The power of RTI was realised by this citizen who followed Moneylife’s instruction to use RTI, as he was unable to get his passport, despite police verification having been submitted
Ever since Moneylife has begun the passport campaign, it has been urging passport applicants to file an RTI application to know the status of their passport. Incidentally, the campaign was triggered off when a young Pune-based architect, Sachin Bhasme did not receive his passport despite successful police verification. When he went to the Regional Passport Office in Pune to submit his RTI (Right to Information) application, it was turned down, with the Public Information Officer stating that they do not accept the Rs10 RTI fee in cash (when the website clearly states that cash is also accepted. (Full story here: Inordinate delays at Pune Passport office; RTI applications rejected).
On Thursday, 21st March, a miracle took place. A passport applicant had been running between passport office and police commissioner’s office for the past two months. While the police had cleared the verification, the Regional Passport Office, Pune told him that they have not received the police clearance certificate. However, when he went to submit his RTI application, the police clearance certificate was promptly found by the Regional Passport Office, which stated that he would soon receive his passport by courier. This, even before he submitted his RTI application.
On Thursday morning (21st March), I received a mail from one Peyush Rai who showed interest in filing a RTI application to know the status of his passport. Once again, it was a case of successful police verification, but the passport office telling him that they have no clue about the verification.
He wrote to me: On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 4:30pm:
Sub: PCC application bearing Arn no.130000711038, PN1080297632813.
Police verification was done on date 22nd February 2013 for PCC (Police Clearance Certificate). However, till 20 March 2013, online status of my file is ‘PCC application is under review at Passport Seva Kendra ‘. I went to the passport office after standing in a queue for three hours. I got a chance to meet the Passport Officer. She told me they do not have information about police verification in their database, it is pending from the Pune commissioner’s office. Therefore, they cannot issue me my passport. When I went to police commissioner’s office they said file has already dispatched on 7 March 2013 and she (Raghuwanshi madam) was not ready to give outward No. of my file. The status ‘PCC application is under review at passport Seva Kendra’ is being shown from almost 30 days, but still I haven't got my PCC yet. It’s been almost two months I haven't got my PCC yet. Kindly help me; I need to apply for my visa urgently.
Please help me in logging an RTI application. Also I don’t know how and where I need to log an RTI in this case, Please help me as I am losing a job opportunity due to this reason.
From: Vinita Vishwas Deshmukh
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 5:03am
To: Peyush Rai
Subject: Re: PCC got Stuck in PSK (Please Help)
“ Dear Peyush,
I can understand how frustrating it must be for you. Please see this link of my article in Moneylife where I have stated how you should file RTI application. I have given two samples of the form too. Please read and revert in case of any doubt:
File an RTI application if you do not get your passport in time
All the best.
Cheers and warm regards,
Peyush Rai filled his RTI application form on Thursday, 21st March itself and went to the Regional Passport Office on Senapati Bapat Road in Pune. He stood in the long queue at the enquiry counter for a couple of hours. When his turn came, he requested to see Mrs Seetha, the Public Information Officer.
When he went to Ms Seetha’s desk, requesting her to accept his RTI application and the Rs10 RTI fee, she said she would like to check his case, before she accepts the RTI application. His name popped up in the system and she promptly gave him the good news that the Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) has been cleared and that the passport would be couriered to him.
A surprised Peyush promptly called me up and said, “Madam thank you for all the good work, I am amazed that several trips to the Regional Passport Office did not fetch any results, but only frustration, and just one RTI application did wonders, and that too, without having to submit it and wait for the mandatory 30 days to get the reply.”
What is shocking is that the same Regional Passport Office told Peyush that they have not received the PCC whereas the RTI application suddenly changed things.
Hence, Moneylife once again requests passport applicants to file RTI applications in case their passports are stuck for any reason. Moneylife appreciated Peyush Rai’s promptness in filing the RTI application, as most citizens are lazy to try this method. The more RTI applications the Regional Passport Office receives, the less will be chances of the officers sleeping over PCCs which have already reached the office, but are not attended to. Two samples of RTI applications are available in this link. Please file your RTI as per the samples. File an RTI application if you do not get your passport in time
Kudos to RTI!
(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
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