Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘RTI USES’ Category

Congress MP files application under RTI Act on SEZ

Posted by rtiact2005 on September 1, 2006

Congress MP files application under RTI Act on SEZ



Chandigarh, Aug 30: In the first case of a ruling Congress MP seeking help of the Right to Information Act (RTI), Kuldeep Bishnoi on Wednesday filed an application seeking information concerning the Reliance Industries (RIL) – Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project to be set up in the State.

The four applications submitted by Bishnoi at the HSIIDC headquarters at Panchkula in Haryana near here this afternoon to the State Public Information Officer (SPIO) sought the information, including file notings and all correspondence, exchanged between June 2005 and August 2006 on the setting up of the SEZ.

Bishnoi has paid the requisite fee of Rs 50 with each application to the SPIO.

The MP from Bhiwani has been opposing the setting up of the SEZ on the ground that it will hit hard the farmers alleging that it “has become another reason for sophisticated land grab by big industrial houses aided and abetted by the state governments.” “If we industrialise large chunks of fertile cultivable agriculture land, how will we maintain a balanced ratio as we will become a food grain deficient state from being food grain surplus due to growing population,”, Bishnoi, a younger son of former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal told reporters here.

Bishnoi in his first application sought to know the findings of the study conducted by the IL (Infrastructure Land) & FS (Financial Services) Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDC) which was engaged by HSIDC to give advice on the 1,700 acres Garhi Harsaru land, which was acquired by HSIDC to develop on its own.

He has sought to know whether IL and FS IDC was given the mandate to go into the pros and cons of developing Garhi Harsaru on its own instead of transferring it to RIL-HSIDC SEZ joint venture.

“I would like to know what is the formula followed to calculate the state governments equity in the RIL-HSIDC SEZ joint venture?” Bishnoi questioned in his second application saying the state has decided to transfer the prime land measuring 1,700 acre at Garhi Harsaru in Gurgaon district.

Seeking all file notings and correspondence regarding the financial aspects of the deal, Bishnoi in his third application also sought to know “what is the value assigned to land measuring 1,700 acres at Garhi Harsaru which has been transferred to RIL-HSIDC SEZ joint venture.”

He said in his fourth application that since the 25,000 acre SEZ of RIL-HSIDC is to come up in Haryana on fertile cultivable agriculture land “did HSIDC or RIL get any agriculture, environment impact study done as it will severely affect the food grain productivity in the state.”

“Was any ecological impact study done to assess the damage it will cause to the environment? if yes what are the findings of the study? I require all file notings and all correspondence in the matter,” he said in his application.

Bureau Report


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Complaint against Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Corporate Office, Sadiq Nagar, New Delhi

Posted by rtiact2005 on September 1, 2006

—– Original Message —–
From: Veeresh Malik
To: delpol@vsnl.com
Cc: dcp-south-dl@nic.in
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:11 PM
Subject: Complaint against Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Corporate Office, Sadiq Nagar, New Delhi

From: Veeresh Malik, D-61, Defence Colony, New Delhi – 110024 / dtd 30th August’06
To: S.H.O., Defence Colony P.S., Delhi Police, New Delhi – 110024

By eMail and by hand


1) Earlier today, at about 0945 hrs on 30th August’06, my representative Shri Shiv Kumar, proceeded to the office of the CPIO, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), Corporate office, Sadiq Nagar, New Delhi. His purpose was to submit an RTI Application under RTI Act’05. He was not permitted to do so, and returned at about 1115 hrs.

2) The IOCL office that accepts RTI Applications as per RTI Act’05 is CPIO under RTI Act-05, Shri Satish Kumar or alternate, General Manager (HR) & PIO, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., (IOCL) Corporate Office, Plot No. 3079/3, Sadiq Nagar, J.B. Tito Marg, New Delhi 110049. Phone number 011-2626-0160

3) Staff reporting to Mr. Satish Kumar, namely Mr. G.L. Kohli, Ms. Nisha, and some others, refused to accept the RTI Application. Towards this, I have filed a separate complaint under Section 18/1 of the RTI Act’05, by email and authenticated copy, with Govt. of India, Office of Central Information Commission, Central Information Commissioner/Jt. Secy & Registrar, Central Information Commission,   Old JNU Campus,   Block IV, 5th Floor,  New Delhi – 110 067, attn: Shri Wajahat Habibullah/Chief Commissioner and Shri P.K. Gera/Jt. Secretary.

4) However, towards the other aspects of the episode referred to above, I wish to lodge a written complaint with Delhi Police that official staff of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., viz Mr. Satish Kumar/GM, and Mr. GL Kohli, and Ms. Nisha and some others who my representative can identify, locked my representative Mr. Shiv Kumar up in a room. Mr. Shiv Kumar was able to call me on telephone, at which point I was able to call Mr. Satish Kumar/IOCL from another phone, and tell him that if he did not release Mr. Shiv Kumar then I was going to complain to “100”. At this point Mr. Satish Kumar and one other person released Mr. Shiv Kumar, but in the process they pushed him by putting their hands on his shirt.

Sir, I wish to file this written report on this episode, and request your office to kindly take necessary action in this matter.


Veeresh Malik
Defence Colony
New Delhi – 110024
30th August’06

Posted in RTI USES | 136 Comments »

UPSC aspirants turn to RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 23, 2006

UPSC aspirants turn to RTI


NDTV Correspondent

Watch story UPSC aspirants turn to RTI

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 (New Delhi):

The UPSC exams which lakhs of aspirants take each year is now finding itself swamped with RTI applications.

Students who failed in the exams filed the applications and want to know why they have not made it.

They have filed about one thousand RTI applications and want to know their scores.

“We just want to know how we have performed,” said Neelam Sharma, an UPSC aspirant.

“There should be some transparency. If it exists for other exams, then why not for UPSC”.

Candidates are unhappy even with last year’s results. A few days after announcing the names of selected candidates, the UPSC had withdrawn 13 names saying it was a clerical error.

Paper leak

And this year, students believe that one of the question papers may have been leaked.

“They cancelled the public administration exam without citing any reason,” said Divya Prakash, a UPSC aspirant.

The students have found support in the original champion of the Right to Information.

“The RTI route is the only one open to them today. If they want to fight constitutionally they won’t get the answers. They can’t file a PIL as there are no grounds to file a PIL,” said RTI activist Aruna Roy.

UPSC exams – it’s the first step towards becoming part of the administration that runs the country.

The much-talked about RTI Act aims at making the same administration transparent and more accountable. These UPSC aspirants have decided to use that very Act to seek some answers from the government.

Posted in RTI USES | 3 Comments »

DU registrar may face rap over RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 9, 2006

DU registrar may face rap over RTI
Sonia Sarkar
 8 Aug, 2006 0208hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK 

NEW DELHI: Like his counterpart in Jamia Hamdard University, the 
registrar of Delhi University A K Dubey may also face a penalty for denying 
information to a student under the Right to Information Act.

The registrar, who is also the public information officer (PIO), had 
failed to provide information to a student on the working of a canteen at 
south campus.

The application had been filed before him in December last year. Two 
months later, the student was informed that information on the canteen 
was not admissible under the RTI Act and was being denied. Interestingly, 
the conditions at the canteen improved drastically after filing of the 

"The canteen was in a bad shape, as there were no rate cards, no 
mechanism for quality checks and no proper sitting arrangements for students. 
I thought it was my right to know why it was in such a state.

So, I asked for the relevant information — the contractor's name, money 
spent on the maintenance of the canteen, as also the system of 

But the officials denied the information and I filed an appeal before 
the Central Information Commission in March," said Bibhav, a 
postgraduate student pursuing a diploma in journalism.

The PIO had earlier told the Commission that the information was sought 
on behalf of an institution called Kabir, an NGO where Bibhav was 

"However, we did not agree with the PIO's contention as the appellant 
had applied in his own name, and had only given the NGO's address for 
the purpose of correct delivery of post and the PIO was informed about 
the change of address," said O P Kejariwal, information commissioner.

"The information was supposed to be supplied or denied by January 12, 
within 30 days after the application was filed. But not only was the 
information denied, but even the reply was sent 38 days after the 
stipulated date.

So, we directed the PIO to supply the information sought by Bibhav 
within 15 days and report compliance within 21 days after we issued the 
letter on July 3," added Kejariwal.

Dubey did not turn up for the hearing on July 26, citing personal 
reasons. The case will now be heard on Friday. "We will hear him and then 
decide the case.

He may have to face a penalty for the delay in providing us with 
information as to why he denied a reply to the appellant. He would be charged 
Rs 250 per day for violating provisions under Section 7 of the RTI Act, 
starting from the day when we sent him the reply," said Kejariwal.

Bibhav, meanwhile, is happy that things have improved at the canteen. 
"A rate chart has been put up at every table and renovation work is also 
on. The RTI Act has served its purpose," he said.

Last week, the registrar of Jamia Hamdard University, Akhtar Majeed, 
was fined Rs 13,750 by the Central Information Commission for failing to 
explain why a non-teaching staff had been suspended.


Posted in RTI USES | 1 Comment »

When it comes to Mr Q, the right to know doesn’t apply

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 7, 2006

When it comes to Mr Q, the right to know doesn’t apply

Arun Jaitley

Posted online: Monday, August 07, 2006 at 0000 hrs


Despite request under RTI, CBI declines information on freezing, defreezing of Quattrocchi accounts, Central Information Commission says ‘any attempt to compile voluminous information will disproportionately divert public resources’

Arun Jaitley

Ottavio Quattrocchi is an accused in the Bofors case. The CBI was informed in 1993 that he is a beneficiary of the kickbacks in the Bofors gun deal. No action was permitted to be taken and he absconded from the country. He was close to the powers that be. His name is still held in awe in the corridors of power.

His accounts in a London Bank were frozen on July 25, 2003 by an order of the Queens High Court at London. Subsequently, the CBI asked for defreezing of the accounts on the ground that on account of some judgments of the Delhi High Court, there was nothing left to pursue in the case. The CBI contended that it was in no position to establish the link of the money in the frozen account with the kickbacks in the Bofors case.

I sought to exercise my right under the Right to Information Act 2005 and seek from the CBI all documents in relation to the freezing and de-freezing of the accounts and all communications given by the CBI to B Datta, Additional Solicitor General and further transmitted by Datta to the Crown Prosecution Service at London. I also sought copies of opinions and file notings as to why two erroneous judgments of the Delhi High Court which virtually put the lid on the Bofors’ case were not appealed against by the CBI.

Needless to say, the CBI declined my request. The Internal Appellate Authority within the CBI also rejected my request. I, therefore, decided to treat it as a test case by filing an appeal for my right to information to the Central Information Commission.

A lot has been propagated in the past few months promising that the enforcement of the Right to Information Act, 2005 will ensure transparency in government functioning. It is this transparency which will throw sunlight on the internal files and working of the government and, hence, make the government more accountable and lead to eradication of corruption.

The Bofors case is the single most important corruption case in India which has shaken the faith of Indian society in governance. It is a case where a foreign national close to the preferred family of Indian politics was a direct recipient of the kickbacks in a Defence-related transaction where decision making was done by the recipient’s friend, the then prime minister of India.

We have seen in the past various institutions, including Parliament (Shankaranand-headed JPC), CBI and various political governments, being subverted in order to conceal the truth. At least five judicial pronouncements of the Delhi High Court, some of which were reversed, others not appealed against, also put a lid on the truth. Is every institution in Indian democracy going to be subverted to save this preferred family and its associates from exposure? Will the country be denied information about the facts of this case indefinitely?

Since as a citizen of India I was informed that the enforcement of the Right to Information Act 2005 will give me all the information about this case and lead to the elimination of corruption, I had hoped my remedies under the Act will bear result. So far I have not succeeded.

It is not merely the denial of information that disturbs the citizens. It is the subversion of the Central Information Commission through the reasoning it has chosen to give which convinces me that the Act in its implementation is a complete farce. Let me narrate the reasons for denial of this information.

I wanted to obtain copies of the communication between CBI and the Crown Prosecution Service. I wanted to know the reasons recorded on the file as to why two erroneous judgments were not appealed against. The Commission informed me that “A large number of files relating to this case are housed in two large rooms in safe cupboards. Any attempt to compile voluminous information will disproportionately divert public resources”.

My request to obtain a few pages of information on the Bofors case would be a burden on the National Exchequer. I have thus been denied my right to information.

The further reasons given to me by the Commission for denial of the information make out a poor alibi. I am told that the matter is pending adjudication in various courts. This is factually incorrect. The matter relating to why two erroneous judgements have not been appealed against and correspondence relating to freezing of Quattrocchi’s accounts and is subsequent defreezing is not pending in any court.

I am further informed that investigations in the matter are inconclusive. How does this affect accounts earlier frozen and subsequently defrozen? Quattrocchi has withdrawn the money. Nothing in relation to that money is under investigation today. The further reasons make a curious reading.

First, the charges against Quattrocchi have not been framed since he has not appeared in court. How does this affect my right to information? Second, that a Red-corner notice against Quattrocchi has been issued. Does that have any bearing on freezing of Quattrocchi’s accounts and its subsequent defreezing?

The last reason given in the reasoning is that my request is to be declined since it is covered under the exempted category of section 8(1)(e) and section 8(1)(h) of the Act. The first exempts information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship. I do not think the CBI has a fiduciary relationship with Quattrocchi and, therefore, it ought not seek exemption in this regard.

The second section prevents disclosure of information which would impede an investigation or prosecution of an offender. Informing the country as to why two cases were not filed and why the accounts were defrozen certainly does not impede any prosecution or investigation. The right to information is the foundation of the right to knowledge. The right to knowledge is an inherent part of the freedom of expression.

The citizen’s right to be informed and the right to express oneself is a check on arbitrariness and nepotism in governmental functioning. If the Central Information Commission passes orders in order to prevent exposes relating to associates of the preferred family, the Central Information Commission aids and assists the process of nepotism rather than check it; the Right to Information Act, 2005 in its implementation becomes a farce.


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Parents file RTI on kids’ safety norms

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 6, 2006

Parents file RTI on kids’ safety norms

Shreya Dhoundial


Posted Sunday , August 06, 2006 at 17:27Updated Sunday , August 06, 2006 at 17:37



New Delhi: Last week in a tragic accident six school children lost their lives in a school bus accident in Sonepat near Haryana.

Payal and Jeevan Asija concerned over the safety of children in school buses have decided to file an RTI application to the Noida transport department. Their specific query is to know, what are the safety norms that school buses have to adhere to, specifically with the drivers and buses hired on a contract basis.

“Till the time my son doesn’t comes back home, I keep worrying,” says Payal mother of six-year old Jai who travels by the school bus everyday.

Often, school children are left in the custody of reckless and negligent school bus conductors who in any case are not responsible enough to handle 20-30 school children boarding the school bus.

“Our worries have increased all the more after listening to the accidents that are happening these days due to the negligent and rash driving by these school drivers. It is a cause of concerns for many other parents like us,” she adds.

Children sticking their heads out of the bus window, or worst sitting close to an open bus door are some of the most hazardous things, which are like an accident just waiting to happen.

“These are a major concern area because the school authorities are in an open ended mode on this issue. For them it is their business model but we are risking our kid’s lives here,” says Jeevan Asija, Jai’s father.

Most schools hire bus drivers on a contract basis who are not accountable to the school authorities or the parents for ensuring safety of the school children.

The concerned parent say their next RTI application would be to the education department asking them to assign a special officer who can accompany the school children on these trips.

Posted in RTI USES | 1 Comment »

Pesticide issue dominates Lok Sabha – RTI helps

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 3, 2006

Pesticide issue dominates Lok Sabha

NDTV Correspondent



Stringent norms needed

Three years ago, after the first such expose, when the CSE found pesticides in colas, the JPC Committee was constituted to look into their findings.

The JPC had not only validated the CSE report but had also asked for stringent standards to be set for carbonated beverages.

Three years and 20 meetings later, new standards are yet to be notified.

In April this year, the BIS website said that new norms had been finalised but not notified. However, by June, the notice had disappeared.

Without proper notification, cola companies can hide behind old quality norms. Therefore, the delay in notification has raised several questions.

The CSE now hopes that this study will force the Health Ministry to notify the finalised standards and force soft drink companies to adhere to public health safety norms.

In fact, they have even filed an application under the RTI Act to gain information on the various BIS meetings to find out the reason for the delay in notifying the standards.

On his part, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that coming out with norms for soft drinks takes time.

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FILE NOTINGS are the only protection available to the HONEST OFFICERS through the RTI

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 23, 2006

A whistle Blower’s tale:  The judgement makes an point that a note file is crucial to find out corruption in a transaction. Without notefile a file has no life. The right to information Act would be toothless without the notefile coming under the RTI’s purview.

A whistle Blower’s tale:

Copy of Madras High Court’s judgement in the Cremation Sheds scam dated 27th Feb.1995. Mr. C. Umashankar, IAS was the Prosecution Witness Number One.

The year: 1995 (November)

My designation during the relevant period: Additional Collector (Development) and Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, Madurai.

Subject: The Madras High Court directed me to file an affidavit on the alleged corruption in Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (Jawahar Rural Employment Scheme) during November 1995. This was caused by my affidavit before the Central Administrative Tribunal, seeking to quash my transfer orders from Madurai to Chennai during November 1995.

The Madras High Court found force in my allegation and ordered a CBI enquiry. As a result, two former Ministers, three senior IAS officers and a host of others were prosecuted by CBI. Majority of them spent a few days/months in judicial custody.

The case is still on, even after 10 years.

The Madras High Court’s judgement is attached herewith.

The judgement makes an point that a note file is crucial to find out corruption in a transaction. Without notefile a file has no life. The right to information Act would be toothless without the notefile coming under the RTI’s purview.

Why now?: Mr.Srivasta Krisha, a junior IAS officer who serves with World Bank, Washington had called me a crank in an interview to DATAQUEST during Oct.2005. I was obliged to publish this piece of material to let my juniors such as Srivasta Krishna to know the real stuff of their seniors, at least a few of them who have the courage to take the system head on, in the interest of India’s future.

And of course the RTI Act had come into being on the 12th October 2005.

There is a serious threat that the notefile may be gunned down.

I wish to sensitise the leaders to leave the RTI as it is.

The NOTEFILE should be covered by the RTI.

This is the only protection available to the honest officers through the RTI.

If the NOTEFILE is removed from the RTI Act’s purview, then India is going to be in Square one again!

View the judgement


(Details about Cremation Sheds Scam is here and VIEW the JUDGEMENT also)



(Special Original Jurisdiction)

Tuesday, the twenty seventh day of February one thousand nine hundred and ninety six.

Posted in RTI USES | 2 Comments »

gopelalwani Says on Section 498 a IPC

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 21, 2006

  1. gopelalwani Says:
    July 20th, 2006 at 4:36 pm eHe Must know that ‘NRIs’ and “Persons-of-Indian Origin”
    arrested under “Section 498A IPC” has to pay Rs. One Lakh to
    the magistrate apart from paying Police and Prosecutor in Mumbai to get the Bail.

    There is another Rs. 50,000/- Bribe payable to Magistrate through
    same Court Lawyers working as agents for release of each passport
    and permission to leave India, and come to your Home Land for

    The cost of getting “Bail” and return of “US Passport” with 2 days Jail and Police detaintion in India for 15 days was about
    RS 7 Lakhs (Appx US $15000 )paid as bribes.
    There was additional Cash Deposit of Rs. 20,000/- Each for Bail
    and Rs.10,000/- Each for Return of US Passport.

    My Son and Wife were arrested at Mumbai Airport on June 30, 2003
    in connection with FALSE complaint registered in COLLUSION and CONIVANCE of Nagpada Mumbai Police Station
    under F.I.R No, 405/2002 and pending under case No. 631/P/2003
    at Mazgaon Court at Mumbai.

    My Entire Family of US Citizens have been declared PROCLAIMED
    OFFENDERS by Indian corrupt Judicial System.

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Implications of RTI act on copyright

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 20, 2006

hi everyone,
As someone with more than a passing interest in Wikipedia, I need some
clarifications on some copyright issues we are facing, with respect to
using content from  Indian government sites.
A few months back, one of our users created this copyright tag :
It basically states:
“This image is in the public domain as it comes from an Indian
Government site. Information published by Indian government websites
are in Public Domain under the Right to Information Act.”

(For non-wikipedians, a copyright tag is a summary, in plain English,
of the license under which an image is uploaded. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:ICT for more examples)

The wording of the tag was based on our understanding and assumptions
stated below:
* Chapter II of the RTI act
(http://www.persmin.nic.in/RTI/WebActRTI.htm) states:
“Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8, a Central Public
Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case
may be, may reject a request for information where such a request for
providing access would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting
in a person <emphasis>other than the State</emphasis>.”

* The UP governments’ website states
“All public domain information like official gazette notifications,
acts, rules regulations, circulars, policies and programme documents
would be digitised and made available for electronic access on Web.”

*  The Haryana governments’ website states
(http://haryanait.nic.in/html/it_itand_publicdomain.htm) :
“The State Government Departments shall establish departmental
intranets and local area networks which will lay the foundation of
Centralised Data Repository of public domain information for
“Anytime-Anywhere” usage.”

*  Delhi Govt.’s IT policy
states(http://delhigovt.nic.in/icetpolicy.pdf) : “Simultaneously, the
government will also put on the internet information that ought to be
in public domain. This will enable the citizens to play the role of a
watchdog and to ensure transparency”

* Sebi’s website states (http://www.sebi.gov.in/acts/RTIAct2005.html)
(1) Acts, Rules, Regulations, Guidelines, Circulars, etc. (2) Orders
passed by SEBI (3) Reports of Committees (4) Press Releases (5) Annual
Report (6) SEBI Bulletin are in the public domain.

We have a few doubts/queries besides:
The first one being, whether the wording of the tag is correct.
Second,  Even if the images are copyrighted, can we use it under a)
the RTI act or b) fair use or c) public domain (with attribution)
Thirdly, does the use of public domain in the policies stated above
mean: “Works without any copyright restrictions” or “copyrighted but
available for public use (??)”
Fourthly, If we can use the content under the RTI act/somehow, do
Indian government sites allow commercial use + derivative use of their
content (text/images).

Now, here is some food for thought.

X files an application under RTI Act.  The govt asks him to pay Rs. 50/-
(the amount fixed by the  Govt. of Kerala, afaik) for the information,
provided to him  on a floppy.  The information is  in a format covered
by a patent, and the software  which can open the file provided by the
government is available only for an exorbitant price.

*Right* to Information?

Anivar Aravind

Posted in RTI USES | 348 Comments »