suresh nangia | 2 Dec 04:11 2012
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[rti_india] (unknown)

 
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suresh nangia | 2 Dec 04:11 2012
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[RTI INDIA]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2MqciSMOmk great video!
http://downtowndolls.com/slimming/wp-content/themes/twentyten/images/ecmmh2b5.php
Surendera M. Bhanot | 30 Nov 19:27 2012
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[rti_india] Re: [HumJanenge-YG] Transparent process for selecting Information Commissioners

 

Dear Mr. Sailesh Gandhi,

I am fully agree with your suggestions in your message except the following one, about which I have some reservations \:

A. The Information Commissions should set a target for disposals,- I suggest 5000 per Commissioner per year. An attempt should be made to increase this target number.

An Information Commissioner works for about 200 days in a year (after deducting 105 days towards Saturdays and Sundays + 20 odd Public Holidays + 40 for meetings and touring and personal leaves) if one works for all other days. But Most Commissioners works for 2 to 3 days in a week out of the five working days. this further reduces the working days to 80 to 120 days in a year. This is due to the inadequate infrastructure as well as staff provided to the commissioners. In these days the Commissioner hold court for 2 to 3 hours a day only.

Now to clear 5000 Appeals/Complaints in a year, each commissioner has to hear between 40 to 65 cases daily, if each case is heard only once. An Appeal/Complaint case takes about 3 to 5 hearings averaging at 4 hearings. so to dispose of 5000 Appeals/Complaints, each Commissioner has to take up 160 to 260 hearings per day. It is impossible for the Commissioners to cope with. 

To achieve target to dispose of  5000 Appeals/Complaints, the Commissioners have to work all the five days and work from 10.00 am till 5.00 pm, even to extend the working hours beyond 5.00 pm. This will adversely affect the quality of the decision making and delivery of justice to the Appellants/Complainants.

Moreover, this will also need the additional staff as well as additional infrastructure together with the enhanced budget. All the three are scares commodity. 

The better way is to reduce the number of  appeals and complaints by better delivery of justice, improving the quality of decision making as well as percolating the message down to the PIOs to deliver the information at that level effectively so that the Complainant/Appellant may not have to approach the commissions. Once the matter comes to the Commission and the Commission, if finds that the PIO is at fault, the Provisions of Section 19(8), 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI are Act 2005 are used strictly, so that the message goes down that the Commission means business. 

The tendency of filing the unnecessary RTI Application should also be curbed by the commissions by educating the people and incorporating a world of advise in the order while rejecting the Appeals/complaints, if found without any merit.

Commissions should also keep in mind that the RTI Act 2005 in now not in infancy after 7 years in being. Most Public Authorities are yer to comply with Section 3 requirements. Commission should liberally use section 25(5), Section 19(8)(a)(ii) to (iv) to caution the Public Authorities to strengthen the RTI Regime (and not to dilute the same, as was inevitable in the recent Conference held on the eve of the RTI anniversary at New Delhi).


WITH WARM REGARDS
Surendera 

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On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:12 AM, shailesh gandhi <shaileshgan <at> gmail.com> wrote:
 

Have filed an intervention in the Supreme Court with along with Aruna Roy seeking a transparent process of selection of Information Commissioners, instead of the arbitrary methods adopted presently and the equally arbitrary method of having retired judges. This is in the review petition in WP 210 of 2012 (Namit Sharma). This will be heard on 3 December. A probable method could be:

A. The Information Commissions should set a target for disposals,- I suggest 5000 per Commissioner per year. An attempt should be made to increase this target number.

B. Every six months they should review their actual performance per
Commissioner and forecast the expected receipts and disposals for the next two years, factoring the retirements. This forecast would show the requirements for new Commissioners to be appointed.

C. The Government should advertise its intention to appoint a certain number of Information Commissioners depending the need, four months in advance. Eminent people could apply or be nominated by others.

D. A search committee,- perhaps,- consisting of two members of
Parliament, Chief Information Commissioner, one Vice Chancellor, one
Supreme Court judge and two RTI activists could be formed to shortlist a panel which could be three times the number of Commissioners to be selected. These could be announced with the minutes of the meeting at which the shortlisting was done.

E. A Public interview should be held to give Citizens and groups the
opportunity to hear the views and commitment to work of the candidates. After this the search committee could give its recommendation. Based on these inputs, the final decision to select the Commissioners could be taken by the Committee as per the Act consisting of PM, LOP and one Minister. (A similar process could be adopted for State Commissions with MLAs instead of MPs and High Court judge instead of Supreme Court judge).

It may be useful if people discuss and debate this urgently.

--
Love
shailesh
All my emails are in Public domain.
Mera Bharat Mahaan...
Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.
Tel: 91 22 26001003; 8976240798


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    veeresh bellur | 27 Nov 01:03 2012
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    [rti_india] MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO GOVERNOR

     


    FEDERATION OF RTI ACTIVISTS – KARNATAKA

    BANGALORE  - E MAIL : rtikarnataka-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

     

    To

         Shri. H R Bharadwaj

         Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka

         Rajbhavan, Bangalore 560 001                 26.11.2012

     

    Respected Sir,

     

    Prominent Citizens, RTI Activists and Members of various RTI Activist Organisations condemn the brutal killing of Whistle Blower and Journalist LINGARAJU on the early hours of 20th November 2012.

     

    We congratulate Bangalore Police for arresting Govindaraja husband of Azad Nagar Corporator Gowramma and 8 others involved in the crime as Supari Killers.

     

    We demand the following Action from the Governmnent and from the appropriate authorities.

     

    1.       Denial of bail for all the arrested persons till completion of the trial.

    2.      Establishment of a Special Court for Speedy Trial of the case.

    3.      Appointment of a Senior Advocate as a Special Prosecutor.

    4.      Immediate attachment of property of Govindaraju and Azad Nagar Corporator Gowramma.

    5.      Protect all Prosecution Witnesses.

    6.      Protection of family members of Lingaraju.

    7.      Proper Investigation of the case by a Senior Police Officer not below the rank of a Superintendent of Police.

    8.      Proper Investigation of all cases pending before the Karnataka Lokayukta including disproportionate Assets Case.

     

     

    PROTECT RTI USERS – SAVE RTI.

    B.H.VEERESHA 
    MAHITHI HAKKUADHYAYANA KENDRA 
    54, 17THCROSS, MCLAYOUT 
    VIJAYANAGAR, BANGALORE-560040

    Karnataka

    India


     THE RIGHT TO KNOW

               KEEP GOVT ACCOUNTABLE

    R T I

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      veeresh bellur | 27 Nov 01:02 2012
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      [rti_india] SUBMISSION OF MEMORANDUM TO GOVERNOR

       



      B.H.VEERESHA 
      MAHITHI HAKKUADHYAYANA KENDRA 
      54, 17THCROSS, MCLAYOUT 
      VIJAYANAGAR, BANGALORE-560040

      Karnataka

      India


       THE RIGHT TO KNOW

                 KEEP GOVT ACCOUNTABLE

      R T I

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        Syed Tanveeruddin | 24 Nov 13:16 2012
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        [rti_india] karnataka preservation of trees act - views as on friday, october 12, 2012 [1 Attachment]

         
        [Attachment(s) from Syed Tanveeruddin included below]

        -----Original Message-----
        Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 7:21 am
        Subject: karnataka preservation of trees act - views as on friday, october 12, 2012

        I've been unable to give my inputs / suggestions in detail due to the unavailability of time. 
         
        The preservation of trees can/could perhaps be genuinely achieved upto a certain extent if no official from the Municipality and Urban Development Authority or politician is made a member of the tree authority. 
         
        About a year ago the husband of a lady corporator (of some locality/area near Kuvempunagar in Mysore City) allegedly razed the trees inside the park in the name of development by claiming that the then Mayor (Mr. Sandesh Swamy) had allegedly given permission for their razing in his official capacity as the Chairman / Chairperson / Supremo of the Tree Authority. 
         
        Only the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) should be given the right for the surgical / scientific trimming / pruning of the tree branches by providing adequate manpower, equipment and vehicles. The trimming / pruning of tree branches by the linemen of Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs) and/or Electricity Supply Corporations (ESCs) should be made illegal and should be permitted only under/in the rarest of the rare cases/circumstances or during emergencies. 
         
        There should be an exemplary punishment for the policemen who claim that the protection of trees is not one of their duties and brazenly ask the citizens not to inform the police about illegal tree fellings / razings either telephonically (to the control rooms) or by/through SMS/SMSes or by email. 
         
        People attending public hearing should not have any covert / overt / direct / indirect affiliation to any political party. Anti-social elements (claiming their political affiliation to RWAs) had tried to hijack an open air public hearing conducted near the Lalitha Mahal Road in June 2009 regarding/on the proposal to indiscriminately and unnecessarily / needlessly fell 200 plus trees to widen the Lalitha Mahal Road in Mysore City in order to convert it into a expressway for VVIP and VIP Traffic. So one of the Green NGOs had allegedly claimed to have the brought the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists to counter them. Fortunately the then DCF did not give permission to fell the trees after the public hearing as most members of the general public (from the entire city) objected against/to the tree felling. It was only because the then Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Ms. Sashwati Mishra was a lady forest officer of an unimpeachable honesty and integrity. 
         
        A couple of weeks after the public hearing she was cornered by the elected (MLAs / Corporators) and unelected politicians (Ex-MLAs and Ex-Corporators) and officials of various departments [Public Works Department (PWD),  Mysore City Police (MCP), Mysore City Corporation (MCC), Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA),] ..etc. but the lady forest officer fortunately stood her ground (like Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai of post-Independent India). 
         
        The Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of all the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) officials should be written only by the Karnataka Forest Department officials (IFS officers) and not by the IAS/KAS officers as there have been alleged instances of honest DCFs yielding to relentless pressure and alleged threats from some alleged Deputy Commissioners of Mysore to give permission to tree fellings in the name of development ever since the JNNURM funds were sanctioned for Mysore City. 
         
        One of the former ACFs of Mysore had claimed in June 2011 that since the raintree is not a native species the large hearted / dariya dilwaala / dodda manassina / hrudayada forest department cannot or could not deny permission to fell it. So, any usage of the phrase "suitable native species" anywhere / somewhere in the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act or Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976 (KPT Act, 1976) may/might (God forbid) have disastrous / dangerous consequences / repercussions for preservation of trees in the entire state of Karnataka. There are hundreds of raintrees in Mysore City which includes the Mysore Zoo. If the flawed logic of the Ex-ACF of Mysore is accepted then the Mysore City will/would soon become a Mini Thar Desert. 
         
        One of the DCFs whom I'd met in person in June 2011 had claimed that the moment someone files a/an formal/informal application that the tree is obstructing vehicular traffic the forest department had no other option but to give permission to fell the tree by default as a thumb rule. I could see the tension on his face as the then Deputy Commissioner was allegedly pressuring him to give permission to fell at least two out of four raintrees  opposite to the Mysore Zoo Entrance/Gate. 
         
        The Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) was almost ready to give permission to fell / raze / axe / cut 300 plus trees (most of them raintrees) to oblige the desperate requests of the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) to construct an ill conceived treeless Raja Marga / Royal Path along the yearly / annual Jumboo Savari / Dasara Procession route as the Mysore district administration desperately wanted the proposed treeless Raja Marga to resemble the Rajpath in New Delhi. This Raja Marga is being constructed/laid just for the sake of one day (Vijayadashami) and just for the sake of Dasara Procession. Several 100s/hundreds of trees, tree roots/branches/trunks have been mutilated in 2011 because the MCC and the forest department believe that permission will/should be formally/informally granted to any work that is being carried out in the name of development. 
         
        Applications are being filed for tree felling claiming that the tree leaves and flowers fall on the buildings / roofs / cars / two-wheelers and the trees or tree branches are obstructing the visibility of wine stores / pubs / liquor shops. The Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976 or KPT Act, 1976 which has withstood the test of time perhaps till/until 1989/1990 needs to be fine tuned so that the tree is not demonised / demonized / perceived / imagined as an omnipresent obstructionist for the free flow of vehicular traffic and so that none of its clauses / sub-clauses / sections / subsections are maliciously / intentionally / deliberately misinterpreted / misconstrued / misused. 
         
        Most/Some of the Executive Members or Directors of a local RWA (Residents' Welfare Association) may/might nurse/have political ambitions (either for themselves or for their relatives or family members) and are usually directly / indirectly / covertly / overtly affiliated to some political party or the other. For instance the lady corporator of the right wing party of the locality/area (Siddharthanagar, Mysore City) in which I reside is also one of the 15 directors of the RWA. The RWA unfortunately tries to appease her in whichever way it can/could. So, it becomes conflict of vested/self interests unless and until each and every member of the (proposed) tree committee (if any) at the ward level is non-political/apolitical and is not remote controlled by vested/self interests. 
         
        Tanveer (Syed Tanveeruddin, Siddharthanagar, Ward Number 63, Mysore)
         
         
         
        Due to some technical fault with the petitionsite the number of target signatures have been unfortunately and embarrassingly increased to 1000 (without manual/my intervention) and I the petition creator have been unable to reset / restore it back to 100 as none of the petitions on the above website can/could be edited / updated for the past one year or so (since 2011).
         
        http://www.petitiononline.com/treesact/   (Fully in English) 
         
        http://www.petitiononline.com/kpttrees/ (Tree types trilingually in English, Hindi and Kannada) 
         
        Tanveer / तन्वीर / ತನ್ವೀರ್
        Syed Tanveeruddin / सैयद तन्वीरुद्दीन / ಸೈಯದ್ ತನ್ವೀರುದ್ದೀನ್
        Mysore, Karnataka / मैसूर, कर्नाटक / ಮೈಸೂರು, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ


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          growth | 22 Nov 04:30 2012
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          [rti_india] Wrong Interpretation of Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005 information as personal infor

           

          Wrong Interpretation of Section 4 of RTI Act, 2005 information as personal information and exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005.
          Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Versus Cen. Information Commr. & Ors.
          Supreme Court of India Logic to deny information
          if some document is exempted for its certain part, then similar information to non exempted part is also exempted under RTI act.
          Fault in the logic given in the Supreme Court order.
          1. All the information contain in the exempted document became exempt. (it make Section 10 of RTI Act redundant).As per Section 10 of RTI Act, information , which is not covered/ exemption under Section 8/9 of the RTI Act, 2005 should be given from exempted document .
          2. Information denied are Section 4 information. There is a strong Public interest displayed as per the fact given by the Supreme Court of India ( Government is giving similar information proactively . Information/ detail of Politician / Government servant is on different footing than the private individual. Supreme Court of India
          Complete summarised note is on web.
          https://docs.google.com/document/d/19RZEvjSINuR9cEcxFM56U12UGKEWrXkq9Rzd_R_ywew/edit

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            M.K. Gupta | 19 Nov 06:14 2012
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            CIC to issue notices to ED in oil-for-food scam

            KUDOS TO CIC - ANOTHER AGENCY WORKING FOR CLEAN ADMN.

                                                             Source: Indian Express, 18.11.2012.

            CIC to issue notices to ED in oil-for-food scam

            The Central Information Commission (CIC) is all set to issue notices to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to produce files related to the oil-for-food scam which led to the ouster of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh from the Cabinet.

            The CIC's step comes two years after the Supreme Court had rejected the plea of ED challenging the order of the then Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directing it to produce files for perusal before deciding on its disclosure.

            The case could not proceed because of the changes in the post of Chief Information Commissioners, CIC sources said.

            After the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, he immediately ordered his staff to issue notices in this regard which may be sent in the coming week, they said.

            The CIC had directed the Enforcement Directorate, an exempted organisation under the RTI Act, to produce the file of the probe into the scam for its perusal to decide on its disclosure under the Act.
            "In our view, the impugned order does not suffer from any patent legal infirmity requiring interference under Article 136 of the Constitution," the Supreme Court had said on the CIC directions and asked the ED to produce all relevant material before the transparency panel.

            The case relates to application filed by RTI applicant Arun Agrawal who had sought the entire file containing note sheets relating to the report of Virendra Dayal, appointed by the government as special envoy to coordinate with UN officials on the Paul Volcker Committee report.
            The Paul Volcker Committee was set up by the United Nations in April, 2004 to probe corruption and fraud in its oil-for-food Programme in Iraq, in which name of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh also allegedly figured as a beneficiary.

            Venkatraman Ns | 17 Nov 15:58 2012
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            USE RTI TO EFFECTIVELY UNDO CORRUPTION IN INDIA




            N.S .Venkataraman
            Trustee
            Nandini Voice For The Deprived
            Chennai
            Email:- nsvenkatchennai-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

            To

            Humjanenge



                            USE  RTI  TO EFFECTIVELY  UNDO  CORRUPTION  IN INDIA

             Right to Information  Act (RTI)  is a potent weapon that should be effectively used to to undo the corruption in India.  In today's circumstances, this is the best tool that is available for the citizens and should  be effectively utilised.  Several people seem to think that Lokpal Bill when passed in Parliament would root out the corruption.  While the Lokpal Bill is nowhere in sight, it remains to be seen how effective it would be if and when enacted.

            Citizens who want to fight corruption should raise questions to the government departments under RTI Act regularly and frequently, that would enable them to ascertain facts and bring out the truth to public domain and knowledge of the country men.  this would certainly promote transparency in government dealings and put fear in the minds of the corrupt elements. There have been many instances of questions raised under the RTI act not being answered in time or adequately by the government departments. The Information Commissioners are also not doing the work to the satisfaction but these are all issues that can be sorted out by committed and determined RTI activists.

            Today, there are many facts that have been revealed by the use of RTI Act but there is no way that such information would be conveyed to the public, as the media seldom publicise them. Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a Chennai based NGO has been repeatedly appealing to the visual and print media to allot some space atleast once in a week to publicise the relevant and significant information obtained by using RTI Act.  But, the media is not responding.

            Nandini Voice For The Deprived, a monthly journal published from Chennai would be pleased to publish the highlights of the information gained through the use of RTI Act in every issue and also publicise the same in its blog. Those interested can send the details to Editor, Nandini Voice For The Deprived email:- nsvenkatchennai-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

            Thanks

            N.S.Venkataraman
            Trustee
            Nandini Voice For The Deprived


            Syed Tanveeruddin | 16 Nov 05:18 2012
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            [rti_india] meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976 [1 Attachment]

             
            [Attachment(s) from Syed Tanveeruddin included below]

            Subject: meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976

            The original message has been forwarded to the Mysore Mailing List which consists of about 67 email addresses (most of them from the Mysore Grahakara Parhishat MGP and some from the Mysore Youth Forum MYF).
             
            The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has about 700 plus members but unfortunately less than 10 per cent of them are believed / considered to be active.
             
            -----Forwarded Message-----
            From: Syed Tanveeruddin <indian.tanveer indian.tanveer-/E1597aS9LQ@public.gmane.org.in
            To: Mysore Mailing List consisting of about 67 email addresses
            Sent: Friday, November 16, 2012 5:29 am
            Subject: meeting to discuss inadequacies of karnataka preservation of trees act, 1976
            [HasiruUsiru] Important meeting to discuss Tree Act inadequacies: Ashirwad, 16 Nov 2012, 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm
            Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:49 am
             
            Dear All, 
             
            As you are aware, the High Court of Karnataka has raised a very pertinent question on the gross inadequacy of the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act, 1976 in attending to decisions relating to protection, conservation and removal of trees, and also of wider concerns relating to urban forestry.  The interim direction issued in Environment Support Group's / ESG's PIL (7107/2008) is enclosed. 
             
            To put it down in simple language, the Court has asked the Government how massive felling of trees due to widening of roads can be allowed, when the Act actually provides for applications only from individuals.  And, importantly, the Court has asked how the person permitting the felling of trees (the Tree Officer now in BBMP) sits in judgment over this very decision (violating the fundamental principle that "no one can/should be a judge in their own cause". 
             
            Of course, this is also an opportunity to comprehensively critique the inefficacy of the Tree Act, and other relevant laws, rules and procedures, in tackling the ongoing mayhem being done to greenery and biodiversity in urban areas in particular. 
             
            Keeping all this in view, some of us felt the need for a detailed discussion on the many interconnected aspects of this law and its implications. We had originally thought of calling for a meeting two weeks ago, but unfortunately we lost Deepak Arya then, who was so keen to be part of this process. 
             
            This is last minute no doubt, but there is now a need for us to meet.  Shaheen and Vinay have managed to get Ashirwad (behind Kabab Corner on St. Mark's Road) for a meeting tomorrow (16th November 2012) between 2.30 pm and 6.00 pm.  I hope most of you will manage to make time to contribute to this important discussion. All the ideas generated will become important feedback for us to present our collective views when the matter comes up again for Hearing on 20th November 2012 (Tuesday). 
             
            I must also share that Mr. Devare of Bangalore Environment Trust has already done an extensive analysis of this Act, and I hope he can make it (despite this very short notice) and share it with all. 
             
            Needless to state, it is also an occasion to remember Deepak and all that he did with us... 
             
            Looking forward. 
             
            Leo 
             
            PS:  You can access the Tree Act and Rules here:
            Daily Orders of the Case Number : WP  7107/2008 for the date of order 03/10/2012 
             
            Honble Justice Chief Justice and B.V.Nagarathna
            03/10/2012 
             
            Order in WP  7107/2008 
             
            Present: IN W.P.NO.7107/2008:
            Sri. S.Sunil Dutt Yadav, Adv. for petitioners
            Sri. Subramanya R. for M/s. Ashok Harnahalli
            Assts. Adv. for R-6 & R-7
            Sri. B.Palakshaiah, CBC for R13-R15
            Sri. Suman Baliga.M., Adv. R9
            Sri. R.G.Kolle, AGA, for R1-R4, 8, 10 & 11 
             
            IN W.P.NO.7288/2011:
            Sri. K.N.Phanindra, Adv. for
            Ms. Vyshali Hegde, Adv. for petitioners
            Sri. R.G.Kolle, AGA for R1-R3 & R5-R7
            Sri. Subramanya R. for M/s. Ashok Harnahalli
            Assts. Adv. for R-4 
             
            Learned counsel appearing for BBMP prays for an adjournment to enable him to place the material on record to indicate that careful thought goes into any decision for felling a tree. 
             
            Adjournment granted. 
             
            We have had a cursory glance of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, especially so far as the availability of an appeal is concerned. In the first place, it appears to us that Section 8 postulates cases where an individual is desirous of removal of a tree and not wide scale felling of trees that are necessitated when roads are sought to be widened or highways are sought to be created. Prima facie, we feel that the public must be made aware of a proposal for removal of trees by issuance of public notice so that the objections can be invited. The Act does not provide any machinery in this regard. 
             
            Secondly, so far as the availability of an appeal is concerned, it seems to us that it may be futile and infructuous in those instances where the Tree Officer grants permission to fell a tree. Public perception is that such orders are executed almost instantly and at night. The Act does not seem to cater for such eventuality. Furthermore, so far as the constitution of the appellate body is concerned, it comprises of three members such as a Mayor or President of the Municipal Corporation, the Municipal Commissioner or Chief Executive etc., who are in effect the persons proposing the felling of a particular tree. This may amount to a person being a judge in his own cause, which is an anathema in law. However, since the matter is being adjourned, we shall take up these considerations on the next date of hearing. 
             
            Re-notify on 12.10.2012. 
             
            Interim orders to continue till further orders to the contrary.
            Environmental, Social Justice and Governance Initiatives Environment Support Group - Trust 1572, 36th Cross, Ring Road Banashankari II Stage Bangalore 560070. INDIA Tel: 91-80-26713559~61
            Tanveer / तन्वीर / ತನ್ವೀರ್
            Syed Tanveeruddin / सैयद तन्वीरुद्दीन / ಸೈಯದ್ ತನ್ವೀರುದ್ದೀನ್
            Mysore, Karnataka / मैसूर, कर्नाटक / ಮೈಸೂರು, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ


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              Prem Gaba | 15 Nov 05:30 2012
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              "We The Shameless" -- by Chetan Bhagat


              We The Shameless

              It’s time to stop blaming just our politicians for corruption and look within

              Chetan Bhagat

               

               


              Last week, the BJP not only spared, but also backed Nitin Gadkari as its party president. Gadkari, who ran a sugar business, used a hydra-like ownership structure for his corporation, with a web of dozens of shell companies, bogus addresses and dubious directorships. He also allegedly took loans from the same infrastructure companies he awarded contracts to as PWD minister.
                  The first standard excuse was “nothing malafide is proven yet”, implying Gadkari could have made these fake companies just for fun, perhaps because he enjoys solving brainteasers. The second classic excuse was “look at what the Congress did”. Therefore, a murderer can be spared, as long as he can find another murderer.
                  Saving Gadkari shocked some, especially those who thought the BJP was different. Even politically, it may be a decision they could regret over time.

                  The BJP stalls entire Parliament sessions over corruption. Its leaders share the dais with anti-corruption crusaders like Baba Ramdev (Gadkari did too). And yet, the protect-Gadkari huddle showed the BJP cares about propriety, but only if the accused is from the Congress.
                  Gadkari also found support in the RSS, BJP’s backbone and selfstyled protector of Hindu dharma. The RSS’s website claims its vision is “working towards Bharat’s
              national glory, based on the noblest values.” One wonders which Hindu dharma text allows tax evasion structures and loans to politicians from businessmen with clear conflict of interest. One wonders if Gadkari’s actions represent the noblest values. In Hindu mythology, dharma protectors sacrifice family members for virtue. Here, the RSS didn’t take action against Gadkari because, well, he is their alumnus and one of their own.
                  But more important than venting about the two-faced nature of some organisations or blaming Gadkari and a few other politicians is understanding why all political parties back their corrupt members despite massive allegations and enough circumstantial evidence.

              The answer lies in the way Indians think. While it is easy to blame politicians, the fact remains that our politicians are not ethical because we aren’t ethical.
                  The simple, bitter truth is that the electorate just doesn’t care much about financial impropriety. Sure, we bicker, moan and fuss about politicians looting us. However, it is not that high up in the hierarchy of wrongs a politician could
              commit. A moderate amount of corruption is almost expected and accepted. It is only when graft is done in an obvious, large-scale and arrogant manner that Indians get somewhat upset – and that too for a short period of time. “Do it, but don’t be so blatant and rub it in our faces,” is what we seem to be telling them.
                  Tax evasion, dubious accounting and shady friendships are almost seen as natural behaviour for an Indian businessman. We don’t even see it as a crime. We treat it at par with, say, eating four plates of dessert – a bit greedy, but understandable.
                  Until we, as a society, really feel graft, unethical behaviour and nepotism are huge problems and start to truly care about all of it, politicians will not change.
                  Take for instance a hypothetical situation. Say, a prominent
              politician went into a temple with his shoes on, with a bottle of alcohol and kicked the idols.
                  What would happen? Of course, there would be huge societal outrage. In our value system, we hold our religious shrines extremely dear. Such a person would never be allowed to remain party president. In all probability, the person’s political career would end overnight.
                  But such a value system does not apply when we see shady business, state coffers being looted or politicians placing self-interest over the country. Even power abuse is something we only talk about in public. Deep down, we are complicit. We want political leaders to not abuse power, but do so ourselves. Just take one example, the status of domestic help in India. How do Indians treat their domestic help?
              Why don’t we ever talk about a minimum wage for them? Or perhaps a compulsory day off every week? When we ourselves have no qualms abusing our power, it is difficult to attack others doing so.
                  We, the Indian society, need to reflect on who we have become. Organisations like the RSS, who claim they care for India’s glory, should be fixing this by propagating good values in society. And organisations like the IAC should also send out the message that it is a lack of values within us, and not just a few bad guys at the top, that has turned India corrupt.
                  More than anything, we ourselves must change, and see the sense in doing so. A society without values cannot even survive or function, let alone progress. When this realisation comes to a far larger number of Indians than today, the politicians will change. The BJP would fire Gadkari and Congressmen would create an uproar to take action against Robert Vadra.

                  Right now, they don’t because they feel you the voter won’t care. That you will see Gadkari’s punishment as a slight to the RSS, or to the community or caste he belongs to. Similarly, no Congressman will stand up for what is right in Vadra’s case, as the Congress voter cares for the Gandhi family more than right or wrong.
                  We live in shameless times. When the long overdue self-reflection and shame strike us, India will be ready for change. We have seen many exposes on corrupt leaders lately; it is time we did an expose on ourselves.
              The writer is a best-selling novelist.

               

              Gmane