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Bmc pio by shailesh gandhi

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Former Chief Information Officer Shailesh Gandhi View on RTI act for BMC - PIO

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Bmc pio by shailesh gandhi

  1. 1. 1 THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT SHAILESH GANDHI 200 5
  2. 2. • The first FOI Law was enacted in Sweden on 2nd December, 1766. • It was primarily sponsored by a Finnish clergyman Anders Chydenius. • Anders is said to have been inspired by Confucian philosophy (5 B.C.) that Chinese emperors were expected ‘to admit their imperfections, even as they were to uphold infallible and exemplar personal conduct.’ 2 Origins
  3. 3. WHEREAS the Co nstitutio n o f India has e stablishe d de m o cratic Re public; AND WHEREAS de m o cracy re quire s an info rm e d citize nry and transpare ncy o f info rm atio n which are vitalto its functio ning and also to co ntain co rruptio n and to ho ld Go ve rnm e nts and the ir instrum e ntalitie s acco untable to the g o ve rne d; AND WHEREAS revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information; AND WHEREAS it is necessary to harmonise these conflicting interests while preserving the paramountcy of the democratic ideal; NOW, THEREFORE, it is e xpe die nt to pro vide fo rfurnishing ce rtain info rm atio n to citize ns who de sire to have it 3 Preamble
  4. 4. • 2 (f) "information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; • Information must exist; what exists is information 4 Information
  5. 5. Public Authorities Section 2h “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted,— (a) by or under the Constitution ;    (b) by any other law made by Parliament;   (c) by any other law made by State Legislature;  (d) by notification issued or order made by the  appropriate Government, and includes any-- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;    (ii) non-Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;” • CMs relief fund 5
  6. 6. Right to Information Sec 2(j) • (j) “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to- (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies. tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device; . 6
  7. 7. Most Important Section 3 Subject to the provisions of this Act, all Citizens shall have the Right to Information. 7
  8. 8. • (1) Every public authority shall­ • (a) maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerised are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerised and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated; • It would also make the PIOs job easier. 8 Section 4 – Suo Moto Disclosures
  9. 9. Section 4 – Suo Moto Disclosures Parliament’s promise to Citizens in Section 4 was that 1. Most operations would be computerized and networked, records would be properly catalogued and indexed. 2. Information would be provided suomotoby all public authorities. 3. All relevant facts while formulating important policies would be published. 4. Reasons for administrative and quasi-judicial decisions will be conveyed to affected persons. 9
  10. 10. Section 5-Deemed PIO • (4) The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may seek the assistance of any other officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties. • (5) Any officer, whose assistance has been sought under sub-section (4), shall render all assistance to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, seeking his or her assistance and for the purposes of any contravention of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be . 10
  11. 11. Sec 6- Request forobtaining information • (1) A person, who desires to obtain any information under this Act, shall make a request in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made, • (2) An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him. 11
  12. 12. Sec 6 (Cont’d)- Request forobtaining information • (3) Where an application is made to a public authority requesting for an information,­- (i) which is held by another public authority; or (ii) the subject matter of which is more closely connected with the functions of another public authority, the public authority, to which such application is made, shall transfer the application or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately about such transfer: • Provided that the transfer of an application pursuant to this sub-section shall be made as soon as practicable but in no case later than five days from the date of receipt of the application. 12
  13. 13. 7. Disposal of request • (1) on receipt of a request under section 6 (PIO) shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9: Where the information concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request. • (2) If PIO fails to give decision on the request for information within the period specified under sub-section (1), the PIO shall be deemed to have refused the request. 13
  14. 14. 7. Disposal of request (Cont’d) • (3) PIO must give details of further fees representing the cost of providing the information as determined by him, together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed under sub-section (1), requesting him to deposit that fees, and the period intervening between the despatch of the said intimation and payment of fees shall be excluded for the purpose of calculating the period of thirty days. • (6)person making request for the information shall be provided the information free of charge where a public authority fails to comply with the time limits specified in Sub- section (1) (30 days) 14
  15. 15. Section 7 • (8) Where a request has been rejected under subsection (1), the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be shall communicate to the person making the request,- (i) the reasons for such rejection; (ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred; (iii) the particulars of the appellate authority. • (9) An information shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question. 15
  16. 16. 30 day period a)PIO receives RTI application- Day 1 After X days b)PIO sends letter asking add. fees 30 day Clock Stops c)Additional fees paid - 30 day clock starts Information sent after Y days d) X+ Y less than or = 30 days 16
  17. 17. Exemption fromdisclosure of information –Section 8 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,- (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; (b) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; (c) information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; 17
  18. 18. Section 8.. Cont’d • (d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; • (e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; • (f) information received in confidence from foreign govt.; • (g) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; 18
  19. 19. Section 8.. Cont. • (h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; • (i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers: • Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over: • Provided further that those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed; 19
  20. 20. Section 8..contd. • ( j ) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. • (2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub- section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interests in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests. 20
  21. 21. Section 8 (3) • 3) Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub- section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section: • Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act. 21
  22. 22. Section 11 11. (1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which. relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: 22
  23. 23. Section 18- Complaint • 1. When RTI application not taken. • 2. When excessive fee is sought. • 3. If false information given • 4. Noncompliance with Section 4 • 5. For threats 23
  24. 24. Section 19- appeal • 1. First appeal to First appellate authority within 30 days. • 2. For not getting information, incomplete information or wrong information. • 3. FAA should decide in 30/45 days • 4. If result of First appeal not satisfactory, second appeal to the Commission within 90 days. • 5. Section 19 (5) Onus on PIO that denial of information was justified. 24
  25. 25. Section 20 • If information denied without reasonable cause Commission must penalise the PIO/Deemed PIO at Rs. 250 per day of delay, after giving an opportunity of explaining. Maximum penalty Rs. 25000. Commission can also recommend disciplinary action against the officer. 25
  26. 26. Section 22 • The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. 26
  27. 27. Some necessary Actions by Department heads • Clearly identify the holders,-deemed PIOs,- of various records • PIO should directly send his requisition for information to the holder of the record. • All ‘holders of record’ must understand the relevance of Section 5 (4) and Section 5 (5), and their liabilities under Section 20 (1). • ‘Holder of record’ can either be the person actually holding the record or the administrative head of the unit. If the Public authority decides that the administrative head must be referred to, such administrative head must be held responsible for providing the information and be liable as the deemed PIO. 27
  28. 28. Time plan • RTI application received. 30 days clock starts. • All RTI applications must reach the PIO within one day. • Within one day of the receipt of the requisition for information, please check the following ( in cases where the life or liberty of a person is involved, information has to be provided in 48 hours) : • Has the application fee been paid? For Central Govt. bodies, a Citizen can pay 10 rupees by cash, banker’s cheque, Indian Postal order or in a designated Post office. • Is the applicant’s contact information provided? • Is the requisition for ‘information’ covered by Section 2 (f) and (j) ? • If the answer is ‘no’, please intimate the requisitioner that what has been asked for is not ‘information’ as defined by Section 2 (f) or 2(j) of the RTI act. • If the answer is ‘Yes’, ie. What has been asked for, is 28
  29. 29. Next action • If prima facie you see that information must be provided, see if you have the information with you. If so, see if any charge is leviable as per the rules. For Central Government the charges are Rs. 2 per page for A4 size Xerox copy or collated and typed. Intimate the requisitioner of the calculations and the total amount payable, and ask him to pay the amount. If there are items whose cost has not been specified in the rules, -eg. Samples,-please make a reasonable estimate. On payment of the amount release the information. If some information is not being provided, indicate clearly which information is not being provided and give the reasons how any of the exemption clauses are applicable. • If some the information has to be obtained from another officer send him a note, and seek his assistance under Section 5 (4), stating that he must give you an answer within 15 days 29
  30. 30. Voluminous information. • If voluminous information has been sought, which would take too much resources, estimate the number of pages in which the information may exist and offer to give the pages from which information would have to be collated, at Rs. 2 per page. Also offer an inspection of the records to the applicant.- Section 7 (9) and suggest two dates with time. 30
  31. 31. First appellate authority • 1. A statutory duty. • 2. A very important role. • 3. As soon as an appeal is received it must be listed for hearing-preferably within 10 days. • 4. A reasoned speaking order must be issued. • 5. A good appellate mechanism will save officers from penalties 31
  32. 32. • Critical role of the First appellate authority. • It is a duty which must be fulfilled. • Hearings are a must, unless the appellate authority is convinced that the information must be provided. • Reasoned orders must be given keeping in mind the RTI Act. • When asking for information to be provided identify it clearly. • If appellate authority does not discharge its function, Commission recommends disciplinary action 32
  33. 33. • From. Name and Designation of PIO with Address and Phone number. • To (Name and address of the applicant) • Your RTI application dated …….. received on ……….. • With respect to your above mentioned application, we are pleased to inform you that the following information can be provided to you on payment of fees as shown below: • 1. A4 size pages nos. @ Rs. 2 each Rs. • 2. Other size papers nos. @ Rs. Each Rs. • 3. Floppies or CDs nos. @ Rs. 50 each Rs. • 5. Postage charges ________________ • Total Rs. • Please pay the fees at ………………(place), or send a demand draft or IPO in the name of ……… so that we may give you the information. • We wish to inform you that the following information is not being given to you, since the following exemption clauses apply: • Information severed • Exemption clause • Reasoning how exemption clause applies. • If you wish to appeal against this decision you can appeal within 30 days to : • Name, address and telephone number of appellate authority. • 33
  34. 34. Reply in regard to application under Right To Information Act 22 of 2005 • From: Name and Designation of PIO • Address and Phone number. • To • (Name and address of the applicant) • Your RTI application dated …….. received on ……….. • Sir, • With respect to your above mentioned application, we regret to inform you that the information requested by you, cannot be provided for the reasons given below: • Information refused • Exemption clause • Reasoning how exemption clause applies. • If you wish to appeal against this decision you can appeal within 30 days to : • Name, address and telephone number of appellate authority. • Signature of PIO 34
  35. 35. • To • (Name and address of the applicant) • Your RTI application dated …….. received on ……….. • Sir, • With respect to your above mentioned application, we regret to inform you that the information requested by you, cannot be provided in the format sought by you, since it would disproportionately divert our resources. • However as per Section 7 (9), we can offer you inspection of the relevant files on ………. (offer 3 alternate dates with times). • Or We can however give you photocopies from the relevant records. The additional fees for this will be:. • 1. A4 size pages nos. @ Rs. 2 each • 2. Other size papers nos. @ Rs. each • 3. Floppies or CDs nos. @ Rs. 50 each • If you wish to appeal against this decision you can appeal within 30 days to : • Name, address and telephone number of appellate authority. • Signature of PIO 35
  36. 36. Some bottlenecks • Lack of culture of transparency. • Lack of awareness of the law amongst Citizens and PIOs. • Information Commission’s slow pace of disposals. • Unwillingness to accept mistakes. 36
  37. 37. RTI 2005 • An Act to Provide Information. • Public interest is Paramount. • Leads to true participatory democracy- SWARAJ. • Transparency brings flaws and faults upfront and improves systems and governance. • Truth and Sunlight are healthy. • DSSB 37
  38. 38. Visit: For earlier judgments by the CIC and RTI’s filed http://www.moneylife.in/life/right-to-information For additional information on RTI http://www.rti.india.gov.in 38 Formore on RTI
  39. 39. Mera Bharat Mahaan…
  40. 40. Mera Bharat Mahaan... Nahi Hai,
  41. 41. Mera Bharat Mahaan... Nahi Hai, PerYeh Dosh Mera Hai.

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