let ncpri step in
Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:41 pm
"prakash kardaley" <pmk1504@...> pmk1504
you have taken highly commendable efforts in writing to the chief secretaries of both gujarat and orissa, drawing their attention to the errors/deficiencies in the rti rules of the respective states. you have also all of us to email similar representations.
do you really believe these would be taken any cognisance of?
but i am sure if the same representation is made by the national campaign for people's right to information (ncpri), it would at least be read and hopefully even acted upon.
one representation from the ncpri, you will appreciate, will carry more weight than identical/similar petitions sent by 10,000 individuals like us.
while posting the text of the orissa rules on this boards, i gave vent to my feeling that this is high time the ncpri steps in. things have gone haywire all over the country.
we have lost the battle on the information commissions. the bitter truth is, we didn't fight any. if we weren't very keen on getting non-bureaucrats appointed as commissioners, why did we (i mean ncpri - you are a working committee member and so am i - so whatever ncpri does or does not, i have to use the words like `we', `us' and `our') argue so hard before the parliamentary standing committee and make hectic efforts in getting the qualifications of of the info commissioners amended and enlarged?
bureaucracy at the GoI refused to accept our feeble representation on the error that has crept in the legislation taking away in effect the earlier provision on mandating the information commissioner to dispose of second appeals in 30 plus 15 days.
an utter chaos prevails on designations of assistant PIOs. we have not done anything in getting the matter sorted out. The legislation expects APIOs to be designated only at the sub-divisioanl/sub- district level. What are they then doing even in the ministries?
Goi has brushed aside our suggestions on rules. we expected exhaustive rules so as to make the operation of the act smoother and user-friendly. the central government has come out with a terse notification merely on fees and costs. one does not know if any additional rules are expected now on other operational matters. One does not know if comprehensive guidelines are to be issued.
maharashtra government has not even officially announced fees and costs, forget other operational rules while it hastened to give the mrti act with all its excellent track record an undecent burial.
one does not know what is happening elsewhere. how are the people in those states going to start start using the Act?
all these problem listed above would seriously jeopardise the `people's right to information'. can you and me as individuals and a few of our friends do anything tangible in removing these anomalies?
you will agree, only a `national campaign' can make a difference - not isolated efforts of a bunch of individuals. i have been drawing the ncpri's attention to all these problems and unfortunately getting no response. isn't it time for the ncpri to step in to protect the right of the people?
may i suggest, as the working committee member, you may ask for a delegated authority from the ncpri to make these representations not in your individual capacity but on behalf of that great and influential forum.
Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:19 am
"shailesh Gandhi" <shailesh2@...> shailesh_gan...
Re: [HumJanenge] let ncpri step in
I am in agreement with most of the points raised by you.
However, perhaps we as NCPRI did not earlier envisage a situation where it would be necessary for a delegation of authority. There is a meeting of the NCPRI Working Committee on the 20th of October,and I am sure we will address these issues and come up with a workable solution.
Until then, I feel it is still necessary to do whatever is possible.
Incidentally, I certainly benefit and draw on the wisdom and experience of the NCPRI working Committee members. It was Shekhar Singh and Aruna Roy who suggested I should make a note on the discrepancies in the rules, so that NCPRI could take note.
Maja Daruwala is also putting her team onto this job. I must confesss my conviction and faith in RTI rests on the belief that it empowers individual Citizens. Somewhere the romantic in me, believes that the solution to India's problems lies in recognising and pursuing the majesty of the Citizen, and having faith in it.
Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:13 pm
"Malik, Veeresh" <veereshmalik@...> satyapadam
Re: let ncpri step in
I am not on a "tirade". I am just asking questions here.
I think the complete matter can be synthesised thus:-
a) As per the RTI Act'05, it is Indian citizens who are eligible to ask to be provided information. As of now, even this basic step, of being able to submit an RTI Application, is full of difficulties for the average Indian citizen.
Please provide me with the following information:-What are the various organisations championing RTI doing about this basic first baby step, before reaching the higher stratospheric levels of File Notings, which as rightly pointed out by many, have no relevance to 99% of the RTI applications? (Taking out the subset of inter-departmental RTI Applications on file notings, clogging up the existing bandwidth available.)
b) I am also observing and questioning this debate on whether RTI Organisations should "be engaged" or participate in an RTI conference organised by the CIC. Great scorn is thrust and motives are attributed left, right and centre. Adherenece to the lofty ideals of the RTI Act are thrown around as reasons. The responses and ideals are illuminating.
Please provide me with the following information:- How many of the RTI
Organisations apply the same logic of adherence to the RTI Act to themselves?
More importantly, when they use the media as a co-joined platform, how many of the RTI Organisations apply the same logic of adherence to the media companies (nothing is more "Public Authority" than a media organisation, and for those who wish to know more, please write in.)? Why would NCPRI and CHRI and Parivartan, for example, fervently work on coming on television programmes on channels which do not adhere to the RTI Act? Especially when there are some television channels which do adhere to the RTI Act? (Let RTI Organisations work only with that media which adheres to the RTI Act)
c) Thank you for bringing NCPRI into the ambit of the suo-moto declarations required under the RTI Act by October'06.
Please provide me with the following information:- How many of the other RTI Organisations will agree to do the same? (Especially the foreign funded ones, thank you.)
The largest issue is that the furore being created over the File Notings
amendment has had the (intended???) effect of convincing many on the ground that the RTI Act is dead, when it is far from so. That damage, ladies & gentlemen, is what needs to be corrected, which is what I really strive for.
Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:47 pm
"shailesh Gandhi" <shailesh2@...> shailesh_gan...
I have been unwell since yesterday, and hence unable to answer your tirade
against those of us who have opposed the removal of file notings from the Act. I might not be able to give my arguments against each of the variety of arguments and accusations you have levelled, I shall try and answer some of them. I must also concede, that I might not be able to match you mail to mail.
Yes, a large percentage of the Nation, let me put a number, over 99%, are
expecting information on the simple things in life. Get used to it, what
happened in history or for that matter what the privatisation of DJB will
achieve when water doesn't reach most of us anyway, is hardly of consequence. By the same token, I would have presumed that the RTI Act and insistence on file notings would have blocked the privatisation of telecom, airlines, courier companies, even the Internet, right?
(Before anyone questions, why I have removed most recepients from the answer I am providing, I wish to clarify that this is because of the fact that my Service provider does not deliver a message to more than 15. I would be obliged if you or anyone else could forward it to the others).
Firstly I would address the issue of why we are opposed to the amendments to the RTI act:
This move shows the arrogance of those who rule. This change is being opposed on the following grounds:
1. Putting file notings in the realm of exemptions could render the Act weaker by about 10%. There are a lot of instances where honest officers have recorded their objections to illegal proposals, and the higher officers/Ministers have overruled them, which would come to light. There is possibilty that even the simle applications asking for fixing accontability of officers could be denied, and the Xerox copies, -if they contain notings-certainly.
2. I am unsure as to how any file inspection could be allowed. Most of the
notings are on the pages themselves.
3. The present move would lead to further attempts to dilute the law. The
Government has made no attempt to disclose the Public, what great harm has accrued to governance in the last few months, which would not be covered under the present exemptions under Section 8.
4. It makes a mockery of over nine months of a consultative-deliberative process between Beaureucrats, Ministers, a Parliamentary Committee and Citizens, by an arbitrary decision of the cabinet. This is violative of the basic principles of transparency and democracy.
On your dissatisfaction with all other bodies: Maybe, the implication is that if all bodies are not covered, or following the requirement of RTI, there is no legitimate grounds for asking 'Public authorities' defined in the Act to do so. I agree with you that it would be desirable for all Public organisations including Public Limited Companies to be covered. However, I do not think that because they are not covered, the RTI act should be allowed to be diluted.
As far as your specific charge against NCPRI is concerned, though we get no finance from the Government or any tax-concession, we will ensure that we fulfill the requirements of the RTI Act, by the end of October. In the meantime, if you, or anyone else, has any specific queries, we shall answer them without taking recourse to any of the exemptions under Section 8.
Quoting you: 'THERE IS A VALUE, SURE. BUT THE ABSCENCE DOES NOT MAKE THE RTI ACT "LOSE TEETH". ALL IT DOES IS PREVENT GOVERNMENT FROM TAKING DECISIONS. IT SEEMS THAT IS WHAT OUR ACTIVISTS AND FOREIGN SPONSORED ORGANISATION WANT'
You also state: Get used to it, what happened in history or for that matter what the privatisation of DJB will achieve when water doesn't reach most of us anyway, is hardly of consequence. By the same token, I would have presumed that the RTI Act and insistence on file notings would have blocked the privatization of telecom, airlines, courier companies, even the Internet, right?
A third issue you have raised is questioning the motives and importance of the information sought by others. My faith in Right To Information is based on the assumption that it is every Citizen's right to be informed-within the
limitatations imposed by the law.You seem to assume that you know what is good for the Nation. I beg to state that every Citizen does, and therefore has the right to ask for information.
022 32903776; 26001003
All my mails are in Public domain, and do share them if you wish.
Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:51 am
"Malik, Veeresh" <veereshmalik@...> satyapadam
The answers lie within the RTI Act'05 (2.h.a) and (2.h.b) and (2.h.c.) and
It is not just foreign funded, though that is a big issue. It is more about the simple ethics - if you wish to ask for transparency then be prepared to offer transparency too.
Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:47 pm
"Malik, Veeresh" <veereshmalik@...> vm2827
Greetings & Jai Hind!!!
Quoting from Mr. Shailesh Gandhi's email:- ""As far as your specific charge
against NCPRI is concerned, though we get no finance from the Government or any tax-concession, we will ensure that we fulfill the requirements of the RTI Act, by the end of October. ""
Best wishes, as we head into November'06, and I head to London to put some questions with CHRI there, since CHRI/Delhi is unwilling to provide information. But wants it, yes!!! It is so coincidental that CHRI places an article in today's IE on the subject of delays in getting information, when they themselves are unwilling to provide it.
Long live . . . whatever, choose a flavour of the day.
CIC monthly disposal of cases
"Malik, Veeresh" <veereshmalik@...> vm2827
My comments here are:-
a) Very few amongst the few RTI people I know can take a debate further, beyond differences, and continue it. It is called open lines of communication, an essential part of successful agitation. Very few people who consider themselves to be socially aware in India have this simple quality. Mahatma Gandhi had it, which is why he reached where he did. Shailesh Gandhi does not have it, as an example, ever since I asked him to adhere to Section 4 of the RTI Act, he has stopped communicating back, when all he needed to do was to put a few paragraphs on the HJ website itself about the fiducuary relationship between NCPRI and CHRI
and ISI (Indian Social Institute), instead of passing vapid jokes about not
knowing how to upload.
As I tell the people in my office when I moderate meetings (and these are
largely non-urban origin rapid-growth young adults in India as Indians out of choice, in the infotech field with rapidly evolving social skills) that in a
(say) 6-person meeting, one decision will emerge and all will have to carry it forward even if the others have various levels of disagreement/differences.They understand and adhere and implement this fast. Obviously I can not expect this at HJ. As yet.
b) I am increasingly seeing how RTI decisions of the "high-end" sort are being lobbed into the Judiciary, where they enter the existing pendencies. Well, that is part of the package of opting to live in a democracy, anything else would not be a democracy, and trying to force a time-line is the first essence of a dictatorship in such cases. My views on how those who scream loudest for transparency and do not provide it themselves are well known and as far as I am concerned, they can debate it till the cows come home, but as on date over 90% of the 600+ RTI applications I have helped in have been resolved before reaching any Information Commissions.
That's a good batting average by any yardstick, so I really do not understand why CIC's monthly disposal of cases can be a yardstick for anything. It is obvious that only the more difficult cases will reach the CIC for decisions, so it is obvious to me that they will take time, and most Public Authorities will soon start disposing of cases and applications at their levels especially when the issues are simple and local.
That many of these cases which are facing delays at CIC pertain to the inner workings of the Government of Free India as we have known it for almost 6 decades now, and the inertia levels therein, needs also to be taken into account. We can not wish it away in one year, regardless of how many shirts are taken off.
c) At the same time, a majority of what I would call "ground level" RTI
decisions are being resolved at the PIO/AA/SIC/CIC levels, and do not enter the Judiciary. So fine, they are taking some time now, but believe me, at the lower levels of governance, which would be the local elected bodies and the local public authorities, the RTI Act seems to be making valid progress. I personally know people who are into local level politics who have realised that RTI will be an electoral issue the next time they face the voter.
And that is where I personally think the RTI activists and movement needs to concentrate. Adopt a district, a tehsil, a small town, even a village, and use the RTI to fix things at a lower level. And then move on, give up ownership, move to the next town. Avoid the lure of the tv camera or media interview. For which, frankly, the delays at CIC or SIC are not even relevant.
Which then brings me to my next hypothesis:- As it is India is currently
mis-ruled top-down. "Son of" and "Daughter of" kind of attributes decide this "top-down" governance. So till "S/o" or "D/o" RTI Activists come to the fore, nothing much is going to change though I do see a few "Daughter of" scenarios emerging.
But on the ground, local governance, it is still open season. Amongst other
things, elected representatives are not "permanent" because seats keep shifting between general / SC / ST / Women etc etc. And if local elected representatives are playing musical chairs, then local public authorities are not far behind. And that will be the strength of the RTI, when it keeps local public authorities in check.
So where does the (respected) SIC/IC/CIC, and the delays there, come into this picture, then?
Yes, yes, I know. But do you?
The SIC/IC/CIC come into the picture when you consider the annual jamboree or durbar in Delhi as the pinnacle of your RTI "career", and stick it in your bio-data. Good for you.
Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:41 am
shailesh Gandhi <shailesh2@...> shailesh_gan...
You have suggested: pk: a complainant does not know the contents of rejoinder
nor can s/he travel all the way to New Delhi to attend the hearing. i suggested
the method similar to the one adopted by the press council:
a) copy of the complaint goes to the AA/PIO asking for a rejoinder within a
stipulated period. b) copy of the rejoinder goes to the complainant asking for
her/his own rejoinder within a stipulated period c) hearing based on documents
available plus oral argument if parties are present at the hearing.
shailesh: This is the way, the Central Information Commission is operating,
though not the Maharashtra Commission. About other Commissions, I am hoping our
friends from various States will inform us.
pk: please note, i am also suggesting summary disposal in cases where a decision
has already been given in identical/similar circumstances.
shailesh: Both of us are agreed that summary disposals should be done.
I also am in complete agreement with you that benches should not be held, and
single Commissioners should operate in most cases.
As to your commendation of the Maharashtra Commissioner for a rate of disposal
equal to the Central Commissioners and his initiative of going to diffrent
places, I agree that this is very commendable. However, the rate of disposal of
the Maharashtra and the Central Commissioners is fairly poor. The Maharashtra
Commissioner also has the habit of not issuing any written orders after hearings
for weeks and at times months. (over six months in of my own cases!).
As far as penalties are concerned, I feel all Commissioners in their orders when
ordering that information is to given, MUST make a statement on either applying
penalty, or give reasons why penalty is not being imposed.
----- Original Message -----
From: prakash kardaley
Cc: shailesh Gandhi
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 12:55 AM
Subject: Re: CIC monthly disposal of cases...
Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:15 pm
"vm2827" <veereshmalik@...> vm2827
Re: Central Information Commission
I do recall that even you had given a commitment that NCPRI, and therefore by extension its sister organisation CHRI, would present compliance to Section 4 of the RTI Act (in spirit if not in letter . . . ???) by end of October'06.
There is no sign of that, either.
I do also recall that Governments have a habit of giving many things in writing and then simply not doing anything about them subsequently.
As of now, Shailesh, I agree that there are many ways of fixing the RTI ailments in India. Getting commitments of doubtful value, and then propagating them, may well be one.
--- In HumJanenge@..., "mail4rahul" <mail4rahul@...>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: shailesh Gandhi
> Dear Friends,
> I wanted to share a positive development. Shri Wajahat Habibullah
has given a commitment that the Central Information Commission will
ensure that the pendency of Second appeals and Complaints in their
Commission will not exceed 90 days after February, 2007. He had said
this at a meeting at IMC when I had raised the issue, and he has now
confirmed this in writing. It will be worthwhile for us to try and
get similar commitments from all the State Information Commissions.
Fight to Information
Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:39 pm
"vm2827" <veereshmalik@...> vm2827
I am so glad that the CHRI is at the forefront of getting information in India. On the other hand, I would be happier if CHRI helped me get information about India from their British Masters and Handlers.
For example, the speech that Bhagat Singh gave in a British Court when sentence was being pronounced on him is still not available to me, maybe CHRI could assist. (I do have access to an unsubstantiated copy which was taken down by a Reuters correspondent, which makes some direct allegation against many of the figures who went on to be major players in the Independence struggle, but the availability of
a certified copy would be so much better.)
To my mind, the CHRI (and NCPRI) need to come clean about themselves and their motives before taking up specific individual issues and treating them as representative of a complete country.
--- In HumJanenge@..., "Rahul Mangaonkar"
Fight to Information
Maja Daruwala / Navaz Kotwal...