The DDA extended the validity of the building plan of a hospital, unknowingly accepting its authority over that area and was thus responsible to provide information under the RTI Act. This is the 72nd 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 allowing an appeal, advised the applicant to file his first appeal before the other public authority, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) since it had accepted its authority for regulating building activities in that particular area.
While giving this important judgement on 24 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “...it appears that DDA unknowingly is expected to regulate the activity of this hospital. The appellant is advised to file a first appeal with the DDA in this matter.”
Delhi resident Rajesh H Singh, on 14 February 2009, sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the PIO of the Executive Engineer (B)-II in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). He sought information regarding a hospital building in Rohini zone. Here is the information he sought and the reply given by the PIO on 17 April 2009...
(1) The management has extended the hospital building to the area meant for a ramp and is operating a physiotherapy unit in that area:
(i) Whether any inspection has been carried out by the MCD at the premises of the hospital.
(ii) Whether any violation as above was found by MCD.
(iii) Whether the MCD has taken any action in this regard.
PIO's reply: No building plan has been sanctioned from the office of EE (B)-II/RZ, however, building activities of the said area is being looked after by DDA.
(2) The management is running two canteens—one has been constructed over the water tank and the second one is near the out-patient department:
(i) Whether any violation with respect to the above has been brought to the notice of MCD.
(ii) Whether the MCD has been taken any action on this issue.
PIO's reply: As above
(3) The hospital is running a parking lot inside the hospital, which has been given on contract and parking charges are collected claiming that the same is an MCD parking:
(i) Whether any violation with respect to the above has been brought to the notice of the MCD.
(ii) Whether the MCD has been taken any action on this issue.
PIO's reply: As above.
Claiming that the PIO had not provided information, Singh, then filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), while disposing the appeal, directed the PIO to furnish a copy of reply given on 17 April 2009 to Singh within seven days.
Singh then approached the CIC with his second appeal. In the appeal he said, the MCD has taken the stand that the area in which the hospital building stand belongs to the DDA whereas the DDA has claimed that the area belongs to the MCD.
During the hearing, the PIO stated that as is the case with lot of areas in Delhi, there was actually the lack of clarity about who has the authority to regulate the building activities in this area. The PIO claimed that the authority to deal with sanction of plan as well as parking area lies with DDA and hence they have transferred the RTI to DDA on 17 April 2009.
Singh, then informed the CIC that an application to DDA on the same matter has elicited the information on 8 June 2009 that DDA does not have in control over activities in this area.
The PIO of MCD then showed a letter to the CIC in which the DDA had extended the validity of building plan of the said hospital on 5 March 2009.
Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that due to this letter, it appears that the DDA unknowingly was expected to regulate the activity of the hospital.
While allowing the appeal, he said the RTI application had been transferred to the DDA and advised the applicant (Singh) to file his first appeal with the DDA.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001892/4929
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001892
Appellant : Rajesh H. Singh
Respondent : Rakesh Ailawadi
Public Information Officer,
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
O/o the Executive Engineer (B)-II
Rohini Zone: Sector-5
With the new “inactive account manager”, Google is trying to help deal with digital identities after the account holder's death or if s/he goes missing after a specified period
Search engine giant Google has launched “inactive account manager”, a product that would help it to handover accounts to deputed heirs after death of an account holder.
The new service can be used to pass on data of an account holder from all Google services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive or Google+ to anyone who has been named as trusted family member or friend. Alternatively, the account holder can also delete his account after remaining non-active for specified period.
Google account holders can choose three, six, nine or 12 months as the timeout period. One month before expiry of this period, Google would send a notification to the secondary email ID. If it does not receive any response, it would then send a personal mail to the trusted contact or heir saying that the person had left them the data. The mail would also provide instruction for downloading the data.
Google's new inactive account manager service is a simplified version of accessing or shutting down an account, which required both birth and death notices from a family member. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook require many efforts for taking over an account, especially after the death of the account holder.
Despite several reminders, eight MPs have still not declared their assets mandated under the Parliamentary Rules. In addition, the Committee on Ethics does not favour publishing the details of MPs on the website
Eight members of Parliament (MPs), including Ajay Sancheti (close associate of Nitin Gadkari) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Darshan Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (SP), Narendra Budhania and Dr Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu (both Congress) and Munquad Ali of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from the Rajya Sabha and Harsh Vardhan (Congress), Madhu Koda and Putul Kumari (independent) from the Lok Sabha, have not yet declared their assets despite several reminders from the respective secretariat.
According to information obtained from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, despite several reminders these MPs have failed to submit details of their assets to respective secretariats. “What is more shocking is hiding such information or about bigamy has not been taken seriously by secretariats of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In addition, the Committee on Ethics does not favour posting the asset details of MPs on the website,” says Mr Agrawal.
While Koda, the former chief minister of Jharkhand and accused in multi-crore mining scam, has sought permission from the Lok Sabha Speaker for exemption, others have failed to follow the Rules for MPs, reveals the reply received under the RTI Act.
In the present era of requiring transparency, it is utmost necessary that asset-details of Parliamentarians and their spouse/s may be put on website. It becomes necessary because many times some parliamentarians have been found hiding information about their spouse. The situation, however, has improved than since 2010. According to an RTI reply received by Mr Agrawal at least 70 MPs, including former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress spokesperson at that time Manish Tewari, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu have not disclosed details of their assets at that time.
As per the members of the Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Rules, 2004, every elected candidate is mandated to furnish details like...
1. Movable and immovable property of which he, his spouse and dependent children are jointly or severally owners or beneficiaries;
2. His liabilities to any financial institutions; and
3. His liabilities to the Central or State government
In addition, some members have also been found hiding information about their spouse/s. Bollywood actor and former MP Dharmendra did not mention the name of Hema Malini as his spouse in his declaration. However, Hema Malini as MP from Rajya Sabha mentioned Dharmendra as her spouse in her bio-data.
Another MP Rajesh Kumar Manjhi of the RJD misused the facilities by substituting other woman in the name of his wife. He took another woman in place of his wife on an official trip.
According to the RTI reply, the offence of bigamy is punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the authority to take action against an MP belonging to the Hindu community having more than one spouse lies with the court. “Only after a bigamous relationship has been established by the court, action can be initiated by the Speaker on a complaint against a member on the ground of concealment of facts in his asset/liability declaration form as per Rules 5 & 6 of Members of Lok Sabha Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules, 2004,” the reply said.
The reply says it is for the court or police to take action against a MP found guilty of breaking law in his/her personal or public life. The Parliament can take action against an MP only if he/she violates any of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business or commits an unethical or criminal act concerned with the discharge of his Parliamentary duties.
This explains why Manjhi, a MP from Gaya in Bihar, got away with light punishment. According to the RTI reply, the Committee on the Misconduct of Members of Lok Sabha in its report on 23 August 2007, recommended to reprimanded and also suspend Rajesh Kumar Manjhi from the membership of the House for 30 sittings of the House. Further, the Committee recommended restraining the MP from taking his spouse or companion on official tours till the conclusion of the 14th Lok Sabha.
Pramila Manjhi, wife of Rajesh Majhi, had requested Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to take steps against her husband by claiming that he had been allegedly traveling everywhere with some other woman by posing her as his wife. Earlier in April 2007, the Parliament had suspended another Babubhai Katara for his alleged involvement in a human trafficking case. Katara was caught at the New Delhi International Airport while taking a woman and a boy using passports of his wife and son.
“Rules of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha should be uniform and re-written to make them stringent so that membership of parliamentarians may be cancelled on hiding, untrue or incomplete personal information. How funny it was that a Lok Sabha member Rajesh Manjhi was mildly punished for being suspended for 30 sittings of Parliament for the heinous crime of taking a girlfriend in name of wife on a Parliamentary delegation. Allowing wives on parliamentary trips also proves that such trips are practically meant for leisure and pleasure at public-expense,” said Mr Agrawal.