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Maharashtra Right to Information (MRTI) Act, 2002 zwas notified on zAugust 11, 2003 zwith retrospective effect from September 23, 2002 to save actions.

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Presentation on theme: "Maharashtra Right to Information (MRTI) Act, 2002 zwas notified on zAugust 11, 2003 zwith retrospective effect from September 23, 2002 to save actions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maharashtra Right to Information (MRTI) Act, 2002 zwas notified on zAugust 11, 2003 zwith retrospective effect from September 23, 2002 to save actions initiated under the erstwhile short-lived Maharashtra Right to Information Ordinance, 2002

2 The use has been encouraging zThere have been hiccups zInformation hasn’t been easily forthcoming zYet, MRTI has been used by a large number of citizens in just one year

3 Are we in Maharashtra alone to have this privilege? zNine states, including J&K and Assam already have their Acts on RTI zCentral Government will enforce one soon zMore than 50 countries have enacted by now.

4 Are we the pioneers in India? zTamilnadu zGoa zDelhi zRajasthan enacted their laws on right to information before we did

5 Yet, Maharashtra stands out zMaharashtra’s Act has been used widely by all sections of the society in all regions zThanks to zShri Anna Hazare’s anchorage and zcivil society’s initiatives

6 But there hasn’t been free flow of information zIt will take some time for the conditioned mindset of the bureaucracy to change zLet us keep trying

7 How do I ensure, I am the lucky one to get the information? zStrictly follow the provisions of the Act zBe precise in your query

8 Can you elaborate? zDemand information in the prescribed format zDo not be vague in your requisition zDo not ask voluminous information

9 Where do I get a copy of the Act and the Rules? zCheck with the Government Book Depot zDownload from the web site mahadhikar

10 Whom can the information be demanded from? zOffices of the zGovernment, zPublic Bodies like corporations, boards, authorities, zRegistered cooperative societies, public trusts and some private bodies [Sec 2(6)]

11  Section 2 (6):  " public authority " means any authority or body established or constituted by any Central or State law and includes any other body owned and controlled by the State or which receives any aid directly or indirectly by the Government and shall include the bodies whose composition and administration are predominantly controlled by the Government or the functions of such body are of public nature or interest or on which office bearers are appointed by the Government.  Explanation - For the purposes of this clause the expression "aid" shall include Government aid in the form of Government land at concessional rates or any other monetary concessions like exemption from tax, etc., by Government as specified by Government, from time to time;

12 Which information can be demanded? zYou can demand information like... zCopy of a document, including a copy of a contract awarded zCompilation of information from various documents zStatus of a matter

13 Which information can be demanded? zFor example, zYou can ask for the status of your case pending with an office zYou can also demand to know the name and designation of the officer responsible for delay and what action is initiated against him/her

14 Which information can be demanded? zRemember that an officer holds a public office and functions under a law framed by your elected representatives zyou have a fundamental right to know what action the official has taken on your behalf

15 Which information can be demanded? zFor example, you can demand a copy of a building permission granted to any third party by the civic body zThis has been affirmed by the Hon Lokayukta, in his rulings given in the additional capacity as the second appellate authority under this Act

16 Which information can be demanded? zThe Supreme Court has upheld your right to demand information from the government and public bodies as your fundamental right z You can demand any information, subject, of course, to some exclusions

17 Then, which information cannot be demanded? zBroadly speaking,  that affecting the Nation’s sovereignty, integrity, security;  which has been forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal;  Information held in commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property;

18 Then, which information cannot be demanded?  confidential report of in the service record ;  information, disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes (protecting a whistle blower);  information that would impede the process of investigation;

19 Then, which information cannot be demanded?  information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Competent Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information;

20 Please note that... zThe last provision: ``information which relates to personal information…etc’’ is being misinterpreted by the bureaucracy in denying information zThe Hon Lokayukta has ruled that a permission/exemption etc granted by an official under a statute in force is not `personal information’. You can demand a copy of any such document

21 Please note that... zThe exclusion that ``service record’’ of a person cannot be disclosed, means that only confidential report (CR) cannot be disclosed. You can of course demand compilation of an officer’s transfers during a certain period, or information on inquiries/prosecutions against him/her under the law of the land

22 You may also be denied information zif it is voluminous… involves ``disproportionate diversion of the resources of a public authority ‘’ zDo not, therefore, ask for bulk information. Preferably confine to a specific issue and a limited period.

23 How to requisition information zApply on a plain paper in a prescribed format zFormat given in the Rules (Annexture A) zAffix adhesive court fee stamp of Rs 10 zPost the application or submit in person

24 Application format  To  The Public Information Officer,  (Name of the office with address)  (1) Full name of the applicant  (2) Address  (more on next slide)

25 Application format (cont)  (3) Particulars of information required, -  (i) Subject matter of information:  (ii) The period to which the information relates:  (iii) Description of the information required:  (more on next slide)

26 Application format (cont)  (iv) Whether information is required by post or in person:  (The actual postal charges shall be included in additional fees):  (v) In case by post (Ordinary, Registered or Speed):  (vi) Purpose for which the information is required:

27 Please remember that zThe purpose cannot be legally asked for. It is, after all, your fundamental right zSay that you are exercising your fundamental right in demanding the information

28 What if the PIO has not been designated? zThis is a common malady even after one year of enactment zAddress the application to ``The PIO’’ and give his office address zPut the application in a cover and address the cover to the head of the administrative unit

29 What if the PIO has not been designated? zThis will ensure that your cover is received by the head of the establishment and the application is forwarded to the PIO zIf the head of the establishment says that a PIO has not been designated in the office, he/she is guilty of having violated the Act

30 What if the PIO has not been designated? zSend a complaint to the zChairman, Divisional Monitoring Council of the Maharashtra Right to Information (MRTI) Act zin the office of the Divisional Commissioner

31 What if the PIO has not been designated? zYou may also send a copy to zthe Secretary, zState Monitoring Council on Maharashtra Right to Information Act zGeneral Administration Department zMantralaya zMumbai

32 What if the PIO has not been designated? zAlso inform any member of the divisional/state monitoring council zand/or za Right to Information activist you may be aware of

33 What next after the requisition has been submitted? zIn 15 working days from the receipt zThe Public Information Officer has to either furnish the information or write back denying you the information zThe PIO may in ``suitable cases’’ within these 15 working days, seek an extension of additional 15 working days and explain why is the extension being sought

34 What next after the requisition has been submitted? zBefore furnishing you the information the PIO has to tell you the cost of information strictly as per the prescribed rules zand the postal charges, if you have opted to receive the information by post

35 What next after the requisition has been submitted? zOnce you have remitted the amount by money order or deposited it in cash with the PIO, the latter will pass on the desired documents to you

36 What is the prescribed cost? zWhen the concerned department has already fixed the price of some documents, map, etc.: the price so fixed+Postage charges (unless collected personally). zWhen the information is readily available either by xeroxing, copying or by other way (copy): 0.50 Paisa per page + Postage charges (unless collected personally). zIf the information is not readily available and needs to be collected: Rs. 2 Per page + Postage charges (unless collected personally).

37 A terse dismissal is no longer on zWhile denying the information demanded zthe PIO has to quote the reason with the relevant section zand give the name and address of the appellate authority with whom you can file your first appeal

38 Snap decision to protect your life and liberty zWhenever and wherever the information applied for, involves the life and liberty of a person, such information has to be, subject to the exclusions, supplied within twenty-four hours of the receipt of the requisition

39 Which languages to use? zFormats are in Marathi and English zYou may prefer any zYou will, however, get the information `in the language and in the form in which it is maintained…’’

40 What is the guarantee that the PIO will respond? zValid question. zMany PIOs have not been responding or have been giving incomplete or misleading information

41 What is the guarantee that the PIO will respond? zThe Act provides that the PIO will be liable to pay a fine at a rate of Rs 250 for each day’s delay in furnishing the information zor pay a fine up to Rs 2,000 and also face disciplinary action if the information given is incomplete, misleading or false

42 What is the guarantee that the PIO will respond? zFor this, you have to file an appeal with the officer designated as the Appellate Authority within 30 days of receiving incomplete or misleading information or within 30 days from the period during which the PIO was supposed to have given you the information

43 The process of appealing zThe prescribed format for filing an appeal is available in the Rules zFile the appeal in the format on a plain paper zAffix an adhesive court fee stamp of Rs 20

44 The process of appealing zThe problem is, zyou may not know who is the appellate authority and the PIO may have failed to give you the details

45 The process of appealing zFind out from the head of the establishment, who has been designated as the appellate authority zComplain to the Divisional and State Monitoring Councils zAlert any Right to Information activist you may be aware of

46 The process of appealing zThe appellate authority (AA) has to dispose off the appeal within 30 days zIt is mandatory for the AA to impose penalty on a defaulting PIO zThe period can be extended by additional 30 days in exceptional cases, but the AA has to inform you the reason with the first spell of 30 days

47 The process of appealing zThe experience, however, has been that most AA’s have not been penalising defaulting PIOs & not even disposing off appeals within the prescribed period

48 The process of appealing zOn July 6, 2004, the state Chief Secretary issued a stern warning to the appellate authorities that action would be taken against them if they do not dispose off the appeals within the stipulated time and penalise defaulting PIOs

49 The process of appealing zIf you feel aggrieved by the decision of the appellate authority, or if the AA does not decide your appeal within the period prescribed for disposal you can file a second appeal within 30 days with the Hon Lokayukta

50 The process of appealing zThe Hon Lokayukta has been prompt in deciding second appeals zPlease note that the Lokayukta functions here under the MRTI Act and therefore has the powers to direct mandatory compliance of his orders

51 The process of appealing zThe Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra in the General Administration Department, in-charge of MRTI, on June 22, 2004 directed all AAs and PIOs to strictly abide by the Hon Lokayukta’s orders

52 Not a smooth ride zDespite all these provisions, frankly, it may not be a smooth ride when you demand information under this act zYou may face many hurdles

53 Why not a smooth ride? zOther laws empower the bureaucracy to watch your acts of commission and omission zThis one empowers you to watch the acts of commissions and omissions of the bureaucracy

54 Why not a smooth ride? zEnforcement of this legislation is vested in the same bureaucracy whose acts are being watched and zwhich has not used to respect transparency and accountability

55 Yet, it is not hopeless either zDespite this, as stated at the outset, many citizens have been able to overcome hurdles and reach their goal

56 Yet. it is not hopeless either zThanks to the tireless efforts of Shri Anna Hazare and the support he is getting from the civil society things appear to be changing for the better

57 Yet, it is not hopeless either zYeshwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) has been training and sensitising officers throughout the state

58 Yet, it is not hopeless either zThe mindset is gradually changing as a result of these efforts zThe bureaucracy is getting receptive

59 We must carry on zWhatever the case, we must insist on transparency and accountability in public administration zWe must know if the bureaucracy itself has been abiding by the rule of law

60 We must carry on zThis will ensure good governance and curb corruption zWe owe this to the next generation

61 We shall carry on zWishing you all the best z - Prakash Kardaley zhttp://in.groups.yahoo.com/ group/mahadhikar/


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