of cases at the CIC is increasing day by day with the
CIC receiving on an average 2000 cases every month. Since penalty is
not being imposed as stipulated in the RTI Act, the number of appeals
is naturally on the rise. The CIC has displayed a lack of knowledge of 
principles and procedures of justice. In a recently held public
hearing on the functioning of the CIC, the former Chief Election
Commissioner, Shri T.S. Krishnamurthy suggested that the CIC could do
with judicial training by a retired Judge.

4. Appeals on information about examination results, which affect the
future of the appellants have been dismissed with order after order,
on the dubious ground that transparency in examination system would
affect adversely the integrity of the examination system.

A long time after independence, we had seen a ray of hope for a
cleaner and better future. This hope would be shattered if an inquiry
were not held into the functioning of the CIC and things are allowed
to drift in the present direction.

Sir, your Vision 2020 of an India with eGovernance presupposes total
transparency and free availability of information through
inter-connectivity at all levels of the government. The direction that 
the CIC is taking would never allow realization of this vision of 
yours.

We appeal to you Sir to invoke section 14 of the RTI Act, which
provides the President with the power to institute an enquiry into the 
functioning of the Central Information Commission. The CIC is meant to 
be the protector of the RTI Act for the people of India. Left to the 
CIC, the Act will be killed by its own custodians. We look up to you to 
prevent that from happening. Let the ray of hope lighted by the RTI Act 
survive and shine brighter on our democracy.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Sandeep Pandey
Smt. Madhu Bhaduri
Shri Manish Sisodia
Shri Rakesh Agarwal	           
Km. Santosh

Posted in RTI Activists | 1 Comment »

Who is responsible for ignoring implementation of RTI Act?

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 17, 2006

Who is responsible for ignoring implementation of RTI Act?

OPEN LETTER TO SHRI WAJAHAT HABIBULLAH

Dear Shri Habibullah,

1.Your patience and tact in dealing with the campaign by RTI
Activists aimed at "sacking" you was quite admirable.  Same group of
activists had initiated an on-line campaign to the President of
India against you. They believe that you are personally responsible
for non-implementation of RTI. Campaign was aimed at getting maximum
media exposure. In my opinion, a clearer understanding of the
complexities in implementation of RTI Act in the public
administration system in India is required, to fix responsibility
for its non-implementation.

2. Implementation is the primary responsibility of public
authorities under the Central and State Governments. CIC /SICs are
the Appellate Authorities and oversee the implementation of RTI Act
by the executive authorities, to submit their report to Parliament /
State Legislatures. Monitoring and reporting duties of CIC / SICs
are identical to the Audit Report of C&AG. Traditionally, C&AG does
not undertake executive responsibilities, as it would interfere with
his independence as an auditor.

3. Your critics are putting the entire blame for non-implementation
on you, ignoring the provisions of RTI Act, which define your role.
This aspect was also overlooked in the national convention. It may
be your personal decency that you did not emphasize upon the failure
of executive, to ward off the personal criticism levied on you.

4. Main issues relating implementation pertain to Appropriate
Government and Public Authority. CIC and SICs have peripheral role
of monitoring and reporting to Parliament / State Legislature. If
RTI Act is implemented in letter and spirit, it constitutes a major
administrative reform, leading to higher degree of public
accountability, transparency and quicker response to the aspiration
of the people. Only the public authorities can carry out such
administrative changes. In our administrative set-up, CIC / SICs
will not be able to make any significant contribution in following
aspects of implementation, except making recommendations to
Government and highlighting the non-implementation in their
reports:

q Changes in record keeping by public authorities u/s 4(1)(a),
to make information readily accessible to the citizens.

q Suo moto disclosure of information needed by citizens, to
avoid resort to applications under RTI Act.

q Appointment of CPIO/SPIO and publicity regarding their
appointment.

q Departmental instructions by each public authority to
facilitate the work of CPIO/SPIO, so that each official understands
his responsibilities under the RTI Act.

q Educational programs under section 25 are the responsibility
of the Central and State Government. This is a huge task, which
cannot be performed without using entire administrative machinery
available with the Government, including the educational
institutions. This also requires well-planned schemes and funding by
the Government.

q Major stumbling block is the negative attitude of the
officials towards the RTI Act, who are likely to resist enhanced
pubic accountability and transparency.

4. During the first year of implementation, Central and State
Governments have not been able to fulfill all these legal
obligations.  Proposed amendments to Section 18 of RTI Act seems to
be an attempt to pass on the entire responsibility of implementation
to Central Information Commission / State Information Commissions.
They do not have the requisite administrative and financial
resources, at there command. If this amendment to TI Act were
approved by the Parliament, public authorities would continue to
ignore their duties regarding implementation.

5. Whereas the RTI Activists are very vociferous about "file
notings" aspect of the amendments, they have not made adequate noise
about the far-reaching consequences of amending section 18.  These
are complex administrative issues, which were not considered in
the  "National Convention on One Year of RTI".

6. In my opinion CIC and SICs should bring their administrative
limitations to the notice of Central and State Governments. It is
essential to emphasize that implementation responsibility of the
Appropriate Government/ Public Authorities, cannot be imposed on
them.  On the other hand, there is a need for an effective audit
mechanism to enable CIC / SICs to conduct an independent review and
evaluate the implementation of RTI Act by the Public Authorities.
Report by CIC / SICs to Parliament / State Legislature should not
totally rely upon the information given by the Government, without
independent audit scrutiny.

7. RTI Activists have raised the issue of the "soft approach" of
CIC / SICs.  Every administrator knows that there are stages where
soft approach is much better than the "hard approach."  At he
initial stages of the learning curve, it is desirable to be soft,
one can get harder after a certain stage of learning. Although CIC/
SICs do not have the executive responsibility for implementing the
RTI Act, their reports to Parliament / State Legislature would
reflect that every one is at the initial stages of learning curve.
In view of the Citizen's demand for punishment to CPIO / SPIO in
every case of default, there can be a cut-off date for such
mechanical imposition of penalty.

8. In the national convention most of the speakers talked about the
negative attitude of bureaucracy towards RTI Act, but no worthwhile
practical suggestions have emerged. I would suggest that from the
year 2007-08 onwards, the Annual Confidential Report of every
officer should reflect how he / she has contributed towards
implementation of RTI Act, to motivate them to be more responsive
towards the citizens.

9. Attitude of an officer towards the public is a realistic
indicator of his /her capabilities. Good Officers would  (a) Make
every possible effort to improve record keeping, (b) Make suo-moto
disclose information of public interest to avoid public resort to
RTI Act, (c) Use increased public accountability as a tool for
administrative reforms, (d) Use disclosure of information under RTI
Act as an effective tool of preventive vigilance, (e) Use RTI Act to
ward off undue political pressures, (g) Use the implementation of
RTI Act as an opportunity for administrative reforms to make their
organisations more attuned to the requirements of the citizens.

10. On the other hand Officers of poor administrative ability would
deny information to hide their inefficiencies. Corrupt officers
would be very reluctant to disclose information, which would expose
them.  Attitude of an officer towards RTI Act, which imposes greater
transparency and public accountability, shows his competence as a
public servant. Suitable instructions for adding these aspects in
the Annual Confidential Report of Officers may be considered by the
Central and State Governments.

11. This open letter to you is a public document. It is being placed
on various Internet groups, including the yahoo group "rti4ngo"
initiated by me, where several administrative aspects of
implementing RTI Act have also been posted.  Many RTI Activists may
disagree with me, as hey have publicly held you personally
responsible for non–implementation of RTI Act. I hope to initiate a
public debate regarding these practical administrative issues.

          Best wishes for the Second Year of RTI,

                   Yours sincerely,

Dhirendra Krishna IA&AS (Retired)
17.10.2006
Email: dhirendrakrishna@yahoo.co.uk

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RTI Activists MEMORANDUM to Hon. President of INDIA about RTI and CIC

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 15, 2006

Memorandum

To

The President of India

Rashtrapati Bhawan

New Delhi

Respected Sir,

Right to Information Act has given the people of this country a ray of hope, which no other law ever gave. All these years, people had become cynics. Everyone felt and believed that nothing could change. But now, those who have used RTI are full of energy. They have already started witnessing changes, albeit small, in their lives and surroundings. Ration shops, which had not opened for years, have started opening up. People have started getting their rations cards, widow pensions, old age pensions, for which bribes were being extorted earlier. For the first time, people did not feel so helpless dealing with the Government.

Central Information Commission was set up to help people get information, if it were denied under RTI Act. They were set up to protect this right of the citizens. However, in the last one year of its functioning, CIC has made a complete mockery of the RTI Act.

  • 71% of the cases have been “disposed” off without hearing appellants. Commissioners have publicly stated that they don’t need to hear people before dismissing their cases.
  • RTI Act requires compulsory imposition of penalty on officials, who do not provide information in time or who provide false information. Commissioners refuse to impose penalties, howsoever grave might be the offence. Being former bureaucrats, their heart weeps for officials. Out of 1500 cases decided by them so far, penalty has been imposed only in two. One has already been withdrawn. The other is in the process of being withdrawn.
  • So far, officials were scared that a penalty might be imposed on them if they did not provide correct information in time. But no more. The officials all over the country are now openly denying information. PIOs challenge people to do whatever they could.
  • Commissioners misbehave with the public during hearings. One applicant wanted to know the action taken on his complaint of tax evasion filed with Income Tax Department. He was threatened by one of the Commissioners that FIR would be filed against him if he dared to file another such RTI in future.
  • Orders passed by the Commissioners are whimsical and completely arbitrary. They have consistently denied disclosure of the file related to their own appointment under some pretext or the other so far. Read some more orders:
    • Someone applied for a petrol pump. He did not get it. He suspected foul play. He asked for the marks awarded to each applicant by the interview board. CIC refused this information saying that the relationship between the interview board and HPCL was fiduciary.
    • According to them, a transparent examination system is not in “public interest”. It would adversely affect the integrity of examination system.
    • Someone made an application to a Government Department. He lost his application. He applied under RTI for a copy of his own application, which was rejected saying that this was private information, which had no public interest.
    • Someone applied for a kerosene depot. He filed an application asking for the status of his own application. It was rejected saying that this was private information and had no public interest.

With no judicial background, are these Commissioners professionally capable of handling their job? A long time after independence did we see a ray of hope for a better future. Should we allow them to shatter our hopes?

We, therefore, request the President to order an enquiry under sec 14 of the RTI Act into the functioning of CIC. If the President grants us a half hour appointment, we would like to make a detailed presentation to the President to sensitize him on the kind of orders, which are being passed by the Commission and how there has been serious miscarriage of justice. We are presenting a detailed report in this regard.

The present set of Information Commissioners should be sacked. Henceforth, no bureaucrat should be appointed as an Information Commissioner. The process of appointment of Information Commissioners should be transparent and should be done by calling for names from the public.

Thanking You

We, the Citizen of India

From, Across the country

Date : 13.10.2006

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RTI Act 2005:: ONE YEAR :: Now, what next?

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 15, 2006

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Manish Sisodia msisodia@gmail. com

Dear Friends!Most of the things have already been reported/ discussed about the protest in front of President of India at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi. As we all know the idea behind this protest was to pass a message to The President that ‘despite having such a good RTI Act, the country is loosing hope to get a transparent and accountable governance, just because of the existing Information Commissioners. ‘

And the message was PASSED SUCCESSFULLY, in a democratic and peaceful manner. President took note, responded and announced his offer of appointment and discussion with the protestors. He received the copy of memorandum.

We were concerned about the dignity of The President. And considering it, we started our protest right after President took the chair after his speech and Mr O P Kejriwal was giving vote of thanks. As we noticed, President initially asked Mr Habibullah, sitting on His left, about the protest, but soon (probably not satisfied with the answer) He turned to Mr Anna Hazare, sitting on His Right. After Mr O P Kejriwal finished with his Vote of Thanks(7-8 minutes ), President called Mr A N Tiwari and asked him to announce his desire to meet us soon, after seeking appointment through email. In the mean time a memorandum was demanded by the President Staff. Our request to read it in the same house was turned down by the security staff. And Finally He left at 8.20 pm.

What happened after that was not all unexpected. Six of us were detained as we came out of the Vigyan Bhawan. For more than 45 minutes we were interrogated by senior security officers. Then, at 9.30 pm, we were taken over to Tughlak Road Police Station. We were told that ‘our liberties were being curtailed’. Lots of teams appeared one after other and interrogated each of us. We knew that we have done nothing wrong, but the way we were being questioned was as if we have made some serious offence. Any way. We answered with patience. Surprisingly police teams reached at our homes after midnight and interrogated our families too. Finally at 3.30 we all were allowed to go home.

When we came out we saw Mrs Madhu Bhaduri, Sandeep Pandey, Abhinandan, Pabitro and many other RTI activists were also present there waiting for us outside.
This is the story. I would like to add that,  though, few of us prepared for this banner demonstration till last moment, but once it started in the hall, the entire RTI Biradari was active. Specially during the demonstration, which lasted more than 10 minutes, all our friends, who have come to attend the conference from across the country(Karnataka, Gujrat, MP, Chattisgarh, Punjab, Maharashtra, UP and others), participated in it. Someone stood up to hold the banner and someone took the job to distribute the handbills. Within a minute, everyone was active on it’s own.

Now, what next?

Of course, we should try to meet the President as soon as possible. But should we also make a point that why we were detained for so long? Why we and our families were interrogated like this? These are certainly important issues, and civil society from all over the world has criticized it, but should we put our energies into such matters or not? We have to decide where to focus. I think RTI Biradari should decide it collectively.

Regards

Manish Sisodia

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Activists protest on RTI anniversary

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 15, 2006

Activists protest on RTI anniversary

http://www.ndtv. com/template/ template. asp?category= National&template=RTI&slug=Activists+ protest+on+ RTI+anniversary&id=94755&callid=1


 

Activists protest on RTI anniversaryManu Sharma

Friday, October 13, 2006 (New Delhi):

On the first anniversary of the Right to Information Act protests were held in the capital.

The protests held ironically to sack the Central Information Commissioner for going soft on officials denying vital information to citizens.

After President APJ Abdul Kalam finished his speech on the first anniversary of the Act, over a dozen RTI activists suddenly stood up, silently unfurling banners, asking for a hearing.

Not a word was uttered by the activists from different NGOs. All they did was hold aloft banners, asking for the Central Information Commissioner to be sacked.

Severe criticism

The protest comes in the wake of severe criticism of the Commissioner for going soft on officials denying information to citizens despite the RTI Act coming into effect a year back.

“We protested because we think that CIC has completely ruined the act. No work is being done,” said Manish Sisodia, activist.

“The president has said that the protestors should send him an email and he will talk to them,” Sisodia said.

The president agreed to grant them an audience, instructing them to Email him requesting an appointment.

Voice of dissent

But voices against officials responsible for implementing the RTI Act have been growing shriller.

Many activists involved with the RTI movement since its inception have in fact chosen to completely avoid the first anniversary celebrations.

“We didn’t go because what to do there. It’s a cultural programme and not a discussion on how we can improve the RTI after its one year performance, ” said Prashant Bhushan, activist.

Perhaps reflecting the voices of dissent in his address, Kalam appealed to the CIC to make the RTI Act more meaningful by increasing transparency as well as public awareness about the Act itself.

Meanwhile, some RTI activists from Parivarthan have been arrested and they are at Tuglak Road Police Station.

They have been arrested because they had some banners for saving RTI at the President’s function at the Vigyan Bhawan.

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MEDIA-ALERT: Police arrests RTI Activists despite of assurance by President Kalam

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 14, 2006

MEDIA-ALERT: Police arrests RTI Activists despite of assurance by President Kalam
Friday October 13, 2006
Late evening
------------

NEW DELHI: Today President of India Mr Kalam was addressing a 
gathering of Government and non-governmental organizations and 
individuals working on Right to Information (RTI) in India in Vigyan 
Bhawan, to mark the opening of National RTI Convention. During his 
speech, few activists of Parivartan and Asha Parivar opened up two 
banners with the following messages on them: "SACK CIC – SAVE RTI" 
and "President please allow us to speak for 2 minutes". This was 
indeed a very peaceful display by activists and no slogan shouting or 
any attempt to disrupt the meeting was made. President continued to 
address the gathering. After the President, Mr OP Kejriwal spoke. 
After which, an announcement was made on behalf of President of India 
that RTI activists (who demanded President to give them 2 minutes) 
are welcome to send an email to President and then schedule an 
appointment to make their case. The meeting came to an end peacefully.

When 7 RTI activists of Parivartan came out of Vigyan Bhawan, Police 
arrested them, including Manish Sisodiya, who has been instrumental 
in shaping the campaign and engaging people with the RTI movement. 
Those arrested have been taken to Tughlaqabad Police Station.

This is very undemocratic for Police to arrest people despite of the 
fact that President of India agreed to give them an audience. Also is 
noteworthy that the display of banner was done in an extremely 
peaceful manner and no attempt was made to disrupt the meeting or 
disturb the President's address in any way. Our democracy must allow 
space to dissent peacefully and in righteous manner, and if this 
space to dissent is also curbed, then it raises serious questions on 
our democracy itself.

We demand Government agencies to ensure that those arrested be 
released immediately and police should apologise for this undue 
harassment. Otherwise people of this country will be left with no 
option but to join hands for a nationwide stir against the arrests of 
7 RTI activists in Delhi today.

------------------------------------
For more details please contact: Dr Sandeep Pandey (c/o Mr 
Aridamanjit Singh - 9312348900), email: ashaashram@yahoo.com

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APPEAL: RTI Activists appeal to President of India

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 14, 2006

APPEAL: RTI Activists appeal to President of India
----------------

Comment: Senior social activist and Magsaysay Awardee 2002 Dr Sandeep 
Pandey wrote a letter to President of India yesterday on October 13, 
2006. 6 RTI Activists were arrested last night on 13th October outside 
Vigyan Bhawan, despite of President's assurance. Sandeep on behalf of 
countless people of the country who want an effective RTI in place, has 
made an appeal to President to intervene to save the situation. We condemn 
the highhanded manner of not only the police but also the way National 
RTI Convention is being held in Delhi.
-------------------

Dated: 13th October, 2006

To:    Honourable Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
       President of India

  Respected Dr. Abdul Kalam Sahab, 

  I was there at the inaugural of the National Convention on RTI which 
you inaugurated today earlier in the evening. 

  Some activist friends of mine stood up peacefully after your speech 
with the banners ‘Sack CIC, Save RTI’ and ‘President, allow us 2 minutes 
to speak’. You graciously allowed us to send you an e-mail and promised 
us an appointment to convey our views. 6 activsts friends of mine 
(Manish Sisodia , Rekha, Rajeev, Javed, Ritu, Santosh)  were arrested by the 
police when they came out of the Vigyan Bhawan and have been taken to 
Tughlak Road Police Station. I and my other activists friends who have 
not been arrested condemn this action. We are being penalized for our 
action based on Freedom of Speech which we performed in the least 
disruptive manner without any slogan shouting or attempt to disrupt the 
programme. 

  The police action is a blot on the RTI convention and we will 
continue to protest if the Central Information Commission or the Government 
will act in such a highhanded manner.

  I hope you’ll intervene to save the situation.

  Thank You,
  Sincerely,

  Sandeep Pandey
  A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016, U.P.
  Telephone: 0522-2347365, Mobile: 9415022772, 9312348900 (Delhi)
  Email: ashaashram@yahoo.com
  ---------------------------------

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Social Change and Public Interest Litigation in India

Posted by rtiact2005 on October 13, 2006

Social Change and Public Interest Litigation in India

Social change is the necessity of any society. In India it is done through Public Interest Litigation. In this article an attempt was made to assess the impact of PIL over Indian Society. The jurisprudence of PIL is necessary to understand the nature of PIL in India.

Jasper Vikas George, Advocate, Delhi High Court
Jasper Vikas George, Advocate, Delhi High Court

Social Change and Public Interest Litigation in India

Such is the disillusionment with the state formal legal system that it is no longer demanded by law to do justice, if justice perchance is done, we congratulate ourselves for being fortunate. In these circumstances one of the best things that have happened in the country in recent years is the process of social reform through Public Interest Litigation or Social Action Litigation.

By
*Jasper Vikas George

Late 1970s marked discernible shift from legal centralism. Legal pluralism was very apparent now. It was realized that social conduct was regulated by the interaction of normative orders, notion of popular justice, community justice, and distributive justice were sought to be institutionalised, though outside the sphere of the formal legal system and in opposition to it.

Necessity of informal justice

Necessity of informal justice, whether as an alternative to state law or as to its agent to find its identity in opposition to state law stems from the nature of Anglo-Saxon law prescribing legal formalism and due to the failure of formal legal system to deliver justice that forced informal justice to take on a separate identity from state law.

The British rule bequeathed to India a colonial legal heritage. The Anglo-Saxon model of adjudication insisted upon observance of procedural technicalities such as locus standi and adherence to adversarial system of litigation. The result was that the courts were accessible only to the rich and the influential people. The marginalized and disadvantaged groups continued to be exploited and denied basic human rights.

Public Interest Litigation as exists today

PIL today offers such a paradigm which locates the content of informal justice without the formal legal system. Non Anglo-Saxon jurisdiction directs courts to transcend the traditional judicial function of adjudication and provide remedies for social wrongs. PIL had already molded the state in to the instrument of socio-economic change. Social justice is the byproduct of this transcends from the formal legal system.

Evolution of Public Interest Litigation

The Indian PIL is the improved version of PIL of U.S.A. According to “Ford Foundation” of U.S.A., “Public interest law is the name that has recently been given to efforts that provide legal representation to previously unrepresented groups and interests. Such efforts have been undertaken in the recognition that ordinary marketplace for legal services fails to provide such services to significant segments of the population and to significant interests. Such groups and interests include the proper environmentalists, consumers, racial and ethnic minorities and others”. The emergency period (1975-1977) witnessed colonial nature of the Indian legal system. During emergency state repression and governmental lawlessness was widespread. Thousands of innocent people including political opponents were sent to jails and there was complete deprivation of civil and political rights. The post emergency period provided an occasion for the judges of the Supreme Court to openly disregard the impediments of Anglo-Saxon procedure in providing access to justice to the poor. Notably two justices of the Supreme Court, Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. N. Bhagwati recognised the possibility of providing access to justice to the poor and the exploited people by relaxing the rules of standing. In the post-emergency period when the political situations had changed, investigative journalism also began to expose gory scenes of governmental lawlessness, repression, custodial violence, drawing attention of lawyers, judges, and social activists. PIL emerged as a result of an informal nexus of pro-active judges, media persons and social activists. This trend shows starke difference between the traditional justice delivery system and the modern informal justice system where the judiciary is performing administrative judicial role. PIL is necessary rejection of laissez faire notions of traditional jurisprudence.

The first reported case of PIL in 1979 focused on the inhuman conditions of prisons and under trial prisoners. In Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar, AIR 1979 SC 1360, the PIL was filed by an advocate on the basis of the news item published in the Indian Express, highlighting the plight of thousands of undertrial prisoners languishing in various jails in Bihar. These proceeding led to the release of more than 40, 000 undertrial prisoners. Right to speedy justice emerged as a basic fundamental right which had been denied to these prisoners. The same set pattern was adopted in subsequent cases.

In 1981 the case of Anil Yadav v. State of Bihar, AIR 1982 SC 1008, exposed the brutalities of the Police. News paper report revealed that about 33 suspected criminals were blinded by the police in Bihar by putting the acid into their eyes. Through interim orders S. C. directed the State government to bring the blinded men to Delhi for medical treatment. It also ordered speedy prosecution of the guilty policemen. The court also read right to free legal aid as a fundamental right of every accused. Anil Yadav signalled the growth of social activism and investigative litigation.

In (Citizen for Democracy v. State of Assam, (1995) 3SCC 743), the S. C. declared that the handcuffs and other fetters shall not be forced upon a prisoner while lodged in jail or while in transport or transit from one jail to another or to the court or back.

Concept of PIL

According to the jurisprudence of Article 32 of the Constitution of India, “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this part is guaranteed”. Ordinarily, only the aggrieved party has the right to seek redress under Article 32.
In 1981 Justice P. N. Bhagwati in .S. P. Gupta v. Union of India, 1981 (Supp) SCC 87, articulated the concept of PIL as follows, “Where a legal wrong or a legal injury is caused to a person or to a determinate class of persons by reason of violation of any constitutional or legal right or any burden is imposed in contravention of any constitutional or legal provision or without authority of law or any such legal wrong or legal injury or illegal burden is threatened and such person or determinate class of persons by reasons of poverty, helplessness or disability or socially or economically disadvantaged position unable to approach the court for relief, any member of public can maintain an application for an appropriate direction, order or writ in the High Court under Article 226 and in case any breach of fundamental rights of such persons or determinate class of persons, in this court under Article 32 seeking judicial redress for the legal wrong or legal injury caused to such person or determinate class of persons.”

The rule of locus standi have been relaxed and a person acting bonafide and having sufficient interest in the proceeding of Public Interest Litigation will alone have a locus standi and can approach the court to wipe out violation of fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain or private profit or political motive or any oblique consideration (Ashok Kumar Pandey v. State of W. B., (2004) 3 SCC 349).

Supreme Court in Indian Banks’ Association, Bombay and ors v. M/s Devkala Consultancy Service and Ors., J. T. 2004 (4) SC 587, held that “In an appropriate case, where the petitioner might have moved a court in her private interest and for redressal of the personal grievance, the court in furtherance of Public Interest may treat it a necessity to enquire into the state of affairs of the subject of litigation in the interest of justice. Thus a private interest case can also be treated as public interest case”.

In Guruvayur Devaswom Managing Commit. And Anr. Vs. C.K. Rajan and Ors, J.T. 2003 (7) S.C. 312, S.C. held, “The Courts exercising their power of judicial review found to its dismay that the poorest of the poor, depraved, the illiterate, the urban and rural unorganized labour sector, women, children, handicapped by ‘ignorance, indigence and illiteracy’ and other down trodden have either no access to justice or had been denied justice. A new branch of proceedings known as ‘Social Interest Litigation’ or ‘Public Interest Litigation’ was evolved with a view to render complete justice to the aforementioned classes of persona. It expanded its wings in course of time. The Courts in pro bono publico granted relief to the inmates of the prisons, provided legal aid, directed speedy trial, maintenance of human dignity and covered several other areas. Representative actions, pro bono publico and test litigations were entertained in keeping with the current accent on justice to the common man and a necessary disincentive to those who wish to by pass the, real issues on the merits by suspect reliance on peripheral procedural shortcomings… Pro bono publico constituted a significant state in the present day judicial system. They, however, provided the dockets with much greater responsibility for rendering the concept of justice available to the disadvantaged sections of the society. Public interest litigation has come to stay and its necessity cannot be overemphasized. The courts evolved a jurisprudence of compassion. Procedural propriety was to move over giving place to substantive concerns of the deprivation of rights. The rule of locus standi was diluted. The Court in place of disinterested and dispassionate adjudicator became active participant in the dispensation of justice”.

Aspects of PIL  ….

for more Info read this article here,
http://india.indymedia.org/en/2005/03/210205.shtml

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