Companies & Sectors
Petrol prices may be cut by Re1, diesel set to go up

While petrol prices are being cut in step with falling international oil rates, diesel rate increase would be in line with the January decision to raise prices in small dozes every month till all of the Rs11 per litre losses are eliminated

Petrol price may be cut by about Re1 per litre while diesel price may be increased by 40-50 paisa a litre from 15th-16th March.


While petrol prices are being cut in step with falling international oil rates, diesel rate increase would be in line with the January decision to raise prices in small dozes every month till all of the Rs11 per litre losses are eliminated.


Sources said the revision in rates of petrol and diesel is likely to be announced as early as Friday.


The cut in petrol price will follow two rounds of hike in rates since February. Petrol price was hiked by Rs1.50 a litre on 16th February and then by Rs1.40 per litre from 2nd March. Both the increases were excluding local VAT.


Petrol in Delhi presently costs Rs70.74 a litre. Since last revision, international gasoline (petrol) prices have come down to about $120 per barrel from $131.00 a barrel at the last time last revision. Also, the rupee has marginally appreciated against the dollar to Rs54.11.


Diesel prices have been since January hiked by over Re1 per litre in two instalments and it currently costs Rs48.16 a litre. Despite the increases, oil firms lose Rs11.26 per litre on sale of the nation's most consumed fuel.


RTI Judgement Series: More than one person can sign a single RTI application

The PIO's rejection was completely wrong since there is nothing in the law or the rules preventing more than one citizen from submitting an RTI application, ruled the CIC. This is the 56th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while pointing out that the Public Information Officer (PIO)’s rejection of an application since it was signed by seven other people has no basis in the law, asked the PIO of the regional officer of Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) at Ranchi, to give complete information to the appellant.


While giving this important judgement on 16 July 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “...the PIO’s rejection has no basis in law. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) has not supported the PIO's contention but has justified denial of information claiming exemption under Section 8(1) (j) to deny information relating to those who had signed the RTI application.”


Bokaro resident Samir Kumar Haldar, on 4 February 2010, sought information from the regional officer of Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) at Ranchi, about provident fund accounts of labourers of Magadh Engineering Works. He sought the following information...


1. All the appellants, who are labourers in the Magadh Engineering Works (EPF Code: JH /10532), have EPF accounts in which their monthly payments are deposited. The names along with their father’s names and their account numbers are enclosed. Furnish the self-certified copies of the AR and 6 AR of the mentioned names from 1999 to 2008.

2. Detailed copy of the orders passed since 2005 till present, under the EPF 1952 scheme provision 7 A against the Magadh Engineering Works.


The PIO did not provide any information and instead rejected Haldar's application citing it as a joint application by the applicant and seven others. Haldar then filed his first appeal before the FAA.


In his order, the FAA said, “In the original application of Shri Haldar, the same is joined by seven other applicants but the address of communication which has been given is of Shri Haldar. Further, the copy of Form 3(R) and 6 (AR) has been sought in respect to all applications. Now, these returns contain the details of members like details of wages and details of PF contribution, which is personal information in respect of those members and is maintained by this office in its fiduciary capacity. Sending this information for all members on the postal address of one applicant will tantamount to disclosing these personal information to the individual on whose address the same is sent and thus would be violation of the provisions of Section 8(1) e) and (J) of the RTI Act 2005.”


“I do not think proper to disclose the information sought jointly and hence the request of Shri Haldar is rejected. However, the individuals are free to make an application individually to seek information under the RTI Act 2005,” the FAA said in his order on 25 May 2010.


Not satisfied with the reply of PIO and order of FAA, the applicant then approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During a hearing, the CIC pointed out that both the parties were not present. It said, the RTI application was filed on 4 February 2010 and the information should have been provided to the appellant before 6 March 2010. Instead a rejection was sent to the appellant on 30 March 2010 stating that since seven other people have sought the information the PIO was refusing to supply the information, the CIC noted.


Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, pointed out that the FAA had not taken cognizance of objections raised by the PIO that seven other people have signed the RTI application along with the appellant but upheld the refusal to give information by invoking Section 8(1)(j) since the appellant had sought details of wages and PF contributions.


“The PIO’s rejection was completely wrong since there is nothing in the law or the rules preventing more than one citizen from submitting the RTI application. Section 3 of the RTI Act states, ‘subject to the provisions of this Act, all citizens shall have Right to Information’. Hence the PIO's rejection has no basis in law,” the CIC said.


Mr Gandhi said, “It is correct that the details of an individual’s PF account cannot be given to anyone else, since it would be an intrusion on the privacy of an individual but since seven other people had signed the RTI application jointly with Haldar the information could have been provided. In case the FAA wanted to verify if the other seven people had no objection in giving the information he could have ordered the PIO to seek their concurrence under Section 11 of the RTI Act.”


The CIC while allowing the appeal asked the PIO to give complete information to Haldar before 5 August 2010.


Since the PIO failed to provide information within stipulated time under sub-section (1) of Section 7 of the RTI Act, the Commission issued a show-cause notice to him. The CIC said, the PIO would present himself before the Commission on 16 August 2010 along with his written submissions showing cause why penalty should not be imposed on him as mandated under Section 20(1) of the Act.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001429/8585

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001429



Appellant                                            : Samir Kumar Haldar



Respondent                                                 : Public Information Officer

                                                            Employees Provident Fund Organization,

                                                            Regional Office, Bhagirathi Complex,

                                                            Near Circuit House, Karamtoli,

                                                            Ranchi (Jharkhand) – 834001


Despite new pardons, Obama’s clemency rate is still lowest in recent history

The White House announced 17 pardons on Friday. But Obama has still granted clemency at a lower rate than his predecessors

On Friday, President Obama pardoned 17 people. But despite the new pardons, the Obama administration has still granted clemency more rarely than any president in recent history.


Indeed, the day before the pardons were announced, a Department of Justice spokesman said, Obama had denied 314 other applicants.

ProPublica analysis of Justice Department statistics last November found that Obama had granted pardons at a lower rate than Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush had at the same point in their administrations.


Obama has now granted a total of 39 pardons and denied 1,333.

The people pardoned on Friday – including a mother of two in Honolulu who had faced the possibility of deportation due to a 1996 conviction and a fishing company executive who went to prison in 1991 for a bid-rigging scam – will not have their records wiped clean. But pardons do allow convicted criminals to restore their rights to vote, buy firearms, and open up other opportunities closed to them by their records.


Pardons are largely processed based on recommendations from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney. As we reported in November, recommendations in favour of pardons have been rare during Obama's presidency.


The president also has the power to commute sentences – a privilege Obama has used only once.

After ProPublica and the Washington Post detailed the commutation case of Clarence Aaron, the Justice Department's inspector general criticized the pardon attorney, Ronald L. Rodgers, for failing to convey key information about the case to the White House.


The report concluded that Rodgers had engaged in "conduct that fell substantially short of the high standards expected of Department of Justice employees and the duty he owed the President of the United States."

Our 2011 investigation of pardons data from 2001 to 2008 also found that whites were four times as likely to be pardoned as minorities, prompting a Justice Department study.




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