Anil kumar | 1 Feb 04:41 2012
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Whistleblower Blows The Lid Off Medical Bill Racket

 

RTI REVELATION

Chemist made to pay 3 lakh

Whistleblower Blows The Lid Off Medical Bill Racket

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: A 31-year-old techie working with a multinational corporation got an unregistered chemist in Banashankari to cough up a Rs 3-lakh fine to the commercial taxes department. All through a Rs 10 Right to Information application form.
Amit Deshpande stumbled upon the racket after he saw that the bills, given to a family member who purchased medicines from the chemist, didn’t have a Taxpayers’ Identification Number (TIN). There were even Scheduled H drugs given without a doctor’s prescription. Drugs which cannot be sold over the counter were freely available.
 “In October 2011, I wrote a letter to the proprietor questioning him about these things, but he never responded. I filed an RTI application with the commissioner of commercial taxes to find out whether he was a registered dealer. Based on that, commercial tax officers conducted an inspection of the chemist’s shop and found he was an unregistered dealer,” Amittold TOI.
Amit recently got a ‘Thank You’ letter from the office of additional commissioner of commercial taxes (enforcement) for being a whistleblower.
 “During out inspection, we noticed that the chemist was not registered. All purchase bills for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 have been taken. The dealer has accepted the discrepancies and agreed to discharge the tax liability. The total tax liability is Rs 3 lakh,” said MS Sathyaprakash, assistant commissioner of commercial taxes, south zone, Bangalore.
The dealer paid the tax due and was also made to procure a Value Added Tax Registration Certificate.
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    Venkatesh | 1 Feb 13:49 2012

    While we passionately debated the Lokpal Bill, Government of India Introduced Amendments to the Indian RTI Act Quietly Through the Backdoor [2 Attachments]

     
    [Attachment(s) from Venkatesh included below]

    Dear all,
    Even as we tirelessly debated and agitated over the Lokpal Bill and related issues such as grievance redress, whistleblower protection and judicial standards and accountability in 2011, the Government of India very quietly introduced amendements to the Right to Information Act, 2005. The Government introduced The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill (NSRA Bill) in the Lok Sabha in September 2011. This Bill seeks to add a new exemption to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act about nuclear safety matters and recommends the exclusion of an unspecified number of yet-to-be-established nuclear safety agencies from transparency obligations by placing them in Schedule 2 of the RTI Act. Thanks to information received from friends at PRS-India a couple of weeks ago I woke up to the existence of this Bill.
     
    What is the NSRA Bill all about?
    The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions introduced this Bill (attached) in the Lok Sabha in September 2011. The same Minister is responsible for the administration of the RTI Act also.
     
     
    The Bill seeks to establish a legal framework for strengthening radiation and nuclear safety in India. For more details please see the second attachment.
     
    What amendments to the RTI Act have been proposed?
    The NSRA Bill introduces two amendments to the RTI Act under Sections 8 and 24. For more details please see the second attachment.
     
    What are the implications of these proposed amendments?
    The proposed amendment to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act is superfluous. The formulation of the proposed exemption also poses problems. The Bill seeks to exclude organisations concerned with nuclear safety that have not yet been established. Such organisations clearly do not fall within the categories of intelligence and security organisations mentioned in Section 24 of the RTI Act. For more details please see the second attachment.
     
    What is the current status of the Bill?
    The Bill was referred to the Department-related Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests soon after tabling. The Committee invited comments on the Bill in September itself. The press release issued by the Committee's secretariat is accessible at: http://164.100.47.5/webcom/MainPage.aspx  Friends at PRS-India say that the Committee has completed its hearings in January 2012 and is working on its report. So the report may be finalised any day before the budget session starts.
     
    What can we do to prevent negative amendments to the RTI Act?
    There is an urgent need for the entire RTI movement in India to write to the Chairperson and Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee to reject the amendments proposed to the RTI Act. The list of committee members is given in the second attachment.
     
    Please use the following para to send an email to the Parliamentary Standing Committee:

     

    "We the people of India who have been actively using RTI to promote transparency and accountability in government are distressed to learn that the Government of India has proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005 through The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, 2011. This Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in September 2011 and has since been referred to your committee. These amendments are unnecessary in view of the adequate protection for all legitimate interests provided under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The exclusion of special nuclear regulatory authorities referred to in Clause 25 even before they are established by the Government is a clear instance of misuse of Section 24 of the RTI Act. Such bodies by their very nature, purpose and functions cannot be categorised as intelligence and security organisations. We urge you to recommend deletion of all clauses that seek to amend the RTI Act.

    No Amendments Through the Backdoor : Save Our RTI Act"

    Please send your letter/fax/email (rsc-st-eVHoZDbIwRP9KIQWOO/q1A@public.gmane.org.in) addressed to:

    The Chairperson

    Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on

    Science, Technology, Environment and Forests

    Rajya Sabha Secretariat,

    Room No. 005, Ground Floor,

    Parliament House Annexe,

    New Delhi-110001.

    Tel.: 011-23034597 Fax: 011-23015585

     

    No Amendments Through the Backdoor : Save Our RTI Act

    Sincerely,

    Venkatesh Nayak
    Programme Coordinator
    Access to Information Programme
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
    B-117, First Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave
    New Delhi- 110 017
    Tel: +91-1143180215/ 43180201
    Fax: +91-11-26864688
    Website: www.humanrightsinitiative.org
    Skype: venkatesh.nayak-eK/Ak3wwDTYAvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org
    Alternate Email ID: nayak.venkatesh-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org

     
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    Attachment(s) from Venkatesh

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      urvashi sharma | 1 Feb 18:10 2012
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      children below 18 years may increase poll percentage : watch aishwarya parashar's appeal

       
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      lokesh batra | 2 Feb 06:14 2012
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      HIGH ALERT: RTI ACT Being Ammended : Through Backdoor [2 Attachments]

       
      [Attachment(s) from lokesh batra included below]

      HIGH ALERT : RTI ACT Being Ammended : Through Backdoor
      Is government backing out from its commitment given to the Parliament ? 
      02 February 2012 
      Dear All, 
      In his post of 01 February 2012 (below) Venkatesh ji has very well narrated how the Government is bringing Amendment to RTI Act, 2005 through backdoor.
       
      (Request to Moderators of Groups: While posting this ... Please do retain Venkatesh ji post and Attachments below.)
      My Take 
       
       
      Is government backing out from its commitment given to the Parliament ?
       
      On 26 August 2010, the than Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Shri Prithviraj Chavan in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha had committed to the Parliament that the “Amendments (in RTI Act), if any, will be made after consultation with stakeholders." 
       
       
      Hon’ble Minister’s statement in Parliament can be read on PIB Link:
       
       
       
       
      For ease of reference, I am reproducing the amendments proposed to RTI Act in "The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill” (NSRA Bill).
       
       
      AMENDMENTS TO THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005 (PROPOSED IN NSRA Bill)
       
       
      Quote :
       
      "1. In section 8, in sub-section (1), after clause (c), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:—
       
      “(ca) information referred to in clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 20 of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Act, 2011”.
       
      2. In the Second Schedule, after item 7, the following item shall be inserted, namely:— “7A. The Regulatory Bodies established under sub-section (2) of section 25 of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Act, 2011.”
       
      Unquote 
       
      -------------- 
      The information referred to in clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 20 of the NSRA Bill reads :
       
       
      Quote :
       
      "20. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of foregoing provisions, and the measures referred to in sub-section (1), the Authority shall —
       
      (a) xxxxxxxxx ;
       
      (b) xxxxxxxxx ;
       
      (c) ensure transparency by systematic public outreach on matters relating to nuclear safety without disclosing sensitive information and compromising confidentiality of commercially sensitive information of technology holders.
       
      Explanation.—For the purpose of this clause, the expression “sensitive information” means information pertaining to—
       
      (i) physical security of nuclear material and facilities, or 
       
      (ii) reprocessing of spent fuel, enrichment of fissile material or heavy water production technologies;
       
      (iii) any information under section 26 which has been accessed by the Authority or has come to its knowledge or made available to it in the discharge of its functions;"
      Unquote
       
       
      You would notice that there is NO NEED for these amendments as the Section-8 of the RTI Act as it exist, provides all the safe-guards.
       
      LET US ALL OPPOSE THESE AMENDMENTS.
       
       
      Kindly go ahead and read Venkatesh ji post below which has analysed the entire issue in details.
       
      Best,
      {Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.)
      Social & RTI Activist
      BringChangeNow
      -------------------------------
      On Feb 01, 2012, Shri Venkatesh Nayak Wrote:
       
       
      Dear all,
       
      Even as we tirelessly debated and agitated over the Lokpal Bill and related issues such as grievance redress, whistleblower protection and judicial standards and accountability in 2011, the Government of India very quietly introduced amendements to the Right to Information Act, 2005. 
       
      The Government introduced The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill (NSRA Bill) in the Lok Sabha in September 2011. This Bill seeks to add a new exemption to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act about nuclear safety matters and recommends the exclusion of an unspecified number of yet-to-be-established nuclear safety agencies from transparency obligations by placing them in Schedule 2 of the RTI Act. 
       
      Thanks to information received from friends at PRS-India a couple of weeks ago I woke up to the existence of this Bill.
       
      What is the NSRA Bill all about?
      The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions introduced this Bill (attached) in the Lok Sabha in September 2011. The same Minister is responsible for the administration of the RTI Act also.
       
      This Bill is also available at: 
       
      The Bill seeks to establish a legal framework for strengthening radiation and nuclear safety in India. For more details please see the second attachment.
       
      What amendments to the RTI Act have been proposed?
      The NSRA Bill introduces two amendments to the RTI Act under Sections 8 and 24. For more details please see the second attachment.
      What are the implications of these proposed amendments?
      The proposed amendment to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act is superfluous. The formulation of the proposed exemption also poses problems. The Bill seeks to exclude organisations concerned with nuclear safety that have not yet been established. Such organisations clearly do not fall within the categories of intelligence and security organisations mentioned in Section 24 of the RTI Act. For more details please see the second attachment.
       
      What is the current status of the Bill?
      The Bill was referred to the Department-related Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests soon after tabling. The Committee invited comments on the Bill in September itself. The press release issued by the Committee's secretariat is accessible at: http://164.100.47.5/webcom/MainPage.aspx Friends at PRS-India say that the Committee has completed its hearings in January 2012 and is working on its report. So the report may be finalised any day before the budget session starts.
       
      What can we do to prevent negative amendments to the RTI Act?
      There is an urgent need for the entire RTI movement in India to write to the Chairperson and Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee to reject the amendments proposed to the RTI Act. The list of committee members is given in the second attachment.
       
      Please use the following para to send an email to the Parliamentary Standing Committee:
       
      "We the people of India who have been actively using RTI to promote transparency and accountability in government are distressed to learn that the Government of India has proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005 through The Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, 2011. This Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in September 2011 and has since been referred to your committee. These amendments are unnecessary in view of the adequate protection for all legitimate interests provided under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The exclusion of special nuclear regulatory authorities referred to in Clause 25 even before they are established by the Government is a clear instance of misuse of Section 24 of the RTI Act. Such bodies by their very nature, purpose and functions cannot be categorised as intelligence and security organisations. We urge you to recommend deletion of all clauses that seek to amend the RTI Act.
      No Amendments Through the Backdoor : Save Our RTI Act"
      Please send your letter/fax/email (rsc-st-eVHoZDbIwRP9KIQWOO/q1A@public.gmane.org.in) addressed to:
      The Chairperson
      Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on
      Science, Technology, Environment and Forests
      Rajya Sabha Secretariat,
      Room No. 005, Ground Floor,
      Parliament House Annexe,
      New Delhi-110001.
      Tel.: 011-23034597 Fax: 011-23015585
       
      No Amendments Through the Backdoor : Save Our RTI Act
      Sincerely,
      Venkatesh Nayak
      Programme Coordinator
      Access to Information Programme
      Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
      B-117, First Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave
      New Delhi- 110 017
      Tel: +91-1143180215/ 43180201
      Fax: +91-11-26864688
      Website: www.humanrightsinitiative.org
      Skype: venkatesh.nayak-eK/Ak3wwDTYAvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org
      Alternate Email ID: nayak.venkatesh-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org
       


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      Attachment(s) from lokesh batra

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        Amitabh Thakur | 2 Feb 15:36 2012
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        Two Writ petitions related with Right to Information

         

        Friends,
        I have filed two Writ Petitions in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.

        The Writ Petition No 985 of 2011(M/B) is about the Notesheet of the study leave file of another IPS officer. The Public Information Officer of the Home Department had refused to give the information saying that this was personal information. The UP State Information Commission through its order dated 03/01/2012 had ordered the PIO to provide all other information except the Notesheet of the concerned file calling it personal information. In the Writ Petition I have said that the Notesheet of a government file cannot be regarded as personal information and hence shall also be provided.

        In Writ Petition No 986 of 2011 (M/B), I have presented two cases in which the Commission first imposed penalty under section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI Act but it later reviewed its order and waived off the penalty. I have said that the settled principle of law is that only those authorities can review their order that have been specifically empowered, which is
        not empowered under the RTI Act or any other law to review their order.

        The two Writ Petitions shall be heard tomorrow where I shall appear in person.

        Hope, my friends agree with my logic and reasoning.
        Amitabh Thakur
        # 94155-34526
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          Amitabh Thakur | 4 Feb 10:46 2012
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          "Motilal Nehru born 11 months after his father's death"- says Wikipedia [1 Attachment]

           
          [Attachment(s) from Amitabh Thakur included below]

          We all know the historical relevance of Motilal Nehru but none of us know that Motilal Nehru was born eleven months after the death of his father. We know that birth of a child eleven months after the death of his father is not possible. But anyone who goes through the page related with Motilal Nehru on Internet based open dictionary Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motilal_Nehru)  will only learn such a fact. Today when, me and wife Dr Nutan Thakur, were going through Wikipedia, we also saw the same strange fact written there.

          Then we studied the history of this page to find that this page was created on 28 July 2011 at 12:26 by some person with code name Ekabhishek. He later amended this page on the same day at 16.10 where he added the fact that Motilal Nehru was born 3 months after the death of his father Gangadhar Nehru. It was later on 28 December 2011at 08:38 that some person with Codename Lovysinghal changed this period to eleven months, which still exists on Wikipedia.

          We consider this act rather offensive and disgusting and have written to the Secretary, Home, Government of India to order a suitable enquiry into the matter and take initiate appropriate action against this person who has done this deliberately mischievous act.

          This also presents a big question mark over the relevance and use/misuse of Internet sources like Wikipedia which can be so easily distorted for nefarious and ulterior purposes, thus making it be presented as gospel truth.

          Amitabh Thakur
          IPS, Lucknow
          # 94155-34526
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            urvashi sharma | 5 Feb 08:18 2012
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            10-year-old Aishwarya Parashar starts a campaign “Send your Kins to Polling Booths” to increase voter turnout [1 Attachment]

             
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            lokesh batra | 5 Feb 14:14 2012
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            IndiaToday: Government tries to shield nuclear-safety law from RTI ambit

             

             
             
            Savita Verma New Delhi, February 5, 2012 | UPDATED 07:58 IST
             
            Government tries to shield nuclear-safety law from RTI ambit
             
             
            The government appears to be taking the backdoor route to dilute the Right to Information (RTI) Act. It has quietly included provisions to amend the RTI Act under the proposed nuclear safety law.
             
            If these amendments are allowed, not only will it become to get information on nuclear safety, other government agencies may also follow suit to escape the RTI Act ambit.
             
            "The RTI Act over-rides all laws. To counter this, new laws are coming out with specific clauses," She khar Singh of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information said.
             
            One of the proposed amendments to the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, 2011, seeks to add regulatory bodies which are to be set up under it in the second schedule of the RTI Act. This will exempt them from the purview of the RTI Act like intelligence and security organisations.
             
            Experts said the amendment is an attempt to compromise with transparency on nuclear safety. "How can the government place organisations which are yet to be set up under this schedule?" said Venkatesh Nayak, programme coordinator with Access to Information Programme of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
             
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              lokesh batra | 6 Feb 03:13 2012
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              HT(Blog): Appointment process in UGC and CIC raises suspicion

               

              Dear All,
               
              Before you read below HT Blog by Chetan Chahan, "Appointment process in UGC and CIC raises suspicion"
               
              My Take:
               
              Now we know what is the delay!
               
              It is more than 03 months since DoPT asked for names for filling vacancies of Information Commissioners in CIC.
               
              RTI response tells us total 214 names have been received.
               
              The list of 214 candidates received from DoPT through my First Appeal response may beread on following link of HJ:
               
               
               
               
              Please go ahead and Read below HT Blog by Chetan Chahan, "Appointment process in UGC and CIC raises suspicion"
               
              Best
              {Commodore Lok esh Batra (Retd.)}
              BringChangeNow
               
              --------------------------------------------
               
               
              Posted by Chetan Chahan on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm
               
              Appointment process in UGC and CIC raises suspicion
               
               
              Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for more probity this week to check corruption but those in his government do not want to listen to him. This is the prime reason that appointments at top levels in the government are still cloaked in secrecy leading to suspicion of corruption and nepotism.
               
              Be it, appointment in the transparency watchdog the Central Information Commission or higher education regulator the University Grants Commission and the Central Vigilance Commission, never has the government thought of even placing the names of those being considered for these high places for public feedback.
               
              The government has again started the process of appointment of four members in the CIC and chairperson of UGC. The hot race, or the rat race, for appointment has started in the usual secret manner with suspicion of nepotism.
               
              The pattern is almost same. The government invited applications and the response for huge. Then, started the first round of lobbying to ensure applicants are short-listed.
               
              The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which has received applications for CIC, is full of requests to short-list particular applicants. The HRD Ministry faced a similar position when it considered the applicants for appointment of UGC chairperson. Shamefully, the sifarish or the political request has come from some of the top academicians in India, who a few years ago recommended that appointment process to the universities should be transparent and based on merit.
               
              While the appointment in the CIC is at the stage of consideration of applicants, a search committee for UGC has short-listed names of 2 0 persons from over 100 those who applied.
               
              Here starts the dirty game of nepotism and suspicion of corruption. Simply because nobody knows who are these 20 people, except those who have been short-listed. It is well known fact that HRD babus leak the name of those short-listed to the interested parties but not to a large section of academics and students whose life such an appointment can impact. A wrong appointment can derail the process of education reforms and that has happened in the last decade.
               
              Then the interested parties start all sorts of political lobby to get the prime job, for instance UGC chairperson decides on allocation of funds of over Rs 1,000 crore every year, apart from framing and changing higher education policy. Much of alleged corruption in granted Deemed University status to 44 institutions, which was stuck down by HRD Ministry, was courtesy the University Grants Commission.
               
              Letters have been written by Central ministers to former Lok Sabha Speakers to Governors recommending name of a particular person for UGC chairperson job. Some of them have even called up HRD minister Kapil Sibal. One of them wants the government to relax the condition of 60 years of age so that he can get the top post. He is 63. Another has sought that that appointment should be based on experience not age.
               
              In light of the facts, there is a need to make the entire system transparent. But, the babus have different argument. They claim that any transparency is important to keep the reel of governance rolling. It is ridiculous because it ai ds them to create an aura of power around them and misuse it. It had happened in case of various scams in India.
              But, the government does not want to learn the lessons and make the appointment at top level transparent. It is obviously in grip of babus. Now, you can understand why ..........................................................................................................
               
              For Reading full Blog : Please Click on Link :
               
               
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                Amitabh Thakur | 6 Feb 15:59 2012
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                Outcome of two Writ Petitions regarding RTI

                 

                Friends,

                You might remember that I had told about two Writ Petitions I filed in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court. I thought it proper to present the outcome of the two petitions as well.
                The Writ Petition No 987 of 2011(M/B) was about the Notesheet of the study leave file of another IPS officer. The Public Information Officer of the Home Department had refused to give the information saying that this was personal information. The UP State Information Commission through its order dated 03/01/2012 had ordered the PIO to provide all other information except the Notesheet of the concerned file calling it personal information. In the Writ Petition I  said that the Notesheet of a government file cannot be regarded as personal information and hence shall also be provided.
                In the hearing, the Counsel for the Commission informed the High Court that the matter is still under active consideration by the Information Commission where the next date was fixed as 22/02/2012 and hence it was premature to come to High Court. I was hence directed to go to the Commission to present my point of view there itself.
                In Writ Petition No 985 of 2011 (M/B), I  presented two cases in which the Commission first imposed penalty under section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTI Act but it later reviewed its order and waived off the penalty. I  said that the settled principle of law is that only those authorities can review their order that have been specifically empowered, which isnot empowered under the RTI Act or any other law to review their order.
                My point of view was endorsed by the High Court. I present its order dated 03/02/2012-
                "An argument has been advanced by the petitioner in person that the punishment awarded to the respondent no. 3 has been recalled by the process of review. Further submission of the petitioner in person is that the power of review cannot be exercised unless it is conferred by the statute.
                Admittedly, under the Rights to Information Act, there is no provision for review. Argument advanced by the petitioner in person has got force and requires consideration.
                Let Counter Affidavit be filed within six weeks. Rejoinder Affidavit, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter."
                I certainly feel quite satisfied with the two orders and hope to get justice very soon.
                For ur kind perusal and comments please.

                Amitabh Thakur
                # 94155-34526
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