Sunday, February 20, 2011

Re: [HumJanenge] Centre must add purpose clause to RTI Act

Dear Mr Mathur

These are NOT "management matters" but VITAL legal clauses which affect ORDINARY citizens.

I dont know on what basis you can arrogate that IIM taskforces should decide provisions of law. It seems like very harebrained logic to me, just like that Writ Petition those IIM(A) people filed (twice) protesting Govt interference in IIM's management.

There is NOTHING WRONG with adding a mandatory clause requiring the applicant to declare WHY he is seeking the information. As a public spirited RTI user, I would have no hesitation in declaring why I am seeking information. It would surely assist the PIO to provide me more complete information. Who are the people opposing this ??

a) Blackmailers and RTI misusers
b) Proxies and RTI touts (whose number is legion and growing - Like the latest addition to the tribe - Krishnaraj Rao)
c) Journalists
d) RTI "activists".
e) Public servants (past and present) misusing RTI for service matters.

Ordinary citizens have nothing to hide / lose by declaring why they need specific information. To take a specific instance, when I filed an RTI declaring in advance that I needed certain documents to enable me file a contempt petition against an Additional Commissioner of Police, the PIO quickly (72 hours) sent me all the papers (free of cost) laying the blame at a Secretary of a GoNCTD department.

The 250 word limit is all to the good.
The 1 subject "rule" is already contained in the RTI Act

All these issues are red herrings. The RTI Act is being stolen from the people by a bunch of Congress Party 'haramis' masquerading as RTI activists ensconced in the NAC, and Ms Aruna Roy leads that pack.


On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 12:04 PM, Sant Mathur <> wrote:
We're dealing not with the PRINCIPLE(S),which is\are settled,but with MANAGEMENT MATTERS.
Why can't the issues, in holistic manner, be studied by a taskforce of any IIM
(or for that matter any mgt consultancy)?
Why not all the views be looked into through well researched ways rather than be discussed in a vague manner?
Don't we need an intelligent response arrived at through proper manner in admn as much as we need in business area?
When matters are raised in vague manner(probably with hidden agenda) the same create fallacies and confuse the thinking process.
Take for example just two points: First about just a few people asking questions or seeking responses through RTI Act,and second about limitations of just one quert at a time.
Don't people use just a few lawers tpo take up their cases in Courts of law as they leave the task to more inforned people(experts) to ensure better course of justice for them?
Even today how many educated people know how to fole RTI applications or ensure proper follow-up to logical end? So whats wrong if a few experts in RTI take up their causes and get justice?
Has any research been carried out to indicate whether such peolpe(figh frquency users of RTI Act) have gone mad,or are doing such work for vicarious pleasure,or as a vocation to make a living or using the process in a nefarious way for blackmailing cretain authorities,or trying to settle bureaucratic/business rivalries etc for a consideration?
When no authentic well researched reports(not mere vague data) are available how could,in a casual way just a bunch of CMs come with their own theory and make it look like Gospel Truth? This is the bane of yet-undeveloped/ unreformed governance process in the country.
Next why would closely related issues be seperated in different RTI requests? The Courts,on the contrary club cases to avoid duplication of effort.
The good idea mooted is to create a dynamically managed FAQ Bank,as done by several organisations to avoid queries on repeated basis.Self-help system surely could help cut down on very large number of general queries.Suo-moto presentation of facts and decision making process by every organisation could virtually make the use of RTI redundant.GOI needs to have well structured systems developed through NIC/NPC(National Informatic Centre/National Productivity Council) and provide adequate resources to all organisations to ensure time-bound compliance of all RTI related acts/activities.
During the course of my PhD I've already pleaded with these organisations and given enough clues to GOI Executives also to come with well formed strategy and then ensure its time-bound execution.
Dealing with RTI related areas,in isolation or for some specific interes area is alright,but administering/managing the show,nationwide,in most sensible/scientific way is another.
Unfortunately no seriour research work since inception of RTI Act,2005,has taken place and only piecemeal approach to get a hang of a few micro level areas is visible.CIC/SICs have no time to breathe,as per my repeated discussions with them,and Ministry of Personnel(DoPT),GOI has neither will nor capability to undertake any meaningful study/research in this VITAL area of administration,now considered as harbinger of second wave of socio-economic freedom struggle.
Isincerely appeal to dear colleagues and members to please concentrate on larger issues in cause of greater public good ,and preferably eschew internal strife and discourse on trivia.
Let me humbly submit that I'm prepared to take any case of injustice(at individual/collective level) figuring anywhere in the country relating to any dept/org.
Another request,if permitted,I would make(for a medium term goal) is to have a core group formed for the specific purpose of creating a network of a million strong RTI activists in the country. We all intelligent well meaning people can't suffer wretched governance in the country(Centre,States allover) any longer.
                Extremely sorry for the long post.Wouldn't do so in future.
IPS DGP(retd)

On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 10:41 AM, avinash chawla <> wrote:
In fact, the working of Govt must be totally transparent and as such all the files kept in govt offices  should be available for the public for its review. Hence all such information which may be of interest to Public must be put on the website of the concerned department so that there be no need for any body to ask for information through RTI. Further   any information given to any one under RTI must be put on the website so that there may not be repeated inquiries for similar information.   
Putting restrictions on parting of information would be a retrograde step and must not be encouraged even if it costs a bit to the it serves the interest of larger public.
The demand for adding purpose to any query under RTI would demolish the very purpose of enacting RTI which seeks the Govt to keep transparency in its working.
Avinash Chawla

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 2:34 PM, Govind... Hoping for better <> wrote:
Ref: Times of India

I completely oppose such move. This will help Babus to deny information. First of all Suo motu disclosure should be implemented, citizens should have free access without time bound to any information. Govt is saying "misuse" because their many wrong doings are coming out. If Government is honest, how one can misuse the information? Misuse can happen only in form of blackmailing. You can let other blackmail you when you know you are wrong. This is a reactive step instead of proactive.


'Centre must add purpose clause to RTI Act'

Prafulla Marpakwar TNN

Mumbai: Given the doubts raised by a section of chief ministers, the Centre is planning to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act to curb its misuse.
    "A group of chief ministers has approached the Centre for amending the RTI Act. In several cases, it was used to settle personal scores by rival businessmen, builders and politicians," a senior information commissioner told TOI on Wednesday.
    The information commissioner said that when the
Democratic Front government promulgated an ordinance in 2004 to provide for right to information, it was specifically mentioned that a person seeking information will have to state the purpose for which the information is required. When the Centre enacted the RTI Act in 2005, this clause was removed. "If the Centre wants to curb misuse, it must include the purpose clause in the act. It will have to move an amendment bill for the purpose," he said.
    The information commissioner said that in Mumbai, the maximum number of ap
plications are filed by the same group of persons. "We are bound to provide information but we don't know how it will be used," he said.
    In Pune, the commissioner said, of the 2,500-odd appeals pending before the information commission, 800 are filed by 30 persons, while of the 2,200 applications filed
under the RTI Act, 1,400 are by one person. "If we know the purpose, we can decide his case on merit," he said.
    If the Centre is serious, the commissioner said, it should ask the states to follow Karnataka government's example. "Karnataka has made it clear that an application will not have more than 250
words and that in one letter, the applicant will ask questions only about one issue. This has ensured that only genuine applicants seek information," he said. Secondly, the commissioner said, the act should allow for punitive action against mala fide applicants. Information is provided free of cost to below poverty line (BPL) applicants. In a recent case, a BPL applicant sought information on a project, which comprises 50,000 pages. "It seems that someone was using him to get the information free of cost," he said.

"The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people,
But because of the silence of good people!"


Govind- 9960704146

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