GOVERNMENT DIRECTION TO CHS FOR MAKING DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS AND EVEN TO AUTHORISED 3 RD PARTY
This is a initiative which could strengthen our RTI Act significantly.
There is now legal help available for RTI users and activists who have been facing two significant problems:
- Threats and attacks when trying to challenge corruption and illegalities.
- Even when they get significant orders from the Information Commissions, these are stayed by courts. Most RTI users do not have the resources to fight these in courts. These stays continue and the information never gets revealed, or the cases are lost since the arguments for disclosure and upholding the decisions of the Information Commission may never be made before the courts.
We are lucky that Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves heading Human Rights Law Networks (HRLN ) has agreed that RTI users are Human Rights Defenders and offered their services without charging legal fees in such matters. This is a great step and opportunity for everyone in the country. This can help us to strengthen Right to Information and deepen our democracy.
Here is how we can use this fantastic opportunity:
- In case of threats or false police cases because of RTI applications approach the HRLN contact in your state. There are 24 HRNL units across the nation who can help.
- In case of assault approach the HRLN units and also approach the State or CentralCommission and request action as per the Central Commission’s attached resolution. RTI users should try and persuade their State commissions to pass similar resolution.
- When a significant order of the Information Commission is stayed, approach the HRNL unit for help. If they are convinced about the merits of the case, they will represent you in the court without charging any legal fees.
This is a great opportunity which can help RTI users and we should make proper use of it.
Please spread this note to all RTI users, email lists and organizations which use RTI.
On behalf of everyone in the RTI movement I thank Colin Gonsalves and HRLN for this outstanding offer.
Attached: 1. HRLN’s units- contact details
- HRLN proposal
- CIC resolution
All my emails are in Public domain.
Mera Bharat Mahaan..
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.
In a significant decision Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that unless proved that record was destroyed as per the prescribed rules of destruction/ retention policy, it is deemed that record continues to be held by public authority. The decision has been posted at out wiki Segment, for those who want to use it as a reference. You can visit out wiki article here: Missing Files under RTI Act.
Claim of file missing or not traceable has no legality as it is not recognized as exception by RTI Act. By practice ‘missing file’ cannot be read into as exception in addition to exceptions prescribed by RTI Act. It amounts to breach of Public Records Act, 1993 and punishable with imprisonment up to a term of five years or with fine or both.
Public Authority has a duty to initiate action for this kind of loss of public record, in the form of ‘not traceable’ or ‘missing’. The Public Authority also has a duty to designate an officer as Records Officer and protect the records. A thorough search for the file, inquiry to find out public servant responsible, disciplinary action and action under Public Records Act, reconstruction of alternative file, relief to the person affected by the loss of file are the basic actions the Public Authority is legitimately expected to perform.
After all, it is quite possible that the required information may be located if a thorough search is made in which event, it could be possible to supply it to the applicant.
Fear of disciplinary action, against the person responsible for loss of the information, will also work as a deterrence against the willful suppression of the information, by vested interests. It would also be open to the Commission, to make an inquiry itself instead of directing an inquiry by the department/office concerned.
The decision is available in the CIC website here: Sh.Om Prakash Vs. Land & Building Dept, GNCTD
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The Right To Services* Act, whose official title is the ‘Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005’, was one of the demands (along with the Right to Information Act) raised by crusader Anna Hazare during his anti-corruption campaign.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of activists, an Ordinance was issued on August 29, 2003. It became an Act on 12 May, 2005 and came into effect on 1 July, 2006. Further, the Rules for the Act were framed on November 14, 2013.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is the difference between the RTS* and the RTI Acts?
- What is a Citizens’ Charter?
- What are the key features of the RTS Act?
Its now mandatory for government servants to declare their assets annually. Section 4 of the RTI Act mandated transparency only in terms of their salary and compensation. Strangely, the new rules have not been pubicised
Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act mandates that salaries and compensation of government servants including officers from Indian / Indian Police Service (IAS/IPS) cadre, be put up on the website of the relevant . The issued last week by the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) should come as a shock for government employees who have been amassing wealth, beyond their means. They will need to declare their assets by September this year and then by March or July, every year.
Every is now required to file his returns pertaining to , along with that of his wife and children, on a newly drafted declaration form. The notification is a sequel to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013. The rules are termed as Public Servants (Furnishing of Information and Annual Return ofAssets and Liabilities and the Limits for Exemption of Assets in Filing Returns) Rules, 2014.
As per the notification by the DoPT, this declaration has to be made by every government servant over and above other declarations as per his/ her services rules.
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How to file an RTI plea
The Act prescribes a simple procedure to obtain information. Though some public authorities have their own formats, there is no compulsion to stick to the prescribed format
Step 1: Identify the department you want information from. Some subjects fall under the purview of State governments or local authority such as the municipal administration/panchayat, while others are handled by the Central government
Step 2: On a sheet of white paper, write out the application by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area. You can also ask the public information officer to put it in writing
Step 3: Address the application to the State/Central Public Information Officer. Write the name of the office from which you seek information, and the complete, correct address. Clearly mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005’ in your subject line
Step 4: State your request in the form of specific, detailed questions, and mention the period/year your request falls into. Ask for documents or extracts of documents, if required. To obtain documents, the applicant has to make a payment of Rs. 2 per page
Step 5: Pay Rs. 10 to file the plea. This can be done in the form of cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The stamp should be affixed to the application. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) need not make the payment but have to attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application
Step 6: Provide your full name and address, contact details, email address and sign the application clearly. Put in the date and the name of your town
Step 7: Take a photocopy of the application and keep one with you for future reference. Send your application by post or hand it in personally to the department concerned. Don’t forget to get an acknowledgement
Step 8: The law mandates that information be provided in 30 days. If this does not happen, you can file an appeal. The first appeal should be addressed to ‘The Appellate Authority’ with the name of the department and the address. The appellate authority is mandated to revert in 30 days from the date of receipt of the appeal. If the Appellate authority fails to reply, further appeals lie with the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission
Compiled by Zubeda Hamid; graphics by Satwik Gade
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