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

  1. Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality

    I intend to start this discussions where we can suggest points for improving the RTI Act and it's usage amongst citizens and Government.
    Some of the Point I can think of to start with are:
    1. Introduction of Credit card payment though a nodal agency who can in turn be authorized to accept the application and forward it to respective authority and also who would send the reply back to applicant.
      • For example, we we are RTI India accept the application, complete the formality and forward it to respective CPIO/Appellant Authority and in turn the CPIO respond us back which we send it to the applicant.
    2. Compilation of decision based upon matter, rather than just based upon appeal number from CIC. We had already planned to do so at RTI India, if only we are spared from our job of CPIO This would greatly help all Government Officers and citizens to quickly know the status.
      • For example, if some search for 'Passport' application, it should give all the decisions taken by CIC and also based upon relevance (to be decided by popular/expert votes) the search result should appear.
    3. Mandatory & enforceable proactive disclosure.
    Kindly use this thread for suggestion of your's for improving ACT, the Machinery and awareness about RTI amongst citizens.

  2. It is going to be a very interesting discussion that you have initiated Kushal.

    For payment of application fees through credit cards, we require to rope in the services of the card issuing companies and make them waive their charges, which are normally in the range of 2% to 3%( and for a low value transaction, they may even want to charge more).

    Creation of a nodal agency to accept and forward the RTI applications on behalf of the applicants may require appropriate changes in the Act/Rules.

    I welcome the idea of compilation of decisions based on matter. The RTI Act itself is in a nascent stage and this is the right time to start building a repertory of subject-wise case-law, which will become very handy for any future reference. Initially it requires a lot of work sifting through various decisions. But once all the existing decisions are properly indexed and compiled, then all subsequent decisions can be simply added easily.

    If you feel that there is any specific are of work that can be allotted to individual members in this process of compilation, please do not hesitate. We are here to help you in building up this portal.

  3. Thats a big task ,
    I believe forums are good for discussion but for summary of information we urgently need Wiki. This will help to put all such information in a structured fashion which can be edited by our members.

    Seems in future there is lot of action for RTI India.

  4. 2nd Appeals with SICs – Problems Met With

    In the case of appeals/complaints to SICs (State Information Commissions), the Appellant/Complainant is located far away from the office of SIC (eg I, an Appellant/Complainant, is located at Noida and my SIC concerned is located at Lucknow) hence it is difficult for Appellant/Complainant to present themselves for hearing at the office of SIC, specially so since the time between the notice and hearing is very small.

    In most such cases, SIC passes orders exparte. I was wondering if the following suggestions could be got implemented by SICs:

    1. The office of SIC should give the appeal/complaint number and the date of hearing in his office as soon as the appeal/complaint is received and accepted for hearing, say within a week, as is done in the normal courts where appeal number and date of hearing is fixed soon after the appeal is received and accepted for hearing (generally within a week of receipt of such appeal). It is of course understood that the date of hearing would be fixed according to the time schedule of the Hon SICs and could be long after.
    2. The office of SIC should give at least one reference, say, the date of appeal/complaint, for reference in the notices for hearing issued by it. It is specially important if many appeals/complaints are filed against the same Respondent by the Appellant/Complainant.
    3. The office of SIC should require the Respondent to file a written statement/submission on the points raised by the Appellant/Complainant in their appeal/complaint and send it both to the SIC and the Appellant/Complainant before the hearing. On receipt of such written statement from the Respondent, the Appellant/Complainant may like to submit another written statement/submission to the SIC under copy to the Respondent who may again respond on it. The final orders of SIC should take into account such written statements before finalizing orders on such cases. Suitable punishment on the Respondent u/s 20(1) and 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act 05 must be imposed by SIC if default is established to ensure non recurrence of such defaults in future.
    4. The office of SIC should require the Appellants/Complainants to submit only two copies (instead of 4 copies as seems to be the present practice) of the appeal/complaints to him and one copy directly to the Respondent for submitting a written statement/submission on the points raised therein. Such appeals/complaints are heard by only a single judge and hence only two copies at the most should be enough for his office.
    5. The office of SIC must give notice of its decision, including any right to appeal, to the appellant/complainant and the Respondent under section 19(9) of the Right to Information Act 2005. It is seen that this is not being complied with by SICs at present.
    6. The SIC should get the procedure for appeals finalized under section 19(10) of the Right to Information Act 2005 to bring in better systems in this regard.

  5. The suggestions of MK Singhal has been moved to "Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality".

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

    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.

    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.

    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.

  7. Thumbs down Re: Suggestion for improvement of RTI Act and it's functionality

    As to suggesion 1[S1] This function post offices are already doing.Pl.see my blog .'PRESS RELEASE' AND NUMBER 10. OF COURSE THERE IS NO CR.CARD.however payment by postal order is better than cr.card as all.specially not rich individuals can use it and there is no extra cost involved. i can send entire detailed reply i have from P.O. as to how they act as ACPIO and post applications free of cost to anywhere in INDIA. Ur. second and third S. ARE EXCELLENT. I am toying with the idea of creating C D with search engine giving section wise and subject wise all ORDERS.Actually CIC site has such search facilities but software is not very user-friendly ..SATISH GUPTA has many interesting points to respond. however i shall do so hopefully 2morow or sometime in ffew days.

  8. #8

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

    1. Now days most of the banks are Core Banked and as it is mandatory to publish the names of PIO, APIO in there sites it should be mandatory to publish the account number of the organisation so taht fees can be deposited by transfer or net banking or mobile banking.
    2. It should be also mandatory for organisation to publish the names and how one can use RTI in News papers/ TV channels to make public aware as the insurance Co and Bank publish Ombudsman facility for customer grievances.
    3.Till now we are not independent. British has left India but now days we are ruled by Indians as British were ruling us so it is duty of Government to make aware the citizens that we have aright to know what is happening in offices and there should be provision in the act to penalise the PIO, APIO Heavily, if they are neglecting in performing in their duty of giving information

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