Right to Information
BJP MP Satyapal Singh hid government dues from EC, alleges RTI activist
Mumbai : BJP MP from Baghpat had allegedly concealed information about unpaid dues to the city collector in his election affidavit, an RTI activist said here on Saturday.
 
As per a reply under RTI received by Anil Galgali, Singh, a former Mumbai police commissioner of the Indian Police Service, had reportedly withheld information about unpaid dues of a penalty of Rs.48,420 imposed on him by Mumbai Suburban District collectorate in January 2013.
 
"The penalty was for renting out his flat in Patliputra Society, Andheri without taking proper permission from the collector as required under the laws," Galgali said.
 
This is because the building is constructed on government subsidised land meant for housing top government officials, mandating permission from the collector after paying the prescribed fees.
 
"The collectorate had served a notice on January 28, 2013 to Singh, who was Mumbai Police Commissioner at that time, but he chose to ignore it and even the subsequent reminders," Galgali added.
 
Later, Singh, 60, -- who earlier served as Nagpur and Pune police commissioner -- quit the coveted post (of Mumbai Police Commissioner) to contest the Lok Sabha elections on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket and won the Baghpat seat in Uttar Pradesh.
 
It has now come to light that Singh -- who defeated Baghpat strongman, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh in the polls -- reportedly failed to mention this outstanding 'government dues' in his election affidavit as required by the EC rules.
 
According to EC provisions, a candidate is bound to reveal details of his criminal conviction, pending cases, assets, government liabilities and educational qualifications in the affidavit filed before the Election Officer.
 
The relevant EC Rule 4 (3) prescribes that the candidate reveal -- 'Laibilities if any, particularly whether there are any old dues of any financial institution or government dues', Galgali explained.
 
Interestingly, in June 2014, Singh faced major embarrassment when police busted an alleged prostitution racket being run from his 10th floor flat which was leased out to a private company.
 
Now, Galgali has written to the EC, Lok Sabha Speaker and Prime Minister's Office demanding that Singh be stripped of his Lok Sabha membership for violating and defying EC rules.
 
The MP could not be immediately contacted.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Maharashtra Information Commission treats itself to three long vacations
Maharashtra State Chief Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad brings out an Order on 11th March, for enjoying in summer, Diwali and winter vacations
 
Now, the State Information Commissioners (SIC) of Maharashtra are also eligible to three long vacations. As per the order of 11 March 2016, issued by Ratnakar Gaikwad, the Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) will go on special vacation from 9th May to 5th June, 28th October to 6th November and 25th December 2016 to 1st January 2017. 
 
Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, State Chief Information Commissioner is not legally permitted to even take casual leave on his own or sanction leaves to others in the Information Commission. Leaves have to be sanctioned by the Governor. As a special case, the Governor by a special order has given the authority to Maharashtra’s SCIC to sanction only casual leaves. Also, the Commission abides by the holidays given as per Central government norms, yet there are 30,000 second appeals pending with the Maharashtra Information Commission. And now with long vacations, information commission will go the way of courts which are clogged with cases.
 
Gaikwad says in the order that he has adhered by Section 15 (4) of the RTI Act. This section states, “The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the State Information Commission shall vest in the State Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the State Information Commissioners and may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the State Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act.” 
 
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar has contested it by writing to the Governor, appealing for cancellation of the order. He says, “Even if the administration of the State Information Commission vests in the State Chief Information Commissioner, that does not empower him to use Governor’s authority. As per the terms and conditions of services of information commissioners they are eligible for the leave as per All India Services officers and such leave is to be sanctioned by the Governor. Chief Information Commissioner does not have the authority to sanction such leave or vacation. That’s why to sanction only casual leave, the Governor has given that authority to chief information commissioner by special consent through a special order dated 25 June 2009.’’
 
 
Shri Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao
Hon’ble Governor
Maharashtra State
 
Subject – Please cancel the Maharashtra CIC order to go on long vacations without authority and despite huge pendency
 
Dear Sir,
As you know there are around 33,000 second appeals pending in State information commission of Maharashtra, resulting in denying justice to the RTI applicants. The Pace and quality of information commissioners orders are also low. Hence, there is urgent need to overhaul entire functioning of state information commission. However, in spite of doing that commission has decided to go on three special long vacations this year. The state chief information Commissioner (CIC) of Maharashtra Ratnakar Gaikwad has issued “order” in that regard on 11th March 2016. (Copy attached) 
 
Gaikwad has issued this order under section 15 (4) of the RTI act. However, the Chief Information Commissioner does not have the authority to approve even the casual leave of himself and other Information Commissioners without the consent of the Governor. It needs to be pointed out here that Hon’ble Governor has delegated authority to sanction casual leave to him issuing a special order dated 25/06/2009. (Copy attached.). 
 
Thus, it is crystal clear that by issuing such order the Chief Information commissioner has encroached upon Governor’s authority. Hence, I request you to cancel CIC’s order to go on vacation.
 
Thanks
 
Regards, 
Vijay Kumbhar
(Surajya Sangharsh Samiti)
 
 
 

 

 

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)

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COMMENTS

GLN Prasad

1 year ago

Why no one raised such hue and cry in court cases and regular vacation to all courts in India.
Even PIOs of regular courtsof in certain states are on vacation. Let us appreciate the fact that IC has delivered some of the best decisions and really brought laurels to SIC. In certain states, in the name of study tours, ICs visit piligrim centers / hill resorts and take vacation with state funds. IC has not done in that manner.

Binoy Gupta

2 years ago

The people who get themselves posted to such (independent) posts think they are above the law.

The result is that instead of tryng to clear off the backlog, they try to only enjoy the perqs and privileges.

Such people are menace to the common man.

Mr Jitendra

2 years ago

Terrible thing! Already the courts in the country have long vacations, less duty hours where courts assemble at 11AM because once upon a time the Mughal Court started at 11AM. The courts close at 5PM because of the same reason. The Mughal Courts were closed in Agra and Delhi between May to mid July for the heat, so the vacations. British wanted to escape the heat and wanted to move the England and Scotland so they also kept the financial year from April to May so that they could escape to England by April end and return by July 1st week.

Are Mughals and British still ruling on India?

Rajendra Dhulla

2 years ago

Shocking. this cannot be allowed.

Binoy Gupta

2 years ago

Truly a great achiever.....first he manages to get the post retirement job of CIC.....now he sanctions leave to the entire staff under him including himself...................

what remains is he should sanction paid holidays abroad to himself and some selected officials, like the old ICS used to enjoy..

Binoy Gupta

Home Ministry still refuses transparency in selection process of Padma Awards
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), traditionally made public, the complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day. Since the last two years, it refused information under RTI. CIC has directed the MHA to provide the information within four weeks
 
Delhi-based right to information (RTI) activist, Subhashchandra Agrawal, had filed RTI applications in 2014 and 2015, seeking information from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 27 points pertaining to Padma Awards. These included, list of nominations received in the Ministry within the stipulated date along with names of those recommending nominations; authority through which MHA received such nominations; dates on which such nominations were received by the MHA; names of Search Committee Members; names considered by the  Search  and names recommended by the Search Committee.
 
The Public Information Officer (PIO) refused information on the grounds that some of the information was secretive in nature, some of it is not maintained in the office and that, the records have not been updated as yet and therefore information can be provided only in March or April when the Padma awards are given away.
 
Agrawal filed a second appeal in the office of Information Commissioner, Sudhir Bhargava in Delhi. The order on 16 February 2016, by him, makes it mandatory for the Ministry to provide all the information within four weeks of the order which would be mid-April.
 
Information must be made public on Republic Day itself:
 
The Commission after hearing both the parties and perusing the records observed that the name of the Padma awardees are declared on the Republic Day and information is uploaded on the website, hence, the information comes in public domain on the Republic Day itself. 
“Therefore, all information related to declaration of Padma Awards is part of the records as well as is under the control of the MHA and comes under the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act.”
 
Non-completion of process no reason for denial of information:
 
“Once, an applicant seeks information as defined in Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, the CPIO, as per Section 7 of the RTI Act shall either provide the information or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in Sections 8 and 9 of the Act and cannot add or introduce new reasons or grounds for rejecting furnishing of information.” 
 
“However, the only reason put forth by the respondent in not providing the information is the non-completion of the process as the conferment of Padma Awards is done in March/April every year. The CPIO, is, therefore, unable to show any exemptions under the stated provisions of Sections 8 or 9 of the RTI Act under which the information can be denied. It being so, there is no ground for denying the information and the CPIO should furnish the same to the appellant.” 
“The Commission, therefore, directs the respondent to provide information to the appellant as sought by him in his RTI application dated 27 January 2015. With regard to the second appeal dated 12 May 2014, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide part information as sought in point nos. 17 and 24 of the RTI application to the appellant.”
 
“CIC directs MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process for Padma awards just after Republic Day (see attachments)”.
 
When contacted by Moneylife, Agrawal says, “There was a healthy practice in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make public complete selection-process for Padma awards just after their announcement on Republic Day when quizzed through an RTI petition filed on the following day on 27th January. But suddenly MHA declined information on RTI petitions filed on 27th January by taking excuse that ‘process is not complete and over’ meaning thereby that such information would be disclosed only after honouring done by President of India in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan (New Delhi) sometime in March-April! Names of those recommending for Padma awards for the year 2015 could not be made public even after more than one year even though record-retention-schedule for selection-process is just one year.” 
 
Central Information Commission now through its various verdicts dated 16 February 2016 has directed MHA to restore practice of making public selection-process of Padma awards just after Republic Day. Newly appointed Central Information Commissioner having given the multiple verdicts in this regard deserves all compliments for his bold verdicts against MHA,” he added.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)

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