Open Letter to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Seeks Implementation of Act 21 for Speedy Decisions
Former central information commission Shailesh Gandhi has asked Maharashtra’s new chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to implement Act 21 of 2006 for speeding up the decision making process in the government offices. The letter also demands filling up vacancies, making institutions like Lokayukta strong, stepped up efforts for conserving water and increase transparency in the government.
Here is the letter sent by Mr Gandhi to CM Thackeray…
29 November 2019
Shri Uddhav Thackeray
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Congratulations on becoming the Chief Minister of our State.
You have said that you have serious intentions of governing Maharashtra for over a decade and I am sending you a few suggestions which would radically improve the governance of our State and reduce corruption.
1. Implementing Act 21 of 2006: This law requires that most decisions should be taken in three levels and this should be done within 45 days. If this is violated it mandates disciplinary action against the responsible public servants. This restores respect to the individual citizen and would go a long way in reducing corruption. Most applications, complaints and representations of citizens have to be decided within 45 days. (Note below).
2. Ensuring filling all vacancies in government: The average vacancies in sanctioned positions is probably in the region of 25 to 30%. This is also a significant reason for inefficient and corrupt governance.
3. Making Institutions strong: Lokayukta; Human Rights, Women’s, Children’s, Information Commissions, Police Complaints Authorities and many more such institutions are our checks and balances of democracy. These are selected with no criterion, and usually as a favour or reward.
It must be ensured that proper criterion are laid down for the job requirements and a transparent process adopted for their selection. (Note below)
4. Stopping Burking: The law requires police to file a FIR when a cognizable crime is reported. There are many Supreme Court judgments on this. But police do not file FIRs, which results in crime being encouraged and corruption in the police. The extent of burking is not known but is likely to be of an order of 500% or more. (Note attached).
5. Conserving water and raising the Water table: This is being done by some outstanding efforts of NGOs. If government replicates their ways and techniques it would be big gain.
6. Increasing level of Transparency in Government;
i) Appointing six information Commissioners to overcome the huge pendency.
ii) Displaying all RTI applications and responses on the website, (Note attached)
I am sure you will be getting many requests. The above suggestions are for strengthening the Maharashtra administration, and could lead to great faith in the government.
Needless to say I would be honoured to explain these in detail, if you desire. Most of these are only seeking implementation of laws. Earlier governments have flouted laws. I am sure you will strike a new path.
I am hoping this Open Letter will be shown to you and you will consider responding to it.
Former Central Information Commissioner
Note on Act 21 of 2006: Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties
Note on Selection Evaluation of Information Commissioners