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Thread: Ill-Equipped SICs

  1. #1

    Ill-Equipped SICs


    RTI Act plea shows SICs ill-equipped
    As reported in The Pioneer on New Delhi on 21/03/2008

    When Rajya Sabha MP MV Mysura Reddy set out to seek information under RTI Act from the implementing agencies - State Information Commissions - little did he realise that law enforcers could become law breakers. Out of the 26 commissions he sought information from, 17 did not even acknowledge his applications.



    This is not all. Even the nine commissions that responded either complained of lack of funds and staff or did not furnish the complete information in the required format. Dr Reddy started his quest for information in January. He sought information on several aspects including how many cases were pending, complaints received, action taken against errant officials. Two months down the line, only a handful of States have responded. Even these replies have revealed what the common man has to go through to exercise his right to information.


    Sample this: Himachal Pradesh asked Dr Reddy to deposit Rs 65 (including Rs 25 registered post charges) if he needed the information. This is when there were no photocopies of documents sought. According to RTI rules, the States can charge money to provide photocopies of files or documents sought. Himachal Pradesh is the only State that asked for this sum.


    Maharashtra, which had notified its Act in October 2005, has given a meticulous and proper reply. Apart from Maharashtra, no other State was willing. Goa and Kerala openly admitted to facing a "shortage of staff" problem. Despite the rule that the applicant can seek information on a plain sheet of paper, Orissa returned the application asking Dr Reddy to apply in a particular format on Form A, which was attached.


    While Tamil Nadu made a half-hearted attempt at providing information, it made no bones about the fact that the reply was not in the format asked for. The reply clearly said: "We have to concentrate on providing information expeditiously and dispose the cases as quickly as possible and we have stuck to this procedure right from the beginning." However, the SIC did not provide any data at all and vague replies have been given. Similarly, Punjab SIC has simply stated: "Please refer to our website" in several questions.


    Dr Reddy said: "The Information Commissions seem to have become a rehabilitation centre for retiring officers. As a Rajya Sabha MP I have the privilege of writing a letter and seeking information and the officers must reply to me. But here most commissions have not even bothered to acknowledge." Dr Reddy has already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue and is now planning to move a Private Members Amendment Bill in Parliament to make RTI Act more stringent.



  2. #2
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    C J Karira
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    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    Our Hon'ble MP Dr Mysura Reddy would have saved a lot of money, time and effort, if he would have just visited RTI India - Right to Information

    EACH and EVERY situation which has been experienced by Dr Reddy has been discussed exhaustively in some thread or the other on this forum. I sincerely hope that he incorporates some of the suggestions given in this forum as well, in his proposed amendment Bill.

    Some suggestions given by me for information to be displayed on each SIC and CIC websites can be read at:

    https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/3307-p...html#post11384
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  3. #3

    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    Our Hon'ble MP Dr Mysura Reddy would have saved a lot of money, time and effort, if he would have just visited RTI India - Right to Information
    Hello Karira,

    Hon. Dr. Mysura Reddy have done what you once advised me in this fourm.

    The taste of the pudding is in eating.

    Hopefully Hon. MP Dr. Reddy had a Bitter Taste of RTI.

    Nevertheless it's a fine initiative from Dr. Reddy.

    We should all encourage him in this endeavour by making an appeal to our respective MPs to support him.

    Sidharth

  4. #4
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    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs



    Quote Originally Posted by sidmis View Post
    Hello Karira,

    Hon. Dr. Mysura Reddy have done what you once advised me in this fourm.

    The taste of the pudding is in eating.

    Hopefully Hon. MP Dr. Reddy had a Bitter Taste of RTI.

    Nevertheless it's a fine initiative from Dr. Reddy.

    We should all encourage him in this endeavour by making an appeal to our respective MPs to support him.

    Sidharth
    Do you think he will file First Appeal against the replies received from the SIC ?
    What about Complaints to those SIC's whose PIO's never replied ? (deemed denial of information) ?
    Will he "pray" for imposition of penalty under Sec 20 in the Second Appeal ?
    He should carry the whole exercise to its logical conclusion.

    That idea about making appeal to our respective MP's is a good one.
    How does one do it ?
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  5. Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    Respected sirs,

    Here one good point is that the PIOs are treating everybody whether he is MP/MLA or Employee or common man as same, with the experience of Hon'ble Mysura Reddy Garu it is well understood to whole India, CIC and Chiefs in Govt. of India/State Governments how RTI Act, 2005 is getting implemented even after 3 years of time.

    Now whether any survey is needed to be done? No not at all, because the picture is clear.

    It is to be felt happy that the information providing authorities did not given any threats at least to such eminent person what these authorities (PAs in different Departments) do with many common RTI applicants, their power of threat increases when the question of RTI application of their own employees relative or employee him self.

    Karira sir and sidmis sir,

    Let us wait the reaction from Hon'ble MP.



    rakatkam.

  6. #6

    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    Quote Originally Posted by karira View Post
    Do you think he will file First Appeal against the replies received from the SIC ?
    What about Complaints to those SIC's whose PIO's never replied ? (deemed denial of information) ?
    Will he "pray" for imposition of penalty under Sec 20 in the Second Appeal ?
    He should carry the whole exercise to its logical conclusion.
    If I were in his position I would have made the Whole Hog. Otherwise how would I judge the the situation..

    And that would also give him more insights into the Ground Realities and help him in defending his Bill properly.

    That idea about making appeal to our respective MP's is a good one.
    How does one do it
    List of Raj Sabha MPs and Lok Sabha MPs is available over the Net. So Pick your Local / Favourite MP and make an fervent appeal to him/her to support Hon. MP Mysura's noble efforts.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    When Rajya Sabha MP MV Mysura Reddy set out to seek information under RTI Act from the implementing agencies - State Information Commissions - little did he realise that law enforcers could become law breakers. Out of the 26 commissions he sought information from, 17 did not even acknowledge his applications.
    This is "deemed denial" of information.
    Applicant can make First Appeal as per the following format:

    https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/attach...nformation.doc

    This is not all. Even the nine commissions that responded either complained of lack of funds and staff or did not furnish the complete information
    Misleading, Incomplete and Incorrect information - Complain to SIC under Sec 18(1)(e) or First Appeal to FAA under Sec 19(1) lest the SIC later says - please complete "first appeal procedure" before Complaining.

    in the required format.
    SIC's should have taken shelter under Sec 7(9):

    "disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority"

    He sought information on several aspects including how many cases were pending, complaints received, action taken against errant officials.
    The SIC's are also PA's and cover under the RTI Act.
    As per Sec 25, every PA has to make a report as per format given in Sec 25(3). All details sought in the application are part of the report format. The aggregated report of all the PA's has to be submitted to the State Government by every SIC and the State Government has to table that report in the State Legislature.

    Sample this: Himachal Pradesh asked Dr Reddy to deposit Rs 65 (including Rs 25 registered post charges) if he needed the information. This is when there were no photocopies of documents sought. According to RTI rules, the States can charge money to provide photocopies of files or documents sought. Himachal Pradesh is the only State that asked for this sum.
    Some states have provision in their rules under RTI for charging postal charges.

    Goa and Kerala openly admitted to facing a "shortage of staff" problem.
    Based on this, every PIO and PA will start claiming shortage of staff.
    If you search for "shortage staff" on the CIC website , the results are 2 pages and in all cases CIC has not accepted this excuse for not imposing penalty.
    The PIO could have cited this reason and told the applicant that the information will take time to prepare and will be provided in xxxxx days. Otherwise it is deemed denial of information.

    Despite the rule that the applicant can seek information on a plain sheet of paper, Orissa returned the application asking Dr Reddy to apply in a particular format on Form A, which was attached.
    Many states have rules asking for Application/First Appeal in a particular format even though the RTI Act itself does not provide for any format.
    That is why many people are asking for UNIFORM rules, modes of payment, account head, etc. throughout India.

    While Tamil Nadu made a half-hearted attempt at providing information, it made no bones about the fact that the reply was not in the format asked for. The reply clearly said: "We have to concentrate on providing information expeditiously and dispose the cases as quickly as possible and we have stuck to this procedure right from the beginning." However, the SIC did not provide any data at all and vague replies have been given.
    Incomplete, incorrect (so many complaints form TN that appeals are not disposed of expeditiously) and misleading information (vague replies)


    Similarly, Punjab SIC has simply stated: "Please refer to our website" in several questions.
    Punjab SIC website does not give any of the information asked for. Please see: Home Page
    This is misleading and incorrect information.

    Dr Reddy said: "The Information Commissions seem to have become a rehabilitation centre for retiring officers.
    Sir, you are absolutely correct.
    A full analysis of CIC/SIC's is available in this thread and the links given therein:

    https://www.rtiindia.org/forum/3142-m...nfo-chief.html

    As a Rajya Sabha MP I have the privilege of writing a letter and seeking information and the officers must reply to me. But here most commissions have not even bothered to acknowledge."
    Sir, in such a scenario, imagine the plight of the common man who applies for information.

    Sir, I request you to please carry this exercise to its logical conclusion. Please file First Appeals and Complaints to the respective SIC's. It will be real eye opener...just to see what delays take place in the SIC and how citizens have to wait nearly 12 months from filing their RTI applications before their cases come up for hearing.
    Twitter: @cjkarira

  8. #8
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    Col NR Kurup (Retd)
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    Re: Ill-Equipped SICs


    What matters is the follow-up action if any taken by Mr.Reddy. Mr.Reddy should aleast check and ascertain correctnesss of every pleas advanced by the SICs. As usual I can say that at least the SIC, Kerala's claim is false. Their staff strength is more than 35 which include Secretary, Legal Assistant, Under Secretary, PAs, Superintendents and clerks. The quantum of their present turnout does not need more than One typist, two clerks, One Peon one Under Secretary and One Commissioner. The entire episode did not appear to have got any media coverage. This information is not known even to other RTI Netyzens.

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