The case of Pune-based women constable Jayashree Mane, who was slapped by her senior male colleague for using RTI, continues to be in limbo as the department has yet to admit the FIR. Taking a serious note of the incident the National Commission for Women has ordered an enquiry into the matter
It is distressing and agonising to note that even when a member of the law enforcing outfit, in this case, Jayashree Mane – a constable working in Pune Police not only finds it difficult to lodge a first information report (FIR) but even the Pune Police Commissioner, who is the law enforcing authority, does not seems to take the matter seriously.
Acting on the petition by the writer and Akshay Dawadikar, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has sought detailed report from Pune police about the matter. After the receipt of the report, the matter will be probed by a counsellor appointed by the NCW. Further course of action will be decided by the commission after submission of Counsellor’s inquiry report which is called Brief Transmission Report (BTR).
Mane was slapped on Saturday, 3rd May night by her senior male colleague for using Right to Information (RTI), which led to his vacating the room that he had illegally occupied. However ever since, the Pune police is allegedly doing a cover-up for the accused, Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) Machindra Shinde instead of giving a fair opportunity to Mane to lodge her FIR. On Tuesday, Mane says she was asked to go away by Police Inspector Mehendale of the Shivaji Nagar police station where a tame non-cognizable complaint has been lodged.
Mane had asked under RTI, as to who has been allocated a particular room in the Shivaji Nagar Police Lines residential quarters. She got a reply that it is vacant and has not been allocated to any police employee. She had also filed a RTI regarding three other people who were occupying the police quarters without even being employed in the police force. When Mane complained against all the four people to her seniors, PSI Shinde also had to vacate 'his room', which had perhaps angered him. Mane has also used RTI to procure copies of duty register, which clearly show that several women constables have not been marked for 'duty' for several months but continue to receive regular salary.
This writer, who has taken up the cause of Mane along with RTI activists Vijay Kumbhar (he is out of station) and Dawadikar, met Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur with a petition seeking immediate lodging of FIR, putting up the information that Mane has sought uptil now, which comprises 200 RTI applications on its website and treating this case as one of sexual harassment at workplace. Commissioner Mathur assured us that action had already begun. However, there we could not see any action throughout Tuesday.
This propelled this writer and Akshay Dawadikar to take recourse to the online grievance cell of Maharashtra unit of the National Commission for Women -NCW. The online complaint appeals for immediate lodging of FIR by Mane against PSI Shinde. It states, “no FIR was lodged today and instead Women Constable Jayashree Mane was insulted and sent away by PI Mehendale when she went to file FIR. Vinita Deshmukh and Akshay Dawadikar had met Police Commissioner Satish Mathur at 12 noon on 5th May appealing him to lodge FIR against the accused Machindra Shinde, but despite our written appeal nothing has been done. Hence at 5.15pm Vinita Deshmukh lodged online complaint with Maharashtra's National Commission for women at www.ncw.nic.in - link to my acknowledgement is: http://ncw.nic.in/OnlineComplaints/frmCmpReceived.aspx?CmpID=C1401836
We got an acknowledgement online as follows:
Your complaint has been received by NCW on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 and has been allotted Registration / File No. : 8/C1401836/2014/NCW/NSP/KB with Login ID: C1401836 ...Use this Complaint Registration/File No. and Password for your future reference. The NCW will process your complaint and take action there on at the earliest. You may see the status of your complaint through the above mentioned Login ID and Password. You can also Contact our Counsellor at the following telephone numbers.
Phone No. 011-23237166 Counsellor : Ms Kavita Bhandari Phone No. 011-23234918 (241) 011-23219750
Following are details of my online complaint with Maharashtra unit of National Commission for Women:
Young woman constable Jayashree Mane, who works at the Shivaji Nagar Police Station has filed over 200 RTI applications in a bid to cleanse the irregularities and corruption in the Pune police department; on Saturday evening, 3 May 2014, she was stung with a slap by her senior male colleague, PSI Machindra Shinde, a constable in the Shivaji Nagar Police Station, at around 9.30pm when she was on duty as night guard. He told her that because of her RTI information he had to vacate his room. POLICE IS REFUSING TO FILE FIR, ALTHOUGH, ME, RTI ACTIVIST ALONG WITH RTI ACTIVIST AKSHAY DAWADIKAR, met Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur personally in his office at 12 noon on 5th May nothing has happened even today. Instead, Mane was turned away from the Police Station where PI Mrs Mehendale has taken down a tame complaint.
Following are the details of the complaint. Kindly take immediate action.
Pune is one of the pioneers of implementation of the RTI Act through the efforts and passion of citizens and activists. However, 34 year old woman constable, Jayashree Mane, who works in the Shivaji Nagar Police Headquarters in Pune, has shown unprecedented guts by using RTI to expose irregularities and corruption in the police department for which she has filed more than 200 RTIs.
On Saturday, 3rd May, Ms Mane was on duty at gate no2 of Shivaji Nagar Police Headquarters, at around 9.30pm, when Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) Machhindra Shinde, senior to her and guarding gate no1, started walking towards her. His ire perhaps was hidden due to the fact that, he had to vacate his official `kholi’ (room), which he had been occupying illegally, after Ms Mane procured information to this effect, under RTI. Ms Mane, who was a few minutes earlier with her other women constable colleagues, was asked by PSI Shinde about their whereabouts. When she said that they have gone out for dinner, he seized the opportunity of her being alone, and slapped her hard across the face and ear. Ms Mane fell down and was writhing in pain. PSI Shinde ran away from the place.
Mane, approached her senior officer PN Suryawanshi to register a complaint, but she says, he wrote down in the station diary that she was not beaten up. Ms Mane then went to the Shivaji Nagar Police Station where the lady Police Inspector, Ms Mehendale wrote down a 'wrong' complaint to 'protect her seniors' says Ms Mane and compelled her to sign on it. She did not agree and insisted that PI Mehendale lodge a first information report (FIR). Finally, a non-congnisable offence was registered and so it is akin to a weak complaint.
Ms Mane has procured a medical report from the Sassoon Hospital and is in a perturbed state of mind. What is worrying is that, despite being a whistle-blower and exposing irregularities and corruption in the Police department, her seniors are allegedly trying to hush up the issue by denying her right to lodge a FIR.
RTI activists are very perturbed about the incident as it seems to be pro-accused than pro-victim. Hence, we are appealing to Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur with the following requests:
1. Ms Mane has played the role of a whistle-blower, by exposing wrong doings in the police department. We request you to give protection to Ms Mane by helping build up her confidence and assuring her that she will be given full justice. For this, we request you to ensure that the investigative officer hears her out fully and objectively, as she has allegedly been a victim of harassment at workplace and humiliation.
2. Ms Mane’s complaint to the Shivaji Nagar Police station has been treated casually. We appeal to you to register a strong FIR
3. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed that, in cases of assault or fatal attacks on RTI users/ activists, the RTI applications, the victims filed and the information provided to her/ him should be suo motu put up on the website. We request you to put up all the information that Ms Mane had sought including the documents relating to Mr Shinde’s allegedly illegal stay in an official 'room' immediately, within 24 hours. This will ensure that the accused is not shielded and that citizens know the kind of RTI applications filed by her.
4. We request you to look at the 'harassment in work place' angle as the physical assault on the night of 3rd May, seems like the last straw on the camel’s back
5. We also request you to act on this case quickly, seriously and in utmost fairness to bring it to a logical end. This will ensure that the faith of the people in the law enforcing system is not shaken.
I request the Maharashtra State Women;s Commission to urgently take action and ensure that a strong FIR is lodged at the Shivaji Nagar Police Station and a case of sexual harassment and harassment at work place is also registered in the FIR.
Vinita Deshmukh - senior journalist and RTI activist
Akash Dawadikar - RTI activist Pune
Delhi based RTI activist, Veeresh Malik, advises that online grievance cells of the state and central government are effective tools. He is a veteran in successful battles and suggests, “consider filing multiple Public Grievances about the same episode online with
# State of Maharashtra - same complaint as above
# Department of Home - specific complaint about the IPS officers involved if any
# Ministry of Women and Child Development - complaint as a woman assaulted by a male colleague
# O/o CAG - revenue loss for misuse of accommodation.''
Looks like e-complaints are the latest weapons for the common man. We shall pursue and let you know the outcome. Requesting us to join us in this e-battle. Please write to me at [email protected], if interested.
(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”.)
In view of the rising bad loans in state-owned banks, the AIBEA said the RBI should periodically publish the list, the union government should amend recovery laws and take criminal action against wilful defaulters
The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), while revealing wilful defaults worth Rs70,300 crore in 400 loan accounts in public sector banks (PSBs), has demanded a detailed probe in to the loan sanctioning and loans turning into bad assets.
“Why these loans are not coming back? Who is responsible and accountable? If the bank executives have given the name, let there be a probe. If there is a political nexus, let it come out. Country should not be for somebody’s default. People should not be punished for corporate default,” said CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of AIBEA in a statement.
According to the bank employee's union, over the past seven years, there are fresh bad loans worth Rs4.95 lakh crore only in PSBs, while during the same period, these lenders wrote off bad debts worth Rs1.4 lakh crore. Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) and bad loans in the PSBs have increased to Rs1.64 lakh crore as on 31 March 2013 from Rs39,000 crore as on 31 March 2008.
AIBEA also launched a nation-wide campaign that stresses on three key point, like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should periodically publish the list, the union government should amend recovery laws and take criminal action against wilful defaulters.
Earlier in December, the bank union had pointed out that the top four bad loan accounts add up to a massive Rs22,666 crore, which include Kingfisher Airlines and Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Co. The Vijay Mallya-owned and now defunct carrier is the biggest defaulter and owes Rs2,673 crore to PSBs. Mumbai-based Winsome Diamond and Jewellery Company (erstwhile Su-Raj Diamond India Ltd), with dues of Rs2,660 crore, is the second highest defaulter, followed by Electrotherm India Ltd at Rs2,211 crore, the union said.
Some of the other big-ticket defaulters include, Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd (Rs1,810 crore), Sterling Biotech Ltd (Rs1,732 crore), S Kumars Nationwide Ltd (Rs1,692 crore), Surya Vinayak Industries Ltd (Rs1,446 crore), Corporate Ispat Alloys Ltd (Rs1,360 crore), Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamonds (Rs1,254 crore), Sterling Oil Resources Ltd (Rs1,197 crore) and Varun Industries Ltd (Rs1,129 crore).
Here is the list of top 406 bank defaulters...
In addition, the bank employee association also wants responsibility fixed on banks’ top brass for the loans that have turned bad, allow banks to share information on NPAs and wilful defaulters under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, and declare wilful loan default as a criminal offence.
Pointing out that the credit appraisal committees of public sector banks had powers to sanction single loans up to Rs400 crore in the case of large banks and up to Rs250 crore in the case of small banks, Vishwas Utagi, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, an affiliate of AIBEA, had alleged that promoters of large defaulting companies diverted bank loans into real estate and floated cricket outfits for competing in domestic league matches.
Speaking with reporters in Mumbai, Mr Utagi alleged that NPAs of banks were the money fraudulently siphoned off from the banking system. Demanding strong legal remedies by the government and the regulators to redeem these public funds, he said, “Banks are dealing with the hard-earned savings of the people, and today the total deposits in banks in India have crossed Rs75 lakh crore.”
According to the Union, over the past seven years, there are fresh bad loans worth Rs4.95 lakh crore only in PSBs, while during the same period, these lenders wrote off band debts worth Rs1.4 lakh crore. Top four defaulters of state-run banks constitute Rs23,000 crore of NPAs, the AIBEA had said.
In order to highlight the increasing bad loans or non-performing assets (NPAs) menace in PSBs, the bank employees observed 5 December 2013 as 'All India Demands Day' by wearing badges and holding rallies.
A plethora of transport rules, Acts, orders and circulars clog the system
Afew days ago, a friend of mine, Rakesh Aggarwal, had a hearing at the offices of the Central Information Commission regarding the Delhi government’s department of transport. His 26 RTI applications had been pending for about three years. All these pertained to day-to-day issues faced by people who use public roads in India. I was lucky enough to be present with him at this mega-hearing which took half a day. People from the transport department and a lot of ordinary citizens were present. While the applications related to the national capital region (NCR), the issues have relevance on an all-India basis. For example:
• Status of high security number plates and reasons for what appears to be a major chaos in the implementation of this process.
• Multiple permits and licences given to persons with same name / same parent name / same address / same or different photo.
• Information on lack of usability of the website which is impossible to navigate.
• No clear information on the circulars, orders, miscellaneous notices, notices, laws, rules, etc, as applicable on any given date.
• Non-compliance with facilities for disabled people at their offices and locations for many aspects including acceptance of RTI applications.
• Information on laws of India pertaining to vehicles exempted from displaying registration marks—like those given to some citizens like the president of India and others.
• Information on Indian laws pertaining to special facilities granted to some citizens, like government servants, over others in the context of out-of-state vehicles.
• Information on laws regarding definition of terms like VIP/VVIP when the Motor Vehicles Act defines only ‘motorists’ and all citizens are equal.
• Wearing of uniforms by staff of the transport department while on duty and display of proper identities.
• Some specific information required regarding anti-citizen and anti-public treatment of public transport vehicles and drivers/operators.
Road transport in India comes under the concurrent list of Centre-state subjects, so there is no clarity on who is really responsible for what. Hence, I am moving towards seeking some specific information and accountability therein, along these lines.
a) First, the ministry of road transport & highways needs to proactively take on the responsibility of collecting all applicable circulars, rules, orders, miscellaneous and similar, which are issued on a national basis because of any reason or order by Supreme Court, other courts, directions, NHAI, other Central government, armed forces, customs, land borders, etc, and place them online on their website twice a year in English and Hindi.
b) Second, the state-level transport departments need to take all the above into account and place them on their respective websites in the relevant regional languages as well as collect all state-level circulars, rules, orders, miscellaneous and similar and place them online four times a year.
c) Third, the district and RTO-level transport departments need to collect all national and state-level circulars, from (a) and (b) above, miscellaneous and similar orders, and add to them all district/RTO level circulars, orders, miscellaneous, etc, issued by them. These should also be placed online or made available at their offices several times a year, in English, Hindi and applicable regional languages.
d) Fourth, if these three levels of transport authorities cannot do this, how do they expect citizens to be able to adhere to the plethora of rules, Acts, orders, circulars, etc? This is the basic question under RTI.
I would like some help from people all over India on how the RTI Act is being applied at their local RTO/transport offices, viz., how easy is it to file an RTI application, to start with.
Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves