Citizens' Issues
Friends of Shehla Masood take her mission forward: re-file her pending applications, volunteer to become RTI applicants

Besides re-filing 40-odd RTI applications which the late Shehla Masood had filed and the information of which was pending, her friends have recently launched a website ‘getup4change’which encourages citizens to file RTI queries anonymously under the banner of RTI Anonymous (RTIA)

Friends of the late Shehla Masood, the RTI (Right to Information) activist who was brutally assassinated, have formed which also encourages citizens to file RTI queries anonymously under the banner RTI Anonymous (RTIA). The ‘getup4change’ team volunteers will perform the role of RTI applicants for citizens who want to remain anonymous.

Noted Bhopal-based RTI activist Shehla Masood had asked for information regarding expenditure of travel and stay in luxury hotels illegally borne by the state government of 12 serving High Court Judges who attended the wedding of the son of Principal Secretary (law) Ashok Kumar in December 2010. At the time of her death, this application was pending.

Shehla’s friend, Ritesh Singh, and one of the founders of and RTI Anonymous (RTIA) re-filed the RTI application. While Mr Singh said, “I was threatened by the protocol officer of the Chief Minister’s office for this expose,” the documents procured under RTI have all been uploaded on the website (See link:

In short, documents uploaded on the website reveal that Rajendra Prasad Mishra, Deputy Secretary, has been convicted in this matter as hospitality was provided to the 12 judges flouting the protocol of the state government’s hospitality rules. Chief Justice of Rajasthan Arun Mishra did not attend the wedding but his wife was the beneficiary of her husband’s official privileges, thus illegally giving her the status of a state guest. Payment to Hotel Noor-Us-Sabah Palace Bhopal from the State Treasury was made in the name of Justice Arun Mishra although he was absent for the wedding; various other hotels and transport agencies were also paid for felicitations and transport of these judges, flouting norms for state guests. The scandal has serious implications as the Chief Minister is personally involved since it was at the behest of his office’s orders that the expenditure was approved.

Ritesh Singh is a third-year B Tech student of IIT-Kharagpur and sat for all the 12 days on fast with Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Grounds. He has so far filed around 100 RTI applications and is a veteran amongst the three founders in RTI activism. He said, “Shehla Masood was brutally murdered on 16th August 2011, as she sat in her car on her way to Boat Club in Bhopal to fast with Anna Hazare for the Jan Lokpal Bill. The bullet pierced her… turning this Tigress, as she was known among her close friends and who was a deadly cocktail for the corrupt, into a harmless corpse.”
Then quickly correcting himself, Ritesh said, “Did I say “harmless”? No. Shehla Masood has made her point most forcefully in her death. A group of her close friends have pledged to not let this victimisation of social reformers continue any further. They have decided to punish the people who killed her, in a novel way. While the investigation has been disappointing so far, this group of her friends has decided to re-file her 40-odd pending RTI applications to trouble exactly those who wanted to silence her because they didn’t want to reply to her pending RTI applications.”

Shehla’s group of friends who are passionate about keeping her memory alive by carrying on her work of exposing the corrupt include people from varied backgrounds. Anand Sharma, Senior Engineer at Seagate Technology in Colorado, US, steers the team enthusiastically from there. He said, “Shehla was Ritesh’s close friend and both used to do RTI activism together. Ritesh and Shehla had envisaged a slightly different service named ‘RTI Leaks’ which was planned to be a one-stop source for all RTI-related exposés throughout India. While the plan was materialising, Shehla attained martyrdom.

“After about one month of activism through our Facebook page and other initiatives, we noticed that people who dared to stand up against corruption were being victimised. We thought RTI Anonymous (RTIA) is one solution that would hopefully reduce this issue to a significant extent. After several brainstorming sessions between three of us that is, Ritesh Singh, Avnish Singh (who is an IT entrepreneur and) I, we decided to launch the website  through which we would implement the idea of RTIA.”
The RTIA was formed on 15th October and its activities are visible through the website Mr Sharma said, “We have had an overwhelming response from people and it was highly motivating to see that they started believing us and putting their faith in our organisation.” They already have near to 150 RTI requests and the number is growing by the day.

Who drafts the anonymous RTI applications?

So, if a citizen wants to file an RTI application anonymously, who drafts and files the actual RTI application to the relevant office? The answer is fascinating. Mr Sharma said, “We now have a team of about 15 IIT Kharagpur students, working through the night, learning and drafting RTIs. We have a few retired government officials, who are not only experts in legal matters/labour laws and state laws, but have also been Public Information Officers for a few years, before retiring. They now do a final review of all RTI applications. For example, Ramakrishna Manja of Bengaluru is a 65-year-old retired Registrar and had been a Public Information Officer in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences. In addition, we have about 10 experienced RTI activists from different parts of India, who are helping us too.

What is the process of request for filing an RTI application?

 Obviously, you have to go the website Then says Mr Sharma, “On RTI Anonymous, a user can simply click on ‘Submit RTI’ on the homepage to file an RTI Application. They can also send their request directly to us through email (by creating a dummy email address).

“He/she has an option to give his email address if he/she wants to be notified about the status/progress of his RTI Application through his email. Otherwise he/she can very well file it through a dummy username. Once the user submits his/her RTI Application on RTI Anonymous, we extensively edit it to make it stronger and less ambiguous.

“And then we file it through random volunteers, based in different parts of India completely bypassing possibility of any victimisation. So this means a volunteer in Delhi with a proper Delhi residential address will file an RTI for an issue with, say, BBMP-Bangalore.”

Here’s a sterling example of the conversion from a raw query to the final draft

How the team members convert a RTI query into a proper Application Form, thanks to their hard work. However, I think applicants should be conscientious enough to write the application as closely to the official requirement as possible so that the team does not waste too much time on every RTI application. They have been getting a great response:

The raw RTI query filed by an anonymous citizen is as follows:

What has been done to bring noise levels to the mandated 45-65 db (decibels)?

Posted on October 18, 2011

The Environmental Protection Act and Supreme Court orders in WP #20050718 mandating 45-65 db levels and no honking or noises between 10pm to 6 am, to protect public health, wellbeing, and environment are one decade old.

The EPA enforcement authorities—Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, the police, the transport department, etc., have failed to effectively implement the orders against offenders like vehicles fitted with air-horns, musical horns, altered silencers etc and especially against the manufacturers and dealers of these torture instruments.

Every noise per second affects 8,000 uninvolved innocent public in a densely populated city like Bangalore (24,000/sq km).

Repeated complaints (and) petitions over the years to the authorities have not resulted in any concrete stringent steps to tackle the problem. They need is to do it on a war footing otherwise they should be liable for contempt of court proceedings and consequences on an ongoing basis until the orders are complied with.

One can see that the quality of life will dramatically improve with enforced silence taking us up immediately to the civilized society level from a barbaric age.

The drafted letter by members of RTIA below:

Public Information Officer,
Transport Department, Karnataka State government
5th Floor, MS Building,
Dr Ambedkar Road, Bangalore-560 001
Sub: Request for information under RTI Act.


I would like to have the following information under RTI Act.

1) What specific steps have you and the mandated enforcement authorities have jointly taken to implement Environment Protection Act and Supreme Court orders in WP#20050718 of 2005, to avoid attracting contempt of court proceedings?

2) Number of registered cases where the vehicles are fitted with illegal horns and/or modified illegal silencers. Please provide year-wise list from 2006 till date.

3) In how many number of cases (specified in reply to point 1) has the action been taken against the owners (offenders) under the Environment Protection Act?

4) List of the repeated offenders and the details of action taken against them.

5) Please provide the list of manufacturers and dealers of illegal horns and illegal silencers in the state of Karnataka. Also, give the details of action taken against such entities during the years 2006 to till date.

I request you to send the above information by post as required under the RTI Act. I am attaching the Indian Postal Order towards the RTI application fee (IPO no._________ of Rs 10) and the postal charges (IPO no._________ of Rs______).

Thanking you

According to the trio, the biggest challenges facing the RTI movement in India is “a deliberate attempt to create red-tape by making the whole process of filing RTIs extremely complicated; lack of a strong Whistleblower Protection Act and the government trying to dilute the Act, now and then.”
On 5th November, RTIA is conducting a training programme for NRIs through a Skype conference call. Around 15 NRIs from different parts of the US have enrolled so far.
 (Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected]).




5 years ago

Will anyone ask Ritesh singh why he has not taken action on my three RTI applications given to him on 29.11.11 through speed post


Anand Sharmaa

In Reply to francis 5 years ago

Dear Francis,
I believe Ritesh has already replied back to you for the question on facebook. Nevertheless, I am copy-pasting the same reply to you over here from Ritesh
Hi Francis, sorry for the delay. Due to some technical reasons your response delayed, but believe me its not overlooked. Shortly you will receive the response.

Anand Sharma

In Reply to Anand Sharmaa 5 years ago

It seems you sent your RTI through Post to Ritesh's Kharagpur Address. From last week of November to the last week of December, Ritesh would be Mumbai executing some other anti-corruption projects of Get Up for Change. He will return to Kharagpur in the first week of January and immediately take action in your matter.

Nitin Kirtane

5 years ago

It is nice to see that friends of Shehla Masood are carrying her work forward , it is important not to forget her sacrifice , very nice article by Mrs Deshmukh again , good luck ,


Anand Sharma

In Reply to Nitin Kirtane 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Kirtane,
Thanks for your support. We will ensure that this fight will go on not only till we get just for Shehla Masood, but also till we can provide a comprehensive support structure/syste, for all the RTI activists in the country

Mukesh Kamble

5 years ago

Hi, I have find the site "getup4change" quite useful and I believe that it would help us to make the best use of RTI. I have already registered on the website and wanted to donate some amount so that the volunteers could continue their good work. The thing that intrigued me is that the donation on the website is in USD and not in INR. I failed to understand the reason for this as the donation has to be in INR as the money is helping Indian Activists. Also, my credit card company charges an extra 3% for making a payment in other currencies


Anand Sharma

In Reply to Mukesh Kamble 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Kamble,
Sorry for the confusion caused. We have fixed a lot of such issues recently and very soon, we will have facility to do online payment in Rupees too.

For now, you can donate us in one of the two ways, mentioned below. But before you donate, please make sure you review our website Donate page, where we publish all our accounts openly and is updated live as we spend and receive money. (

Other ways to donate in Rupees :
Donate via a Bank Account in India: Account Number - 31018585172; Bank – State Bank of India (SBI); Branch – Kharagpur; Account Holder’s Name – Ritesh Singh, IFS Code: SBIN0000202.
Donate via Post (Indian Postal Order/ Money Order/ Demand Draft / Cheque): Send it to Ritesh Singh, D311, R. P. Hall, IIT Kharagpur, Paschim Midnapur District, West Bengal, India – 721302. Draw it in favour of ‘Ritesh Singh’ payable at Kharagpur.

K B Patil

5 years ago

More and more instances of inappropriate acts of judges are being seen and heard everyday. Just yesterday, a TV channel was showing how judges in Orissa got themselves prime sites. Then, last week, Sri KTS Tulsi, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, in an article in a magazine was expressing his disappointment over how the compensation to the Uphaar case victims was cut whereas, in one case, where the photo of the wrong judge was shown on a TV channel for a few seconds, in a program about the provident fund scam, the judge was awarded Rs.100 crores as compensation!! Sri KTS specifically mentions in the article that the court only does lip service to the fundamental rights which guarantee right to life and liberty. Clearly, politicians are not the only people who have given a raw deal to the people of this country. I dont know why this case of Rs.100 crores compensation ie about $ 2 million has not been highlighted. Until I read Mr. Tulsi's article, even I was ignorant about it.


Anand Sharma

In Reply to K B Patil 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Patil
This is the sad state of our affairs in our country today and hopefully, groups like RTI anonymous ( can help in making significant changes/improvements.

I am an eternal optimist and I still feel, that our beloved country will be able to defeat this enemy called Corruption


5 years ago

Please feel free to contact me for any help in filing RTI applications on ANYBODY under the RTI Act of India 2005, including entities like, say, POSCO, BCCI, or even ITC, where the "substantially financed" aspect or similar is still not clear. The Post Office route for such applications is very clear on the subject, and for only 10/- IPO charges plus 1/- service charges, the Post Office will send your RTI Application. I will do this from Delhi on an all-India basis, simply send me the application you wish to file, preferably hard copy signed otherwise even soft copy will do, and I shall sign "for" and send it on. Humbly submitted. VM


Anand Sharma

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

Dear malq,
We definitely need help from people like you and you can help us definitely.
Step 1 : go to our website and login (or register for the first time)
On the right of the page, there are section called "Drafted RTI's (Ready to Print)" , "Printed RTI's (Ready to File". Just pick any of those RTI application, do a final review of them, copy paste them to a word document and take a printout and then speed-post/register post with acknowledgement etc. to the correct address.
Please send me an email at [email protected] with the speed-post consignment number or a scanned copy of the envelope you are sending or any kind of proof, so that we update our website and mark it and move it to the category of "Filed RTI's" .

Once you receive the reply, please send us either the scanned copy of those documents or post us a xerox copy of those documents .. (send me an email at [email protected], and i can tell u where to post it) .

We will upload those documents to the website, with the entire story of what kind of corruption it has exposed and get media and PIL lawyers to take it over from there

Anand Sharma

5 years ago

Dear Sir,
We need more people to sign the online signature petition of Shehla Masood to the PMO/President/Home Minister/CBI Director/CBI Jt. Director.

We also need volunteers who can draft RTI's/Review Existing Drafted RTI's/File RTI's themselves etc.

R Vijayaraghavan

5 years ago

Great. Please tell me how I can help. Willing to do anything.

India’s loss due to cable piracy at $1.4 billion for 2011: CASBAA

The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia noted that piracy remains a major concern for channels and operators in the Asia Pacific region with signal theft estimated to be more than $2.1 billion at the end of 2011, of which India will account for a loss of $1.4 billion

Hong Kong: India will account for $1.4 billion out of a loss of over $2.1 billion that the Asia Pacific region is estimated to witness in 2011 due to piracy, reports PTI quoting the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA).

Terming piracy as a major concern for the Asia Pacific region, CASBAA said a lack of market transparency and tolerance for illegal connections to cable systems has resulted in big losses in many countries of the region.

In a report released here, CASBAA noted that piracy remains a major concern for channels and operators in the region with signal theft estimated to be more than $2.1 billion at the end of 2011.

“India alone will have revenue losses of $1.4 billion as a result of piracy by the end of 2011,” it said.

According to the association, illegal connections and lack of transparency resulted in big revenue losses in countries like Thailand ($261 million), Taiwan ($136 million) and Pakistan ($125 million).

In its report released here on piracy and growth of multi-channel TV connections, CASBAA citing Nielsen data reported double-digit gains in TV ad revenues in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.

“As we head towards the close of the year, it’s heartening to see multi-channel TV in Asia experiencing impressive growth across so many fronts,” CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies said.

While the new data reflects traditional multi-channel TV distribution, the industry is also benefiting from new (and legitimate) distribution via broadband, mobile, Internet and wireless services, he added.

According to the report, currently there are 420 million multi-channel TV connections in the Asia Pacific region, more than the rest of the world combined.

There was 12% growth in multi-channel connections in the past 12 months, with 53% of the region’s homes now subscribing to a pay-television service, it said.

The economic impact of the growing power of TV is also reflected in double-digit annual revenue growth in TV advertising in China and India.

In 2010, Japan, India and China were the leading Asian multi-channel TV advertising markets, accounting for nearly 80% of the regions total, the report said quoting PwC data.

CASBAA is the association for digital multichannel television, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery across Asia. It promotes growth of pay TV and video content through industry information, networking exchanges and events while promoting global best practices.


Tata Mutual Fund launches 368 days fixed maturity plan

Tata Mutual Fund new issue closes 8th November

Tata Mutual Fund has launched Tata Fixed Maturity Plan Series 37 Scheme C (368 days), a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate income and/or capital appreciation by investing in wide range of debt and money market instruments having maturity in line with the maturity of the scheme. The tenure of the scheme is 368 days.

The new issue closes on 8 November 2011. The minimum investment amount is Rs10,000.

Crisil Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Murthy Nagarajan is the fund manager.


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