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Thread: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality

  1. #41
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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Quote Originally Posted by Satish Gupta View Post
    There was an editorial in Times of India by Commissioner Kejariwal. I wrote the following in response to his editorial.

    Mr O P Kejariwal made some good points that CIC and RTI activists need to work toghether, since both are working towards the same objective, i.e. to make government more transparent to public. However cooperation does not mean capitulation. There are areas where RTI activist must cooperate with CIC and other areas where RTI activists must confront CIC.

    Mr
    O P Kejariwal does not like people filing writs in High Courts against CIC. He is right that cases can be tied up in courts for years and thereby delay the implementation of RTI. However most cases have been filed by government organizations (GOs) seeking to prevent release of information. RTI activists have filed only a few cases. The purpose of cases filed by RTI activists is to open the working of the government. The purpose of cases filed by GOs is to keep the working of the GOs secret. There is a big difference between the two. I hope CIC recognizes this difference.

    Mr.
    O P Kejariwal's contention that CIC is a quasi-judicial body and therefore should not be subject to appeals in High Court, is not correct. A lower court ruling can always be appealed to the higher court. The only court whose rulings cannot be appealed is the Supreme Court of India. I am sure CIC does not claim to have the same role.

    CIC does not have the legal staff to fight cases. If CIC is a quasi-judicial body, it does not need a legal staff to fight, if its rulings are appealed in High Court. If I loose a case in lower court, I can appeal to higher court. But in no case the lower court will contest my case in higher court. Only the loosing party fights the case, not the lower court.

    By same analogy CIC has no reason, right, or legal precedent to fight cases filed in High Court against CIC's rulings.

    I agree that CIC should have a procedure to rehear cases. In some situations one commissioner decides one issue one way, and another commissioner decides the same issue a different way. The appellant should be given opportunity to ask the full bench of CIC to review the case. CIC in turn can make the review discretionary. So the full bench of CIC does not have to hear all the cases appealed to it. CIC can decide which cases to rehear and which ones not to.

    CIC has to publish a compilation of its important rulings. This booklet should arrange the rulings in a subject and/or section areas. The booklet should be distributed to PIOs and AAs. I am reading the CIC decisions and I see that PIOs are refusing to give out information citing various exemptions. However CIC had already decided that those exemptions do not apply. So CIC keeps repeating the same rulings. CIC should impose penalty, in every case where PIO refuses to release information in spite of a CIC ruling to the contrary in similar case. I can see something similar for petitioner. If CIC booklet shows that the information should not be disclosed, then CIC could dispose of cases without holding a full formal hearing.
    Your suggestion that CIC should impose penalty in every case where a PIO refuses to release information inspite of CIC rulings that similar information is not to be denied is not workable. Each case is decided on its merits. The details and circumstances of each case is different. PIOs cannot rely only on case laws. The more appropriate course of action with legal validity and binding would be for DOPT to issue orders based on case laws not to deny certain type of information.



  2. #42
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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    Quote Originally Posted by kushal View Post
    I was wondering if we can develop some plans to improve RTI usage in the rural areas or with common masses, the more relevant grass root level queries we have the more the development.

    Unfortunately I had come across less of question when it come to grass root RTI implementation!

    Some questions like:
    1. How many queries have been raised asking the timings of Fare shop controlled by SDM?
    2. Have somebody bothered to ask for the proportion of cement used to construct the rural school?
    3. How many have asked questions about MLA fund for rural approach road construction?
    4. Have somebody asked about why one was favored when the gun license in Allahabad is granted; and which makes him win the election?
    5. Have somebody asked about urban employment generation programme (uegp) which broadly aimed at improving the quality of life of urban people by providing gainful employment through setting up self-employment ventures and creation of socially and economically useful assets and shelter upgradation is a total failure in bihar, according to comptroller and auditor general (cag) of india? Why only it was 21% success?
    6. How many RTI applications had been asked when many school children are deprived of the Mid-day Meal Programme?
    7. Have somebody ever asked a question from Khadi and Village Industries Commission about the gross irregularity in releasing marginal money to REGS workers?

    Many of the public utility offices like passport, BSNL, Banks, Ministries would come to terms with good governance soon with the usage of RTI, but I discount this success if it did not hit the District Administration and the village level.

    I feel week, when we only focus upon CIC and when there are way too many people talking about CIC than the relevant questions above. I would be delighted if some of us form a committed team to take up such matter and follow it to logical conclusion, and also post all updates at the website!
    That's a brilliant suggestion. I have filed more than 20 applications under the RTI Act (although all are not related to rural development plans). Some of the applications are related to the various projects of the Government. But the dark side of the story is that in maximum cases I have to file appeal either for not providing information (deemed refusal) or providing part of information. I have also appeared before the SIC in some cases, but found the Commission reluctant to impose penalties.

  3. #43
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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    I would also like to point out that S.26 of the RTI Act cast upon some duties on the Governments to prepare programmes. If the appropriate Governments impart their duties under this section, it will be very helpful in the effective implementation of the provisions of the act. However, the problem is that preparing of such programmes are not obligatory but subject to the availability of finacial and other resources. However, we may file applications under the Act to obtain information as to how many such programmes have been organised. I have also filed an application with the HP Govt.

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality



    Quote Originally Posted by kushal View Post
    I was wondering if we can develop some plans to improve RTI usage in the rural areas or with common masses, the more relevant grass root level queries we have the more the development.

    Unfortunately I had come across less of question when it come to grass root RTI implementation!

    Many of the public utility offices like passport, BSNL, Banks, Ministries would come to terms with good governance soon with the usage of RTI, but I discount this success if it did not hit the District Administration and the village level.

    I feel week, when we only focus upon CIC and when there are way too many people talking about CIC than the relevant questions above. I would be delighted if some of us form a committed team to take up such matter and follow it to logical conclusion, and also post all updates at the website!
    Very well thought. I agree that RTI should be used to develop common masses questions. Even at RTI India Portal we must try to bring success stories of the grass root level, and many of us should work to get the information to logical conclusion.

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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    This a lively & fruitful discussion. I have to submit the following points, based on my experience.

    In my opinion, the AAS should also be fined for not taking proper interest in disclosing CORRECT information.

    The ICs should immediately impose penalty on the CPIO and aso duly compensate the applicant, on finding that the information was not furnished within 30 days or irrelevant/wrong information furnished.

    aamaadmi

  6. #46
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    Re: Babus misuse RTI Act


    The suggestion to " invest in making information on official ranks, pension schemes, grades and related entitlements accessible on the Internet to bureaucrats" is a good suggestion. It needs to be worked out in detail to ensure availability of authentic information and also within reasonable cost. After all the public coffers are already overburdened with a bloated bureaucracy, which should not be further burdened unduly. Otherwise CIC can devise simpler ways to deal with all such service matters, may be with more assistance from NGOs/activists for preliminary scrutiny of such requests/appeals before they are put up to the CIC for hearing. This may reduce the backlog.

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    Re: Babus misuse RTI Act


    Sirs,

    One suggestion I would like to share with you all sir,

    All the information (Other than exempted) available with the Companies, Govt. Departments etc., which come under RTI area should be kept on their respective websites.

    These information which is kept on websites definately solve the very purpose of transparent functioning of Government, semi-govt, public sector etc., and definately a move towards making bright India and can see transparent working.

    rakatkam.

  8. #48
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    Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality


    On 18.1.08, during hearing, the CIC was pleased to order for the answering officer to be present, for proper hearing, though the PIO was present, fixed next date as 19.2.08.
    It was on the request of the PA that the hearing was postponed to 5.3.08. Despite best efforts of the CIC, the advice of postponement, sent by Speed Post, was not delivered to me and I attended the CIC office on 19.2.08, spending on journey, stay and fooding.
    It is suggested that
    1. The answering PA, in such cases, must forward a copy of the request to the applicant also.
    2. In cases as that of mine, wherein the applicant incurres expenses on various heads, the PÅ must pay the cost to compensate the applicant.
    aamaadmi
    Last edited by aamaadmi; 22-02-08 at 10:52 AM. Reason: spelling not correct

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