If a public authority does not obtain the information which the law expects it to have routinely, the reason for its existence becomes suspect, said the CIC. This is the 64th 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, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to provide information regarding functioning of Neeraj Cooperative Group Housing Society to the applicant.
While giving this important judgement on 10 May 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “...information, which can be accessed by the public authority under any other law for the time being in-force, has to be supplied to an RTI applicant.”
Delhi resident Raaj Mangal Prasad, on 23 October 2009, sought information about functioning of Neeraj Cooperative Group Housing Society located at B-1, Vasundhara Enclave, Delhi from the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS), GNCTD. Here is the information he sought...
1. Whether annual audit of the accounts of the society has been done during the last three financial years? If yes, provide photocopies of audit accounts—income expenditure, receipts and payments, balance sheet, etc. if not, give reasons and name of office bearers responsible for getting the audit done.
2. Minutes of the last three General Body Meetings and Management Committee Meetings duly signed and attested by the competent signatory.
3. Names, addresses and contact details of office bearers/management committee members who are withdrawing money from the accounts of the society and are responsible for income-expenditure during last two years.
4. Names, addresses and contact details of office bearers and management committee members running the affairs of the society presently.
5. Total income received and expenditure incurred under various heads since April 2009.
The PIO, in his reply said, “That desired information mentioned at Sr. No2 to 5 pertains to society and RTI application cannot be sent to society, it not being a public authority. As per records of the society information is not available in this Zone. The appellant may obtain the information directly from the society...”
Prasad then filed his first appeal stating that the application was not forwarded to audit branch in time. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order stated that “As regards Point no 2, 3 and 5, FAA tends to agree with contention of the SPIO/ AR(E) that the desired information pertains to the society and is not available with the public authority nor is it required to be maintained under any Act or law for the time being in force.”
Not satisfied with the reply, Prasad, then approached the CIC with his second appeal. In the appeal he requested the information to be collected from the society and provided to him.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, observed that the PIO had not provided information on query no. 2, 3 and 4 and there appeared to be no reason why it could not have been provided. No exemption has been claimed by the PIO and this is certainly information, which RCS must have as per the law, the Commission noted.
The PIO stated that information relating to query nos2, 3 and 4 is not available on their records since the society has not submitted this.
Section 2(f) of the RTI Act clearly states…
‘information’ means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;
Mr Gandhi said, information, which can be accessed by the public authority under any other law for the time being in-force has to be supplied to a RTI applicant.
In the instant case, details sought at query no 2, 3 and 4 must be with the RCS. "”f the RCS does not obtain the information, which the law expects it to have routinely, the reason for the existence of the RCS itself becomes suspect,” the CIC said.
“RCS and other public authorities of this nature are expected to monitor and regulate the working of those registered with them. If they do not perform this function, they are only a drain on the public exchequer. Laws give them enough powers to enforce their writ to obtain the information which the law expects them to gather,” Mr Gandhi noted in his order.
While allowing the appeal filed by Prasad, the CIC then directed the PIO to provide the information before 15 June 2010.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000770/7670
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/000770
Appellant : Raaj Mangal Prasad,
Respondent : ML Gupta
Public Information Officer &
Asstt. Registrar (East)
O/o the Registrar Cooperative Societies,
Govt. of NCT of Delhi,
Paliament Street, Old Court Building,
Scope for the RBI to ease rates is “quite limited”, point out Nomura Economics Research analysts
Nomura Economics Research expects a 25bps (basis points) rate cut in Q2 of 2013 from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and then rates to remain on hold for some time. Based on Nomura’s year-ahead forecast that the negative output gap (see graph below) will gradually close and WPI (wholesale price index) inflation will be sticky at around 7%, the Taylor rule suggests that policy rates are very close to the neutral rate currently and, in fact, should move marginally higher.
Taylor rules do have limitations, but they reiterate the RBI’s guidance that room for further easing is “quite limited.”
Interest rate implied by Taylor rule = Real equilibrium interest rate + inflation + 0.5*(Inflation gap) + 0.5*(Output gap), where the real equilibrium interest rate is assumed at 1%, desired inflation rate at 5% and potential GDP growth rate is estimated based on the Hodrick-Prescott filter. Estimates beyond Q1 2013 are based on Nomura projections on GDP growth and WPI inflation.
The RBI recently estimated its neutral nominal policy rate at around 6%. This holds when WPI inflation is close to the target 5% and the output gap is zero. It is found that in reality, WPI inflation is around two percentage points above the desired rate, while growth is below potential. The RBI assumes potential output growth at around 7%, but it is believed that it has fallen to 6%-6.5%. Using actual growth and inflation data, Nomura finds that policy rates have broadly followed the Taylor rule.
The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Tuesday adjourned its hearing in the Securities and Board of India (SEBI) and Sahara case to 13th April.
In an order, the SAT said, hearing of the appeal filed by Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy would be taken up along with appeals filed by Sahara India Real Estate Corporation and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation, the two Sahara group companies and its three directors.
In all the appeals, Sahara has challenged the attachment order passed by SEBI on 13 February 2013. In a release, Srinivasan Ganesh, senior counsel for Sahara, said, “In these appeals, Sahara has challenged the attachment order passed by SEBI, inter-alia on the grounds that SEBI has no jurisdiction to pass such orders under the SEBI Act and that their documents of redemptions made to investors have been wrongly rejected as ‘not acceptable’ and that such orders of documents are in clear violation of the directions no7 contained in order dated 31 August 2012 passed by the Supreme Court.”
Officials from SEBI were not immediately available for comment.
The apex court had on 31st August last year directed the two companies to refund around Rs24,000 crore to their investors within three months with 15% interest per annum for raising the amount from its investors in violation of rules and regulations.
On 13th February, SEBI passed two separate orders, together running into 160 pages, directing attachment of properties and freezing of accounts.
It was after the Supreme Court said that the regulator was free to freeze the accounts and attach properties if Sahara firms were not complying with the apex court’s earlier orders of August 2012 towards refund of investors’ money totalling over Rs24,000 crore.
The assets ordered to be attached included those related to the group’s Aamby Valley resort town near Pune, real estate assets in Delhi, Mumbai and at other places across the country, shares, mutual funds and various other investments.
Passing the attachment orders, SEBI said that the two companies had raised Rs6,380 crore and Rs19,400 crore, respectively from bondholders and “various illegalities” were committed in raising of these funds.
With regard to Subrata Roy and three other directors, namely Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary, SEBI ordered freezing of all bank and demat accounts of these four persons, as also attachment of all moveable and immoveable properties in their name with immediate effect.
During its previous hearing on 23rd March at Mumbai, the SAT decided to hold final hearing on 26th March at New Delhi. It, however, decided to take up the matter again on 13th April along with all related petitions.