Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Mr Fadnavis, give more teeth to the Right to Service Act

Maharashtra’s Govt Servants Act is similar to the Right to Service Act. However, all local self-governing bodies are out of the gambit of this Act and there are no strict provisions to penalize erring officials. Without this, the Act would be ineffective


Moneylife in an article titled “Mr Fadnavis & Media: A Right to Service Act already exists” mentioned that the Citizen Charter should be upgraded and the Right to Service (RS) Act made active. However, the Maharashtra government needs to remove several loopholes and give more teeth to the RS Act to make it effective, if it is ever implemented.

Firstly, the Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005 (Govt Servants Act) in Maharashtra, is akin to the Right to Service Act, but it is not essentially the RS Act in words and spirit. For example, all the panchayats, zilla parishads, municipalities and municipal corporations are out of the ambit of this Act. Hence, even if the RS Act is implemented by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, it would not apply to any of these local self-governing bodies where transparency and accountability is most vital, as these bodies are directly connected with peoples’ day to day life.

In 2011, there an amendment was made in the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations (BPMC) Act, wherein the above local self-governing bodies were directed to form a Citizen Charter. Under both, the Govt Servants Act as well as the BPMC Act, all the relevant government departments have been directed to form their respective Citizen Charters. However, all of them remained toothless, as the Acts do not include penalty or compensation if a government officer fails to provide the Service within the stipulated time.

“Over the past decade, Maharashtra issued at least six major Government Circulars (GRs) directing government departments to form Citizen Charters,” said RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been fighting against the dilly-dallying in the implementation of the Act by the state government since 2005. He said, “The state government has deliberately removed all local self governing bodies from the Act to make it toothless.


Also, most of the government departments have made Citizen Charters but have not implemented their commitment to time bound services to citizens, which would reflect transparency and accountability. They have submitted their Citizen Charters to a Committee appointed by the state government, based on whose recommendation the final Citizen Charter was created. In fact, in one of the circulars on 13 August 2007, the state government had directed all departments to create public awareness about the Citizen Charter through the media and with help from NGOs. Have any of us ever heard of it? Similarly, in another circular issued on 24 May 2011, the chief secretary issued a circular asking all departments to send names of those officers who had not provided time bound services. There has not been a single name that has been sent to the Mantralaya.


One of the reasons is that the Citizen Charter is very soft on the erring government officers, as the option to penalize has been left with the senior officer; it is not mandatory.


If in case, the erring officer has not provided time bound services, he has been given the luxury of explaining the reason and getting away with it.’’

So, what is the option? About 18 states in India have the Right to Service Act. Some states have powerful Acts says Vijay Kumbhar. He, through his RTI Katta, has appealed to citizens to read Acts from all the 18 states and submit suggestions to Maharashtra chief secretary, requesting him to bring in a totally new Right to Service Act.

Following is Kumbhar’s appeal:

Request to participate in process of drafting in a good and effective “Right to Public Service Act” for Maharashtra

“Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadanvis announced to introduction of “Right to Public Service Act” (‘लोकसेवा हमी कायदा’) in Maharashtra and also Instructed Chief secretory to prepare Draft for that. I guess it will be great if citizens of Maharashtra also help Government in this regard. As on Today, such act is in force or in process in many states. So people of Maharashtra have an opportunity to participate in a process of drafting a good law, taking in to consideration experience in other states. So I request you all to go through the acts-bills reproduced below , also ask your friends and relatives in the respective states for their experience in this regard and give your suggestions, So that we may be able give a citizens draft for the 'Right to Service Act’ to the government. You can send your suggestions to [email protected].

Central Government Bill -

Punjab -

Uttarakhand -

Madhya Pradesh -

Bihar -

Delhi -

Jharkhand -

Himachal Pradesh -

Rajasthan -

Uttar Pradesh -

Kerala -

Karnataka -


Chattisgrh -

Jammu and Kashmir -

Odisha -

Gujrat -

West Bengal -

Goa -

Haryana -

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and 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”.)




3 years ago

In logo ko public ko MURKH banana baraber atta hai

GS Sandhu transferred from Finance Ministry

Hasmukh Adhia, who was Modi's Prinicipal Secretary in Gujarat for two years, will replace GS Sandhu as Financial Services Secretary


After transferring Arvind Mayaram, the topmost bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry, the Narendra Modi government shifted another top level babu. Financial Services Secretary Gurdial Singh (GS) Sandhu is transferred to National Authority for Chemical Weapon Convention as its chairman. Sandhu will be replaced by Hasmukh Adhia.


Adhia is an officer from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)'s 1981 batch, and was working as Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department in Gujarat. During May 2004 to May 2006, he also served as Principal Secretary to Gujarat's the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.


Sandhu is the second secretary among five Secretaries in the Finance Ministry who has been shifted after Mayaram in past few days. Mayaram who was Finance and Economic Affairs Secretary was transferred twice over past 15 days and finally shunted to less important Minorities Affairs Ministry as Secretary.


Mayaram, a 1978-batch officer was replaced by Rajiv Mehrishi, the chief secretary of Rajasthan. Expenditure Secretary Ratan P Watal, who is the senior most among all the five secretaries in the Finance Ministry is likely to be the new Finance Secretary.


Fresh polls in Delhi likely
With all the three main parties, BJP, AAP and Congress favouring fresh mandate, the Lt Governor recommended to the President dissolution of the Delhi Assembly
The Union Cabinet is likely to meet later Tuesday apparently to discuss Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s report recommending dissolution of the Delhi Assembly.
The Cabinet meeting, to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is expected to discuss the report of Jung on Delhi’s political situation.
Jung has sent the report after discussions with the leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Congress on Monday.
No party has shown interest in forming a government in the national capital in the present circumstances.
Ending the eight-month-long political uncertainty, the Lt Governor had recommended to the President dissolution of the Delhi Assembly as major players BJP, AAP and Congress have expressed “inability” to form government and preferred holding of polls.
The report by Jung paved the way for holding of fresh polls in the Capital, which is under President’s Rule since February after the AAP government quit after ruling for 49 days.
Sources in the Lt Governor’s office said Jung in his report to President Pranab Mukherjee mentioned that all three main political parties BJP, AAP and Congress have expressed their inability to form government and conveyed that they were ready to face fresh election.
With all the three main parties favouring fresh mandate, the LG recommended to the President dissolution of the Assembly.
The LG held consultations yesterday with the political parties in the wake of the Supreme Court putting the issue on the fast track and giving him time till 11th November to explore the possibility of forming a government.
The court was hearing AAP’s petition seeking early dissolution of the Assembly which has been under suspended animation since February after the fall of the AAP Government.
Sources said the LG had offered BJP a chance to form government but the party declined saying it does not have the numbers. They said the decision not to accept an offer by the Lt Governor to take a shot at power was taken at a meeting of top central leaders of the party on Sunday.
The party felt it should go for polls as enthusiasm among the party workers has increased following victories in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. 


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