RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: Transferring of Delhi’s 'monkey menace' to the villages

Monkeys caught in Delhi were released in the Asola Wild Life Sanctuary, which the appellant claimed was beyond the capacity of the sanctuary. The CIC directed the PIO to facilitate inspection of the sanctuary by the appellant. This is the 109th 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 disposing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) and deputy conservator of forest (South) of Forest & Wildlife Department (FWD) at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), to facilitate an inspection of Asola Wild Life Sanctuary by the appellant.


While giving this judgement on 16 June 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The appellant and the respondent have agreed that the appellant will visit and inspect the sanctuary on 16 June 2010 from 10.00am onwards. The PIO will facilitate an inspection by the appellant on that day.”


New Delhi resident Om Prakash Tanwar, on 6 August 2009, sought information about monkeys being caught in Delhi and released in the sanctuary from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the FWD. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and reply provided by the PIO...


a. Approval letter of NGOs/RWA of the area from where monkeys have been taken into possession for release in forest of Tughlakabad range in the last five years.       

PIO's reply: No such reports available on record.


b. Copy of delivery receipts issued by the department to MCD and NDMC whenever monkeys were delivered in the aforementioned area in the abovementioned time period.      

PIO's reply: Copy of such receipts not maintained. Same may be obtained from the Veterinary Department of MCD.


c. Areas where monkeys are kept, if open then the mechanism used to stop them from fleeing the forest area.         

PIO's reply: The object of releasing them is to rehabilitate them in natural habitat and not subject them to any restraint.


d. Details of last five years as to date of visit of officials (name/ designation/ vehicle number) to catch monkeys in the area and total number caught.     

PIO's reply: No monkeys have been caught by this Department.


e. Number of monkeys present in forest area and total number that have fled.  

PIO's reply: No such reports available on record.


f. Number of people engaged in looking after the monkeys, names, designation and salaries of the last five years.       

PIO's reply: No person specifically deputed to look after the monkeys. However, they are fed by 15-20 labourers who are supervised by. Dharam Singh, Dy. Range Officer, Asola Bhatti range and Shri Kesar Singh, Forest Guard, Mali. Salaries drawn cannot be disclosed.


g. Expenses incurred in keeping monkeys alive in forest range in the last five years.

PIO's reply: Requisite information already provided. Inspection of the books of account maybe done and copies be obtained.


h. Number of water ponds, reservoirs created for providing drinking water to the monkeys.  

PIO's reply: None has been created.


i. Copies of original bills submitted by suppliers to the department for release of payment against feeding material for monkeys.     

PIO's reply: Same as (g) above.


j. Number of suppliers supplying feeding materials. Specify owners name, address and reasons for selecting these agencies only for the supply.

PIO's reply: Feed is procured from Kendriya Bhandar (grains/cereals) and from APMC, Azadpur(Fruits/vegetables). Procurement is being done from being reputed suppliers at reasonable rates.


k. Any publishing done by the department inviting open tender from the market with respect to supply feeding material for the monkeys in forest area.   

PIO's reply: NO


l. Inspection of entire files relating to supply of feeding material bills, receipts etc, and also of living conditions of the monkeys and new monkeys coming from different parts of Delhi.    

PIO's reply: Relevant records may be perused on any working day in office. Current file relating to procurement if unavailable due to being in submission before a higher authority shall be made available immediately on receipt of the same.


Claiming that the PIO did not reply within the mandated 30 days as per the RTI Act, Tanwar, the applicant filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) in his order asked the deputy conservator of forest for south and PIO to make arrangement for inspection of the concerned files/records by Tanwar.


Still not satisfied with the information provided by the PIO, the applicant approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the PIO has provided the information to Tanwar. However, after the inspection and obtaining the information, Tanwar, the appellant had serious problem with “transferring Delhi's problem to villagers”.

The PIO stated that as per the order from the high court, monkeys were being caught in Delhi and released in Asola Wild Life Sanctuary, which has an area of 7,000 acres. The total number of monkeys released in the sanctuary so far was over 12,000, which was in excess of the carrying capacity of the sanctuary.


To this, Tanwar stated that “These monkeys are now harassing the villagers around the sanctuary and the exercise appears to be transferring Delhi’s problems to villagers.”


He said he would like to inspect the sanctuary to see the condition for which permission had been granted by the Chief Wild Life Warden, however due to a communication gap, he could not inspect it.


Both the appellant and the PIO agreed that Tanwar would visit the sanctuary for inspection on 16 June 2010. He would meet Dharam Singh, deputy range officer at Bhatti Range Office on the day. The PIO also pointed out that the monkeys in the wild life sanctuary can at times be violent and there may be some danger in visiting the sanctuary. Tanwar stated that he understood this.


While disposing the appeal, Mr Gandhi directed the PIO to facilitate an inspection by the appellant on 16 June 2010.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001052/8124


Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001052


Appellant                                          : Om Prakash Tanwar

                                                            New Delhi- 110074.


Respondent                                       : Prabhat Tyagi

                                                            Public Information Officer &  

                                                            Dy. Conservator of Forest (South)

                                                            Forest & Wildlife Department,

                                                            Government of NCT of Delhi,

                                                            Near Karni Singh Shooting Range,

                                                            Tughlaqabad, New Delhi-44.


Are you ready for the rains in 2013? Watch out for these red flags
The much sought after monsoon is finally here. And with it come the usual issues of water-logging, illness, traffic jams and so on. Here is a compilation of information that would come handy during Monsoon 2013
After making us sweat and wait for over a week, the monsoon has finally arrived in Mumbai on its scheduled time. As usual, Mumbaikars should be ready for problems like water-logging, traffic jams, trains not running on time and most important, illnesses caused by the rains. After all, much of it is dictated by the tides. 
The Disaster Management Cell of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has studied the tides and its experts have flagged the days to watch out for.
High tides
As per the advisory, it is seen that during June there would be noteworthy high tides on three days, from 24th to 26th. On Monday, 24th June the high tide would be 4.89 meters (in height), while Tuesday, 25 June 2012 and Wednesday, 26 June 2012 are predicted to experience the highest tides of 4.97 meters and 4.93 meters, respectively.
July, August and September show an average that ranges between 4.51 and 4.95 meters. The highest tide is predicted to be that of 4.95 meters on 24th July. Rest all high tides till October 2013 would be of normal height.
The advisory also emphasized on a few important points that one should keep in mind. Turning off all electrical appliances and staying away from power lines in flooded areas are safe measures. One should also avoid contact with flood water as it may be contaminated.
If stranded in a vehicle, one should leave it and move to a place at a higher level, besides being aware of the potential flooding spots in one’s ward/area.
Six inches of moving water can result in one losing his/her balance and falling down, thus one should avoid walking through moving water. If required, a stick can be used to check the firmness of the ground in front. One should also try and identify/visit elevated areas in and around one’s home as places of refuge during floods.
In case of emergency
One very important point is to keep all emergency contact numbers handy for immediate use. Also, keep the “Family emergency supplies kit” ready for nutritional tips during the monsoons.
Safe Eating
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, particularly leafy vegetables. Some measures such as eating in moderation are of great help—this is because the body finds it harder to digest food during the monsoon. One must stick to drinking warm beverages—tea with a hint of ginger or mint is recommended—during the season as well as for health purposes.
For vegetarians, moong dal, among other pulses, is easy to digest and should be the preferred choice of dal for the season. Garlic, ginger, pepper, jeera powder, turmeric, asafoetida (hing) and coriander help enhance digestion as well as improve immunity. Non-vegetarians should opt for lighter meat preparations like soups/stews, etc, rather than curries.
Drinking boiled and filtered water is a must, especially during this season. One should also ensure that water is consumed within 24 hours after it is boiled. Avoid eating junk food such as chaat items and fried items. Also avoid pre-cut fruits and juices from roadside vendors, this helps to prevent contracting serious infections such as viral fever, diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. They may seem quite tempting and an easy way out, but after all, prevention is better than cure.
Fruits such as bananas, apples, mangoes, pomegranates, cherries and litchis are recommended during this season. These are easily available and should be consumed fresh, not forgetting to wash them thoroughly before consuming. Non-leafy vegetables are recommended—these include snake gourd (turi), gourd (dudhi), pointed gourd (parwal), yam (suran), cluster beans (gavaar), apple gourd (tinda) and bitter gourd (karela).
Health is wealth
Diseases such as malaria, jaundice, cholera, dengue and many more are common during the monsoons and these create serious health hazards. These diseases prove to be healthcare disasters in our city, and it is therefore essential to take a few preventive steps.
The two most common types of diseases are water-borne or vector (carrier) borne. To prevent infection from water-borne diseases, it is very important to drink water from a safe source or basically, water that has been disinfected (boiled or chlorinated). Food items should be kept covered and should be cooked or reheated thoroughly and consumed while it is still hot.
Common things such as washing hands thoroughly with soap before preparing or eating food and after using the toilets is of utmost importance. Though we inculcate such ideas into our young kids, it is not uncommon that we may tend to forget them.
Some conditions to be kept in mind and highly avoided are drinking water from unsafe sources, eating uncooked food unless it is peeled or shelled. Fruits that are cut beforehand should be avoided. One should not litter the surroundings unnecessarily and maintain hygiene.
To prevent vector-borne diseases, one should use insecticide treated bed nets (ITBN) or insect repellents while sleeping. This can help keep away from mosquitoes. Clothes covering arms and legs are recommended to be worn during the rains. Do not forget to empty water containers at least once a week, besides covering and sealing septic tanks and soak away pits. Stagnant water from coolers and other places should be removed.
Fever cases should first be given preventive treatment for malaria.
Avoid accumulation of water in discarded items such as tyres, tubes, empty containers and objects where it may collect. Do not allow water to stagnate. Do not allow children to wear shorts and half sleeved clothes, especially in the evening.
Let’s join hands in making Mumbai a safer city and a better place to live in!

Here is the Monsoon Advisory for 2013 issued by United Way Mumbai Helpline...



How the government can still get your digital data without warrant

Following reports that the FISA Court has granted an FBI request requiring Verizon to turn over telephone call data to the NSA, we've updated this story to show what information law enforcement agencies can get on you without establishing "probable cause"

Update June 6, 2013:
This post has been revised to reflect reports of regular FBI and National Security Agency surveillance of domestic phone records under a provision of the Patriot Act. It was originally published Dec. 4, 2012.

The U.S. government isn't allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge. But there are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to the FBI to the Internal Revenue Service, to snoop on the digital trails you create every day. Authorities can often obtain your emails and texts by going to Google or AT&T with a simple subpoena. Usually you won't even be notified.

The latest twist: A secret court order made public by the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday shows that the FBI has successfully requested call "metadata" — including the time, duration and location of phone calls, though not what was said on the calls — under provisions of the Patriot Act. Signed by senior federal Judge Roger Vinson on April 25, the order directs Verizon Business Network Services to provide all call information to the National Security Agency each day for a three-month period.

Whether such sweeping surveillance requests should be allowed under the Patriot Act is a matter of heated debate in Congress. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, suggested on Thursday that Vinson's order was just a regular renewal of surveillance that's taken place for years. But disclosure of the order also prompted calls to rein in the practice, including from Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. On another front, two senators introduced legislation in March to bolster privacy protection for emails; action is pending.

Against that backdrop, here's a look at how law enforcement can track you without a warrant:

PHONE RECORDS: Who You Called, When You Called

Listening to your phone calls without a judge's warrant is illegal if you're a U.S. citizen. But police don't need a warrant — which requires showing "probable cause" of a crime — to get just the numbers you called and when you called them, as well as incoming calls, from phone carriers. Instead, police can get courts to sign off on a subpoena, which only requires that the data they're after is relevant to an investigation — a lesser standard of evidence. The FBI can also request a secret court order for phone records related to an international terrorism or spying investigation without showing probable cause. A recent court order obtained by the Guardian newspaper shows that the FBI requested all phone records over a three-month period from Verizon Business Network Services in April. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican and the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggested that such court orders were routine. "This is nothing particularly new," he said at a news conference with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Intelligence Committee's chairwoman. "This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority, and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this."

What the law says

Police can get phone records without a warrant thanks to Smith v. Maryland, a Supreme Court ruling in 1979, which found that the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure doesn't apply to a list of phone numbers. The New York Times reported last November that New York's police department "has quietly amassed a trove" of call records by routinely issuing subpoenas for them from phones that had been reported stolen. According to the Times, the records "could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose." The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress expanded in 2001 when it passed the Patriot Act, also allows the FBI to apply for a court order to get "any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)," including phone records. For example, the court order obtained by the Guardian covers all records from April 25 to July 19, which Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said was much more expansive than a typical warrant or a subpoena. "I've never seen a subpoena that broad," he said. The order covers "telephone metadata ... for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls."

LOCATION DATA:  Your Phone Is a Tracker

Many cell phone carriers provide authorities with a phone's location and may charge a fee for doing so. Cell towers track where your phone is at any moment; so can the GPS features in some smartphones. The major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations, text messages and other data in 2011. Internet service providers can also provide location data that tracks users via their computer's IP address — a unique number assigned to each computer. The FBI can also apply for a court order to location data relevant to an international terrorism or spying investigation under FISA in the same way it requests other phone records.

What the law says

Many courts have ruled that police don't need a warrant from a judge to get cell phone location data. They only have to show that, under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA), the data contains "specific and articulable facts" related to an investigation — again, a lesser standard than probable cause. Delaware, Maryland and Oklahoma have proposed laws that would require police to obtain a warrant for location data; Gov. Jerry Brown of California, a Democrat, vetoed a similar bill last September. Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill championed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, which would have updated the ECPA but wouldn't have changed how location data was treated. Leahy and Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, introduced a similar bill last month, which remains in committee. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, introduced a separate bill in the House of Representatives in March that would require a warrant for location data as well as emails.

IP ADDRESSES: What Computers You Used

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other webmail providers accumulate massive amounts of data about our digital wanderings. A warrant is needed for access to some emails (see below), but not for the IP addresses of the computers used to log into your mail account or surf the Web. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, those records are kept for at least a year.

What the law says

Police can thank U.S. v. Forrester, a case involving two men trying to set up a drug lab in California, for the ease of access. In the 2007 case, the government successfully argued that tracking IP addresses was no different than installing a device to track every telephone number dialed by a given phone (which is legal). Police only need a court to sign off on a subpoena certifying that the data they're after is relevant to an investigation — the same standard as for cell phone records. FISA also allows the FBI to apply for a secret court order to get "any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)" relevant to an international terrorism or spying investigation. It is unclear whether IP addresses are considered "tangible things." The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has issued legal opinions on how to interpret the law, but those opinions are classified.

EMAILS: Messages You Sent Months Ago

There's a double standard when it comes to email, one of the most-requested types of data. A warrant is needed to get recent emails, but law enforcement can obtain older ones with only a subpoena. Google says it received 16,407 requests for data — including emails sent through its Gmail service — from U.S. law enforcement in 2012. And Microsoft, with its Outlook email service, disclosed last month that it had received 11,073 requests for data last year. Other email providers, such as Yahoo, have not made similar statistics available. In January, Google said that it would lobby in favor of greater protections for email.

What the law says

This is another area where the ECPA comes into play. The law gives greater protection to recent messages than older ones, using a 180-day cutoff. Only a subpoena is required for emails older than that; otherwise, a warrant is necessary. This extends to authorities beyond the FBI and the police. IRS documents released in April by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that the IRS' Criminal Tax Division reads emails without obtaining a warrant. The bills introduced by Leahy and Lee in the Senate and Lofgren in the House would require a warrant for the authorities to get all emails regardless of age. The Justice Department, which had objected to such a change, said in March that it doesn't any longer. As with IP addresses, it's unclear whether emails are considered "tangible things" under the FISA, which would let the FBI request a secret court order for ones deemed relevant to international terrorism or spying investigations.

EMAIL DRAFTS: Drafts Are Different

Communicating through draft emails, à la David Petreaus and Paula Broadwell, seems sneaky. But drafts are actually easier for investigators to get than recently sent emails because the law treats them differently.

What the law says

The ECPA distinguishes between communications — emails, texts, etc. — and stored electronic data. Draft emails fall into the latter, which get less protection under the law. Authorities need only a subpoena for them. The bills introduced by Leahy and Lee in the Senate and Lofgren in the House would change that by requiring a warrant to obtain email drafts. Like IP addresses, it's unclear whether email drafts are considered "tangible things" under FISA, which would let the FBI request a secret court order for ones deemed relevant to international terrorism or spying investigations.

TEXT MESSAGES: As With Emails, So With Texts

Investigators need only a subpoena, not a warrant, to get text messages more than 180 days old from a cell provider — the same standard as emails. Many carriers charge authorities a fee to provide texts and other information. For texts, Sprint charges $30, for example, while Verizon charges $50.

What the law says

The ECPA also applies to text messages, according to Fakhoury, which is why the rules are similar to those governing emails. But the ECPA doesn't apply when it comes to actually reading texts on someone's phone rather than getting them from a carrier. State courts have split on the issue. Ohio's Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant to view the contents of cell phones of people who've been arrested, including texts. But the California Supreme Court has said no warrant is needed. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 declined to clear up the matter. Like IP addresses, it's unclear whether text messages are considered "tangible things" under FISA, which would let the FBI request a secret court order for those deemed relevant to international terrorism or spying investigations.

CLOUD DATA: Documents, Photos, and Other Stuff Stored Online

Authorities typically need only a subpoena to get data from Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and other services that allow users to store data on their servers, or "in the cloud," as it's known.

What the law says

The law treats cloud data the same as draft emails — authorities don't need a warrant to get it. But files that you've shared with others — say, a collaboration using Google Docs — might require a warrant under the ECPA if it's considered "communication" rather than stored data. "That's a very hard rule to apply," says Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy & Technology. "It actually makes no sense for the way we communicate today." Like IP addresses, it's unclear whether files stored in the cloud are considered "tangible things" under FISA, although the law specifically states that "documents" are included. If cloud data is covered by FISA, it would let the FBI request a secret court order for data deemed relevant to international terrorism or spying investigations.

SOCIAL MEDIA: The New Privacy Frontier

When it comes to sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the social networks' privacy policies dictate how cooperative they are in handing over users' data. Facebook says it requires a warrant from a judge to disclose a user's "messages, photos, videos, wall posts, and location information." But it will supply basic information, such as a user's email address or the IP addresses of the computers from which someone recently accessed an account, under a subpoena. Twitter has reported that it received 1,494 requests for user information from U.S. authorities in 2012. The company says it received 60 percent of requests in the second half of 2012 through subpoenas, 11 percent through other court others, 19 percent through search warrants and 10 percent through other means. Twitter says that "non-public information about Twitter users is not released except as lawfully required by appropriate legal process such as a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process."

What the law says

Courts haven't issued a definitive ruling on social media. In September, a Manhattan Criminal Court judge upheld a prosecutor's subpoena for information from Twitter about an Occupy Wall Street protester arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge in 2011. It was the first time a judge had allowed prosecutors to use a subpoena to get information from Twitter rather than forcing them to get a warrant; the case is ongoing. Like IP addresses, it's unclear whether posts on social media are considered "tangible things" under FISA, which would allow the FBI to request a secret court order for those deemed relevant to international terrorism or spying investigations.


Sources: Flickr: Mikael Altemark William Hook, Lydiat, joe bustillos, utnapistim, Kevin Baird, Jenny Levine, Karin Dalziel, Matthew Burpee

Courtesy: http://www.propublica.org/



Dekho ji.com

3 years ago

Julian Assange of Wikileaks and Kim Dotcom of megaupload.com had already been saying that these days Govts do mass survelliance / mass capturing of all online comms. Earlier it used to be need-based but now its done for all.

While Govt wants every detail of the common public, they block / oppose all efforts to get details about the Govt itself.

Govts around the world keep all their wrong doings secret and will put anyone in jail who questions their false claims and blatant lies.

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