RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: Record keepers at MCD have no records of charge handover since 1995

The CIC directed additional commissioner of MCD to make a report on when the charge list at factory licensing department would be prepared and provided to the applicant. This is the 90th 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 additional commissioner of revenues at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to give a report to the Commission and the appellant before 30 April 2009 on when the charge list at factory licensing department pending since 1995 would be prepared. 
While giving this judgement on 9 April 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “In spite an order from the FAA to prepare the list of files in one month, the work has not been completed and the PIO states he cannot commit when the work will be over. The implication is that the FAA had no idea about the extent of work. This is pathetic state of affairs.”
New Delhi resident Kishan Lal Bansal, on 12 August 2008, sought a certified copy of charge list of record maintained at the time of taking and handing over the charge of record by the respective record keepers since 1995 from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the factory licensing department at MCD under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information he sought and the reply given by the PIO...
1. Please state that which reply is correct from the replies dated 14 March 2008 and 11 July 2008 given by you in ID No299/ADC/FL, as vide reply dated 14 March 2008 it was stated by you that no charge list was prepared and vide reply dated 11 July 2008 it was stated by you that not traceable in spite of best efforts?
PIO's Reply: The question asked by you does not construe information under RTI Act, 2005.
2. As you have stated in your reply no. AO/FL/08/1295/GC/08 dated 14 March 2008 that due to large numbers of files in the record no file wise charge list was prepared, so please state if there is any circular/office order/notification, which prohibits to made and maintain the charge list of hand over/takeover of record in case of files in record? If yes, please provide the copy of the same?
PIO's Reply: The question asked by you does not construe an information under RTI Act, 2005.
Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Bansal filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA), in his order said, “It is undisputed that the charge list ought to have been prepared by the respective record keepers at the time of handing over/taking over the charge of record keeper. This, however, seems not to have been done. I, therefore, direct PIO (FL)/AC (CL&EC) to call for an explanation from all the record keepers who have worked in the department since 1995, as per the list provided to the appellant and the present keeper should be asked to prepare the inventory of the files available in the record with the assistance, if required, of earlier, the certified copy of the charge list, so prepared, may be provided to the appellant. This exercise must be completed within one week.”
Despite orders from the FAA, the appellant did not receive the list of files from the PIO. He then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, the PIO admitted that the department does not have a list of files at all and in spite of the order given by Rajesh Prakash, additional deputy commissioner (factory licencing) and FAA on 21 October 2008 to prepare the list of files in one month, the work has not been completed. 
GK Khanna, superintendent at the factory licencing stated that they are doing the job but cannot commit when the work will be over. “The implication is that Rajesh Prakash, the additional deputy commissioner (factory licencing) and FAA had no idea about the extent of the work,” Mr Gandhi, the then CIC noted.
In view of this pathetic state of affairs, he then directed PS Tomar, additional commissioner for Revenues, to make a report on when the work would be over and the information provided to the appellant. 
Bansal also contended that he was give false information in his previous two RTI applications. The Commission then looked into the replies and found that same reply was given in both cases. 
“In one answer the PIO has tried to explain the reasons for the non-existence of the charge list and in the second he has stated that the charge list is not traceable. Both have provided the same information that the charge list is not in existence,” Mr Gandhi noted.
Bansal insisted that a penalty must be imposed on the PIO. However, the Commission said there was no merit in this demand.
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000101/2676
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000101
Appellant : Kishan Lal Bansal,Delhi-110006.
Respondent:  PIO, (Factory Licensing Deptt.),  Municipal Corporation of Delhi
                         Nigam Bhawan, Kashmere Gate,  Delhi-110006.


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Consumer is King: SC approves government proposal on FDI in multi-brand retail

The court will only interfere when any policy is “unconstitutional, contrary to statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or there is total abuse of power,” the Supreme Court said

In a landmark judgement, a three-judge Supreme Court bench of justices RM Lodha, Mohan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph recently said, “Consumer is king and if that is the policy, then what is wrong in it?”
The Supreme Court upheld the government’s proposal in multi-brand retail trade, as this will enable the consumer to get goods at competitive prices, make choice of purchase available and eliminate middlemen, who were a curse to the Indian economy. No doubt, in the past, these very middlemen have played an important role in the development of trade and have helped businesses to grow, but their greed has caused untold damage to society. They need to be controlled and to the maximum extent possible eradicate this curse.
The bench further explained that the court will only interfere when any policy is “unconstitutional, contrary to statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or there is total abuse of power”.
As the reader knows, the US retail giant, Wal-Mart, is already in India, under a tie-up with the Bharti Group for cash and carry wholesale operations. Carrefour from France and Tesco from UK are on line to enter the Indian market soon.
Commerce minister Anand Sharma, while dealing with Tesco officials, stated that 50% of the total initial investment should be into the creation of new back-end infrastructure facilities. It may be recalled that in September 2012, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 51% was opened for multi-brand retail trade.
Interested foreign companies in multi-brand retail trade are expected to make an initial investment of $100 million out of which $50 million should be for back-end infrastructure facilities, and this rule does not apply to subsequent investments.
Additionally, in order to encourage small and medium enterprises in the country overseas participants are expected to source 30% of their requirements locally.
In the beginning there was a great uproar that FDI in multi-brand retail would kill the corner kirana shops. These have been actually thriving; even supermarket chains sprung up all over the country.  In fact, every major business house, such as Reliance, Tatas, Birlas, Goenkas, etc area already into retail trade and they have definitely reduced the active role that middlemen have played in the past.
The truth is that, in the long run, it may still not be possible to totally eradicate the middlemen who hold different hats while operating from the actual area of production. Small farmers continue to depend upon them for credit and other forms of assistance when needed.  Besides, many of these middlemen have political clouts where they operate and even for the top Indian business houses, which have got into this field in the last few years; it will take some time before they can generate the trust, confidence and dependence of the small producer.
Elimination of the middlemen will, certainly, reduce one of the main source of inflation artificially created by these middlemen. The road is long, but it can enable us to reach our goal.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)




3 years ago

Me residing in Waste Bengal have seen the encouragement of hawkers. Even if the price is less in Reliance they still go to hawkers . They make the environment so dirty. Also the entire city is a slaughter house. Somehow,cleanliness of a their city has nver been a priority for Indians. Welomce FDI.


3 years ago

Consumer would be king only when there is a significant price difference between the thela waala and the supermarket. I can't imagine such a arbitrage.

Even now I don't see a difference between the super market chains and subzi mandis. If there does exist a price difference then there is a compromise on quality. May be it is just me, but I prefer going to the thela waala itself for both price and quality.

May be my views are bit myopic. Feedback is welcome.

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