RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: Plots for poor in Delhi's Palam village usurped by criminals

Few select criminals usurped plots allotted to the poor in Palam village near Delhi under the 20-point program. The CIC directed the divisional commissioner to check if any FIR has been filed in this case or not. This is the 128th 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 divisional commissioner of Delhi to provide information about filing a first information report (FIR) in the house site allotment scam in Palam village near Delhi.

 

While giving this judgement on 17 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals. The divisional commissioner will see if any FIR has been lodged in this scandal and give information to the appellant and the Commission.”

 

Badiyal (Palam, New Delhi) resident Ratan Singh Solanki, on 13 April 2009, sought information about allotment of 20-point programme residential plots in 1984 at Palam Village from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Block Development Office. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act...

 

1. When will BDO be the custodian of these records so that the poor will get rid of frauds

2. What steps have been taken till now in matching the records of these residential plots from ex-pradhan Mr Ishwar Singh of Palam Village?

3. Copy of the FIR lodged against this corrupt pradhan.

4. Copy of the FIR lodged against BDO(S-W) concerned.

 

In his reply the PIO mentioned that the required information was enclosed, however, there was no copy in the file.

 

Since Solanki did not receive any response from the PIO, he filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) stated, “the PIO was said to have called requisite information from block development officer-BDO (South West). He had gone through the application before the PIO and the information provided to the appellant. Since the information as available on record it had been provided.”

 

With this remarks, the FAA disposed the appeal. Solanki then approached the CIC with his second appeal mentioning that he sought information only on four queries, but not a single query had been answered.

 

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the appellant (Solanki) had been pursuing the matter of allotment of house sites in village Palam under the 20-point program. “From his (Solanki’s) deposition and papers that he has shown before the Commission, it appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals,” the CIC noted.

 

Solanki also produced an order given by Ashwini Kumar, the deputy commissioner at South West Delhi District on 24 January 2002, which stated that only 15% of the persons were found in the possession of their plots. It also mentioned an order to register criminal cases against the unscrupulous elements that cheated the public persons and defrauded the government.

 

Mr Gandhi said, “The information provided to the appellant indicates that only a very weak letter was sent in 2007 to register a case against the then BDO.”

 

While allowing the appeal, the Commission ordered the divisional commissioner to see if any FIR had been lodged in this scandal. “If so he will provide a copy of this to the appellant. If no FIR has been lodged he will state this with reasons if any,” the CIC said in its order.

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

 

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823/4842

http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/SG-17092009-18.pdf

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823

 

Appellant                                                     : Ratan Singh Solanki,

                                                                         Badiyal, Via PO-Palam,

                                                                         New Delhi-110045

 

Respondent                                                : Public Information Officer

                                                                        Office of the PIO/ADM(South-West)

                                                                        Old Terminal Tax Building,

                                                                        Kapashera, New Delhi-110037

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High Court seeks reply on media interaction proposal for government servants

The Allahabad High Court has directed the state counsel to seek instructions from the ministry of personnel and public grievances within 10 days about allowing selective media interaction by government servants instead of complete ban at present

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the state counsel to seek instructions from the ministry of personnel and public grievances within 10 days regarding amendment in conduct rules for government servants. Lucknow-based Amitabh Thakur, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in his two representations, has prayed the amendment to allow government servants to state through media, cases related with inside corruption and misuse of official position, unlike the complete ban that presently applies.
 

The bench of justices Uma Nath Singh and Mahendra Dayal sought an official response as regards the suggestions made by Mr Thakur for amendment in Conduct Rules and performance appraisal presently applicable to the government servants.
 

Earlier, Thakur had sent these representations to the ministry of personnel and public grievances, Government of India, but did not get any response from them. He then sent reminder mails requesting them to respond and also stated the need and importance of the changes. Failing to get a response, Mr Thakur finally sought help from the high court through a writ petition.
 

In his first representation, Mr Thakur has written about the changes required in the Conduct Rules applicable to most of the government servants like the All India Services officers, members of the Central Civil Services and various state government officials. He explained that the current conduct rules act like a barrier between government officers and the public, particularly through the use of media. Some of the important facts stated in the Conduct Rules, which justify these barriers are…

  1. No government servant shall participate in a radio broadcast or contribute any article or write any letter to any newspaper or periodical, etc.
  1. No government servant shall in any radio broadcast on in any document make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of any adverse criticism of any current or recent policy of action of the government or which is capable of embarrassing the relations between different governments or which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the central government and the government of any foreign state.
  1. No government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the government, give evidence in connection with any enquiry conducted by any person, committee or authority.
  1. Where any sanction has been accorded to give evidence, no government servant giving such evidence shall criticize the policy of the government.

Based on these rules, it can simply be said that a government official is completely banned from making any interaction with the media. Mr Thakur said that though an official possesses a lot of confidential details related to the government, which should not be disclosed to the public, the act should at least allow the officials to approach the media if any inside corruption, misuse of official position etc takes place.  Some of the amendments suggested in the representation are as follows:

  1. It needs to be clearly specified that any adverse criticism of any current or recent policy of action of the government does not in any way mean coming up with facts that might be critical or denigrating to one or more officers and/or ministers, etc in the government. The various Conduct Rules now need to specify in black and white that adverse criticism of a government policy is not to be equated with presenting such facts before the public through the media that is critical to a senior officer or is critical to a minister or a MLA or MP, etc. It also kindly needs to be specified that the acts of individual public servants (government officials, ministers and/or public representatives, etc) are not to be treated as the act of the government per se and cannot be rigidly equated with the policy of the government.
  1. It possibly also needs to be inserted in the Conduct Rules that even as regards the government policies or an act of the government, the government official would have the right to present facts before the public, if it is in the larger public interest and is connected with corrupt practices of any kind. The corrupt practices here would include not only financial corruption but would also include all kinds of biases, prejudices and motivated acts.

Thakur further added that these amendments needs to be implemented fast because these Conduct Rules were framed in the 1950s and 60s where there were hardly any corruptions and improper acts of the higher government officials taking place.
 

In his second representation, Thakur has written about the changes required to be made in evaluation of the performance appraisal of government officials. Currently, seniors make ACRs (Annual Confidential Report) of the juniors and they are evaluated on the basis of that report. But Mr Thakur said that a 360 degree feedback system should be adopted where an employee is also evaluated by his peers and subordinates. Under this system, feedback about the official can also be taken from the external sources such as the customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders.
 

According to Mr Thakur, the changes specified are very important and needs to be worked on immediately.
 

Reported by: Anishi Khetan

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COMMENTS

S BHASKARA NARAYANA

4 years ago

As the Whistle Blower policy of Vigilance wing of every department is aimed at individual's corruption, but not ill-policy check in the system, what Mr. Amitabh Thakur's demands are 100% correct.

Sex in Indian ancient medical literature

The famous Vatsayana’s Kamasutra is a monumental work in this area. The idea of male-female attraction is the strong foundation for the preservation of the species

 

Man is born with only two natural instincts—self preservation and procreation. No one need teach anyone, or for that matter any living being, as to how to procreate. The idea of male-female attraction is another strong foundation for the preservation of the species. In fact, some of the male rhine deer could follow the trail of a female in heat just by the smell of the latter’s pheromones in the hoofs of the female during heat, that could be dug as deep as twelve feet in snow. Nature is a wonderful wonder. 

 

Without the male-female copulation the very foundation of a broad-based genetic material for the offspring can not be assured. I have written extensively in an article entitled God forgotten and Man sleighted, about the futility of cloning to produce the offspring of one’s choice. One could only make a look-alike but never another replica to do exactly what the scientist intends the offspring to do. The consciousness develops largely based on the environment. Today even genetic researchers have realized the futility of engineering the genes alone as gene-penetrance depends on the environment to a great extent and the human chromosome has only twenty-five thousand human genes while it has three billion germ genes!  

 

In this background it is very unlikely that the Indian scholars of yore had not thought about it. In fact, in his very exhaustive work on Indian sexuality the author, Peter Rahul Das, has gone very deep into the deep jungle of literature in this area in the Indian science and has come up with some fascinating material that could be a field for further research. The famous Vatsayana’s Kamasutra is a monumental work in this area. I refer a serious reader to the book mentioned below, The Origin of A Human Being, for which I wrote the following review in one of the leading medical journals in the country, the National Medical Journal recently. It is here for the reader to study.

 

This is one book that bowled me completely for the first time—all three stumps had flown away! A real spinner it was. For sometime I wondered why the editor chose me to review this book, but came up with no easy answers. I sat down to read the book for the second time and that is the reason for the inordinate delay in reviewing this book. Finally, here it is. 

 

During the course of my second reading I remembered a similar book that I had read earlier having had similar difficulty in comprehending the essence. It was The Birth of the Clinic (An archeological medical perception) written by Michel Foucault. Both the books deal with birth, in the first of the human baby and in the second of the medical clinic. 

 

I have no hesitation to echo the sentiments expressed by Marguerite Howe of The Nation who wrote in her review the following passage about the author, Michel Foucault that could easily be written about the author of this great work, Rahul Peter Das: “Elegant, arrogant, razor-blade brilliant. Foucault nevertheless wears his learning lightly: he may be outrageous but he is never dull…..” I thought Marguerite was verbalizing my thoughts about Rahul just at the time I finished reading The Origin of the Life of a Human Being for the second time.

 

Mind-boggling details of the ancient Indian medical and paramedical texts referred to in this book amazed me. Caraka, Sushruta, Vaagbhata or two Vaagbhatas, Vatsyaayaana, Svetaketu, Cakrapanidatta, and a host of others in addition to the Greek and Yunani writers of importance were extensively quoted throughout the text. The detailed references with their Sanskrit renderings are amazing. This scholarly book reads like a PhD thesis with its intricate discussion points with protagonist and the antagonist views having been given equal weightage with the writer not being judgmental to begin with. However, he sums it all up for a lazy reader at the end in a very lucid chapter where he cites the role of the woman in conception, delivery and also her role in the sexual act. 

 

The detailed discussion of the two fluids, arthava and sukra, the female and the male procreatory fluids essential for a new life, their origin, their flow, their importance in orgasm, the sex of the child, as also their role in the origin of the human being are clearly discussed with reference to all the texts referred to above. One of the curious facts that I noticed was the description fitting that of the long disputed (in western medicine) Grafenberg spot on the anterior vaginal wall that could get stimulated during coitus to produce the “female semen” referred to in Indian texts many times. 

 

One point here deserves special mention and that is the truth brought out in this study of the role of the female sexual pleasure as an important contributing factor for the evolution of the human being since conception is regarded as being possible only if both man and the woman have an orgasm. Even the birth of a male heir depends to a large extent on this. May be there is a possibility that pregnancy did not result in the absence of female orgasm.

 

Be that as it may, this book brings to fore many important aspects of Indian thought in an area of great significance. The western thought up until the eighteenth century did agree with this view but, has since changed.

 

This book deserves the respect from all those interested in serious research into our ancient wisdom. It also deserves special respect for the scholarly exposition of the subject matter under study. That said, I must hasten to add that this is not the book for a casual reader or for bedtime reading. It is a very serious book that needs to be studied in depth to get at the core of the matter. While I congratulate the author for the exhaustive narrative I wonder what would be its market value, as it could, at best, be of reference value. I feel that any library worth its salt must have a copy of this book.  

 

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)

 

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