Sunday, April 29, 2012

Re: [HumJanenge] Illegal and Anti-people provisions of Odisha RTI Rules, 2005 – A Citizens’ Plea for immediate its Removal

Dear Pradip

Somebody has complained that your message was "Cross-Posted" to
another google-group "national rti forum". This is against our group
regulations, please take care in future. It is also pertinent that the
other google group is a closed/private group meant for officer bearers
of some so-called National RTI Forum.

You have also praised some so-called "eminent" persons like Ms Aruna
Roy and Mr.Shailesh Gandhi. May I mention that it was these eminent
persons who were out to get our Central RTI Rules changed with the
power of the NAC behind them in 2010. These are both anti-citizen
"political" people - the term I would use is "running dog" so please
dont get fooled by them. It was only due to the concentrated power of
this RTI group - HUMJANENGE that the DoPT has not changed the Central
Rules so far. However, if you keep publicising the Odisha Rules and
somebody from Maharashtra / Karnataka / Chattisgarh etc publicises
their States RTI Rules, it is only a matter of time before NAC haramis
like Aruna Roy get those draconian clauses inserted into Central Rules
using defective State Rules as precedent.

Hope you understand what I am saying

NB: Actually going through your analysis I find that several of the
Odisha RTI Rules are very well aligned to the provisions of the RTI
Act and deserve to be positively implemented all over India.


On 4/29/12, Pradip Pradhan <> wrote:
> *Illegal and Anti-people provisions of Odisha RTI Rules, 2005 –*
> *A Citizens' Plea for immediate its Removal*
> Like in the country, the RTI Act 2005 has completed about six and half
> years in Odisha. But unlike in the country, the RTI scenario in Odisha is
> too miserable to describe. The story of RTI's grand failure in Odisha began
> with notification of Orissa RTI Rules 2005 by Govt. of Odisha on
> 1stOctober 2005, which the Government did without consulting the civil
> society
> groups.
> After undertaking an in-depth critique of the said Rules, the Civil Society
> Groups and RTI Activists all across the State have been steadfastly
> protesting against it terming it as absurd, illegitimate and anti-people,
> solely meant to defraud the citizens of their statutory right to
> information. Echoing the civil society concerns of Odisha the eminent RTI
> protagonists at national level like Mrs. Aruna Ray, Mr. Sailesh Gandhi and
> Ms.Maja Daruwala (CHRI) did also voice their protest against the same,
> primarily on the ground of its incongruity with the parent law.
> Specifically, Mrs.Ray had met the Chief Minister Orissa in Dec 2005 and
> pressed him to withdraw the said Rules at the earliest. Under the mounting
> pressure from Civil Society Groups both at state and national level, the
> State Govt. on the floor of Assembly settled for a bunch of new provisions
> that included reduction of fees on different heads and arrangement for suo
> motu disclosures under Section 4 at the level of each public authority,
> which was notified in official gazette on 29th May 2006 as Orissa RTI
> (Amendment) Rules, 2006.
> The 2006 Amendment, though fair and useful in itself, didn't however touch
> at all on the mainframe of Orissa RTI Rules 2005, which remains to this day
> the single greatest fraud on the citizens' right to information under the
> parent Act. Because of it the common people, especially the BPL section are
> damn scared to use it. As a result, contrary to the larger picture at
> national level where country's legendary scams are found to be getting
> exposed through the historic RTI tool, the Odisha cuts a sorry figure for
> not a single major case of corruption, be it around mining, midday meal,
> paddy procurement or land deals has come to public scanner through RTI
> route. The transparent and accountable system of governance promised by the
> RTI Act still remains a far-off dream for the millions of the people in
> Odisha. The only breakthrough to the stinking stalemate the Odisha RTI is
> perforce passing through is possible only by the immediate withdrawal of
> the patently illegitimate and anti-people Odisha RTI Rules 2005 lock, stock
> and barrel.
> * *
> *Absurd, Anti-people and illegal provisions of Orissa RTI Rules 2005*
> * *
> *A. **Provision for Proof of Citizenship - illegal *
> Rule-2 (e) 'Identity'- *The given definition which requires an applicant to
> show the evidence of his 'citizenship like an electoral photo identity
> card, a passport or any other document which can satisfy the authority
> about the citizenship of the person' at the time of submission of RTI
> Application needs to be altogether abolished, *as it is ultra vires the
> parent Act, which under Section 6(2) says inter alia that a citizen is not
> required to give *'any other personal details except those that may be
> necessary for contacting him'*.
> * *
> B. * Compulsory Application Form- illegal *
> The State Govt. has imposed a compulsory application Form (Form-A), which
> requires to be filled up by an RTI applicant while seeking for information.
> The said lengthy 11-column Form-A requires the copy of Voter's Card or
> Passport to be attached as a proof of citizenship. This provision not only
> deprives the citizens below 18 years of their right to make an application
> for information, but also discloses personal details like name of
> father/spouse, permanent address, age and sex etc. (as mentioned in the
> voter card/passport) in contravention of the Section 6(2) of the Act.
> Further, it is seen that it has become very difficult on the part of the
> common people to fill it up. So this Form needs to be withdrawn, and the
> people should be allowed to apply in their own manner as is the practice at
> Central level and in rest od States.
> *C. **Denial of Application and Information through Email- illegal*
> Though Section 6(1) of RTI Act 2005 and Rule 4(1) of Orissa RTI Rules 2005
> provide for submission of RTI application and dispatch of information
> implied therein, not a single public authority under the control of
> Government of Odisha has been able to operationalise such a provision,
> leading to denial of right to information to a vast bulk of citizens in and
> outside the State. It needs to be remedied forthwith.
> D. * **Compulsory Forms for 1st & 2nd Appeals and Appeal fees- illegal*
> The imposition of compulsory Forms, Form-D and Form-E along with Appeal
> fees of Rs.20/- and Rs.25/- respectively to be paid through Court Fee
> Stamps is simply ultra vires Section 27(2) of the parent Act, and therefore
> needs to be withdrawn and replaced by a provision declaring no form or fees
> for any appeal to be made under the Act.
> * E. Fees collected from BPL families against cost of information-
> illegal*
> In Odisha, the PIO including those of Odisha Information Commission are
> collecting fees towards cost of information from the BPL people, in naked
> contravention of Section 7(5) of RTI Act. As per a study undertaken by PRIA
> in 2008 a good number of BPL people who initially submitted the RTI
> applications to various offices in Odisha didn't collect the information as
> they were asked to pay the fees, which they couldn't afford. So the illegal
> practice of collecting information fees from the BPL people in Odisha must
> be stopped forthwith.
> *F. **Form-B (letter of intimation)- illegal***
> The Form-B (PIO's letter of intimation to the applicant) is illegal, since
> it doesn't contain, as it should under Section 7(3) of the Act, any space
> for break-up of the total fees demanded and the particulars of first
> appellate authority before whom the applicant, if aggrieved by the decision
> of PIO, may lodge an appeal within the time-limit to be specified therein.
> Thus Form-B needs to be redesigned as per the mandate of the Act.
> * *
> *G. **Form-C (letter of rejection)- illegal***
> The Form-C prescribed under Orissa RTI Rules 2005 is out and out illegal
> for it cites some arbitrary grounds for rejection of an Application falling
> outside the purview of the Act, such as, 'Your Application is not complete
> in all respects', 'Your identity is not satisfactory', 'The information is
> available in published material available to Public', 'The information as
> sought for by you is available in our Website' and 'For any other
> reason'. The Act has stipulated clearly the possible grounds for rejecting
> an application fully or partially, such as those covered under Sections 8,
> 9, 10, 11 and 24 only. The Form-C therefore needs be withdrawn to honor the
> letter and spirit of Act.
> *H. **Absurd language in Orissa RTI Rules 2005- illegal*
> Rule 2(1-c) of Orissa RTI Rules 2005, *reads, "'fee' means amount payable
> by the applicant for obtaining any information under the provisions of
> sub-section (1) of Section 6 and sub-sections (1) and (5) of Section 5
> excluding the cost of information"*. It conveys no meaning and makes a
> mockery of the entire set of the above Rules par excellence.
> *I. **Rule- 4: Prohibitive** Modes of fees payment- illegal *
> The Schedule to Orissa RTI Amendment Rules 2006 stipulates the Fees/Amount
> to be charged in respect of application fees, cost of information fees and
> appeal fees. Apart from the fact that the provision of Appeal Fees is
> altogether illegal as already mentioned above, the modes of payment of
> application fees are only cash or treasury-challan, and that of fees
> towards information only cash. From the experience of nearly six and half
> years of RTI in the State, it has been made clear that not only the people
> in the State find it extremely hard to make use of such restrictive modes
> of payment, but the citizens outside the State find it impossible of use.
> The question arises, while IPO is the standard mode of payment for all
> purposes at Central level and in rest of the States, why shouldn't it be
> prescribed under Orissa RTI Rules besides other possible modes of payment
> like Money Order, Demand Draft, Banker's Cheque, Electronic Payment?
> * *
> *J. **Miscellaneous violations of law-** *
> The Speaker of Odisha Legislative Assembly has not complied with the
> mandate of notifying its separate RTI Rules under Section 28 or for making
> suo motu disclosures under Section 4(1b) of the Act. The Governor of
> Odisha, though a Competent Authority in respect of Constitutional bodies
> like Odisha Election Commission, Odisha Finance Commission and Odisha
> Tribal Advisory Body under Section 2(e-iv) has not as yet complied with his
> duty to notify the separate RTI Rules for such bodies, nor has made any suo
> motu disclosures as required under Section 4(1b) of the Act. The Governor
> has also failed to fulfill his mandatory obligation under Section 17 to
> take punitive action against the Information Commissioners, against whom
> several citizens have lodged complaints on the grounds of inefficiency,
> corruption and moral turpitude. The Annual Reports on the state of RTI as
> prepared by the Odisha Information Commission, though filled with false,
> fictitious, irrelevant and self-congratulatory stuff, have been
> straightaway lain on the floor of the Assembly, without any corrective
> exercise undertaken by the nodal department of I&PR, in contravention of
> Section 25 of the Act. The above mentioned Constitutional authorities need
> to make do their performance deficit forthwith to honor the letter and
> spirit of RTI Act 2005.
> *Prepared and circulated by Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan, Plot
> No.-316, Sailashree Vihar, Post-C.S.Pur, Bhubaneswar. **E-mail-
>* <>
> *. M-99378-43482 on 29.4.2012*
> .
> * *

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