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Thursday, July 21, 2016

No options left, Ratnakar Gaikwad has to resign otherwise..

On the background of assurance given by  Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis  that a report on Ratnakar Gaikwad's role in the Ambedkar Bhavan demolition will be sent to the Governor and on  the background of surge of protest, an agitation and anger displayed by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's  disciples recently , it appears that  Chief State Information commissioner (CSIC) of Maharashtra has not left with any other option other than to resign .





Most irony part of the story is that Ratnakar Gaikwad himself has created the cause of action to remove himself from the post of CSIC under section 17 of RTI act. as per this section ,  Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the CSIC  or a State Information Commissioner ( SIC) can be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.




As per section 17(3) (e) of RTI act CSIC or SIC  can be removed If he has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner

And as per section 17(4) CSIC or SIC can be removed  if he, in any way, concerned or interested in any contract or agreement made by or on behalf of the Government of the State or participates in any way in the profit thereof or in any benefit or emoluments arising therefrom otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company, he shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to be guilty of misbehavior.




In a present case, Ratnakar Gaikwad has not only taken an active part in the demolition of Ambedkar  Bhavan but also saw and defended the demolition of it  in the midnight openly.

While talking to Mumbai Mirror Gaikwad admitted  that he wasn't connected with the trust, and was merely "advising" the office bearers, like so many organizations and NGOs do, and I helped them." . But he was  seen on television giving the reason for demolition in the midnight. He said  earlier while structural audit there was a hugh protest and hence they had to demolish it in midnight. That definitely  wasn't just advice. It was active participation and "Interest in action".



Ratnakar Gaikwads behavior in Ambedkar Bhawan demolition case clearly shows that he had taken a lot of interest in. It was not just a passive advice, it was definitely an active participation falls under the section 17 of the RTI act. There may be counter arguments on whether  information commissioners while in office are allowed to give advice to NGO's or people. But definitely, they are not allowed to take an active part in any organizations matters directly or indirectly.

If Government reports Ratnakar Gaikawad's involvement in Ambedkar Bhawan  demolition case to the Governor, the Governor may start his removal procedure. And looking it to the increasing pressure on Government and assurance given by chief minister in assembly Government will definitely send such report. In that case, Governor as per section 17 (2) may suspend him from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during an inquiry. To avoid all this embarrassment Ratnakar Gaikwad has an option of  only to Resign immediately.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maharashtra Once again propose to amend Right To Information rules

The Government of Maharashtra is again trying to amend Right to information Rules. If these rules are implemented will be last straw on camel's back. Time being posting the text that I obtained from my sources .  Detailed post about implication of these rules will be posted tomorrow


Proposed Maharashtra Right to information Rules 2015

1.      Short title and commencement.-(1) These rules may be called the Maharashtra Right to Information Rules, 2015.
(2)   They shall come into force on the -------------2015

2.      Definitions.-In the rules, unless the context otherwise requires,-
(a)   ‘Act’ means the Right to Information Act,2005(22 of 2005);
(b)   "First Appellate Authority" means an officer in the public authority who is senior in rank to the Public Information Officer and is so designated and notified by the public authority under section 19(1) of the Act.
(c)    Nodal Officer” means an Officer not below the rank of a Deputy Secretary of the department, and not below the rank of Additional HoD in the case of attached or field Officers, designated  by the respective departments of the State Government for ensuring compliance with  section 4 of the Act.
(d)   “Public Information Officer” means an officer designated and notified as such by any public authority under section 5(1) of the Act and includes an Assistant Public Information Officer so designated or notified under section 5(2) of the Act. It also includes an officer from whom assistance has been sought under section 5(4) of the Act or to whom the application seeking information is transferred under section 6(3) of the Act. It further includes the head of the public authority in case no Public Information Officer is appointed or notified by such public authority;
(e)    “Registrar” means the Officer of the Commission of the level of Joint Secretary / Deputy Secretary to the State Government as may be designated by the SCIC.                       
(f)    Section’ means section of the Act;
(g)   “Subject” means a subject dealt with by the PIO concerned as an independent subject.????????
(h)   Words and expressions used in these rules but not defined shall have the same meanings respectively, assigned to them, in the Act.

3.      Procedure for seeking information.- (1) A request for obtaining information under sub-section (1) of section 6 shall be made to the concerned State Public Information Officer on plain paper in the format given in  the appendix as Form 1 and shall be accompanied by an application fee of rupees ten by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or banker’s cheque payable to the public authority or by  affixing a court fee stamp or Indian postal order of rupees ten or through electronic payment gateway as prescribed by public authority (2) Any request for obtaining information under the Act should fulfill the following conditions:
(a)   the information sought should be a part of the record held by or under the control of the public authority concerned as envisaged under section 2 (f) of the Act and will not include information which will:
(i)    involve a fresh collection of non-available data; or compilation of existing data.
(ii)   require carrying out interpretation or analysis of existing data, or drawing of inferences based on existing data.
(iii) involve providing answers to hypothetical questions; or
(iv) be in the nature of seeking clarification, opinion or justification.
(v)   include information obtainable under existing law as per procedure prescribed by that law, provided the applicant establishes that he did not receive information despite recourse to that alternative remedy.
(vi) information which is already in the public domain under section 4(1)(b) or available to the general public to various publications.
(3)The applicant shall annex copies of relevant documents referred to in the RTI application.???
(4) The Public Information Officer shall enter the particulars of the Application in the Register maintained for the purpose in the format given in the appendix as Form 2.
(5) The PIO shall acknowledge the receipt of the application in Form 3 within 5 days from the date of receipt of application and intimate to him the availability of information or the fee required to be deposited for the same, or non-availability of the information sought or action taken under section 6(3) of the Act or time required to search/procure the relevant information.  (to be drafted)

(6) Where part of the information demanded is available with the PIO, the PIO shall furnish the same to the applicant an forward the application to the public authority with which rest of the information is concerned. Where the information demanded is available with more than one PIO in the same public authority, the public authority shall designate one of the PIOs as coordinating PIO for the purpose of section 7 of the Act. In case the information sought by the applicant is available with more than one public authority, the PIO shall inform in writing the applicant to approach the concerned authorities independently.


 (4) If the Public Information Officer finds that a request made for disclosure of information relates to another public authority or its subject matter is more closely related to another public authority, then such Public Information Officer shall, within five days from the date of receipt of the request, transfer the request or such part of it as may be appropriate, to the other public authority in the format given in the appendix as Form 3.

(6) The Public Information Officer on receipt of a request for information shall dispose of the request in accordance with the provisions of sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Act.
If the Public Information Officer is of the view that the information sought is to be provided, then he shall convey the information to the applicant in the format given in the appendix as Form 4. The date on which the information is supplied shall be entered in the Register mentioned in sub-rule (2) above.
If the Public Information Officer is of the view that the information sought can only be provided on payment of any further fee representing the cost of providing the information as prescribed in the U.P. Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2006, then he shall send intimation accordingly to the applicant in the format given in the appendix as Form 5 and enter the details in the Register mentioned in sub-rule (2) above.

(7) If the Public Information Officer is of the view that the request for information is to be rejected for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 or  9 of the Act, then he shall convey such rejection to the applicant in the format given in the appendix as Form 4. The date of rejection shall be entered in the Register mentioned in sub-rule (2) above.
(8) PIO shall maintain a Roznama  in Form 5

(4) Request relate only to single subject matter.– A request in writing for information under section 6 of the Act shall relate to one subject matter and it shall not ordinarily exceed one hundred and fifty words If an applicant wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter, he shall make separate applications:

Provided that, in case the request made relates to more than one subject matter, the Public Information Officer marshal respond to the request relating to the first subject matter only and may advise the applicant to make a separate application for each of the other subject matters.

4.      Fees: (1) For providing the information under sub-section(1) of section 7, the fee shall be charged by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or banker’s cheque payable or by way of money order or Indian postal order to the public authority or through electronic payment gateway as prescribed by public authority  at the following rates, namely :
(A)
(a) when the concernedDepartment has already fixed   The price of some documents,maps,etc.


The Price sofixed plus postal charges.

(b) when the information is readily available, either by  way of photocopying or  by another way (copy)
(i) rupees two for each page(in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied plus postal charges ; or

(ii) actual charge or cost price of a copy in large size paper plus postal charges.

(B)
for inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; and a fee of rupees five for the subsequent hour or fraction thereof thereafter:

Provided that no postal charges shall be charged if the applicant collects the information personally.

(2) For providing the information under sub-section (5) of section 7, the fee shall be charge by way of cash against proper receipt or by demand draft or bankers cheque or by way of money order payable to the public authority or Indian postal order  to the public authority or through electronic payment gateway as prescribed by public authority at the following rates:-

(a)   for information provided in diskette for floppy, rupees fifty per diskette or floppy, rupees fifty per diskette or floppy plus postal charges ; provided that no fee shall be charged if the information is supplied online electronically,  e.g. email.
(b)   for information provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or    rupees two per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication plus postal charges :
Provided that no postal charges shall be charged if the applicant collects the information personally.
( c) Subject to the provision of section 7(6), the information shall be provided  free of charge. For this purpose, the date of actual dispatch of intimation for payment of fees or actual information shall be considered.{Explanation : dispatch shall mean delivery of the letter to the relevant postal authority or the hand delivery to the applicant}



5.      Providing Information sought by person below poverty line

(1)   No fees and charges shall be payable by a person belonging to the Below Poverty Line families provided that such person encloses with the application, a certified copy of the Below Poverty Line Card or a certificate issued in that behalf by the concerned authority.
(2)   If the information sought relates to applicant himself/herself then the information will be provided in the form in which it is demanded.
(3)   If the information sought is not pertaining to self but if the information can be given in 50 pages (A4 size) or the cost of production of information is within Rs.100 (Rupees one hundred only) then the information sought will be provided in the form it is sought
(4)   If the information sought involves more than 50 pages or the cost of production exceeds Rs.100 (Rupees one hundred only) then by recording reasons under section 7(9) of the Act the applicant will be requested to inspect the records/files in the office in person.

6.      Applications for Samples or Inspection:

(1)   Where an application is made for taking a sample or inspecting a record or public works, the PIO shall intimate the date, time and venue when the applicant and in case of infirm or physically challenged persons, his/her authorized representative can obtain a sample or material or inspect information, record or work on submission of appropriate evidence regarding disability.

(2)   Procedure for seeking inspection of record.

(a)    If after having considered the application filed by the applicant for seeking inspection of record under sub-section (1) of section 6, the Public Information Officer find it appropriate, the applicant may be granted permission to inspect the record and if he grants such permission the Public Information Officer shall requisition the record desired by the applicant for perusal, from the concerned section of the Department and shall give the same to the applicant section of the Department and shall give the same to the applicant for inspection in his presence or in the presence of his authorized representative, during office hours.
(b)   The State Public Information Officer concerned shall have the right to fix the time and date of the inspection according to administrative convenience and his/her decision shall be final.
(c)    Subject to section 8 and 9 of the Act the PIO shall ensure that all the records sought by the applicant are made available for inspection at the time of inspection.
(d)   The State Public Information Officer concerned shall maintain the Roznama of time and date of inspection in the prescribed form.
(e)    While inspecting such record, the applicant shall be allowed to use pencil only and the information desired by the applicant shall be noted by him by pencil only and If the applicant brings any writing instruments other than a pencil, he shall deposit the same with the Public Information Officer and, thereafter, he shall be allowed to inspect the record.
(f)    The applicant shall not make any marking on the record by the pencil he is allowed to use during the inspection.During an inspection of documents or records, the applicant shall not cause any hindrance to the office work and shall cooperate with the staff and complete the inspection as soon as possible.

(3)   Procedure for seeking sample- The sample shall be provided to the applicant in the same manner and following the same procedure as followed generally by the public authority concerned and where such procedure is not laid down, as per the procedure adopted when the sample is taken by the relevant vigilance or investigation agency.

(4)   If the applicant desires to take copies of any parts of the records inspected by him or a sample of the work inspected by him, he/she may request the PIO in writing to provide such copies/samples. No application fee shall be required for such application.The PIO shall provide such copies/samples within 5 days, subject to payment of any fees for information.

7.      Maintenance of Record and suomoto disclosure under section 4

(1)   Every Government Department shall prescribe classification of all type of records and its mode of disposal, subject to the provision of Maharashtra Public Records  Act 2005.
(2)   Every public authority shall ensure that all their records are organized in accordance with the classification as mentioned in Rule 8(1) and are also duly computerized and e-accessible under the Act.  
(3)   Every public authority shall publish on the website or through booklets or information boards, the information prescribed in section 4(1)(b) of the Act and update it regularly and periodically.
(4)   Every Government Department shall designate a Nodal Officer at the departmental and the field level. (Explanation: Department shall mean the departments at the State Mantralaya level as defined by the Rules of Business of Government of Maharashtra.
(5)   The Nodal Officer shall be responsible to prescribe appropriate guidelines to the PA at different levels for classification and maintenance of records and its suomoto disclosure.
(6)   Every Government Department shall publish on its website the directory of the public authorities under its control, the PIOs, FAAs and the Nodal Officers.

8.      First Appeal
(1)     If any applicant does not receive the information or decision within the time limit specified in the act or if he is aggrieved by a decision of the Public Information Officer, such applicant may, within thirty days thereof, file an appeal with the First Appellate Authority in Form No. _____6____, accompanied with a fee of Rs. 20/- payable in cash, money order, pay order, Demand Draft or Court  fee stamp or Indian postal order  to the public authority or through electronic payment gateway as prescribed by public authority
(2)     An appeal application shall mention the name and address of the appellant, name, and designation of the Public Information Officer and the reason of filing the appeal such as refusal to give information or disclosure of incomplete or misleading information or an order relating to payment of excessive fees or non-disclosure of information within the specified time limit.

(3)     The First Appeal Application shall be accompanied by the copies of the RTI application along with annexures submitted to the PIO, decision or reply of the PIO. In case no reply was received from the PIO, a specific mention thereof shall be made in the appeal application.
(4)     The First Appellate Authority shall maintain a register of first appeal applications in Form7.The First Appellate Authority shall fix the date, time & place of hearing and give a notice of at least seven days to appellant, the Public Information Officer, and a third party if any, for the purpose of hearing the appeal. A Roznama shall be maintained by the FAA in the Form 8.

(5)     The first appeal shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of section 19(1). The FAA shall pass a speaking order with reasons thereof recorded in writing.

(6)     A copy of the order passed on the appeal will be provided free of cost to the appellant and PIO concerned.

(7)     The First Appellate Authority shall ensure the compliance of its orders by the PIO concerned.

9.      Second Appeal
(1)     An applicant who is not satisfied by the decision of the First Appellate Authority or where no such decision has been communicated within the time limit prescribed by the Act,may prefer second appeal to the State Information Commission within 90 days from the date of such decision, in Form 9 Such appeal shall be filed before the concerned Bench of the Commission in whose jurisdiction the office of the PIO is located.
(2)     The Second Appeal Application  shall be accompanied by a fee of rupees twenty by way of cash against proper receipt, or by demand draft or banker’s cheque payable to the State Information Commission or by affixing a court fee stamp of rupees twenty or Indian postal order  to the public authority or through electronic payment gateway as prescribed by public authority, and shall be accompanied by the following documents, duly authenticated an verified by the appellant, namely:-
(i)    a copy of the application along with annexures submitted to the PublicInformation Officer;
(ii)   a copy of the reply or decision received, if any, from the Public Information Officer;
(iii) a copy of the appeal made to the First Appellate Authority;
(iv) a copy of the Order received if any, from the First Appellate Authority; or in case no order was received from the First Appellate Authority, a mention thereof.
(v)   copies of other documents relied upon by the appellant and referred to in his appeal;
and
(vi) an index of the documents referred to in the appeal.

(3)     The Appellant shall cause to serve a copy of the Second Appeal Application with annexures to the PIO, FAA and Third Party if any and submit a declaration to that effect to the Commission at the time of filing of Second Appeal.
(4)     The State Information Commission shall maintain a register of appeals received in Form10. The Commission shall provide a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the appellant and the FAA and the Public Information Officer as the case may be, and third party if any. The State Information Commission shall give a notice of at least seven days to the parties for the purpose of hearing of the appeal.


10.  Rules governing registration and disposal of complaints

(1) Any person may file a complaint with the Commission in accordance with the provisions of section 18 of the Act.

(2) A complaint should be typed, printed or written neatly and legibly and should be filed in three copies. A complaint should be submitted in the format given in the appendix as Form 11and should contain the following details:


(3) All necessary documents in support of the complaint should be annexed to the complaint.

(4) The Commission shall maintain the register in Form  12.

(5) The complainant shall cause to serve a copy of the complaint application with annexures to the Public Authority or FAA or Public Information Officer concerned as the case may beand submit a declaration to that effect to the Commission at the time of filing of complaint.

(6) The Commission shall issue notices to the complainant and the Public Authority or FAA or Public Information Officer concerned as the case may be at least 7 days before the date fixed for the hearing. A copy of the complaint will also be sent to the Public Information Officer directing him to submit his written statement in two copies by the date fixed and directly cause a copy of the same to be served on the complainant.

(7) On the date of hearing of the complaint, after consideration of the contents of the complaint, the written statement of the Public Authority or FAA or Public Information Officer concerned as the case may be and the submission made by the parties at the hearing, the Commission may issue appropriate orders to Public Authority or FAA or Public Information Officer concerned to comply with provisions of the Act or order further enquiry if necessary or dispose of the complaint as the case may be.

11.  Records Management

1)      The Public Information Officer shall maintain the record in Register in Form _A__ in respect of the applications received for information and the fees collected for giving the information.

2)      The Public Information Officer shall maintain the record in Register in Form __B__ in respect of inspection of record/work allowed in Form ___ and details of the application and Inspection shall be recorded therein.

3)      The First Appellate Authority shall maintain the record in Register in Form _C__ in respect of the first appeals filed and their disposal.

4)      The record of applications, appeals and complaints shall be retained for one year after its disposal in case where further appeals are not pending. The Register of Application and Appeals shall be retained for 5 years.


12. Monitoring and Reporting ????????????????????????

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RTI KATTA is a platform to empower oneself through discussions amongst each other to solve their problems by using Right to Information act, Every Sunday at Chittaranjan Watika, Model Colony,Shivaji nagar, Pune, between 9.30 to 10.30 A.M.


RTI Resource Person, RTI Columnist
Phone – 9923299199
Website – http://surajya.org/