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  1. #9
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    thats an interesting story. thanks very much for the information karira.

    but would anybody need so much information at one go? is it just to exercise the statutory right of a citizen?

    requesting for information about thousands of cases that the govt body could have processed over an year and a half as has been requested in the case mentioned by karira results in a waste of hundreds of man hours which could have been constructively spent otherwise. what we as advocates for RTI overlook is the genuine problems that the Govt departments have in providing such voluminous information. most govt departments i have seen are short of staff and resourses and i really feel for the officers who genuinely want to help people seeking information but get bogged down by such voluminous information gathering exercises.

    i somehow cant really accept that this is a 'victory' of any sort for us RTI protagonists. infact it does more harm. we are alienating good officers who have proactively been divulging information. it only makes these officers also search for means to avoid providing information.

    i have had to deal with some strange rti applications which ask for huge information sapnning over 15 years, the providing of which takes a monumental effort and effectively shuts off two men for fifteen days. i was at a loss as to how i could manage with two men short for that long a time.

    another application wanted copies of all financial transactions over a period of four years done by a particular officer in the course of his official functioning. the information requested included vouchers, bills, reciepts, quotations and what not. the number of copies in this exercise amount ot atleast ten thousand. is it humanly possible to give such information?

    i think as advocates of rti act, we all should have larger interests in picture and not encourage such infructuous information extracting spree.

    personally i feel we should not advertise such judgements as a victory of rti. in fact i think that the fact that such infructuous information has ben asked under rti itself means a defeat to the very purpose of the act.


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  2. #10
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    Chanda s,

    Forget about the above story.

    Read my case:

    My company applied for a refund of excess input tax credit under VAT due to exports.
    The amount is very large.
    The CTO rightfully rejected our claim stating that we have not submitted a particular document which is prescribed in the VAT rules. We replied back that such a document cannot be submitted because it does NOT EXIST in India. The department (not the commercial tax department but another department that is supposed to issue such documents/certificates) does not issue any such document and it is clearly stated in a ACT. Obviously, we gave several copies of the relevant sections of the ACT, several extracts from other official circulars and GO’s, etc. But the CTO refused to entertain our claim since, as you Officers very well know, rule is a rule.

    We went in for appeal and it was remanded back in our favour. In spite of this we were not given refund by the CTO.

    I made a total of 137 visits to the Department:

    Principal Secretary Revenue: 4 times but never allowed inside by his PA
    Commissioner : 1 time
    Previous Commissioner : 4 times
    Special Commissioner : 1 time
    Secretary to Commissioner : 4 times (not normal secretary but a IAS
    officer)
    Joint Commissioner (Audit) : 14 times
    Joint Commissioner (Legal) : 14 times
    Previous Jt. Commissioner : 12 times
    Addnl Commissioner : 3 times
    Appelate Dty Commissioner: 16 times
    Deputy Commissioner : 3 times
    Asst. Commissioner : 7 times
    Asst Commissioner : 8 times (a different one than above)
    Deputy Commissioner : 3 times
    Asst Commissioner (Audit) : 2 times
    CTO : 56 times
    DCTO: : 12 times
    ACTO : 47 times
    Head Clerk : 19 times

    (The total comes to more than 137 because some officers were visited during the same visit).

    All this between 18<sup>th</sup> May 2005 and 21 March 2007.
    That’s a total of about 600 days….a average of a visit every 4 days or so.

    Even the PA’s, Drivers. Peons, Parking attendants know me by now. In fact, a kind elderly peon once even asked me “sahib aap itne baar idhar aaye tab bhi aapka kaam kyon nahin hota ?”

    NOT ONE single Officer (out of the whole list above) told me that our contention and arguments were wrong. But all they did was express their helplessness and say “I will help you, come back tomorrow OR next week”.

    Now, Mr Chanda, you are a officer your self. Please tell me, how many officers you personally know, who will accept the fact that a Rule made by them is wrong (it asks for a document that does not exist). If you feel you cannot reply in public, please tell me by email or PM. At least, I don’t know a single officer who will accept that a Rule made by them is wrong.

    On 21 March 2007, I was told by a Asst. Commisioner “Your refund has been granted but your CTO does not pick up his phone. Go to him and ask him to pick up the phone”.
    I went to the CTO and he said “ I am calling the Asst. Commissioner and he is not picking up his phone, go tell him to answer his phone” I did both. Mr Chanda, do you think “dealers” (the term my CTO uses to call lesser mortals like me) are BSNL linesman to run around asking incharge to pick up their phones ? Both the buildings are 75 metres apart. I felt humiliated and I went immediately to a Jt. Commissioner to complain. He asked me to get out of his cabin “Don’t disturb me, why are you harassing me?”

    The ONLY mistake I made during those two years was not to pay any “formality” (as an Officer yourself, you must be aware that this is a euphemism for bribe)

    I felt very depressed and dejected on hearing a senior officer talk like that.

    I drove to a garden and sat under a tree just to think straight.
    I asked myself the question, what is the worst that can happen to me ?
    <o>
    </o>
    • They can kill me – But then they will be either hanged themselves or get life imprisonment
    • They will not give my refund – as it is they are not giving refund
    • They will harass me further – what else have they been doing for the last 2 years,so another few years of harassment will make no difference to my current status in life. In any case, I realized a long time ago that neither I am capable and nor do I wish to become a Tata or a Birla in this life. Since I have enough to last me till I die,I would just shut business and retire.

    My family, employees, colleagues, business associates, friends, neighbours and anyone else I consulted, thought I was crazy ! They said this is India, pay and get your refund. My wife even told me they wll come and bash you up.

    But unfortunately, I belong to the old school of thought:
    IF THERE ARE NO GIVERS, THERE ARE NO TAKERS.

    I came back home and while reading the days paper, I read a news item about a NRI who had used something called the RTI Act to get his Income Tax refund. The same evening, I purchased a book on RTI and read and reread it continuously for 2 days and nights (no sleep, just read, read, read and read some more). Did some research on the Internet and realised that at last, I had a effective weapon in my hand.

    I filed a barrage of applications under RTI with the commercial tax department and the “other” department which was supposed to handle the “non existent” certificate.

    The replies received (some straight away and some after the 1<sup>st</sup> Appeal), showed:

    1. In 6 divisions (there are a total of 27 divisions) the department had given
    refunds to 1267 dealers who were exporters.
    2. In those 6 divisions we were the ONLY dealer not given refund
    3. The information from other 21 divisions was never even given to me
    4. The total amount refunded was over 900 crores and NOT A SINGLE
    Dealer had given the document which did not exist.
    • One dealer had quoted the result of my own appeal and got refund, while we, who made the appeal and won, were not given refund.
    • Our account was transferred to another circle and another CTO due to change of address. The new CTO promptly gave us our subsequent refunds......you know why ? "Formality" I had to pay just to prove my case that in the Government one gets refund ONLY if one pays.

    Several other anomalies were also revealed but I am not going to waste your time on them.

    Now Mr Chanda, what do you , as an officer, expect and advise a citizen like me to do ? Please do not give me another discourse on "not all officers are same". I have not met a single one . In my "world" all Officers are the same. I don't know about your "world".

    I read and re read your above post several times. It made me realize that officers like you are are living in a dream world.

    In my present state of mind, I care two hoots about your philosophical discourse including gems like “waste of hundreds of man hours”, “genuine problems that the Govt department”, “voluminous information”, “short of staff and resourses”, “bogged down by such voluminous information”, “this is a 'victory' of any sort for us RTI protagonists”, “alienating good officers”, “some strange rti applications”, “which takes a monumental effort”, “copies in this exercise amount ot atleast ten thousand”, “larger interests in picture and not encourage such infructuous information extracting spree.”, “not advertise such judgements as a victory of rti”, “infructuous information has been asked under rti itself means a defeat to the very purpose of the act.”

    I also think Mr Maneesh in advising “Gandhigiri”, has watched too many Hindi movies.

    Let’s get back to the real world friends !

    Will even one Officer on this forum (including the ones who are hidden behind the “locked” thread of "officers") stand up and tell me what have I done wrong to be harassed like this ? Is it the Government servants birth right to harass citizens when they themselves make wrong rules ?

    No citizen of this country ever asked you to become Officer and take up Government jobs. It was your choice. I, as a Indian citizen, have lived for 50 years abiding by, obeying, respecting all laws, rules, regulations, orders, GO’s, that YOU made. Now, here is a Act which is in my favour, so you better learn to live with it, respect it and work within its true framework, respecting its objectives. Whether you like it, or not ! If you don’t like it, please resign your job and go back home. There are enough intelligent and hard working people amongst our 1200 million population who can do a better job.

    Well, lesser mortals on this forum would like to know what happened to the case finally ? Well, nothing till now.
    I went to a first lawyer. He said I know your CTO personally, we will pay him 100,000 and you will get refund.
    I went to a second lawyer and he said it will cost you 5% of the refund amount.
    So I went to a third lawyer and he said “What do these B*S**RDS think they are doing, let’s SC**W them and show them what the law is all about.” He is my lawyer. A Writ petition, naming each and evryone of the officers mentioned above has been filed this morning in the High Court and should come up for hearing within a day or two.

    So, dear officers, please, for once in your lifetime put yourself in the shoes of the common citizen who approaches you with his problems. He is not approaching you as a beggar to be thrown bits and pieces of leftovers as per your mood, whims, fancies and be given philosophical discourses and lessons in “grammar”, but as a citizen of this country. Listen to him, guide him, advise him and for this country’s sake (which I presume is yours too), help him within the framework and resources available to you.

    Well, I now want to lighten the mood by giving some humorous anecdotes related to what has happened in my case in last two years:
    <o>
    </o>
    • One Joint Commissioner telling me “You know after you have filed so many RTI applications, Mr XXXX (the other Jt. Commissioner) has stopped having lunch with me !
    I suggested, “Sir, please call me for lunch everyday, you will enjoy it more, I will entertain you better than him as well as we can have some intelligent conversation."<o>
    </o>
    • Since I have become so famous in the department, employees think that I am a big shot. Two CTO’s and one DCTO approached me at my residence to “arrange” their transfers to more lucrative posts ! They even offered me "formality". I rolled on the floor with laughter.
    • After parking my car so many times in the parking lot and paying Rs 10/- everytime, the parking attendant has become my best friend. I share a cup of tea everytime I meet him. He even asked me for a small loan to buy a moped. I am helping him, he is a nice chap, who consoled me every time I came out of the building fully dejected.
    • 6 current employees and one retired employee of the department requested my help in drafting, filing and follow up with RTI applications ! Wow ! But, I am a nice person, I am helping them.
    * I plan to give instructions in my Will, that after my death, my body should be first taken to the CTO’s office and the Departments main office before reaching the cremation grounds. Only then my soul will rest in peace, otherwise my ghost will haunt those officers and the buildings too !

    I am sorry for this long rant and sincerely apologise to Chanda, Maneesh and all other officers on this forum, if I have hurt their sentiments. But these are abnormal times in my life and abnormal times require abnormal behaviour. Please excuse me !

    PS: Someone on this forum (I wont name him) once asked me by email as to why I took so much interest, posted so much and helped others on the forum. Well dear friend, my answer is given above.

    Good Night !
    Last edited by ambrish.p; 26-03-13 at 11:14 PM. Reason: Moderation and formatting corrections.

  3. #11

    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    Hi Mr. Chanda:

    I beg to differ that RTI is going to be additional burden on short staffed government officials

    All US government departments and agencies are required to post on web, their yearly FOIA (RTI) requests, appeals, litigations and costs. Dept. of Justice processed 53,000 request last year. The total amount spent on the FOIA related issues was 0.1&#37; of the total departmental budget.

    If Government of India has to spent 1 or even 10% of its budget on RTI process, it should be overall beneficial to the country. As it is only 25% of the money spent by Indian Government is useful to people, rest is absorbed as corruption by the officials ( I think that is what Late Rajiv Gandhi said.) So if after full implementation of RTI, the useful amount goes up to 50% of total expenditure, it will be a big improvement, a huge return on the money spent on RTI

    Satish Gupta

  4. #12
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-



    Quote Originally Posted by karira View Post
    <o></o>

    Will even one Officer on this forum (including the ones who are hidden behind the “locked” thread of "officers") stand up and tell me what have I done wrong to be harassed like this ? Is it the Government servants birth right to harass citizens when they themselves make wrong rules ?

    No citizen of this country ever asked you to become Officer and take up Government jobs. It was your choice. I, as a Indian citizen, have lived for 50 years abiding by, obeying, respecting all laws, rules, regulations, orders, GO’s, that YOU made. Now, here is a Act which is in my favour, so you better learn to live with it, respect it and work within its true framework, respecting its objectives. Whether you like it, or not ! If you don’t like it, please resign your job and go back home. There are enough intelligent and hard working people amongst our 1200 million population who can do a better job.....................................................

    ..............So, dear officers, please, for once in your lifetime put yourself in the shoes of the common citizen who approaches you with his problems. He is not approaching you as a beggar to be thrown bits and pieces of leftovers as per your mood, whims, fancies and be given philosophical discourses and lessons in “grammar”, but as a citizen of this country. Listen to him, guide him, advise him and for this country’s sake (which I presume is yours too), help him within the framework and resources available to you.
    Well said Karira. I am sure one day some guest of this forum will gothrough the full details of your travails and then resolve to become another crusader for RTI to help the suffering people.

  5. #13
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    ganpat,

    Many thanks.
    I just hope that a majority of those guests are Officers.

  6. #14
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    i can enthuse with karira.
    a time will come when good sense will prevailon both the information seekers as well as the info. providers

  7. #15
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    Dear Mr.Karira,
    There is a saying that "when the going become tough, the tough get going". There are others who follow the path of least resistance and get the things done. To them the words , Morality, self-respect and principlies,etc., may exist only in dictionery. There are many frustrated who found solace in the RTI Act. Some of the hard core-RTI Activists are likely to be from such backgrounds. When the RTI Act also turn to be a "God that Failed", one can imagine the frustration which are often manifest in such Forums.
    Believe it or not,here is an example.
    The Revenue Authorities shows part of Mr.A's prime land in his possession with title in the name of Mr.B. under the influence of coruption. Mr.A approach everyone from the Village Officer to the Chief Minister, Lok Ayukta, Civil Courts etc in futile. The RTI Act has helped Mr.A to bring out far too many contradictory evidences proving the fraud. Ultimately theVillageOfficer report that Mr.B has title transfer deed vide Deed No.xxx. This is inspected under RTI Act and found to be a blatant lie. The document quotted pertains to a different parcel of land. This clear evidence of malafide and false information reported to AA who stood by his SPIO. When confronted with the contradictorry lies, not even the District Collector, despite its reference by the Chief Minister, is neither prepared to read the titled deeds produced nor prepared to give Mr.A an opportunity for being heard personally to show the fraudulent lies. On second appeal the SIC has issued notice toTahsildar for award of penalty under Section 20. But that is not seen pursued by SIC for reasons not known. More Appeals on the same issue are kept pending with SIC since 16 months unattended. A Report to the Govenor requestting for his attention under Section 17 of RTIAct is not even responded. Can anybody suggest a further cource of action ?
    Last edited by colnrkurup; 27-08-07 at 08:23 AM.

  8. #16
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    Re: Can I give information which otherwise would be available at Rs.100/-


    Mr.Karira,
    Your reference back to this old post made me read it again. It touched me more deep than its earlier reading.It is not easy to expose the nacked truth as brought by you. I salute the fire in you.
    By the by we missed the main aspects which started the thread. I too have the same doubt which remain unanswered. For Eg. A particular PA, say the Municipality had prescribed a charge of Rs.100/- per page as the prescribed fees. This was in vogue since a decade - even before the RTI came into force. Anyone could get a copy of a particular minutes sheet by remitting @ Rs.100/- per page. With the enactment of RTI Act the rate fixed for photostat copy of the same page is Rs.2/- per page. When applied for copy of one page of the minute sheet, the PIO ask for Rs.100/- in terms of Section 7(3) of tehRTI Act as the further fees as determined by him as per the existing orders of the Municipal Council. Can an arguement of the appellant that the prescribed fee is only Rs.2/- and the RTI Rules since framed by the government supercede the Rules earlier framed by the Municipal Council sustain ?

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