1) Dared to ask for information - pay the price
A social activist from Moradabad was in jail for 20 days; reason- use of RTI act
Information came at a price for Salim Begh, who is a president of ‘Manav Vikas Sewa Samiti’. He filed an RTI application in the police department of Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh), asking for information concerning the recent recruitment of constables in the department. PIO Kushhar Saurabh (S.P) asked for 52 thousand rupees as cost to provide information. Begh took his case to U P Information Commission who ordered to provide the information and also imposed penalty of 25,000/- on the PIO and a compensation of 6000/- to the applicant that too to be given by the PIO from his salary.
Taking a strong note of this issue the whole police department in the region stood against Salim Begh. Fake FIR was filed against Begh on the issue of ransacking the police station and started harassing him. Due to this fake FIR Beg was jailed for 20 days and he is now on bail. According to Begh, the police personals are threatening to kill him in fake encounter.
Salim has approached Chief Minister; Home Secretary; DIG (Police) of the state but to no avail. Nobody has taken any note of his problem. However the State Information Commissioner has strongly condemned the action of the state police and has directed the DIG (Police) to take stern action against the guilty officials. Still no action taken, Begh is waiting for justice.
2) Want Information? – go to जेल
Anand Mohan of UP is evading his arrest on false allegations levelled against because he used RTI
Another case of paying price for using RTI. Anand Mohan Chaturvedi, A resident of Kushi Nagar, UP filed an RTI application in the BDO office of the Fazilnagar asking for information on Indira Awas Jojana; BPL & distribution of different scholarships. PIO didn’t provided him the information within the stipulated time, instead he started receiving threats to withdraw his RTI application. Because of this he submitted a complaint in the State Information Commission under section 18 of the act. Acting on the complaint SIC sent a notice to the BDO. However the threats didn’t stopped even after the issuance of the notice.
Recently Chaturvedi went to Village Development Officer to get a copy of family register on which the VDO refused to do any of his work. The reason was he was directed by the BDO to do so. When Chaturvedi protested against this, he was physically assaulted by the VDO .More so VDO filed a complaint in the police station against Chaturvedi levelling false charges of physical assault on him and obstructing government functioning. Now police is after Chaturvedi to arrest him. However HC has issued a stay order on his arrest.
3) I’m the boss . . . .
How One of the PIO of Orissa refused to receive the notice send by the State Information Commissioner.
What importance RTI act holds in the eyes of PIO’s is shown by the PIO of Manamuda Police Station which is under Boudh District of Orissa. The case is when Rajinder Kumar Sharma of this district tried to seek information under the RTI act from the above said Police Station related to its functioning like how many cases came to this Police station, how many solved ; how many pending; status of investigation on different unsolved cases etc.
When Rajinder went to the station with an application the PIO of the department refused to receive the application, failing which Rajinder sent his application through registered post which was also not received by the PIO. Due to this attitude of the PIO Rajinder took his complaint to the State Information Commission. Acting on the complaint SIC issued a notice to the PIO and the most serious issue here is that the PIO didn’t even received the notice of the Information Commission. Reacting on this the SIC has directed the SP of the district to ensure PIO’s presence in the next hearing; also the SIC has send a letter to the PIO asking him to state the reason for non acceptance of notice. The next hearing is on 29th October;2008.
4) Threat to life.
Muzibur Rehman, the man who exposed corruption in the name of PM relief fund, is running from pillar to post to get even a copy of chattisgarh SIC order to provide him security.
Most of you must be aware of the case related to the information on Prime Minister Relief fund which was sought by the Mujibur Rehman of Chattisgarh. Due to his RTI application lots of irregularities of the PM Relief Fund came forth. Muzibur rehman is now receiving various threats. Considering the seriousness of the problem CIC ordered to provide him the security. But he didn’t received any security from the government. To know the status of this he filed an RTI application in the General Administration Department. The only information he received from the department was that his file is in Home Ministry. After receiving this reply he filed First Appeal but didn’t received the copy of the order on his hearing for which he tried 2-3 months. After 2-3 months of effort he was told to submit a Rs 25/- non judicial stamp paper to receive the copy of the order which he has submitted for long but still has not received his copy of the order of Chattisgarh State Information commission.
5) SIC’s decision is illegal ……….
HC of Chattisgarh discards SIC order , says it’s is a one member body
On it's decision of 20th August 2008 double bench of Chhattisgarh High Court overruled the order of Chhattisgarh State Information Commission,in which the commission instructed the PIO of Chhattisgarh Electricity Board [CSEB] to provide the information to the applicant Sh.Sahdev Tandi. Tandi was seeking information from CSEB and when he didn't get the information he reported the matter to the SIC. SIC ordered in his favour and asked CSEB to provide him the required information. Instead of giving information CSEB took the case to the High Court of Chhattisgarh and challenged this decison under the section 15(2) of the RTI Act,2005. According to section 15 (2) of the act SIC will consist of 1 CIC and not more than 10 ICs and Chhattisgarh SIC is a single member body therefore it doesn’t fulfil the criteria of the act. This means the commission has no power of hearing appeals.CSEB said that in absence of other members the orders of CIC are illegal.
High Court accepted this fact and in reference to section 15(2),the double bench said that the decision of the Single member SIC is against the provision of the act aand they gave CSEB stay on the order of CIC.
6) Now you are not authorised to get information…….
A unique case where pendency in the CIC divested the Right to Information of a citizen
Nabarun Mazumdar a resident of Delhi filed an RTI application in NTRO ( National Technical Research Organisation) in May 2007 seeking information related to rules followed by the organisation in appointing employees on contractual basis. Not satisfied by the information provided by the organisation he approached CIC in December 2007. However in March 2007 DoPT through a notification amended second schedule of the act which is related to the list of those organisations which are exempted from providing information under RTI act. In this amendment some organisations were added within the purview of second schedule, NTRO was one such organisation. In June when Mazumdar’s case came for hearing before CIC it was dismissed by the CIC on the basis that the body is exempted to provide information under section 24 of the act. Section 24 says, intelligence and security organisations specified in the second schedule do not come under the purview of the act. Had CIC took his case earlier he would have received the required information. Thus how pendency is affecting the peoples right to information.
7) Hearing after hearing but no information in sight………..
Even after nine hearings by the UP SIC, appellant didn’t received the information
Hearings after hearing. In each hearing SIC is asking the PIO/department to provide information but the applicant has not got any information. This is the story of shadashiv who belongs to Madhavpur village of Banda district in UP. He filed an RTI application with the DSO( district supplies officer), in July 2007 asking for information related to the status of BPL card holders in the area and allocation of ration to them. Not satisfied with the information he filed first appeal in the DM’s office . DM also didn’t provide him complete information. In September 2007 he took his case to theUPSIC. SIC asked the concerned department to provide him the information but the department is not providing any information. Sadasiv has attended 9 hearing at UPSIC for this case. He is still devoid of information. This is a clear case of violation of RTI act but instead of penalising the department which is a way to establish its authority, the SIC is lingering on the case making a complete mockery of the law. Due to such inaction many officials have started taken this law non seriously.
8) Hide and seek game in the matter of information on answer sheets.
A recent order of one of the CIC denied the information to the information seeker.
Recently in one of her decision Central Information Commissioner Ms Balasubramanium denied the information to the appellant on the basis of larger public interest. The appellant had asked for information from the All India Institute Medical Sciences (“AIIMS”) requesting for the photostat of various question papers for various entrance examinations and its answer keys. However in its decision the commission held that ‘AIIMS is taking all precautions in conducting examinations in a most satisfactory manner and they have also evolved a foolproof system and it has got several in-built checks and by disclosing such information we will not be able to protect larger public interest’. Now it is up to the commission to explain that by hiding information from the public domain which larger public interest is protected. (Appeal No.2707/ICPB/2008 )
9) No information because you are not a citizen but an organisation…….
CIC refused to provide information to the appellant because by mistake he wrote the name of the organisation he belonged
Hari om Sharma a resident of Mathura UP filed an RTI application in June 2007 in the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. seeking information related to a Gas Agency such as number of gas connection holders and total quota of the particular agency. The company didn’t provided him the information and therefore he took his case to the CIC. The CIC in its decision refused to provide him the information because he had mentioned the name of the organization to which he belongs below his name. IN his decision CIC’s Mr M A Ansari has said that the information is sought by an organization not by a citizen as RTI act is for citizens only. However in similar circumstances Chief Information Commissioner has given decision in favour of the appellant as he considered organizations as citizens. The appellant now has put his case under review attaching copies of Wajahat’s judgement in similar cases. The point here is that different commissioners are interpreting the act in their own way and there is no common guideline to follow.
10) Appeal Unnecessary……….- CIC
An employee wanted to know reasons, as he was not being released for promotion and transfer, CIC Mr Ansari says he is putting pressure on authorities through RTI
P.K.Kailasa Babu filed an RTI application in the Planning Commission as he wanted to know the reason for not relieving him from the services to enable him to join another Ministry on promotion. Being not satisfied with the response he took his case to CIC. The case was taken by M.A.Ansari and his observation in the case is very interesting. His decision, which was in favour of the public body, Ansari observed that ‘Under the service rules there are already adequate provisions for the redressal of the grievance. An employee is, therefore, not expected to question the authority of superior officers under the provisions of the RTI Act, or to put pressure on the authorities through RTI application, which requires that a reply should be given within 30 days. As the PIO has already clarified that “the matter for relieving is under consideration’. The question which arises here is that where it is written that a person cannot sought his personal information from his own department, as the department in his case denied information under section 8(1)(j) of the act. Moreover in place of directing the Department to furnish the information or at least asking it to state the reason for the delay, he blamed the appellant to file an unnecessary delay. With this style of working of CIC god knows how many can impose their trust on it as their saviour.