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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Maharashtra Government Announces 41 Online Services Under MRTPS Through Single Portal ' Aaple sarkar'

Maharashtra Government will be giving 41 services online from Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti i.e 2nd October 2015. Circular regardingthis has been issued to all the concerned departments. The government has notified The Maharashtra right to public services act 2015 on 28th April 2015. As per section 3 of said act citizens need to go to citizen felicitation centers like setu, Maha e-seva or sangram centers.



To avail some such services citizens have to visit different websites. Now Maharashtra government has decided to provide all these services from a single portal called ‘Aaaple Sarkar’. To make this possible government has asked various departments to

1) make available all its notified services through a single portal ‘ Aaple Sarkar’ in addition to existing systems.

List of on line services to be provided through Aaple Sarkar

2) Departments will have to make available online appeal system also.

3) If the service is related to certificates then such certificates should be made available online. Applicant should be provided with receipt of application and date of service to be provided

4) Date of application and date of service actually provided should be there on “ Aaple sarkar’ portal

5) Applicant should be provided unique application number so that he/she can check its status online.

 
List of on line services to be provided through Aaple Sarkar
Departments have been asked to make necessary technical changes in their present system to make it possible to provide such services through ‘Aaple Sarkar’. Government intends to provide 41 such services online from 2nd October 2015. Government also expects these services should be provided in such a manner that citizens need not go to any office.

List of on line services to be provided through Aaple Sarkar
Government has asked departments to form a task force that should consist of officers at divisional, commissioner, directorate and secretariat level. This force should be headed by secretary of concerned department or his representative of not lass than deputy secretary rank. This task force will make necessary changes in existing system of providing notified services if necessary. Government has also asked departments to form a task force before 15th October and complete its activities within one month after that.


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Monday, September 28, 2015

FTII Hunger Strike Called off , Struggle to Control Money Minting Machine Continues

Finally the​ agitating Film and ​Television ​Institute of India (FTII) students called off their ‘17 day long !’  ​hunger strike​ . However,​their primary agitation against Gajendra Chauhan and the appointments of Sangh Parivar members in the FTII would go on. This was clarified by the students after the Information and Broadcasting (I & B) Ministry agreed to hold fresh talks. ​Paradoxically, student’s frequently changing stance and demands have brought this agitation back to square one.

Photo courtsey hindustantimes.com

Looking back on their 108 day long agitation and “1​7 day long Hunger strike!’​,​ it is now clear that​ the​ students don’t want to end ​their ​agitation. Actually​,​ ​the ​students and ​the ​government had ​arrived at ​a ​settlement and ​an ​understanding on 25th July 2015 ​itself when​ the​ students along with ​the ​interlocutors Vidhu Vinod ​Chopra and Raju Hirani​ met with the Ministers.

However​,​ ​the ​students ​resiled on ​their ​commitments made to interlocutors also. ​The Government in its several letters has alleged that students frequently changed their stance and made factually incorrect averments in communications.

Students do not ​want Government to have any references​ ​/​ ​preconditions​,​ ​e​specially ​to and in the meeting held on 25-07-2015 in the presence of the interlocutors Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Shri Raju Hirani. In fact,​through one of the letters they ha​d clarified to the ministry that ​the ​student representatives never gave any kind of commitments to the interlocutors to reside on them later in any capacity .

In the nutshell students want the government to have talks with them afresh without any precondition​s​. There are two reasons why students don’t want any pre​-​con​d​i​ti​ons before any talks.

Firstly,​the main intention of the strike was the assessment of incomplete projects. When​the​academic council of FTII decided that when delays to complete projects are caused without any valid reasons, the project even though incomplete, will be stopped within the time frame and assessment will be done accordingly on as​-​is​-​where​-​is basis. Students were opposing that decision but there was no reason they could start an ​agitation ​because several student​s​ haven’t completed their project​s​ ​for ​years together​ which they should have complete​d​ within three months.

Meanwhile , the​ Government reconstituted FTII and appointed Gajendra Chauhan ​and ​other members on it. No doubt these appointments were politically motivated but student​s​found this as an excuse to agitate. And obviously Modi critics supported the students. However this support was for the appointments only and not for the students original ‘assessment’ cause. This support was so overwhelming that the students also forgot their original aim of the​agitation. However with time, every body concentrated on issue​s​other than assessments and that is the reason students don’t want any preconditions before​the talks. ​This is because if talks continue on  ​the basis of discussions held on 25th July then the “assessment issue will not be discussed.

​Secondly, the students have nothing to lose if agitations continue​but everything to gain with support from people with their own agendas. They can enjoy the  ​agitations ​for ​months together. The agitation is​ ​on FTII premises. This may be the India’s first agitation which is being run from Government building​s  ​and funds. FTII not only pa​id  ​the ​air fare to the agitating students to go to Delhi but also admitted the fasting students in private hospitals at great cost.
 
​Addition​ally, the  ​students have no worry about their lodging  ​and  ​boarding. They can get money to run their agitation or day​-​to​-​day expenses from institute as and when require​d​. Yes, it is true. After students started agitation on 12th June​,​ one agitating student submitted ​a ​bill of rupees 30,000/-  as reimbursement of expenses towards ​the purchase of ​photo frames. Such frames are available in market maximum at the cost of ​Rs.​100 to 200​. However ​the ​student​​ charged ​Rs. ​3000 per frame. The bill was approved and signed by all the authorities on 16th June and cleared on ​the ​same day. The receipt submitted doesn’t bear the name of ​the ​purchaser. ​Absurdly, the bill was s​sanctioned as contingency ​without reason. The HoD concerned who approved  ​this suspicious bill has generously sanctioned  ​Rs. ​2​5000 instead of 30,000. This student hasn’t submitted accounts or returned  ​the ​money ​taken ​earlier. 

This is just one example but shows how money is being siphoned off from the institute with help of​ the​ authorities and shows how authorities are sponsoring the agitation​ with 'artistes' in tow​. For some people FTII has become money minting machine and hence everybody wants control over it. 

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

FTII Students Strike, New Documents Raise Doubts on Students Intentions

New documents obtained under the RTI Act reveal that the sole purpose of all the agitations and hunger strike of students of FTII was to take total control over the institution and that they had no problem with Gajendra Chauhan and Shailesh Gupta. These were red herrings. The stalemate is now restricted to three names only.


Students Don't want to leave their heaven
Photo courtsey the scroll

After meeting the Minister of Information & Broadcasting and the Minister of State on 25 July 2015, the students wrote a letter to the Directors of FTII giving a solution to resolve the ongoing crisis. The students were apparently happy with the discussions at Delhi. Post-meeting, the students had intense deliberations and discussions with the larger student body. Then they sent a proposal to the Director who in turn forwarded it to the Ministry. The students mentioned that the proposal to resolve crisis was based on what they (students) understood from the various proposals put forward during discussions with the Ministers.

Lets us first see actually what student’s proposal was

l. Three out of the five contentious members of the proposed society (Anagha Ghaisas, Narendra Pathak and Rahul Solapurkar) would be replaced immediately by three new mutually agreeable members.

2. Three members who have resigned (Jahnu Baruah, Santosh Sivan and Pallavi Joshi) would be replaced by three new mutually agreeable members.

3. For the tenure of the current society, a Vice-Chairman would be elected from among the Society members. All the powers of the Chairman would be vested in this Vice-Chairman while Mr.Chauhan would function as the interim titular head.

4. Mr. Chauhan would not be a part of the revamped process of appointing the new Director at FTII a search committee could be formulated for the appointment of the director- they would be entrusted with identifying suitable candidates.



5. The main demand of the students is academic excellence; to achieve this. a "Mentor/Academic chair" would be created at FTII  who would help steer the institution in all academic matters. This mentor would arrive at decisions in consultation with students, teachers and other bodies. By definition he/she would be an active member of the Academic and Governing council.

6. A time bound Committee with a clear mandate should be formed to look into the reasons of the current crisis and suggest new rules towards formation of all the future FTll Societies in a transparent manner.

7. A Study Group comprising eminent people and academicians will be formed to look into the academic, administrative, infrastructure and human resource issues of the institute and help in the transition to the Institute of National importance. Recommendations of previous Committees such as the Khosla committee and the Nair committee reports could be considered to avoid duplication.

However, the students still have apprehensions about the role of the appointed Chairman under these circumstances. A proactive mechanism devised to address these apprehensions would help strengthen your commitment to make FTII a truly world class Film Institute. We suggest that the post of the Vice- Chairman in the current Society; to be given the title of Co-Chairman. All the powers of the Chairman would be vested in this Co-Chairman and the appointed Chairman would function as the interim titular head.


FTII Students proposal

The modalities and the time frames within which these solutions would be arrived at will be very critical to expedite the process. Also, the different committees suggested should have a clear mandate and should be time bound with members representing the highest academic excellence. In light of the above, if we mutually agree to the proposals discussed and apprehensions raised, it would help us resolve the current crisis at the earliest.


What prompted students who were earlier adamant on dropping five members to suddenly agree to retain Gajendra Chauhan and Shailesh Gupta? What was it that made Chauhan and Gupta non-contentious almost overnight? The students had earlier insisted that none of these five has strong credentials to become members of this premier institution. They also alleged that these five were political appointments. If that be so, why didn’t they oppose Pranjal Saikia who was an office-bearer of the RSS-linked Sanskar Bharati. Their vociferous protestations have suddenly gone silent.


Whatever be the reasons, it now appears that their opposition has whittled down only to three
Photo courtsey Ravi Karandeekar
names i.e Anagha Ghaisas, Narendra Pathak and Rahul Solapurkar. Students want these three and other members who have resigned (Jahnu Barua , Santosh Sivan and Pallavi Joshi) to be replaced by new mutually agreeable members. Why do the students not want back the members who resigned to support them? And what is this new condition of “mutually agreed” members. Process of such appointments should be transparent but that doesn’t mean appointments by “Mutual understanding” with agitators. Will not all other such institutions ask for similar changes then? This will then become the proverbial tip of the ice berg for agitations in the future.

Earlier the students didn’t want Gajendra Chauhan and four others to be associated to a “premier Institute’ like FTII. Then how come suddenly only Gajendra Chauhan and Shailesh Gupta are acceptable and not the other three who are presently on the board? Are they to be sacked? And if so what is the charge-sheet against them?

The president or chairpersons of governing council of FTII are, in any case, ornamental posts only. They don’t have any special powers. That means these posts have been titular all along. Then why did the students oppose Gajendra Chauhan in the first place? Their earlier objection that Chauhan did not have any association with FTII in the past and ,nor could he be placed in the same league as some of his predecessors  has suddenly vanished in thin air. Does the only being titular make him to be placed in that league?

Students’ another demand is, Vice-Chairman would be elected from among the Society members. All the powers of the Chairman would be vested in this Vice-Chairman. Presently, the Governing council elects the Vice Chairman. What difference it would achieve if society members elect the Vice Chairman is difficult to understand. Giving powers to the Vice Chairman or any other member is the prerogative of the Governing Council of FTII. The government has nothing to do with it and the students far from it.

Students don’t want Chauhan to be a part of the revamped process of appointing the new Director at FTII. A search committee could be formulated for the appointment of the director- they would be entrusted with identifying suitable candidates. FTII rule 37 (i) specifically says that the Director shall be appointed by the Governing Council with the prior approval of the Central Government on such terms and conditions as may be approved by the Central Government. It is up to the governing council whom to make part of such appointing process. It is another thing that till today governing council has made chairman a part of such process.

Their next demand is the creation of  "Mentor/Academic chair" who would help steer the institution in all academic matters.  Interesting part of this demand is they want this mentor to arrive at decisions in consultation with the students, teachers and other bodies.

In nut shell, the students want total control and say in the process of appointing, president, chairman, member, director and also administrative decisions. It seems that if government appoints members with mutual understanding with students then that is the only transparency as far as current process is concerned. Those who appoint have the powers to replace and re-appoint. So, when would the students study and learn the basics of films and television. In their spare time?

What difference does it make if  Gajendra Chauhan associates with FTII as titular or regular? How is it not going to affect the prestige of the Institute? How out of 6 members (Pranjal saikia included)  only 3 members are contentious and others not? Students now have to answer as to the extraneous considerations that have weighed on their minds while trying to stage an official coup and take over the prestigious institute, which will go further down hill until it crashes if these demands are accepted.


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RTI Resource Person, RTI Columnist
Phone – 9923299199
Email – kvijay14@gmail.com
Website – http://surajya.org              

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FTII Students’ Strike, Frustrated, Tainted, Intelligent but Not Innocent

Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment on FTII may be wrong but is that the only reason behind student’s on-going strike? Certainly not. The main reason behind the all this episode is corruption, hence everybody e.g. students, ex-students, administration, politicians wants to have control on it. This institute is not premier anymore. People who claim to be fighting for the Institute’s pride and eminence are just fooling everyone. Being in the field of acting, they write and execute the script according to their will and put its edited version and claim that as a truth.


Photo Courtsey Ravi karandeekar


I got involved in this FTII matter because of Right to Information ( RTI ) only. One fine morning a media person called me asking how to go ahead with RTI in order to get some information immediately, because filing regular RTI may waste precious time. I asked her to carry out office inspection under section 4 of the RTI Act,  because all she wanted to know was about the letters shared and communication between the FTII director and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), registrar and ministry, dean and ministry with respect to the strike and the minutes of all the discussions held between the SM-Khan led three- member delegation and director, registrar, faculty, students and staff on August 21.


Dues of cash advance till july 22015

She gave intimation to the institute but FTII didn’t give any information. Hence after giving the same intimation, I went personally for inspecting the files. This time they were ready with limited transparency. They provided me some information on a pen drive and as earlier director had just transferred , asked for 8 to 10 days time because the correspondence was from the personal email ID of the then Director. 

dues of Cash advance till july 2015

As for the minutes of the meeting held on 21.8.2015 between S. M. Khan led three-member delegation and Director, Registrar, faculty, students and staff are concerned; they said that the information was not available with FTII. This was totally unacceptable and wrong. They also denied the documents related with the assessment of 2008 batch students since the assessment was kept on hold and the process was yet to complete. That was ok.

dues of Cash advance till july 2015

However whatever information I obtained under the RTI Act and later through my sources is shocking and throws light on the chaos, illegalities, mismanagement, corruption and misbehavior of the administration, faculty and students.

Being students, they get support and sympathy from all walks of the society. This has not happened for the first time. Every time a chairman, director or faculty not of their liking is appointed, students call them incompetent. The only self-proclaimed entity that is always competent in FTII for the past so many years is the students.

Let us first see the reasons behind such repetitive agitations.

1) If a student doesn’t complete his course or project within the stipulated time, they are still entitled to free accommodation ,  subsidized food and no fees.

2) Students get cash advance for projects and hardly anybody checks the accounts and whether the cash is spent on legitimate heads.

3) Students can do private jobs in extended periods of free stay with subsidized food and cash advance in the hostel.

To avail of all these facilities, some students take the faculty and some from the administration in their loop and enjoy these facilities for years together. This is not the first time that the students haven’t completed their courses or projects in the stipulated time.

Academic councils decision on 11 April2014
The present agitation is connected with the first reason. It all started because of 70th meeting of Academic Council of FTII held on 11 April 2014. In this meeting it was decided that any student who does not complete any project or any part of the curriculum due to personal reasons and which adversely affect the running of the academic curriculum as well as affects the learning of the other students, must not be allowed to continue.Normally students claim differences with the faculty as a cause of delay in completing projects. Therefore the Council decided that differences amongst the team members needs to be resolved by them in case of delays are caused because of differences. The project even though incomplete, will have to be stopped within the time frame and assessment will be done accordingly, on as is where is basis.

And this is the root cause of the present agitation. But there was no way they could oppose this resolution, although they managed to pass ample time. But as earlier the director was about to transfer and  there was need to find some reason for fresh agitation to go on strike before new one takes charge. This meant that students may have to leave the campus and also immediately clear the cash advance dues if he would act as per resolutions passed in Academic Council.Suddenly with the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan and 4 others, they found an opportunity to strike. Actually, the President of FTII or chairman of its Governing Council does not have any special powers. Decisions are taken in governing council meetings on “majority carries the point” basis. And as this appointment was backdated, newly appointed committee would hardly make any difference. But the students hyped this issue.

Minutes of meeting director an all HoD's

Meanwhile the Ministry asked the newly appointed director to go ahead with assessment as per resolution dated 11 April 2014. Accordingly, it was decided that projects including the incomplete ones should be assessed. Extensions had been given to these students in 2013 as well as in 2014 and there doesn't seem to be any logic in giving any further extension. It was also decided that students can be asked to vacate the hostels though, they should be given opportunity to complete the remaining work including post production on the projects or exercises, for which they may be provided facilities as and when available and guest house accommodation on individual basis.  There was nothing wrong in this decision. Even then the students opposed and held the Director hostage and insulted the national anthem. Even then director didn’t file a FIR against them for contempt of national anthem. In this case Heads of the departments  that proposed and signed the minutes of this latter on denied any of such decision because many HoD's faculties are ex - students of FTII and any such may have put some restrictions on corruption and using facilities free of cost.

Now do the students really care about institute’s reputation? In the past one and half years at least 15 times, the police have knocked at the doors of the FTII in the wee hours, because of complaints of noise of late night cocktail parties. However,During the former director D J Narain's tenure the students seem to have got freehand  and this is well understood because no police dared to enter the premises despite of serious police complaints and incidents that happened in the institute during earlier many director's term Had they allowed them to enter, many including students would have been behind bars. There are several instances of liquor parties of students in FTII, which are recorded in security diary. Is this their love for reputation of institute?

Parties recorded in campus
Students are allowed to take cash advance for there projects. But hardly any body ever submits accounts. Outstanding dues of the cash advance till July 2015 are around Rs 20 lakhs. Till 31st March 2015, the dues were around Rs18 lakhs. That means students had to either submit accounts for that amount or had to return that money to the Institute. Some of the dues are pending since 2012. If audited carefully the expenses from advances may attract severe punishment. And in this case students are not alone administration also has dues to clear.


Parties recorded in campus
 There are hundreds of incidences of damage to the Institute’s property from students.

Next incidence may not be related to the students. But a camera worth Rs5 lakhs was stolen from the Institute. But FIR was not lodged for some time. Later on it was decided to lodge the FIR, initially police refused to do so, but as it was government property they accepted the complaint and HoD also didn't insisted on lodging FIR. However when police went to investigate administration didn’t allow them do so.Also they on investigation  Hence police closed the case. Who is responsible for this loss?

This may be the India’s first agitation, which is being run from government buildings and funds. FTII has landed itself in more trouble by not only paying air fare to the agitating students to go to Delhi but also because FTII has admitted the fasting students in private hospitals at great cost. In reality, where was the need for FTII to pay for the agitating fasting students and least of all in a private expensive hospital at tax-payers' cost. Later on when I put this matter on face book Director Prashant Pathrabe realized that the strike was illegal and confessed. And that hospital bills for the first two fasting students were paid as courtesy. Courtesy , at whose cost? The students sat on a fast of their own sweet will while the cost of the repercussions is being borne by the tax-payers. These students are one up over our politicians as far as enjoying five-star facilities!!

Now ,  as the students have successfully prevented administration from new admissions to take place. The Government should immediately order an audit by the C&AG so that the agitation would come to an end automatically‼

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RTI Resource Person, RTI Columnist
Phone – 9923299199
Email – kvijay14@gmail.com
Website – http://surajya.org              


   


Sunday, September 13, 2015

FTII row, non issue being stretched too far

Students of Film and TelevisionInstitute of India ( FTII) are on strike since last 93 days. Their demands are legitimate or not may be the matter of debate. However one thing is clear, everybody associated with FTII i.e ministry, administration and students can not claim innocence in this matter and everybody is stretching the issue too far.


Photo courtsey Ravi Karandeekar






Right now this issue is focused on the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as ​the ​President of FTII and ​Chairman of the Governing Council (GC).  Students have ​also objected to the Rahul ​Solapurkar, Anagha Ghaisas and ​Narendra Pathak​ as members of the Council​. However​,​ it seems that agitation is​ now​ focused only on Gajendra ​Chavan.

Photo Courtsey Ravi Karandeekar


There is no doubt that nominations or appointments on several authorities or Institutes like FTII are always politically motivated. It is also agreed that process of such appointments must be transparent. There may be some substance in argument on credentials of Gajendra Chavan. But it is also fact that President of FTII or chairman of its Governing Council doesn’t have any special powers. Decisions are taken in governing council meetings on “majority carries the point” basis. Then how come appointment of members who doesn’t have any special power or authority became such a  “big issue”?.

Photo courtsey Ravi Karandeekar
FTII is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is registered under the Societies’ Registration Act of 1860. There are ​a ​total 26 members ​in the ​Society and a ​President. Th​e​members are appointed by​ the​ ​Central Government under various categories. The 26 members elect 13 members for the​ GC. The general superintendence, direction, control and administration of the affairs of the ​Institute, its property and income vests ​with the GC. ​The President of FTII is by default ​the Chairman of the GC. ​The ​GC has power​s​ to appoint other committees and​ the ​​Academic ​Council and​ the​ Standing ​Committee on ​Finance are ​formed by ​the ​GC.

The GC, as the apex body of the FTII, is responsible for making all major policy decisions of the Institute in consonance with its aims and objectives. ​I​n any event, the 4 members ​of the GC ​against whom allegations ​h​a​ve be​en made cannot take or manipulate any decision. Then why are the ​​Government and more particularly the students making a prestige​ issue on this​ point? Removal of Gajendra Chauhan may solve this problem​ immediately​.​
Photo Courtsey Firstpost.com
Then why is the Government not doing that? ​And why have the students stalled the functioning of FTII​? ​This is specially significant because politically ​affiliated members are in​ a​ minority in​ the​ GC​ and it is crystal clear that these so called politically ​affiliated members ​on the GC cannot make any difference in​ the​ functioning of ​FTII. ​Then what is bothering the students?

Since last 18 months i.e  from 4 March 2014, GC i​s ​not in ​place in FTII.​ ​And it has made no difference to the functioning of the ​Society​.​​ The tenure of the GC being 3 years, the newly constituted committee will get only 18 months tenure because the members ​will be appointed ​retrospectively i.e from 4 March 2014. And hardly 4 or 5 meeting would take place ​in 18 months​.

Photo Courtsey Mid day






Past history of institution shows that hardly any luminary has participated in such meetings. So big names​ do​ ​​not make any difference ​to the functioning of the ​Society. ​Further, there is always the chance of this issue landing up in a court of law due to ​the political ​overtones in this agitation. ​No one can then predict the outcome; however by th​at time this Committee’s tenure will certainly be over.

Support to student’s agitation grew multifold after the Congress ​Vice ​President Rahul Gandhi entered ​the fray. And as media is covering it 24x7​,​ it has now become fashion​able​ to support blindly​ put one's name behind it! ​Surprisingly, Rahul Gandhi did​ ​n​ot do anything for FTII when he ​was the ruling dispensation and had ​full ​authority​ and over a decade​ to ​take steps for​ the​ betterment of the ​FTII? ​The tenure of the earlier committee ended on 3 March 2014 and ​the Code of ​Conduct came in​ to​ force on 5​ March. Why ​did not UPAII appoint ​the ​FTII ​Committee? Why Rahul Gandhi and his government let the opportunity to appoint the new GC slip to ​the ​NDA II?

Recently actors Vidya Balan, Pallavi Joshi and Anjum Rajabali have ​also supported​ the​ student’s agitation urging the ​President to declare FTII as a ​Cent​r​e of ​Excellence and​ de-link ​it from the ​Ministry of ​Information and Broadcasting ​by making it an autonomous institution. Pllavi Joshi while supporting agitation said​, ​"Creativity and great work is an impossible target to reach in a cloud of negativity”.  ​She should have added that politics and art rarely go together! ​Vidya Balan​ ​and Pallavi Joshi are both ​appointed on FTII​ GC​.Pallavi has tendered her resignation.​

Instead of supporting the​ agitation​,​ ​Vidya and ​Pallavi should join FTII and transform the ​Institution. If one ​one 'wrong' person make ​so much difference then two right persons should make​ much more​ positive difference to the ​Society. However,​ no​ one is coming forward for​ the​ betterment of ​FTII but ​appear to be interested in supporting agitations and allegations.

Vidya balan has also talked of de-linking FTII from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and making it autonomous. FTII is already autonomous, now what de-linking will achieve only Vidya Balan may reveal.​ ​One can attach several connotations to the word ​"​de-linking​"​ and many of th​em ​could be serious.

FTII Students’ ​Association ha​s already alleged that ​the ​Union Information and Broadcasting Minister​,​  Arun Jaitley ​has ​hinted that if students d​o not “cooperate” with the ​Ministry to resolve the stand-off over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan, it could lead to FTII’s ​privatization. Earlier​,​ such agitation​s​ in FTII have ended in ​the ​termination of ​the ​course or ​temporary ​closure of​ the​ film wing​.​ ​In such circumstances,​students should help run the ​Institute​e and not ​nip the intention of closing ​the Institute or its privatization in the bud​.

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RTI Resource Person, RTI Columnist
Phone – 9923299199
Email – kvijay14@gmail.com
Website – http://surajya.org              

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beware ! NGT Fines Mumbai Builder, Be Prepared to Lose Property & Money

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has fined Mumbai builder for violation of Environment norms. NGT has also asked Project Proponent to not to create third party interest until he amends the plan and deposits the fine. This and earlier same judgments will have long lasting impact on real estate industry. Especially Pune being hub of illegal real estate projects. Recent judgments on violation of environment norms show that courts are not ready to pardon environment violation on account of fait accompli. And that is the reason project proponents and property buyers need to worry and take precaution.


Photo courtsey www.tolerance.org
There are so many real estate projects that have started or completed without obtaining necessary environment clearance (EC) . Even in some cases builders have forcefully given possession to flat purchasers. Everybody who are about to book, booked or have taken possession in such project need to be cautious because in that case even after taking possession if NGT or court asks to amend plan, property buyers  may have  to wash their hands of said property.

In this case project was started without obtaining EC and there after EC was given but SEAC turned a blind eye to the construction carried out in violation of environment norms. NGT didn’t cancel said EC but asked project proponent to amend the plan of the sale building, get it approved as per law and asked him not to proceed and not to create third party interest by way of sale, transfer, assignment, lease or parting with possession of any portion of sale building/component in any manner whatsoever shall be made unless the amounts as directed  are paid and necessary amends to comply with the directions to provide additional parking spaces are made.

In pune and around more than 150 projects have started construction without obtaining EC and there are some projects to whom EC has been denied. However in these both the cases either project proponent has forcefully given possession or some have willingly taken possession. If we look at recent judgments on violation of environment norms it seems that courts are not ready to pardon environment violation on account of fait accompli. And that is the reason project proponents and property buyers need to worry and take precaution.

Photo courtsey politicalhumor.about.com
NGT also observed that the project proponent violated the EC Regulations, 2006 by undertaking construction before the EC was granted and thereby denied the realistic environmental safeguard to be in place. NGT also said that it may not be possible to determine compensation on account of violations of EC Regulations with consequential untold damage to the environment and with some exactitude, but that should not be the reason for the project proponent to avoid their liability in that regard. The NGT has already held that   non-compliance of environment norms would be of serious consequence, not only on environment but upon the society at large.

And hence NGT has asked project Proponent priyali builders  to  pay and remit a sum of Rs. 3 crores to the Authority, specified under sub-section (3) of section 7(A) of the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 ( PLI Act )  to be credited to the Environmental Relief Fund within a fortnight. PLI Act is an An act to provide for public liability- insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. In this case collector is an authority to recover such fines. NGT has asked this sum to credited in the Environmental Relief Fund within a fortnight.

NGT also asked respondent priyali builders  pay an amount of Rs. 32,63,600/- being market price of the deficient recreational area as on March, 2014 to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for incurring expenses on Environmental and ecological rehabilitation within a fortnight.

Photo courtsey www.climateactionreserve.org
Recent NGT judgments are eye opener for builders violating environment norms and also for the property buyers who ignore such things, ignorance of law can not can be excuse to pardon to wrong doings. Builders cheat when property buyers become emotional fool. Now its up to property buyers to decide next course of action. Actually stopping such illegal activities is responsibility of concerned authorities and officials but when they become party to such cheating, property buyers need to take this responsibility on own shoulders. 


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Monday, September 7, 2015

Maharashtra circular on sedition makes politicians and public servants “self proclaimed Government”

The bureaucracy in Maharashtra has once again put government in embarrassing position. It had left no stone unturned to be more powerfully than lawfully elected government. And unfortunately elected representatives have also succumbed to their wits. The blame game on governments circular on sedition has started .Oppositions have questioned intentions of government behind this circular, while Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis has placed the responsibility for the circular on the former Congress-NCP government.


Photo Courtsey pratimview.blogspot.in
CM has clarified that the circular is a direct translation of an HC decision. And that was based on the previous government's affidavit in the High Court. He has also termed media’s interpretation as “laughable” . However scenario is very different, the circular is not direct translation but twisted translation of original act and what had been put in The High Court on affidavit.

Out of 5 points only first 2 points of this circular are under criticism. In 1st  point words “लोकसेवक व सरकारचे प्रतिनिधी” means “ public servants and representatives of Government” have been mischievously inserted and that has caused the entire controversy .

In original act the words used in section 124A are “Whoever, by words, either spoken
or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life”

In the affidavit place in order state government has submitted that it would send guideline to police personal to take precaution while imposing section 124A . And 1st point of this affidavit reads  “The words, signs or representations must bring the Government (Central or State) into hatred or contempt or must cause or attempt to cause disaffection, enmity or disloyalty to the Government and the words/signs/ representation must also be an incitement to violence or must be intended or tend to create public disorder or a reasonable apprehension of public disorder;”


Photo Courtsey limenlemony.files.wordpress.com
If we read care carefully in original act or in an affidavit placed in High Court words “लोकसेवक व सरकारचे प्रतिनिधी” means “public servants and representatives of Government” were not there. However in circular while translating,  these words seem to have been inserted. Point 1 of this circular reads “तोंडी किंवा लेखी शब्दांद्वारे अथवा खुणांद्वारे, अगर दृश्य अथवा अन्य मार्गामार्फत केंद्र अथवा राज्य सरकार, लोकसेवक व सरकारचे प्रतिनिधी यांच्याबद्दल द्वेष, तुच्छता, अप्रीती, अवमान, असंतोष, शत्रुत्व, द्रोहभावना अथवा बेइमानी याची भावना दर्शवित असली पाहिजे. अशा प्रकारचे शब्द,खुणा किंवा प्रदर्शन अभिव्यक्ती हिंसाचारास प्रवृत्त करणारी किंवा जनतेत असंतोष निर्माण करणारी असली पाहिजे”.

Who and why the inserted words “public servants and representatives of Government” is matter of investigation. However this can be termed as an attempt to amend law by issuing circular.

 The next point of this circular is connected with point no 1. In Marathi it says’ सदर लेखी किंवा तोंडी शब्द, खुणा अथवा कोणत्याही प्रकारची अभिव्यक्ती यामधून राजकारणी अथवा लोकसेवक हे शासनाचे प्रतिनिधी असल्याचे ध्वनित होईल, त्यावेळीच सदर कलम लावण्यात यावे. That means “said (above mentioned) words/signs/representations show politicians or public servants as representative of the Government then only above section should be applied”. Actually in 1st point word “politician” is not there but suddenly it appears in 2nd point of Marathi translation.


Photo Courtsey whatoneearth.in
In affidavit filed in high court point no 2 is “Words, signs or representations against politicians or public servants by themselves do not fall in this category unless the words/signs/ representations show them as representative of the Government”. This point actually exempts from any immunity for politician and public servants from section 124 A. however Marathi translation not only provides such immunity it puts ‘freedom of speech and expression” in danger.

Point no 5 of this circular and affidavit placed in High Court is the only hope to assume that this will not be misused it says’ Before applying section 124A district law officer should be consulted and then within tow weeks Advocate generals opinion should sought.”. Fortunately in circular also same words have been kept untouched. Hence it is very difficult for police personal to apply section 124A  to any one without Advocate Generals opinion.

However major question who did this mischief and why? It is not the first instance that bureaucracy has done such mischief. The most recent examples are.

1) It attempted to amend CrPC 156, With this amendment courts would not be able direct Police to file FIR without the sanction of the competent authority. This was clear attempt to shield both government servants as well as elected members. This would have made it harder to  make accountable government servants and public representatives

2) In Maharashtra Right to public Services Act (MRTPS) they have eliminated all other fields except Governance from the Right to Public services Commissioners that are to be appointed under MRTPS. Section 13 (5) . It says the chief commissioner or commissioners shall be the persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in administration in government or public authority. That means there will be only babus as  CICs and ICs of commission
Photo Courtsey www.manjul.com

3) Under MRTPS imposition amount of  a penalty  has left to be specified by the State Government from time to time by notification in the Official Gazette. This is the trick to kill the act before its inception. If penalty provision is not fixed in the act itself, babus will time and again try to minimize or remove it completely by mere notifications.

4) To make public servants accountable government of Maharashtra introduced Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005’, PoDiDoODA however bureaucracy never allowed to implement it properly. The funniest part is that the rules for PoDiDoODA came in to force in November 2013 i.e. after seven years of its promulgation. Hence, citizen’s charter was not implemented in many departments. And even after rules were framed the act was not implemented.


5) Many circulars were issued from Mantralay of Maharashtra since 1996 to express commitment to eradicate corruption and illegalities. Right to Information (RTI) Act was introduced soon afterwards. There was a provision for stringent action against illegalities exposed through the use of RTI. So far, 13 circulars have been issued for action against those involved in corruption and illegalities. But till today no action has been taken against any public servant according to these circulars.

In short bureaucracy has always tried to keep upper hand on democracy and unfortunate thing is elected representatives succumbed to their (Bureaucrats) wits for reason best known to them only.

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RTI Resource Person, RTI Columnist
Phone – 9923299199
Email – kvijay14@gmail.com
Website – http://surajya.org