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यूपी सीआइसी जावेद उस्मानी की बढ़ सकतीं हैं मुश्किलें : यूपी सीआइसी जावेद उस्मानी के खिलाफ झूंठ बोलने और धोखाधड़ी करने की एफआईआर की माँग l


 
 
लखनऊ/27 जनवरी 2016/ यूपी में सूचना आयुक्तों और आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों के बीच खिंची तलवारें म्यान में बापस जाते दिखाई नहीं दे रहीं हैं l बीते 11 जनवरी को राज्यपाल से मिलकर सूचना आयुक्तों की अक्षमता और सूचना आयोग परिसर में सूचना आयुक्तों के द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों के उत्पीडन के आरोपों की शिकायतें अभी राजभवन पंहुचीं ही थीं कि आरटीआई आवेदकों ने नयी आरटीआई नियमावली पर सूचना आयुक्तों को घेरना शुरू कर दिया था l अब एक ताजा घटनाक्रम के तहत लखनऊ की एक आरटीआई कार्यकत्री ने लखनऊ के एक हिंदी दैनिक में छपे एक इंटरव्यू को आधार बनाकर यूपी के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी पर जानबूझकर झूंठ बोलने और धोखाधड़ी करने का आरोप लगाते हुए थाना हजरतगंज के थानाध्यक्ष को तहरीर भेजकर उस्मानी के खिलाफ एफआईआर की माँग की है l  
 
  
लखनऊ स्थित सामाजिक संगठन येश्वर्याज सेवा संस्थान की सचिव और आरटीआई कार्यकत्री उर्वशी शर्मा ने बताया कि उत्तर प्रदेश के निवर्तमान मुख्य सचिव और वर्तमान मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी ने दैनिक जागरण को एक इंटरव्यू दिया था जो दैनिक जागरण के लखनऊ संस्करण के पेज 24 पर दिनांक 24 जनवरी 2016 में प्रकाशित हुआ था l बकौल उर्वशी इस सार्वजनिक साक्षात्कार द्वारा उस्मानी ने कई ऐसी बातें कहीं जो लोकसेवक के स्तर से कहे जाने पर आईपीसी के अंतर्गत अपराध की श्रेणी में आती हैं l उर्वशी ने बताया कि उस्मानी ने आरटीआई के तहत दंड बसूली और मुख्य सचिव के स्तर पर बनी अनुश्रवण समिति के सम्बन्ध में पूर्व में लागू आधा दर्जन शासनादेशों  को धता-बताकर विधि एवं व्यवस्था के प्रतिकूल नितांत झूंठा वक्तव्य दिया और इस प्रकार पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश की जनता को गुमराह कर धोखाधड़ी करने का संज्ञेय अपराध कारित किया l बकौल उर्वशी हालाँकि इन मामलों में इन शासनादेशों द्वारा ये व्यवस्थाएं व्यवस्था नयी आरटीआई नियमावली से पहले से ही लागू हैं पर जावेद उस्मानी ने इस सार्वजनिक इंटरव्यू द्वारा जानबूझकर ऐसा असत्य कथन किया गोया कि ये व्यवस्थाएं पहले से लागू ही नहीं थी और यह व्यवस्थाएं इस नहीं नियमावली के आने के बाद ही लागू हुईं हैं जिनसे अब बदलाव आएगा और इस प्रकार पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश की जनता को गुमराह कर उसके  साथ धोखाधड़ी करने का संज्ञेय अपराध कारित किया है l
 
  
   उर्वशी ने बताया कि उत्तर प्रदेश की सजग नागरिक होने के नाते उन्होंने बीते 25 जनवरी को लखनऊ के थाना हजरतगंज के थानाध्यक्ष को एक प्रार्थनापत्र तहरीर देकर  जावेद उस्मानी के खिलाफ प्रथम सूचना रिपोर्ट दर्ज कर उस्मानी के खिलाफ विधिक कार्यवाही करने का अनुरोध किया है l उर्वशी ने बताया कि थाने से पीली पर्ची या पावती न मिलने के कारण वे आज इस पत्र की प्रति स्पीड पोस्ट से भी थाने को भेज रहीं हैं l
 
 
 उर्वशी ने बताया कि यदि थानाध्यक्ष द्वारा इस संज्ञेय अपराध की प्रथम सूचना रिपोर्ट दर्ज नहीं की गयी तो वे सीआरपीसी के प्राविधानों के अंतर्गत अग्रिम कार्यवाही करेंगी l


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PIL - India sponsorer of Terrorism



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यूपी: सीआइसी जावेद उस्मानी के खिलाफ जानबूझकर झूंठ बोलकर घोखाधड़ी करने की धाराओं में एफआईआर की मांग [1 Attachment]

 

 
 
मित्रों,
मैंने उत्तर प्रदेश के निवर्तमान मुख्य सचिव और वर्तमान मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी के दिनांक 24 जनवरी 2016 के दैनिक जागरण के लखनऊ संस्करण के पेज 24 पर प्रकाशित साक्षात्कार http://epaper.jagran.com/epaperimages/24012016/lucknow/23lko-pg24-0.pdf  और http://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/24-jan-2016-edition-Lucknow-page_24-20781-2480-11.html  के सन्दर्भ को आधार बनाकर उस्मानी द्वारा लोकसेवक होते हुए भी इस सार्वजनिक इंटरव्यू के माध्यम से आरटीआई के तहत दंड बसूली के सम्बन्ध में लागू शासनादेश संख्या 228/43-2-2009-15/2(3)07 लखनऊ दिनांक 20 फरवरी 2009 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/penalty%20head.pdf   और मुख्य सचिव के स्तर पर त्रैमासिक बैठक के सम्बन्ध में लागू शासनादेश संख्या 882/43-2-2008-15/2(3)/07 टीसी-III  लखनऊ दिनांक  7 जुलाई 2008 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/go10.pdf   , शासनादेश संख्या 651(1)/43-2-2010-15/2(3)/07 टीसी-III  लखनऊ दिनांक 18 मई 2010 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/State%20level%20committee%20for%20action%20against%20RTI.pdf  , शासनादेश संख्या 947/43-2-2011-15/2(3)/07 टीसी-III  लखनऊ दिनांक 22 नवम्बर 2011 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/22-11-2011.pdf  , शासनादेश संख्या 1229/43-2-2012 लखनऊ दिनांक 02 जनवरी 2013 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/penalty%20Committee.pdf   और शासनादेश संख्या मु०स०-9/43-2-2013 लखनऊ दिनांक 30 मई 2013 http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/may%20thirteen%20b-001.pdf    द्वारा स्थापित विधि एवं व्यवस्था की अनदेखी करके नितांत झूंठा वक्तव्य देने का अपराध करने के साथ साथ पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश की जनता को इन मामलों में गुमराह कर धोखाधड़ी करने का संज्ञेय अपराध कारित करने का आरोप लगाया है  l
 
 
 
इन शासनादेशों द्वारा आरटीआई दंड की पीआइओ के वेतन से वसूली और आरटीआई दंड की पीआइओ के वेतन से वसूली के सम्बन्ध में मुख्य सचिव की त्रैमासिक बैठकें कराने की व्यवस्था नयी आरटीआई नियमावली से पहले से लागू होने पर भी जावेद उस्मानी ने पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश की जनता को गुमराह कर उसके  साथ धोखाधड़ी करने का संज्ञेय अपराध कारित किया है l   
 
 
 
उत्तर प्रदेश की सजग नागरिक होने के नाते मैंने प्रमाणों सहित लखनऊ के थाना हजरतगंज में बीते 25 जनवरी को एक प्रार्थनापत्र भेजते हुए अनुरोध किया है कि जावेद उस्मानी के खिलाफ प्रथम सूचना रिपोर्ट दर्ज की जाए और उस्मानी के खिलाफ विधिक कार्यवाही भी कराई जाए  l
 
Urvashi Sharma
9369613513


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Road Transport Ministry notifies SoP for Police and Courts relating to Good Samaritans and bystanders who help accident victims [2 Attachments]

Dear all,
You may be aware of the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways relating to the manner of treatment of people who are Good Samaritans or bystanders who help victims of road accidents. The guidelines issued last year pursuant to the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Save Life Foundation & Anr. vs Union of India & Anr. [W.P.(C) 235/2012] are in the 2nd attachment.

On 21st January, 2016, the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways has notified a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for the manner in which Good Samaritans must be treated by the police during the investigation of an accident case and courts during the trial in that case. Please see the 1st attachment. The 2015 guidelines and the latest SoP make it much easier for an innocent bystander to provide assistance to victims of accidents without getting embroiled in legal hassles too much.

Please circulate this email widely.

In order to access our previous email alerts on RTI and related issues please click on: http://sartian.org (Latest News) . If you do not wish to receive these email alerts please send an email to this address indicating your refusal.
Thanks 
Venkatesh Nayak
Programme Coordinator
Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
#55 A, 3rd Floor, Siddharth Chambers-1
Kalu Sarai
New Delhi- 110 016
Tel: +91-11-43180201/ 43180215

The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything, that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing": Justice K K Mathew, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, (1975)

"“Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its credal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing": Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, (1981)

"Information is the currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of society”: Justice A. P. Shah, former Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, (2010)



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नयी आरटीआई नियमावली पर उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी के नाम आरटीआई कार्यकत्री उर्वशी शर्मा का खुला पत्र l

 
या तो महामूर्ख या महाधूर्त और स्वार्थी हैं आरटीआई विरोधी उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार के चाटुकार मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी.
 
 
जी हाँ और मैं चाहूंगी कि मेरे ये विचार उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी तक अवश्य पंहुचें और वे शर्म करते हुए या तो अपने पद से इस्तीफा दे दें अन्यथा अपने पद की गरिमा बनाए रखने  को मेरे ऊपर मानहानि का वाद अवश्य दायर कर दें.नहीं तो मैं यही कहूंगी कि उत्तर प्रदेश के मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी निहायत ही स्वार्थी और बेशर्म इंसान हैं.
 
 
मुझे जावेद उस्मानी के वारे में ये टिप्पणी मजबूरी में अत्यन्त भारी मन से इसलिए करनी पड़ रही है क्योंकि जावेद उस्मानी ने दैनिक जागरण लखनऊ के उप मुख्य संवाददाता अमित मिश्र को दिए और दैनिक जागरण के लखनऊ संस्करण में पेज 24 पर आज प्रकाशित  एक साक्षात्कार( वेबलिंक  http://epaper.jagran.com/epaperimages/24012016/lucknow/23lko-pg24-0.pdf  और http://epaper.jagran.com/ePaperArticle/24-jan-2016-edition-Lucknow-page_24-20781-2480-11.html पर उपलब्ध ) में न केवल आरटीआई के वारे में अपनी अज्ञानता जाहिर की है अपितु यूपी में आरटीआई का संरक्षक होने पर भी इस संरक्षक की भूमिका से इतर सत्ता की चाटुकारिता करते हुए अपने कुतर्कों द्वारा यूपी सरकार द्वारा बनायी गयी नयी नियमावली के आरटीआई को कमजोर करने वाले,आरटीआई कार्यकर्ताओं को खतरा बढाने वाले और सूचना आयोग में भ्रष्टाचार को बढ़ावा देने वाले प्राविधानों का अंधा समर्थन कर आरटीआई विरोधी कार्य किया है.  
 
जावेद उस्मानी ने राज्य सरकार को नियम बनाने का अधिकार होने की तो बात की किन्तु  अधिनियम की धारा 4(4) के अधीन प्रसारित की जाने वाली सामग्रियों की लागत या प्रिंट लागत मूल्य;धारा 6(1) के अधीन संदेय फीस; धारा 7(1) और 7(5) के अधीन संदेय फीस; धारा 13(6) और 16(6) के अधीन अधिकारियों,कर्मचारियों के वेतन,भत्ते,सेवा के निबंधन,शर्तें आदि; धारा 19(10) के अधीन अपीलों के विनिश्चय में सूचना आयोगों द्वारा अपनाई जाने वाली प्रक्रिया से ही सम्बंधित नियम बना सकने और उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा  अधिनियम की धारा 27 का अतिक्रमण करके अनेकों गैरकानूनी प्राविधान करके उत्तर प्रदेश सूचना का अधिकार अधिनियम नियमावली 2015 बनाने का जिक्र नहीं किया. आखिर क्यों ?
 
 
जावेद उस्मानी का यह कहना सफेद झूंठ है कि जनसूचना अधिकारियों द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों को सहायता पंहुचाने की बात कही जा रही है क्योंकि इस नियमावली द्वारा जनसूचना अधिकारियों द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों को सहायता पंहुचाने वाली आरटीआई एक्ट की धारा 5(3) , 6(1) के परंतुक और 7(4) को पूर्णतया निष्प्रभावी बना दिया गया है.
 
 
जावेद उस्मानी ने स्वयं को अत्यधिक नीचे गिराकर सफेद झूंठ बोला है कि अब तक अर्थदंड की बसूली की मानीटरिंग की कोई व्यवस्था नहीं थी और अब हर तीन माह पर इन मामलों की समीक्षा की व्यवस्था की गयी है. सत्यता तो यह है कि हमारे प्रयासों से लागू कराई गयी सूबे के मुख्य सचिव की जिम्मेदारी वाली यह व्यवस्था साल 2008 से ही लागू है http://adminreform.up.nic.in/go/go10.pdf हाँ  यह और बात है कि सता के चाटुकार उस्मानी मुख्य सचिव के रूप में भी इस जिम्मेवारी से मुंह छुपाते रहे और अब मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त बनने के बाद तो इतना नीचे गिर गए हैं कि सफेद झूंठ तक बोल रहे हैं.  
 
 
जावेद उस्मानी का यह कथन सत्य नहीं है कि सूचना आयुक्त मामलों को विधिक रूप से निस्तारित कर रहे हैं. सत्यता यह है कि वर्तमान सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा एक भी मामले में अधिनियम की धारा 4(1)(d) के अनुसार निस्तारण नहीं हो रहा है. सूचना आयुक्त अपने फैसलों में अपने विवेक का कोई इस्तेमाल कर ही नहीं रहे हैं और यांत्रिक रीति से आयोग न आने वाले आरटीआई आवेदकों के सभी मामलों को बिना सूचना दिलाये काल्पनिक आधारों पर निस्तारित करके  पेंडेंसी कम करने की क्षद्म बात कहकर गुमराह कर रहे  है. हम सूचना आयुक्तों के निर्णयों पर इस सन्दर्भ में बहस को तैयार हैं.
 
 
 
 
जावेद उस्मानी का यह कथन सत्य नहीं है कि सूचना आयुक्त पूरी तत्परता से कार्य कर रहे हैं. सच्चाई यह है कि सूचना आयुक्त पूरे समय सुनवाई कर ही नहीं रहे है और आयोग में आरटीआई आवेदकों का घोर उत्पीडन हो रहा है. अधिकांश आयुक्त एक्ट के सन्दर्भ में अज्ञानी हैं और इनको ट्रेनिंग की आवश्यकता है. आयुक्त सरकार के एजेंट की तरह काम कर रहे है और विभाग परिवर्तित न होने के चलते  मठाधीश बन जमकर भ्रष्ट आचरण कर रहे हैं.
 
 
हम आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों के बजूद को नकारकर उस्मानी ने हमारे प्रति अपना पूर्वाग्रह,दुराग्रह और अपनी अज्ञानता जाहिर की है. खेद है कि उस्मानी को नहीं पता है कि भारत सरकार आरटीआई का कोर्स चलाता है और मैं स्वयं भी कार्मिक और प्रशिक्षण मंत्रालय के इस ऑनलाइन कोर्स में शत-प्रतिशत अंक प्राप्त कर ‘A’  ग्रेड पा चुकी हूँ. यही नहीं दिल्ली में भारत सरकार द्वारा आयोजित सूचना आयुक्तों के सम्मलेन में आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों को भी बुलाया जाता है वह बात और है कि कभी कभी विरोध जताकर हम एक्टिविस्ट विरोधस्वरूप वहां जाने से मना कर देते हैं. यही नहीं, भारत सरकार ने यूपी सरकार को आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों की सूची बनाने और उनकी सुरक्षा करने के भी निर्देश दिए है अलबत्ता उस्मानी मुख्य सचिव रहते भी आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों की अनदेखी करते रहे और अब मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त बनने के बाद भी कर रहे हैं.उस्मानी अपना सामान्य ज्ञान बढ़ायें अन्यथा मुझे कहना पड़ेगा कि इस मूर्ख को किसने मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त बना दिया है.
 
 
उस्मानी को या अब तक आरटीआई एक्ट और कानून की समझ नहीं है या वे सत्ता की चाटुकारिता में जबरदस्त रूप से मदमस्त हैं तभी तो पीआईओ को बिना सुने लगाये गए जुर्माने को प्रक्रिया की कमी बता रहे है और दंड के आदेश को पलटने की बकालत कर रहे हैं. गौरतलब है कि आरटीआई एक्ट की धारा 20(1) के परंतुक के अनुसार पीआइओ पर दंड सुनवाई का युक्तयुक्त  अवसर देने के बाद ही लगाया जाता है और एक्ट में दंड बापसी का कोई भी प्राविधान नहीं है.राज्य लोक सूचना अधिकारी की अर्जी पर आयोग द्वारा पारित दण्डादेश को बापस लेना अधिनियम की धारा 19(7) और 23 के प्रतिकूल होने के साथ साथ इस स्थापित विधि के भी प्रतिकूल है कि  विधायिका द्वारा स्पष्ट अधिकार दिए बिना किसी भी न्यायिक,अर्द्ध-न्यायिक या प्रशासकीय संस्था को अपने ही आदेश का रिव्यु करना या उसे बदलना अवैध होता है lउत्तर प्रदेश राज्य सूचना आयोग भी एक प्रशासकीय संस्था है और इस स्थापित विधि के अनुसार इसके द्वारा अपने आदेश को बदलना गैर-कानूनी है l इस नियम की ओट में सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा लोक सूचना प्राधिकारियों के दंड के आदेशों को बापस लिया जायेगा जिसके कारण एक्ट की धारा 20 निष्प्रभावी हो जायेगी और सूचना आयोग में धीरे-धीरे भ्रष्टाचार की व्यवस्था भी पुष्ट होती जायेगी l
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
हालाँकि आरटीआई एक्ट सूचना सार्वजनिक करने का एक्ट है न कि सूचना छुपाने का और अधिनियम की धारा 4(1)(b) भी सूचना को स्वतः सार्वजनिक किये जाने पर जोर देती है पर उस्मानी द्वारा आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों की मौतों पर सूचना सार्वजनिक करने को आचित्यहीन करार देने और आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों की मौतों की हमारी आशंका को काल्पनिक बताने से सिद्ध हो रहा है कि जावेद उस्मानी आरटीआई एक्टिविस्टों की लाशों पर अपने स्वार्थों की सेज सजाने को तत्पर एक निहायत ही घटिया इंसान हैं जिनकी जितनी भी भर्त्सना की जाये वह कम है.  
 
 
सरकारी खर्चे पर आने वाले पीआइओ के आग्रह पर सुनवाई स्थगित करने के सरकारी कदम का समर्थन कर उस्मानी ने सिद्ध कर दिया है कि नौकरशाह अपने स्वार्थों की पूर्ति के लिए किसी भी हद तक गिरकर सत्ता की चाटुकारिता करेगा ही करेगा  फिर चाहें वह मामला सूचना आयोग की सुनवाइयों में आने के लिए अपने बच्चों का पेट काटकर पैसे खर्चने वाले गरीब आरटीआई आवेदकों का ही क्यों न हो.
 
 
आखिर उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य सूचना आयोग रूपी लंका के दशानन जो ठहरे ये आयुक्त जो आरटीआई रूपी सीता का बदनीयती से अपहरण कर उसे अपने इशारों पर नचाना चाहते है. पर हम भी राम हैं, यह न भूलें ये दशानन.
 
 
उम्मीद कर रही हूँ कि या तो उस्मानी अपना पद छोड़ेंगे या मुझे मानहानि का नोटिस अवश्य भेजेंगे अन्यथा ...................................................................... !
 
उर्वशी शर्मा
मोबाइल -  9369613513                                                   
 
 
 
 
 
  


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CHRI's submission to the UP Governor for amending UP RTI Rules 2015 [5 Attachments]

Dear all,
CHRI has completed a detailed analysis of the Uttar Pradesh Right to Information Rules notified by the State Government in December 2015. We had circulated a preliminary analysis of these Rules last week. We have sent a copy of the critique along with recommendations for improvement in the UP RTI Rules to the Hon'ble Governor and the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The letters along with the Annexures sent to them are in the first two attachments below.

Key areas identified for improvement in the UP RTI Rules are:

a)      the absence of any guidelines for PIOs regarding the manner of implementing the fee waiver guaranteed to BPL (Below Poverty Line) RTI applicants by the Act;

b)      the provisions permitting withdrawal of RTI appeals and complaints and those relating to the abatement of such proceedings upon the death of appellants and complainants can be abused to threaten RTI applicants demanding transparency and accountability;

c)      the absence of any guidance for First Appellate Authorities (FAA) regarding the procedures for deciding first appeals;

d)     the absence of guidance regarding payment of compensation to RTI applicants who have suffered detriment or loss due to the denial of access to information; and

e)      the absence of any reference to the procedure of seeking compliance from a Public Authority when the State Information Commission recommends disciplinary actions against errant PIOs.

CHRI has identified 35 other areas that require improvement to bring the UP RTI Rules in tune with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. Please see the 3rd attachment for details.

Please circulate this email widely and also use it in your advocacy work. I am informing our friends in the media sector that this email is  not being shared with anybody exclusively. I am sending this to you all well in advance of the daily deadline for news stories. Please feel free to use the materials contained in the attachments in your stories.


In order to access our previous email alerts on RTI and related issues please click on: http://sartian.org (Latest News) . If you do not wish to receive these email alerts please send an email to this address indicating your refusal.

Thanks
Venkatesh Nayak
Programme Coordinator
Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
#55A, 3rd Floor, Siddharth Chambers-1
Kalu Sarai, New Delhi- 110 016
Tel: +91-11-43180201/ 43180215

The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything, that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing": Justice K K Mathew, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, (1975)

"“Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its credal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing": Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, (1981)

"Information is the currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of society”: Justice A. P. Shah, former Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, (2010)



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यूपी सूचना आयुक्तों पर अविश्वास : निष्पक्ष और पारदर्शी सुनवाइयों के लिए समाजसेविका उर्वशी ने जावेद उस्मानी से की ऑडियो/वीडियो रिकॉर्डिंग कराने की मांग


 
 
लखनऊ / 15 जनवरी 2016 / बीते सोमबार को सूचना आयोग में हुई घटना के सम्बन्ध में यूपी के सूचना आयुक्त अरविन्द सिंह बिष्ट और लखनऊ के आरटीआई कार्यकर्ता तनवीर अहमद सिद्दीकी द्वारा हजरतगंज थाने में एक दूसरे के खिलाफ तहरीर देकर  एक दूसरे पर लगाए आरोप-प्रत्यारोप पर लखनऊ पुलिस अभी जांच ही कर रही है कि इसी बीच लखनऊ के एक सामाजिक संगठन ने उत्तर प्रदेश के राज्य मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त जावेद उस्मानी को पत्र लिखकर यूपी के सूचना आयुक्तों पर अविश्वास जताया है और निष्पक्ष और पारदर्शी सुनवाइयों के लिए राज्य सूचना आयोग की सभी सुनवाइयों की ऑडियो और वीडियो रिकॉर्डिंग कराने की मांग बुलंद की है.  
 
लखनऊ स्थित सामाजिक संगठन येश्वर्याज सेवा संस्थान की सचिव और सामाजिक व आरटीआई कार्यकत्री उर्वशी शर्मा ने बीते मंगलवार स्वयं सूचना आयोग जाकर जावेद उस्मानी के नाम एक पत्र देकर उत्तर प्रदेश के राज्य सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों को झूंठे मामलों में फंसाए जाने की घटनाओं और सूचना आवेदकों के प्रति पूर्वाग्रही होकर सुनवाईयां करने की बढ़ती घटनाओं के मद्देनज़र सभी सुनवाइयों की ऑडियो और वीडियो रिकॉर्डिंग की मांग उठायी है.
 
 
उर्वशी ने बताया कि येश्वर्याज सेवा संस्थान लखनऊ स्थित एक सामाजिक संगठन है जो विगत 15  वर्षों से अनेकों सामाजिक क्षेत्रों के साथ-साथ 'लोकजीवन में पारदर्शिता संवर्धन और जबाबदेही निर्धारण' के क्षेत्र  में कार्यरत है l बकौल उर्वशी उनके संगठन के संज्ञान में आया है कि उत्तर प्रदेश के राज्य सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों को झूंठे मामलों में फंसाए जाने की घटनाओं और सूचना आवेदकों के प्रति पूर्वाग्रही होकर सुनवाईयां करने की घटनाओं में लगातार वृद्धि हो रही है. 
 
गौरतलब है कि बीते दिसम्बर में देश भर के बिभिन्न सामाजिक संगठनों ने उर्वशी की अगुआई में लखनऊ में न्याय यात्रा निकाल देश भर की अदालतों में ऑडियो  और वीडियो रिकॉर्डिंग कराने की आवाज बुलंद की थी.
उर्वशी ने बताया कि उत्तर प्रदेश के राज्य सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा आरटीआई आवेदकों को झूंठे मामलों में फंसाए जाने की घटनाओं और सूचना आवेदकों के प्रति पूर्वाग्रही होकर सुनवाईयां करने की बढ़ती घटनाओं के मद्देनज़र ही उन्होंने मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त से सभी सुनवाइयों की ऑडियो  और वीडियो रिकॉर्डिंग कराने के सम्बन्ध में अग्रेत्तर कार्यवाही करने का अनुरोध किया है.

    उर्वशी ने बताया कि उनके संगठन ने इससे पूर्व भी एक मुहिम चलाकर सूचना आयोग पर जनदबाव बनाकर पूर्व मुख्य सूचना आयुक्त रणजीत सिंह पंकज के कार्यकाल में पूरे सूचना आयोग में सीसीटीवी कैमरे लगबाये थे पर वर्तमान सूचना आयुक्तों द्वारा एक साजिश के तहत इनको निष्क्रिय कर दिया गया है.उर्वशी ने कहा कि वे इन निष्क्रिय कैमरों को चालू करवाने और खराब कैमरों को बदलवाने के बाद ही दम लेंगी.


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Posted by: urvashi sharma <rtimahilamanchup-/E1597aS9LQxFYw1CcD5bw@public.gmane.org>



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Express your anguish against Information Commissioners here. सूचना आयुक्तों के खिलाफ अपनी भड़ास यहाँ निकालें.

Bhadas4InformationCommissioners
भड़ास4इनफार्मेशनकमिश्नरस
Express your anguish against Information Commissioners here.
सूचना आयुक्तों के खिलाफ अपनी भड़ास यहाँ निकालें.
Send your BHADAS against Information Commissioners to bhadas4informationcommissioner-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org and we shall publish it at our blog available at below-given web address


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Posted by: urvashi sharma <rtimahilamanchup-/E1597aS9LQxFYw1CcD5bw@public.gmane.org>



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Sign the online petition raised to demand a CB-CID Probe in counter allegations by RTI activist Tanveer and UP Info-Commissioner Bisht

Link to the petition

This refers to Uttar Pradesh State Information Commissioner Arvind Singh Bisht and  RTI activist Tanveer Ahmad Siddiqui locking horns during a hearing on 11-01-16 at Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission.

RTI activist  Tanveer has alleged ill-treatment ( abusing, beating and illegal detaining ) by Information Commissioner Arvind Singh Bisht and Bisht has  alleged thumping the desk, misbehavior and blackmailing by RTI activist. 

While activist Siddiqui has claimed that his case was disposed of without giving him the desired information , Bisht   has claimed that Siddiqui has himself given in writing that he has received the information. Siddiqui  has claimed that his signatures were taken forcibly by the security guard of Information Commissioner and the record on file shall establish that his case has been disposed-off without furnishing the desired information to him.

In their applications given to Police Station Hazratganj for registration of F.I.R., both the info-commissioner and the RTI activist have leveled abovementioned counter allegations on each other.


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Posted by: urvashi sharma <rtimahilamanchup-/E1597aS9LQxFYw1CcD5bw@public.gmane.org>



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CHRI's preliminary observations on and recommendations for improving the UP RTI Rules 2015

Dear all,
In March 2015, the State Information Commission of Uttar Pradesh invited people's comments on a set of Draft RTI Rules that were intended to replace the Rules notified in 2006. CHRI and several other civil society organisations and activists gave their views pointing out what required to be improved in the Draft in order to make the Rules regime conform with the letter and spirit of The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). After eight months, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has notified the a new set of RTI Rules that will become applicable in Uttar Pradesh. The Hindi version of the new Rules were uploaded first on the website of the Commission in December followed by the authentic translation of the Rules in English version of these Rules caused to be published by the Governor of UP under Article 348(3) of the Constitution. CHRI has analysed the new RTI Rules. Our preliminary observations and recommendations for change are given below. We are working on a detailed analysis of the Rules and will come up with alternative formulations soon. 

Meanwhile, it needs to be pointed out that the new Rules become effective from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette i.e., 03 December, 2015. Ordinarily when Rules are made under law they become operational with immediate effect upon publication in the Official Gazette. However the legislatures have the power to amend or annul the Rules when they are tabled in the House(s) by the Government for a period of 30 days. However RTI Rules made by the State Governments under the RTI Act are dealt with differently. Under Section 29(2) The State Legislature of Uttar Pradesh does not have the power to amend or annul any Rule made under the RTI Act. The State Government merely tables the Rules in the Houses of the Legislature. Last month, through an email alert I had shared with all of you the constitutional conundrum that has persisted for several decades in India on the issue of exercise of effective oversight by State Legislatures on the manner of use of powers of delegated legislation by the respective governments. A letter sent to the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India for a second time was attached to that email alert. The Department is yet to respond to this December 2015 communication although they acknowledged the problem in 2011 when we wrote to them first. Nothing has been done till date to resolve this conundrum. Activists in Uttar Pradesh have already started their advocacy campaign to get the lacuna in the RTI Rules rectified by approaching the Governor.


CHRI's preliminary comments on the Uttar Pradesh RTI Rules, 2015
Overall, it is encouraging to see the UP Government discard the minimalist approach to rule making under the RTI Act and go in for greater detailing of the procedures for implementing the provisions of the RTI Act. The new set of RTI Rules do create some convenience for citizens who seek information from public authorities in Uttar Pradesh. However when compared to the RTI Rules notified by the Central Government in 2012 and the Uttarakhand Government in 2013, the UP RTI Rules fall short on several counts and in some cases the new Rules violate the letter and the spirit of the RTI Act. More than 25 lacunae in the RTI Rules are identified below:

1) Rule 3: While the Rules require identification and reporting of public authorities, PIOs and FAAs across the State to the UP State Information Commission (the Commission),, there is no obligation placed on the public authority to display the names and contact details of these officers on a notice board at a publicly accessible place on their premises. This is an essential requirement in a State which does not have a very high level of Internet penetration. Further, nothing in Rule 3 requires public authorities to send a list of APIOs to the Commission. This is also a lacuna in the Rules as some public authorities have designated APIOs in UP.

2) Rules 4(1) and 4(2)(c): The manner of drafting of this Rule, particularly the proviso does not provide adequate clarity to a PIO as to how to handle RTI applications that exceed the 500 word limit. In all likelihood, the default option will be to reject lengthy RTI applications. Instead the Rule should be amended in the manner of Rule 3 of the Central RTI Rules where the proviso states that a PIO shall not reject an RTI application on the ground that it exceeds 500 words in length. 

Further, the proviso under Rule 4(1) should be strengthened to place a negative obligation on the PIO prohibiting him from rejecting plain paper RTI applications. Similarly use of formats for filing appeals and complaints must not be made compulsory and similar prohibition on rejection on this ground must be introduced in Rules 6(3) and 7(1) in relation to complaints and appeals filed under the RTI Act.

3) Rule 4(2): The entire sub-Rule imposes conditions on an RTI applicant that are not envisaged at all in the law. It is not uncommon for RTI applications to motivate a public authority to collect information that it has not so done already under an existing law or rule just because nobody paid attention to it. Clause (1) of this Rule will prevent such applications from being filed in UP. Clauses (ii) and (iii) do not take note of the caveat given in the Supreme Court judgement in the CBSE vs Aditya Bandopadhyaya case in 2012 where the Supreme Court said that of opinion or advice can be culled out from the official record then it may be given. However the default option for the PIO under these RTI Rules will be to reject all such requests by citing these sub-Rules. Similarly Clause (iv) will be used by the PIO to reject every RTI query that reads like a question. When the Hon'ble PM said in his inaugural speech at the 10th Annual RTI Convention that citizens should have the right to question the government apart from merely seeking information (and representatives of the UPSIC attended this event) the UP RTI Rules unnecessarily deny this right to citizens. Clause (v) is also against the spirit of Section 7(9) as it does not give any guidance as to how a PIO should deal with requests for voluminous information. Rule 5(h) of the Uttarakhand RTI Rules allow inspection of records in such cases. However the UP RTI Rules will be used by PIOs to reject an RTI application outright. So Rule 4(2) in UP will create more inconvenience and confusion and increase the workload of the SIC than resolve existing problems.

4) Rules 4(4) & 5(1): These Rules do not differentiate between APL and BPL RTI applicants. BPL applicants need not pay any fee under the RTI Act. They must show proof of BPL identity to claim fee waiver. The UP RTI Rules do not clarify this issue and unscrupulous PIOs are likely to start quoting this Rule to tell BPL applicants that the law has been changed requiring them to pay both application fee and additional fee to obtain information. This has happened in other places earlier. Further, CIC had in an order a few years ago said that public authorities should not reject an RTI application for non-payment of application fee. It can always be collected along with the additional fee at a later date. Rule 5(b) In Uttarakhand permits the PIO to receive an RTI application unaccompanied by the application fee whom he will notify requesting fee payment. However the 30-day deadline does not commence until the application fee is paid. This is a citizen-friendly approach. The UP RTI Rules only create new grounds for PIOs to reject RTI applications in an unreasonable manner.

5) Rule 4(5) is also against the spirit of the RTI Act where a PIO is not required to transfer an RTI application to more than one public authority under Section 6(3) of the Act. DoPT's Office Memorandum (OM) of June 2008 requires a CPIO to transfer the RTI application to at least one of the two public authorities, if it contains a request for information held by multiple public authorities. A Full Bench of the CIC went a step further and ruled in a case that where PIOs of multiple public authorities have official email ids, the RTI application can be transferred to all of them at the click of a button instead of following the DoPT's suggested route. All these OMs and CIC decisions are accessible online. Yet the new UP RTI Rules do not seem to be informed by these examples of best practices.

6) Rule 4(6)(c) authorises a PIO to reject an RTI application on the basis of violation of the RTI Rules. This is against the very letter of the Act which states that a rejection can be made only on the basis of application of Sections 8 and 9 of the Act apart from Section 24. This Rules simply does not take into account Sections 5(3), 6(1)(a)'s proviso and 7(4) of the RTI Act which require a PIO to give reasonable assistance to applicants at various stages. The UP RTI Rules unfortunately do not contain any guidance about how such assistance shall be provided. Instead they are likely to be used to frustrate the RTI applicants increasingly.

7) Rule 4(7)  is in complete violation of Section 10 of the RTI Act relating to severability of exempt information. A close reading of Section 10(1) indicates that the decision of severability is not for the PIO to make. Instead he/she is required to merely convey the decision of severability made by another officer to the RTI applicant. The decision of severability is to be made by another officer, presumably senior in rank to the PIO. This Rule requires the PIO to act in a manner that is not authorised by the Act at all. It must be amended to clarify who in the public authority will be responsible for the decision of severability. Ideally it should not be the FAA before whom the decision of severability is likely to be challenged.

8) Rule 5(1): In keeping with CHRI's recommendation to DoPT dated 12/1/2016 that all fee instruments under the RTI Act should be payable to the PIO or the APIO using the route of Rule 88 of the General Financial Rules, 2005, it is advisable to amend the UP RTI Rules to incorporate this recommendation.

9) Rule 5(2)(iv) does not follow the lowest benchmark for fee rates set by the Central RTI Rules as well as those of Uttarakhand and other States with regard to inspection of records. While these Rules permit free inspection of records for the first hour, the UP RTI Rules will be sued to charge the applicant from the very first hour. It looks like that the Government is interested at making money every time the citizen uses his/her RTI to inspect records. This new Rule is extremely unsatisfactory and the original fee rate which closely followed the Central RTI Rules of free inspection for  first hour and payment of Rs. 5 for every subsequent hour or fraction must be restored.

10) Rule 5(4) permits a PIO to charge an RTI applicant for labour and material involved for supplying copies of maps and plans. This Rule has been made in complete ignorance of the standards set by the CIC. In the case of Subodh Jain vs DCP, West District, Delhi Police a full Bench of the CIC ruled in 2009 against charging labour, wages, search and collation fees under the RTI Act. Where maps and plans are involved only reproduction costs may be charged. The UP RTI Rules appear to misinterpret the additional fee provisions laid down in Section 7 of the RTI Act. Leaving so much discretion in the hands of the PIO is likely to result in abandonment of the principle of reasonableness of fee required under the proviso of Section 7(5) of the RTI Act.

11) Rules 6 & 7 require a complaint or an appeal to be filed in triplicate. It is not clear why three copies are required when two would suffice - one for the Commission and the other for the respondent public authority. This Rule will only lead to waste of paper. There must also be an option for the complainant/appellant to file only one copy if he/she shows that a copy of the appeal/complaint has been transmitted to the respondent public authority.

12) Rules 6(5) & 7(3) permit the Commission's Registrar to return complaints and appeals to citizens on the basis of technical defects. Nothing in these Rules requires them to inform the complainant/appellant about his/her right to resubmit the appeal/complaint after curing the defects. Further, instead of returning the entire set of papers, the Commission's Registry could advise the appellant/complainant by phone or post to send the missing papers or information. Unfortunately in its bid to make the RTI Rules as cumbersome as possible for the citizens, the UP Government has succeeded in turning the Commission into another court. This was snot the original spirit behind the creation of Information Commissions. They were created for ensuring speedy disposal of cases. Instead the RTI Rules will only delay the disposal of appeals and complaints further. 

Further, the RTI Rules do not differentiate the circumstances in which an appeal or complaint may be filed under the RTI Act based on the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in the Chief Information Commr. & Anr. vs State of Manipur & Anr case, decided in 2011. The differentiated grounds on which a complaint or an appeal may be filed could have been clarified in the Rules. However this opportunity has not been availed of by the UP Government in the RTI Rules.

13) Rules 6(8) and 7(6) require the Commission to issue notices of hearing in a appeal/complaint case 15 days in advance of the date of such hearing. The widespread experience in States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and several others is that the notice often reaches the appellant/complainant a day or two before the hearing date and in some cases on the morning of the hearing or on occasion, after the date of hearing has lapsed. Instead, the Rules must require the Commission to ensure that the notice of hearing is delivered to the appellant/complainant several weeks in advance so that he/she may make adequate preparations.

14) Rules 6(9) & 7(7) require the Commission to furnish a copy of the respondent public authority's counter to an appeal or complaint on the date of hearing. This is a complete violation of the principles of fair hearing in a case. While the respondent public authority will get a copy of the appeal/complaint around the same time as the Commission, the appellant/complainant is given no such advance notice. The appellant/complainant will simply not be able to prepare an effective counter to the public authority's response due to inadequacy of time. Such cases when challenged before the Courts on these grounds will be struck down invariably on grounds of procedural infirmity. The principle of fair hearing is not rocket science. It is part of administrative law which every bureaucrat avails of during any departmental action against him/her. Yet, the Rules have been drafted to create more inconvenience for citizens before the Commission. This lacuna must be remedied. all counters filed by a public authority must be supplied to the appellant/complainant forthwith.

15) Rule 7(8) does not provide for search procedures to be initiated by the Commission when a public authority claims that records are missing. This is a serious lacuna in the Rules. In the matter of Union India vs. Vishwas Bhamburkar the Delhi High Court upheld a decision of the CIC to order a search for missing records in the Union Ministry of Tourism saying that such powers were implied under Section 19(8) of the RTI Act. The UP RTI Rules appear to be ignorant of this important jurisprudential development leaving the Commission somewhat powerless to do anything when a public authority claims absence of requested records or that they have gone missing.

16) Rule 9(1) must be amended to permit the appellant/complainant not to be present during a hearing. This option is missing in Rule 9. It is provided for in the Central RTI rules as well as the Uttarakhand RTI Rules.

17) Rule 9(2) make it voluntary for the PIO to attend a hearing before the Commission. This is most unfortunate. Where the decision of the PIO or the FAA is challenged on grounds of error of law or fact, the concerned PIO must be required to explain his/her decision or inaction, as may be the case. Hearings at the Commission must be taken seriously and not treated like a picnic where an officer may choose to go or not go at will. Any officer other than he/she who took the decision will not be able to explain the case to the satisfaction of the Commission.

18) Rule 10 provides for adjournments without limiting the number. As such the UP SIC hears a case through at least 3 hearings. This is a major cause for the delays in disposal and the growing pendency. Adjournments must be limited to 1-2 only. In a case where the grievance is about lack of response form the PIO, no adjournment should be granted as no case requires to be made out. The PIO must explain why he/she did not send any reply to the citizen in the first hearing itself.

19) Rules 13(1) permits an appellant/complainant to withdraw an appeal or complaint. Under Rule 13(3) an appeal or complaint will abate upon the demise of the appellant/complainant. Given the current scenario where 50 RTI users/activists or their kin have been murdered and hundreds more have been beaten up severely or subjected to ostracizing in a bid to make them withdraw their complaints these provisions will be used by vested interests to force an end to appeals and complaints cases. When the Central Government contemplated similar provisions, it backed off after trenchant criticism from civil society. UP has already witnessed the murder of at least 6 RTI users/activists during the last 10 years even in the absence of withdrawal and abatement provisions. There is no need to strengthen the hands of vested interests in a legal manner. RTI is not in the nature of people's right to property which will get extinguished with their withdrawal or demise. Information of interest to one person may be of interest to others. So the Commission must proceed to decide on the merits of a case. Where an appellant/complainant has passed on, the information may be directed to be proactively disclosed.

20) Rule 15 does not provide a time limit within which penalty may be recovered form the errant PIO. The Uttarakhand RTI Rules require penalty amount to be realised within 3-6 months. Impliedly, the PIO may appeal against such decision within the same period. The UP RTI rules miss out an important compliance provision in this regard as it leaves compliance with such orders open-ended.

21) Format 2 which is the proforma for an RTI application requires an applicant to give the name of the father or the spouse (in the case of married women). This is not required under the RTI Act. A person exercises his/her right to seek and obtain information in his/her relationship vis-a-vis the State as a citizen not as somebody's son or wife. The form needs to be amended to delete this requirement. Other forms are also drafted in terse legal language. Instead the language must be simplified to make them people-friendly.


Missing Rules:
1) The UP RTI Rules do not contain any detailing for records management under Section 4(1)(a) of the RTI Act nor any guidance for proactive disclosure of information under Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act. This is a major lapse. Enough guidance is available from the DoPT for this purpose. Some of these guidelines could have been included in the Rules as they are specifically targeted towards State Governments.

2) There are no Rules for the first appellate authorities (FAAs) to follow in the UP RTI Rules. This is one of the reasons why that mechanism is dysfunctional increasing the burden on the Commission. Uttarakhand RTI Rules contain some detailed provisions for the FAAs to dispose of first appeals. These may be used as a model to develop the rules for FAAs in UP.

3) While the RTI Act does not prescribe a time limit for the disposal of appeals and complaints by the Commission MP and more recently, Uttarakhand have introduced the same in their Rules. While in MP the time limit is 180 days, it is 90-120 days in Uttarakhand. In Jammu and Kashmir, the State's own RTI Act prescribes a time limit of 60-120 days for the State's Information Commission to decide an appeal. The absence of such a provision is a major lacuna in the Rules which needs to be corrected. Information delayed is information denied.

4) The UP RTI Rules contain no provision for the Commission to follow-up with the public authority on a recommendation made against an errant PIO for disciplinary action on grounds of persistent contravention of the provisions of the RTI Act under Section 20(2). This task cannot be left open-ended and to the discretion of the public authority to comply or not.

5) The UP RTI Rules do not contain any provision detailing how an order requiring the complainant/appellant to be compensated for loss suffered due to denial of access to information will be complied with by a public authority. The Uttarakhand RTI Rules require the public authority to acknowledge receipt of the order and initiation of action. The absence of such a provision is a major lacuna in the UP RTI Rules.

We hope the State Government will act to make amendments to the new RTI Rules and iron out all problematic areas pointed out above, at the earliest.

Please circulate this email widely.


In order to access our previous email alerts on RTI and related issues please click on: http://sartian.org (Latest News) . If you do not wish to receive these email alerts please send an email to this address indicating your refusal.

Thanks
Venkatesh Nayak
Programme Coordinator
Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
#55A, 3rd Floor, Siddharth Chambers-1
Kalu Sarai, New Delhi- 110 016
Tel: +91-11-43180201/ 43180215

The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything, that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing": Justice K K Mathew, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, (1975)

"“Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its credal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing": Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, (1981)

"Information is the currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of society”: Justice A. P. Shah, former Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, (2010)



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Posted by: Venkatesh Nayak <venkatesh-VldVBIePPc7rfyPWP6PaXg+gnn+XHhfY2LY78lusg7I@public.gmane.org>



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CHRI's submission to DoPT for resolving problems related to fee payment and utilisation under the RTI Act [1 Attachment]

Dear all,
Please find attached a communication along with an Annexe despatched to the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India regarding problems faced by citizens while paying fees under the RTI Act and the obstacles faced by public information officers while utilising this money. A shorter version of the letter is copied below.

Please circulate this email widely.

In order to access our previous email alerts on RTI and related issues please click on: http://sartian.org (Latest News). If you do not wish to receive these email alerts please send an email to this address indicating your refusal.
Thanks 
Venkatesh Nayak
Programme Coordinator
Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
#55 A, 3rd Floor, Siddharth Chambers-1
Kalu Sarai
New Delhi- 110 016
Tel: +91-11-43180201/ 43180215

The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything, that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing": Justice K K Mathew, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, (1975)

"“Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its credal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing": Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, (1981)

"Information is the currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of society”: Justice A. P. Shah, former Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, (2010)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Venkatesh Nayak <venkatesh-VldVBIePPc7rfyPWP6PaXg+gnn+XHhfY2LY78lusg7I@public.gmane.org>
Date: Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 2:28 PM
Subject: CHRI's submission of suggestions for overcoming fee payment and utilisation problems under the RTI Act
To: Sanjay Kothari <secy_mop-R9E+szwozl8@public.gmane.org>
Cc: d.chaturvedi-4CNQnjY0xcGf0DUV/oxz1A@public.gmane.org, jsata-R9E+szwozl8@public.gmane.org, usir-dopt-R9E+szwozl8@public.gmane.org


To,

Mr. Sanjay Kothari, IAS

Secretary to Government of India

Department of Personnel and Training

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

North Block

New Delhi- 110 001


Dear sir,

Sub: Regarding resolving the problems relating to the payment of various kinds of fees by citizens and their realisation by PIOs under The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act)

I am writing to draw your attention to a persistent problem relating to the payment and utilisation of fees under the RTI Act.

The common complaint is that PIOs are required by the applicable financial rules to deposit all fees received from citizens in the bank accounts of their offices and make withdrawals from the funds allotted to meet contingency expenditure for paying the information reproduction charges. Several PIOs, across different states, have reported that they often end up paying the photocopying charges from their pockets as withdrawal from the contingency funds gets delayed and puts them in danger of being penalised for delayed supply of information.


Another dimension of this problem affects the demand side of access to information. While the RTI Rules notified by your department require all payments to be made in favour of the Accounts Officer, several public authorities require these instruments to be drawn in favour of the DDO or the P&AO or some other authority. For example, the web page of the Indian Army instructs RTI applicants to drawn up fee payment instruments in favour of “GSO-1 RTI Fund” (see weblink: http://indianarmy.nic.in/Site/FormTemplete/frmTempSimple.aspx?MnId=aBzCAsVnx2P4ns1gn+Vx4A==&ParentID=D4yk+7ntOHPMGZbflplYAg==&flag=KaPdESCoSUeKO54LDTwGFQ==) The RTI Rules published by several State Governments do not clearly indicate in whose favour non-cash payment instruments must be drawn. It varies from public authority to public authority. It is unfortunate that this problem has persisted in the second decade of the implementation of the RTI Act making it very inconvenient for


citizens, particularly those living in rural areas, to make fee payments under the RTI Act.

 

I would like to bring to your notice the RTI Rules notified by the State Government of Uttarakhand in 2013 (enclosed) which simplify this procedure. Rule 6 of the said Rules require payment of all kinds of fees in favour of the PIO or the APIO. This is a very convenient procedure for all RTI applicants as the requests for information are also addressed to these designated officers. This practice deserves to be emulated across all jurisdictions including the Central Government.

 

The practice adopted in Uttarakhand can be uniformly adopted across the country using an existing financial procedural mechanism. Upon a perusal of the General Financial Rules 2005 (GFR), I have found that it is possible to create a simple mechanism for making fee payments and spending the monies under the RTI Act. GFR Rule 88 read with Rule 89 permits the creation of a ‘Personal Deposit Account’ which can be operated by a designated officer for the purposes specified in that Rule. The relevant portions of Rules 88-89 are reproduced below:

 

Rule 88. Personal Deposit Account: Personal Deposit Account is a device intended to facilitate the Designated Officer thereof to credit receipts into and effect withdrawals directly from the account, subject to an overall check being exercised by the bank in which the account is authorised to be opened. The Designated Officer shall ensure (with the help of a personal ledger account to be maintained by the bank for the purpose) that no withdrawal will result in a minus balance therein. Only Government officers acting in their official or any other capacity shall be the Designated Officer thereof.

 

Rule 89. Authority to open Personal Deposit Account:

(1) The Personal Deposit Account shall be authorised to be opened by a special order by the concerned Ministry or Department in consultation with the Controller General of Accounts. Such special order or permission shall be issued or granted by the Ministry or Department concerned after it is satisfied that the initial accounts of the moneys to be held in a personal deposit account and disbursed, shall be arranged to be maintained properly and shall be subject to audit. Every personal deposit account so authorised to be opened, shall form part of the Government Account and be located in the Public Account thereof. The provisions relating to “Personal Deposit Account” are contained in para 16.7 of Civil Accounts Manual and Rule 191 to 194 of Central Government Account (Receipts and Payments) Rules….

 

(2) Personal Deposit accounts shall generally be authorised to be opened in the following types of cases:

XXX

(c) where, under certain regulatory activities of the Government, receipts are realised and credited to a Fund or Account under the provisions of an Act to be utilised towards expenditure thereunder and no outgo from the Consolidated Fund is involved.”

 

I would like to recommend that every public authority be required to create a personal deposit accounts operated by the designated PIOs into which he/she may deposit all fees received and make withdrawals directly under the general supervision of the first appellate authority or any other competent senior officer designated by the public authority for that purpose. This would create enormous convenience for PIOs on the one hand and lend sufficient clarity to the RTI applicants for drawing up the fee payment instruments. Should sub-Rule 89(2)(c) be found inadequate for the purpose of giving effect to the fee receipt and expenditure procedures required under the RTI Act, your Department may make a recommendation to the Controller General of Accounts or any other appropriate authority in the Ministry of Finance to insert new provisions in that Rule for creating such a facility of convenience for the receipt and expenditure of fees under the RTI Act. As the RTI Act is here to stay, a permanent solution needs to be devised urgently to deal with the problem of fee payments.

 

I would be grateful if you would initiate a discussion in your Department on the suggestion given above and work with the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Finance to iron out the problems created by the inadequacy of procedures for fee payment and utilisation under the RTI Act. If you wish to discuss this issue further, please feel free to contact me (venkatesh <at> humanrightsinitiative.org; 9871050555).


Please find attached a scanned copy of the full text of this letter along with all Annexes. A hard copy of the letter and the Annexure are being sent to you by post. Kindly note that I will be circulating this email and attachment to other members of the RTI fraternity to keep them informed about this communication.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Venkatesh Nayak

Programme Coordinator
Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
#55 A, 3rd Floor, Siddharth Chambers-1
Kalu Sarai
New Delhi- 110 016
Tel: +91-11-43180201/ 43180215



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