Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘Tamil Nadu RTI’ Category

Tamilnadu-Application under RTI caught in blame game

Posted by rtiact2005 on November 9, 2007

Application under RTI caught in blame game
Thursday November 8 2007 08:44 IST

CHENNAI: An application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act questioning the non-implementation of the directive from the Madras High Court is caught up in a blame game amid the Revenue department, the Tiruvallur District Collectorate and the Avadi Municipality.

Vamshi S Dixit, an advocate, had submitted an application to the Revenue Secretary and the Tiruvallur District Collector in September, 2007, asking for reasons to account for the non-removal of 137 encroachments on six acres of poromboke land (along the MTH Road) near Pattabiram railway station, despite a directive issued by the High Court to do so eight months ago.

The Revenue department first forwarded the application to the Collectorate which, in turn, sent it to the Poonamallee tahsildar, who forwarded it to the Avadi Municipality.

The civic body, on its part, sent it back to the tashildar saying that the removal of encroachments was the duty of the Revenue department.

Since he could not get a reply for his queries within the legally stipulated time of 30 days, the RTI applicant had filed his appeal petitions both before the District Collector and the Revenue Secretary a few weeks ago. However, he did not get a reply from them either.

“If we cannot get any response for the appeals also within the prescribed time limit, we have no other option except to move the State Information Commission,” said R L Saravanan, a resident and a lawyer in Pattabiram.

It may be recalled that for over two decades, the residents in the area had been demanding that a bus terminus be constructed on the said piece of land for which Sriperumbudur MP A Krishnasamy had also allotted Rs 20 lakh from his area development fund.

Many residents in the area were furious with the official callousness. “We never expected the authorities to show such scant regard for a High Court directive, in addition to violating the terms of the Right To Information (RTI) Act,” said T Sadagopan, local resident and office bearer of the Thandurai-Pattabiram Consumer Centre.


Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 2 Comments »

How RTI Act came to his rescue

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 13, 2007

How RTI Act came to his rescue

Karthik Subramanian


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




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

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

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

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

“Not an easy task”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 5 Comments »

`Take action on petitions received under RTI Act’

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 26, 2006

`Take action on petitions received under RTI Act’

Staff Reporter


Review meeting held at Collectorate




Dharmapuri: The Collector, M. Chandrasekaran, has instructed officials to take immediate action on petitions received under the Right to Information Act.

Speaking at a review meeting at the Collectorate on Friday, he said that names of Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Appellate Authority should be displayed in a board in front of departments concerned to provide information to the public. The salient features of the Act were also discussed in the meeting.

Mr. Chandrasekaran said that people could apply for information to the PIO of the concerned office. People who were interested in applying under the Act can obtain the form from the officials concerned. A sum of Rs. 50 should be remitted in the district treasury or banks and the challan copy should be attached with the form and submitted in person or through post or courier to the officials concerned.

They can also seek the assistance of the Public Information Officer to fill in the application form. Inspection of files can also be done. The Collector said that stringent action would be taken against the Public Information Officer if information was not provided within the stipulated time. Fine starting from Rs. 250 a day to Rs. 25,000 would be imposed on the officials.

Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 2 Comments »

T N RTI: Notices served on 100 officials

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 23, 2006

Notices served on 100 officials

Special Correspondent


Charged with not providing information to petitioners within the stipulated period



  • Action being taken on 2,160 of the 2,385 petitions received so far
  • More information flowing to the public: Chief Information Commissioner

    SEEKING EXPLANATION: Chief Information Commissioner S. Ramakrishnan (second from right), State Information Commissioners R. Rathinasamy and G. Ramakrishnan reviewing the implementation of the Right to Information Act in Coimbatore on Tuesday. — ; Photo: K. Ananthan



    COIMBATORE: Nearly 100 officials of various departments in the State have been served show cause notices by the State Information Commission under the Right to Information Act, Chief Information Commissioner S. Ramakrishnan told presspersons here on Tuesday.

    The officials had been asked to explain why action should not be taken against them for not providing information to petitioners within the stipulated time, he said, reviewing the progress of the implementation of the Act in Coimbatore, Erode and the Nilgiris Districts.

    Mr. Ramakrishnan said so far the Commission received 2,385 petitions, and action was being taken on 2,160 complaints. Orders for action was issued through the Public Information Officer.



    He said 132 petitions were returned to the complainants asking them to correct the defects. Thirty-five petitions were referred to the Central Information Commissioner as the issues came under the purview of the Centre. Besides, 812 grievances petitions were directed to the departments concerned.

    “There is a wide variety of cases. It is not that many petitions pertain to a specific issue,” he said. “Public awareness [on the Act] is good, especially in places such as Coimbatore.”

    State Information Commissioner G. Ramakrishnan said the response from officials to the petitions was prompt. “They are acting fairly fast.”

    On the public response to the system, the Chief Information Commissioner said: “There are sporadic letters from the public in appreciation of it. Things are changing and more information is flowing to the public with Section 4 of the Act providing for pro-active disclosure.”

    Frivolous complaints

    As for frivolous complaints, he said some persons misused the Act owing to personal enmity and there were also “professional” petitioners.

    Some people sought irrelevant information. Instead of asking about a specific case of plan approval, they asked for approvals given by a municipality over 10 years. “We ask people to apply on specific cases,” he said.

    In some cases, the officials concerned, especially police, met the petitioners and told them that action had been taken, State Information Commissioner R. Rathinasamy said.

    The requests for reduction of fee and use of court fee stamp instead of bank challan to simplify the procedure were passed on to the Government.


    Interface mooted

    The State Information Commissioner suggested that local television channels organise interface between the public and officials to create awareness on the Act.

    On the district-level review, the Chief Information Commissioner said it helped in hearing cases locally.

    Collectors Neeraj Mittal (Coimbatore), D. Karthikeyan (Erode) and Santosh K. Misra (the Nilgiris) took part in the review.

  • Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | Leave a Comment »

    “RTI Act an effort towards participatory governance”

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 20, 2006

    “RTI Act an effort towards participatory governance”

    Special Correspondent


    Principle of democracy will be realised only if there is effective flow of information : Apex Court Judge



    IN DISCUSSION: Justice A.P. Shah (Right), Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, having a word with Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court, at the lecture in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: M. Vedhan



    CHENNAI: The Right to Information Act is an effort towards participatory governance, justifying the principle of democracy envisaged in the Constitution, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court, has said.

    Delivering a lecture on the RTI Act, organised by Sri R. Venkataraman Labour Law Lecture Endowment Trust and Viswanathan & Dolia Lecture Endowment Trust here on Saturday, he said: “The principle of democracy will stand realised only if there is adequate and effective flow of information to the people to participate in the policy decisions of a nation.” This access would give an “operative right” to citizens.

    Maintaining that it was too early to evaluate the RTI Act, the apex court judge said: “But looking at the experience of other nations, it will be foolish to pretend that this Act will be an unqualified failure.”

    He said countries that had enacted similar legislations guaranteed their citizens the right to keep themselves adequately informed of public affairs, thereby making government authorities more accountable and their working more transparent.

    “Unless these authorities are accountable to the citizens for every act of theirs, there is no incentive for them to improve, deliver on their promises, or even provide basic services at adequate levels.”

    Though the right to freedom of information or the right to know was not a specified fundamental right under our Constitution, the Indian judiciary had accorded the freedom of information, the constitutional right, that too with fundamental right status.

    He, however, said the necessity of secrecy in some sensitive areas could not be denied.

    Earlier, Justice A.P. Shah, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, said a three-Judge committee had been constituted to compile all information relating to Judges and other staff members, besides the working of the judiciary.

    This information would be available on the Internet.

    The entire work would be completed in eight weeks, he said. Mr. Justice Shah also said the provisions of the RTI Act must govern non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, particularly those offering higher education, and trade unions as they too should become as transparent and accountable as Government departments.

    He said the Act must cover the file notings as well, as, otherwise, the purpose of the legislation would be defeated.

    A.L. Somayaji, Trustee and former Additional Advocate-General of Tamil Nadu, said former President R. Venkataraman founded the Madras Labour Law Journal in 1947, and contributed a lot to the growth and development of the genre.

    Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 1 Comment »

    Amendments to Right to Information Act opposed

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 18, 2006

    Amendments to Right to Information Act opposed

    Staff Reporter


    Access to file notings “will improve efficiency” of agencies



  • Nexus between politicians and civil servants: Krishnamurthy
  • Majority of those proactively using the Act are government staff: Venkatasubramanian


    CHENNAI: A former Chief Election Commissioner and a former Secretary to Government have spoken against the proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act (RTI) saying citizens’ access to `file notings’ will improve the efficiency of Government agencies.

    At a public meeting organised by Thinkers’ Association recently in the city, the former Chief Election Commissioner, T.S. Krishnamurthy, said there was a big nexus between politicians and civil servants. “There is a practice among some civil servants to informally consult Ministers to make favourable file notings. This makes a mockery of the official policy framework. Making the notings available to the public will help such civil servants get their spine back.”

    Mr. Krishnamurthy also said he was against the total exemption of records of some Government departments from the Act. “Even documents considered `sensitive’ must be made available after 5 or 10 years. That is the common practice in countries that have already implemented similar RTI Acts.”

    The former secretary to Government, A.K. Venkatasubramanian, said file notings were an integral part of the RTI Act and must not be exempted through amendments. “A majority of the persons proactively using the Act now are government employees, especially those who want to know why their promotion has been delayed or denied. If the file notings are not going to be disclosed, how will they know the reasons for their position,” he asked.

    Mr. Venkatasubramanian also urged the Government agencies to concentrate on “proactive disclosure of facts” and try and reduce instances that residents would require to use the RTI Act.

    The former Supreme Court judge and patron of Thinkers’ Association, S. Natarajan, said the RTI Act paved way for an informed citizenry and was passed with good intentions. He however urged the residents to utilise the Act to its potential if it must make a change.

    The meeting on “How effective will be the Right to Information Act” was organised at Ethiraj College for Women last Saturday. Senior journalist K.V. Lakshminarayanan and Thinkers’ Association president P.S. Somasundaram also participated.

  • Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | Leave a Comment »

    Elocution contest to be held on RTI

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 17, 2006

    Elocution contest to be held on RTI

    Staff Reporter




    VISAKHAPATNAM: As a part of creating awareness on the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Jana Chaitanya Vedika (JCV), an NGO, will organise an elocution competition on the Act at Vysakhi Jalaudyanavanam on August 20.

    The competition will be conducted in association with Lok Satta and Forum for Better Visakha, according to JCV convener K.V.V. Sarma.

    The competition, in English/Telugu, will be in five categories: for students up to degree, post-graduation, professionals, employees of the State and Central Governments and others.

    In all categories, three first prizes will be given for men and women separately. Names can be registered at chaitanyavedika@yahoo.co.in or by ringing up 5526683/9393325722 or at the Jalaudyanavanam near the Police Commissionerate.

    Facilitation counter

    The JCV has also set up a facilitation counter at the Jalaudyanavanam to help people file applications under the Act in matters of public interest.

    As a part of its activities, it intends to conduct meetings bringing together public information officers and appellate authorities of State and Central Government departments.

    Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | Leave a Comment »

    Refund of deposit for non-service

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 11, 2006

    Refund of deposit for non-service

    Submitted by viswanthan vallanadu narayanan
    I had registered for WLL telephone service on 26.02.2002 at Chennai. But for technical reason , BSNL-Chennai was unable to provide the service within the stipulated time schedule. As a result my deposit amount Rs 2400/ was with BSNL-Chennai without rendering me the WLL Phome service.

    Therefore I had requested the BSNL-Chennai on 10.07.2003 to return my deposit amount of Rs 2400/ immediately along with interest thereto. The Account Officer (IMPACS ) advised the authorities to return my deposit amount along with interest on 26.11.2002. But since then I have not received my deposit amount and I thought that I cannot fight a big organisation like BSNL and get back my money.

    However, the Right to Information Act 2005 came to my rescue and I understood that RTI is a collective empowerment force for ordinary citizens of India.

    I wrote a simple letter under the provision of RTI to the PRO stating my long awaited request for refund of my deposit amount of Rs 2400// for not rendering the service for no fault of the customer on08.07.2006.

    I had received a letter from the concerned authorities that my request has been processed and my deposit returned through SBI Cheque No: 566180 dated 19.07.2006. The BSNL-Chennai claims that the WLL connection came to attached to BSNL from IMPACS Section only on 01.08.2005.

    I am satisifed for time being for getting back my deposit for not rendering a promised service. I must say that RTI is really working for the powerless and informed citizens of India.

    I request anybody who are affected by unnecessary bureaucratic bottelnect to contact me for assitance in wiriting letter on the basis of relief under RTI Act 2005.

    My mobile phone: 9444221560


    Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 1 Comment »

    Lack of Transprancy in Judiciary

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 11, 2006

    Lack of Transprancy in Judiciary

    Submitted by jayavel seetharaman

    On March 13 , 2006, The Advocates Bar Association of Karur in Tamil Nadu passed a resolution in its general body meeting urging the Chief Justice of Chennai High Court to hold enquiry into alleged cartel between 3 judges of karur Town and some Advocates of Karur town whose name were specified. The Advocates Bar Asscociation resolved to abstain from work till such time suitable action is taken against the erring persons.

    On 20 March 2006, the Registrar (Vigilance) Madras High Court, held an enquiry at Karur many members of the public of the Karur town let in evidence and statement upon what they alleged to be corrupt practices. Even at the time of enquiry on 20,March 2006, it was found there were some complaints which were pending against two of the said judges for more than 6 months in the High Court.

    When we tried to invoke the RTI Act, we found, to our shock and surprise, the High Court of Judicature is learnt to have interpreted the RTI Act so as to exclude itself from the purview of the Act,( in view various state enactments in this subject earlier, some of the lawyers view that this Act could fall within the state List as for the matter relating to subjects found in the state List of our constituion, But the real legal position is that this matter falls under residuarty entry of the central List, Hence the State Govt, are not competent to deal with it, Further the right to information is held to be fundamental rights under Article 19(a) of the Constituion)

    I think this controversy would snowball into a great legal battle to put an obstacle in the way implementation of the Act. None of the High Court in India has implemented this Act particulary nor has any them been functioning with transprancy, This Act was passed in the Year 2005, the Annual report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act has to be prepared by each public authority, unfortunately the State of Tamil Nadu appointed the Information Commissioners to Information Commission only in 2006, but still the Madras High Court has not submitted its annul report for the year 2005.

    Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 1 Comment »


    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 11, 2006


    Submitted by NGNUF Association


    Right to Information Act –2005 is now in the news and many are trying to make big news about it to make it more effective by making it popular. At this juncture we would like to share with the press a landmark order that we got from “Tamilnadu Information Commission” on 13th of July on our case of ‘Case No 696/2006’.

    Among many other things that it would mean, an important thing is about making transparent the faculty selection and appointment at the University. Almost all the Universities in India unnecessarily maintain secrecy about the evaluation that invariably results in people buying their positions. Only those who have paid money to the right people before customary Syndicate meeting will be declared as appointed and the disappointed rest will not know as to how they lost? The money required for a position now seems to have gone up by couple of lakhs than what our present Chief Minister has indicated by last year. This corruption can be exposed easily by a stink operation and our member has requested THE HINDU for a help. Unfortunately there is no positive response yet.

    In our case we have requested the ‘Anna University’ to make public the evaluation report of the Interview Committee constituted for selecting hundred faculty positions as advertised by it by its Advt No: 001/PR-14/2006 – 1 Dated 24-03-2006. The Commission has ordered the Registrar to make public the information by its orders passed on 13th of July 2006. We have approached the Registrar with the order, but have not succeeded till date to get any information from him.


    We feel that it is the responsibility of the Press and Media to highlight the implication of the situation. The Interview processes are over in the University by as early as 13th of July and the Syndicate meeting is also over by 28th of July. Why have not the University still not published the result of its selection process? Now the University is delaying it in spite of the Tamilnadu Information Commission’s order.

    Please find below our petition and the Commission’s order in verbatim.


    Information’s incharge

    The Public Information Officer,
    C/o The Registrar,
    Anna University,
    Chennai – 600 025.

    Copy to:
    State Chief Information Commissioner,
    Tamilnadu Information Commission.

    Sub: Lack of transparency in criteria for qualification required for college faculty – Reg
    Ref: 1.Letter of Registrar of Anna University of Ref Letter No.8890/PR14/2006 dated
    2. Case No.696/Enquiry/2006 from the Secretary, Tamilnadu Information
    Commission, Chennai 600 084.

    We got the copy of the above-referred letter from the Registrar through Tamilnadu Information Commission, but we are not satisfied with the information furnished to us in the following aspects given point by point as per the letter.

    1. We are aware of the UGC’s notification but what the University has not clarified is about the list of Humanities subjects in its curriculum. In the engineering curriculum (UG level) there are a number of Humanities subjects like Principles of Management, Managerial Economics, and Professional Ethics etc, which the affiliated colleges claim are not the subjects covered by UGC’s notification. They also dispute similarly to the entire Humanities curriculum of Management Studies at the PG level. How are you going to clarify them? What is the position at Guindy Engineering College and other University colleges and Government colleges?

    Requirement: Publish the necessary qualification for each subject of all the streams of curriculum and ensure that affiliated colleges also furnish to you the exact qualification of all its faculty members for publication.

    2. Our concern is about the eligibility for applying to faculty positions in the University and affiliated colleges. There are only handful of Open Universities and Universities offering correspondence or distance education. How many of them (especially those offering M.Phil, MCA, MBA, MA, M.Sc and such PG degrees) have been so far held as ‘not approved for applying for faculty position’ by the Standing Committee on Course Equivalency of Anna University, Academic Council / Syndicate? What if one possessed PG degree over such open university/ distance university / correspondence stream UG ?

    Requirement: Publish the proceedings of Standing Committee on Course Equivalency of Anna University, Academic Council / Syndicate.
    3. In the same line as ‘2’ above.
    4. The answer is not clear as to candidates with IETE, AMIME, CA, ACS are permitted are not? Please make specific reply to those with such equivalent degrees opting for Faculty positions after a PG qualification.
    5. There are instances when the University appointed commission has openly commented during their inspection about invalidity of degrees obtained from other states. The management of affiliated colleges seems to be constrained by such an arbitrary nature of the commissions and feels about their inability before such commissions.

    Requirement: Publish all commissions report, particularly the points regards to the criteria for qualifications required for the faculty member.

    The reply by the Registrar is silent on the very important information sought viz., the evaluation report of the interview committee for selecting faculty members for the University positions. The Anna University, by now, should have completed all the interview evaluation processes for the one hundred positions in the University as advertised by it by its Advt No: 001/PR-14/2006 – 1 Dated 24-03-2006. This will contain information on extent of suitability of candidates who have applied for the positions paying Rs500/- per application. They definitely have right to information for the money they have already paid and the information is now required in the public domain for all to understand the scheme.

    Requirement: Please publish Interview committee finding for all the candidates who have applied and appeared for the selection process for the Advt No:001/PR-14/2006 – 1 with immediate effect (before Syndicate meeting). Please also publish the corrections suggested on the finding of the Interview committee by the Syndicate with the reasoning given by them (after the Syndicate meeting).

    Please find enclosed the DD for Rs 50/-, required under Right to Information Act – 2005 for seeking such information. Also note that we are seeking information for the public domain and it will be good that you post such information in your website and keep us informed of the updates.

    Yours sincerely,

    70, Chitrakulam North Street, Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004, Tel:24641773, 24641114



    Orders passed this day 13th July, 2006.
    Under the Orders of the Commission


    Ms. VIJAYALAKSHMI can be contacted over phone by her Mobile 9444623635.
    70, Chitrakulam North Street, Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004, Tel:24641773, 24641114

    Posted in Tamil Nadu RTI | 5 Comments »