consumer activist I have been campaigning RTI
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- 12-14-2009, 05:32 AM #1
consumer activist I have been campaigning RTI
THIS POST IS GENERATED FROM EMAIL SENT TO US AND POSTED AT OUR SHOUTBOX.
> As a consumer activist I have been campaigning RTI. I have published > booklet in tamil for the lay man to make use of the RTI. I have > written articles in leading dailies on RTI. I have attached one news > published in The Hindu. I have been taking training classes of RTI.
> The recent comment by the chief justice on RTI suggesting to curtail > the freedom of information seekers should not damage the benefit of > the Act.
> I would be happy to be associated with you to spread further.
> VICE PRESIDENT, ERODE DISTRICT CONSUMER PROTECTION CENTRE,
> ERODE-. TAMILNADU.
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Tamil Nadu - Erode Official apathy to RTI continues
Activists seek government intervention
ERODE: Official apathy continues to the information sought under the Right to Information Act, if replies given by a couple of State Government officials are anything to go by.
In the first case, Member Secretary, Loss of Ecology (Prevention and Payments of Compensation) Authority K. Venkataraman, in response to an application, has said that the applicant has to pay Rs. 10 only by way of bankers cheque or demand draft.
"I am directed to state that according to rule 3 of the Right to Information (regulation of fee and cost) Rules 2005, a request for obtaining information under sub sec (1) of sec 6 of the Right to Information Act 2005, shall be accompanied by an application fee of Rs. 10 (Rupees Ten only) by way of demand draft or bankers cheque payable to the Loss of Ecology (P & PC) Authority, Chennai."
His reply flies in the face of a Government Order that says that applicants seeking information under the Act shall pay by means of postal order as well.
Government Order 72 of 2007, issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, amends Sub-Section A of Section 3 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 to insert the words "by affixing court fee stamp or".
Section 3 (a) reads: Every application for obtaining information under sub-section (1) of section 6 of the Act shall be accompanied by an application fee of Rupees fifty by cash or demand draft or bankers cheque payable to the head of account, as may be specified by the Public Authority." The government brought in another order to bring down the cost of application from Rs. 50 to Rs. 10.
Consumer and rights activists say the reply betrays the understanding of the officer concerned and point out that a demand draft for Rs. 10 is costlier compared to a court fee stamp as it includes commission, an unnecessary burden on the applicant.
To another application seeking information on Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, the under secretary concerned says the applicant sending the fee by way of Rs. 10 postal order is unacceptable and that he has to affix a court fee stamp for the amount. "The individual has enclosed and sent an Indian Postal Order for Rs. 10 towards the cost of application. The individual is informed that Indian Postal Order is not accepted."
The activists wonder how is that different departments of the State Government have two different norms for responding to an RTI application, when the Act is one.
In the third case, the deputy secretary of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission replies to an application saying the applicant may refer to Article 316 of the Constitution of India for answer to his first question and for others he may write to the officer concerned in Personnel and Administrative Reforms. This again negates the very purpose for which the RTI has been enacted. The Rule says that the officer concerned has to give a detailed reply, even if it is in the public domain, and for issues concerning other departments, he has to pass on the application and inform the same to the applicant. None of this has happened in the case.
The activists want the State Government and officers concerned to ensure that officials concerned with furnishing replies do not act in a manner that defeats the purpose of the Act.
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