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  1. #1
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    State info panel turns one: People unhappy with prevalent machinery


    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="467"><tbody><tr valign="top"><td colspan="3">State info panel turns one: People unhappy with prevalent machinery</td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3" height="10"> </td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3">Express News Service</td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3" height="10"> </td></tr><tr valign="top"> <td colspan="3"> Lucknow, June 11: PROBLEMS have started teething at the State Information Commission (SIC), as it completes one year of it’s formation, following the implementation of the Right to Information Act. People seeking information in the commission feel that they are being given second hand treatment and the Public Information Officers (PIOs) are not punished. This was the outcome of the day-long public hearing on ‘One year of SIC’, organised by the Soochna Ka Adhikar Abhiyan Samiti at the Gandhi Bhawan auditorium on Monday.

    The experts who were present in the hearing included State’s information commissioner Gyanendra Sharma, Information Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh Dilip Reddy, and RTI activist Dr Arvind Kejriwal. Over 200 people from various parts of the state participated in the hearing. Some 50 of them presented their case studies in front of the esteemed jury.

    After a day-long presentation of the problems faced by the people, following shortcomings related to the SIC were found - Hearing continues for a large number of days in the commission, because of which the complainant suffers both mentally and financially, the PIOs often do not appear on the date of hearing, they do not respond as per the law and are not even being punished or penalised by the commission, the copies of decision by commission are not readily available and even the complainant has to deposit a fee for it, whereas in the other states, they are given for free. A report on these problems was presented by former IPS officer and activist SR Darapuri.

    The RTI activist Dr Arvind Kejriwal said punishment is mandatory for the PIOs or else they would not have any fear of the commission or the act.

    The state information commissioner Gyanendra Sharma said the commission is still in it’s infancy and faces lot of difficulties. He added that the commission is trying to solve all these problems.

    State info panel turns one: People unhappy with prevalent machinery

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  2. #2
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    Complainants protest at SIC office


    Complainants protest at SIC office</ARTTITLE>


    LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission was witness to protests by two Magasaysay Award winners on Tuesday.

    Arvind Kejriwal and Sandeep Pandey along with their supporters raised their voice against the pathetic state of affairs at the SIC. They found ready supporters among the many complainants who had lined up in the corridors of the commission to seek redressal.

    Kejriwal and Pandey had announced a few days earlier that they would organise a protest against the SIC for its failure in satisfying the demands of the complainants.

    The number of disappointed complainants has been increasing with each passing day. And the issues are of a similar nature- not getting all the information, having to appear umpteen number of times for a hearing and yet not getting the information, the failure of the information commissioners to impose a penalty on the public information officers who did not furnish information and so on.

    The protesters visited the chambers of the Information Commissioners and watched the proceedings. However, some of the polite suggestions given by them were turned down by the officers.

    When Kejriwal suggested one of the ICs that a penalty should preferably be imposed on the erring PIO for failing to furnish information even after so many hearings, the latter observed, ‘Your suggestion is well taken but you cannot dictate to the chair.’

    This led Kejriwal to quip, “Yes, but nothing will come out of it as no action is being taken.” A miffed IC retorted, “Why don’t you sit on my chair?”

    Section 18 of the RTI Act-2005, states that a penalty of up to Rs 25,000 can be imposed on PIOs who do not furnish information. They can also be arrested in extreme cases.

    However, this provision has not been used by the UP SIC till now. If at all, minor penalties and threat of penalties have been issued.

    The complainants raised slogans like, ‘ICs are Mulayam Singh’s men,’ and ‘Sack the Chief Information Commissioner.’ Pandey said that the plan was to protest in a democratic manner.

    “The complainants have to pay for their visit to Lucknow for a hearing. Some of them are poor and cannot bear the burden,”said Kejriwal. “As such, it is a myth that under RTI information is furnished for just Rs 10,” he added.

    Kejriwal himself sought some information from the Ghaziabad police and Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation. However, he gave up after nothing came off it after several hearings. One can well understand the plight of the common man.

    Complainants protest at SIC office-Lucknow-Cities-The Times of India

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