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Kamala Mills Fire: Activist’s efforts go in vain

As the issue of poor fire prevention systems was highlighted after the Kamala Mills incident in central Mumbai, activist Vihar Durve said that the corporation and the fire department did nothing to prevent such incidents despite several requests.Since 2005, Durve has written over 100 letters pointing out the inability of the BMC and the fire department in implementation of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006.He also filed over 200 RTI applications to the various departments of the BMC and fire asking about the status of its implementation. “Fire safety is compromised at all levels in the city as those who run big eateries easily bribe the corporation and get away with the violation of norms. Eleven years after the act for fire safety came into effect, there has been no action on those who do not follow the requisite norms putting the lives of ordinary people at stake” Durve told DNA.In a response to one of the RTIs filed by Durve, the Mumbai Fire Brigade stated that between 2012 and 2015, a total of 1,090 people were injured while 634 people lost their lives in fire-related incidents.The response also stated that the fire department had issued notices to a total of 1,502 owners/occupiers of premises that were not complying with the fire safety norms.Durve said that when asked about the details of compliance for each of the surveyed eateries between 2012 and 2015, the reply stated that the corporation did not have the consolidated details of the same.Another RTI put before the Indian Audits and Accounts department revealed that there was no audit of the fire and disaster management department between 2013 and 2015. “Even after writing to all the authorities and the Chief Minister consistently, there was no seriousness in implementing the 2006 guidelines” he said.

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Mumbai- Nagpur expressway to have 31 toll plazas, toll activists stage protests

While the state government’s ambitious Samruddhi Mahamarg, the Mumbai- Nagpur super communication highway is facing stern protest from farmers, this information about the highway under RTI may spark new controversy. According to the information, the 710 kilometre proposed highway will have as many as 31 toll plazas which toll activists are already opposing.The Samruddhi Mahamarg (prosperity highway) will run through ten districts and connect Mumbai and Nagpur. It is also considered as a dream project of the state government as once it is completed, the highway will connect backward regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha with growing regions of Mumbai and Thane. However, since the most part of the land which is to be acquired for the highway is agricultural land, the farmers community has been staging protests against the proposed highway and state government is trying its best to pacify the protest.Also readMumbai-Nagpur E-way: Trust deficit hits land acquisitionNow amidst the protests and government’s countering strategy, Pune based toll activist Sanjay Shirodkar had filed RTI with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) seeking details of projected toll plazas situated on the proposed Samruddhi Mahamarg. In the reply to his RTI, he has got the information that the proposed highway will have 31 toll plazas. Speaking to DNA, Shirodkar said, “While feasibility study and other such reports related to the proposed highway are yet to be completed, the state government has already finalised the locations of toll plaza on the highway which is still at the primary stage.”Also readNo runway on Mumbai-Nagpur E-wayAfter finding out that the highway will have 31 toll plazas, Shirodkar claimed that finalising 31 toll plazas on 710 kilometre highway is a clear violation of the state government’s toll policy. “In 2009, the state government came up with toll policy. According to the policy, the distance between two toll plazas on the same highway should not be less than 35 to 40 kilometre. However, if we calculate the number of toll plazas against the total length of the highway, the distance between two toll plazas on Samruddhi Mahamarg will be around 22 kilometres only. It clearly suggests that the state government is violating its own toll policy,” Shirodkar said. Shirodkar who has been fighting against the toll collection at various highways has filed some public interest litigation in the court, particularly in connection with toll collection of Mumbai- Pune expressway. Shirodkar stated that the present government in the state came to power by promising that they will be ending the toll culture in the state, however, now instead of shutting down toll plazas, they are opening new ones. “This information of RTI clearly shows that the government before coming to power had given false promises of shutting toll plazas. They are not bothered about the common people. They are more concerned about toll collection and therefore the first thing which they have done is to finalise 31 toll plazas on the proposed Samruddhi Mahamarg,” Shirodkar said.

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Make basic qualification must to become minister: Ex-CEC TS Krishnamurthy

Former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy has pitched for a minimum educational qualification to become a minister and also a higher age limit to get such berths.Krishnamurthy recommended that one should be at least 35 years’ old to become a minister (both in states and at the Centre), from the present 25.Asked if he thought there should be a basic educational qualification to become legislators, he said it is a very debatable point, adding that there are some “intelligent uneducated politicians and foolish educated politicians.””I don’t think education by itself makes a person competent. But ministers, yes, if they have some basic education, it’s good because they have got to look at files and take decisions,” Krishnamurthy told PTI.Also readElection Commission must address queries related to working of EVMs: Omar Abdullah”For legislators, I am not one of those who strongly believes that there must be an educational qualification,” he said.Krishnamurthy said an age limit (to become a minister) may be probably better.”Make it 35 if you want. There may be some more maturity (by that age) but educational qualification by itself does not assure you an effective legislator, character is more important than education,” he said.”I would say make it 35 (to be a minister). I would say no person can be a minister unless he is 35 or 40. Some maturity will be there (then),” he said.Speaking in general terms, Krishnamurthy said some ministers and legislators make “loose comments”.So, at least as ministers they must be more responsible.Also readRBI, Election Commission have no information on bonds for political parties funding: RTI reply They cannot be indulging in loose talk, he said stressing the need to set an educational qualification minimum of graduation or equivalent — for becoming ministers and higher age limit to get those posts.”Make it 35 or 40. (Also) against whom criminal cases are pending, they should not be appointed as ministers,” he said There can be a system of recall of legislators also which, he said, would serve as a deterrent. This provision should kick in after legislators complete two-and-a-half years of their five-year-tenure.”If they have not performed in those two-and-a-half years and if they have indulged in any criminal activity, then I would say you must have a provision of recall which again may serve as a deterrence and improve the performance of legislators and ministers,” Krishnamurthy said.Asked if he is in favour of barring candidates from contesting on two seats, the former CEC said that in 2004, he had in a letter to the prime minister clearly said it is not desirable (candidates should not be allowed to contest from two segments).

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Staff crunch ups pollution woes

Delhiites may be suffering from pollution but what’s surprising to note is that there are only 19 pollution inspectors doubling up as RTI, vigilance and Motor Vehicle (MV) inspectors to check the over 971 Pollution Under Control (PUC) test centres across the city which cater to over one crore registered vehicles. Officials say the Delhi government has not made any new recruitments for these posts in almost a decade.Despite the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government, strongly coming out against the recent pollution problems in the Capital, calling the city a “gas chamber” they also have not done much to fill these posts so far.Pollution inspectors are the need of the hour especially in Delhi where vehicular pollution counts for 20 per cent of the city’s toxic air. But so far in Delhi government’s transport department, out of the 38 sanctioned posts of Pollution Level Test Inspectors (PLTIs), only 19 have been filled. The number of filled posts has remained the same for years while the levels of pollution have risen alarmingly in the city.”These inspectors tasked with monitoring PUC fitness centres that are certified to check emission content of vehicles have been doubling up as officers in the RTI cell, vigilance and other administrative wings due to the overall staff crunch in the department. This has affected the monitoring of quality levels badly,” said a senior officer.Meanwhile, sources reveal that the transport department overall has 1,465 sanctioned posts of which only 494 are filled. This means that 940 posts are vacant. Besides, pollution inspectors, officials said, public services such as the issuance of driving licenses (DL) among others are getting affected as there are only 12 MV inspectors against the sanctioned 44 posts. MV inspectors get the driving tests done.However, only last month after the National Green Tribunal has asked the department to upload PUC reports annually on the website, the government has moved a file for fresh recruitments to the Lieutenant Governor.”The department has sent a proposal to fill these posts besides some others last year to the government. It has now been sent to the LG,” he said.The cadre of PLTIs was created in 1987. Till some years ago the number of sanctioned posts for them was 50, however, it was reduced later when a new post of pollution control officer (PCO) was created for these officers to be promoted to the next level.Besides, the officer said there is a scope for creation of posts for the new wings that have come up in the recent years such as IT, Road Safety and Victim Impact Report cells. The existing staff only doubles up for these wings as well affecting the overall working of the department.An audit report of the PUC centres and monitoring levels done by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) submitted in the Supreme Court earlier this year found that most of the pollution checking centres did not have upgraded technology or trained staff to get the correct readings.Besides, it also found that the rejection rate for vehicles is less, as PUC norms in the region are weak.

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Since assuming power, Centre spent Rs 3,755 crore on ads: RTI

The Narendra Modi government has spent nearly Rs 3,755 crore in its three and a half years in power only on publicity, an RTI revealed on Friday.According to news agency IANS, the expenditure from April 2014 to October 2017 through electronic, print media and outdoor publicity is Rs. 37,54,06,23,616, according to the RTI reply by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.According to the information, the central government spent over Rs. 1,656 crore on electronic media advertisements, including — community radio, digital cinema, Doordarshan, Internet, SMS and TV.For print media, the government spent more than Rs. 1,698 crore.On outdoor advertisements, which include hoardings, posters, booklets and calendars, the central government has spent over Rs. 399 crore, the RTI reveals.In the RTI, the the Ministry gave a breakup of the expenditure according to which Rs. 448 crore was spent from June 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, and Rs. 542 crore and Rs. 120 crore spent from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 and April 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016 respectively.The expenditure was only for television, Internet and other electronic media and did not include expenditure on outdoor and print advertisements.In 2015, another RTI had revealed that the Centre had spent nearly Rs. 8.5 crore on newspaper advertisements for the Prime Minister’s monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat” till July 2015.

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Delhi High Court sets aside CIC order holding ministers answerable under RTI

The Delhi High Court has struck down an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which declared ministers as “public authorities” under the transparency law.Justice Vibhu Bhakru set aside the order passed on March 12 last year, which had declared that “ministers in the Union Government and all State Governments as public authorities” fall under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.”There was no occasion for the CIC to enter upon the question as to whether a Minister is a public authority under Section 2(h) of the Act. Further, directions issued by the CIC are also wholly outside the scope of the matter before CIC. In view of the above, the order dated March 12, 2016 cannot be sustained and is, accordingly, set aside,” the court said.The court order comes after the Centre had appealed against the CIC order.The CIC directive that ministers were answerable as per the RTI Act would mean that people can directly send questions to a minister by filing an RTI application, which will be answered by a public information officer in his office.The case emanates from the application filed by a man on November 20, 2014 before the Additional Private Secretary, Minister of Law and Justice, seeking to know the time period of when a minister or minister of state, meet the general public.As the information sought was not received, he filed an appeal early in January 2015, to which the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) sent a response on January 16, 2015, informing him that “no specific time has been given for the meeting of general public with the minister. However, as and when requests are received, appointments are given subject to the convenience of the Minister.”Thereafter, the RTI applicant filed a second appeal with principal grievance that he had not received the information sought for within the specified time and therefore, requested that certain action be taken against the concerned CPIO.Presented with this appeal, the CIC went on to frame the questions whether the minister or his office was a “public authority” under the RTI Act, whether a citizen has right to information sought and whether the minister has corresponding obligation to give it.The CIC issued directions to the government to provide necessary support to each minister including designating some officers or appointing some as Public Information Officers (PIO) and First Appellate Authorities. It had also directed that ministers be given an official website for suo motu disclosure of information with periodical updating as prescribed under Section 4 of the RTI Act.While hearing the appeal filed by the Centre, Justice Bhakru observed, “This court finds it difficult to understand as to how the questions as framed by the CIC arise in the appeal.”QUESTION OF RTIThe CIC questioned whether a minister or his office is a “public authority” under the RTI Act. They also asked if a citizen has right to the information sought and whether the minister has corresponding obligation to answer it.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Baseline test papers fall short in state schools

Despite spending over Rs 2.87 crore on question papers for baseline test and more than Rs 6.06 crore in compiled evaluation for two years, there were not enough question papers for distribution in schools across the state, a response to an RTI query submitted by Arvind Naik, vice president of Maharashtra Rajya Shikshak Sena, has revealed.Baseline tests are conducted on first language and Maths in schools for class I to VIII students to check whether the concepts taught in previous year are clear to the students.The RTI query also sought details on how many students had appeared for this test. But the Maharashtra Academic Authority department Pune could not furnish the details sought by Naik.”The amount spent for compiled evaluation and baseline test question paper printing as well for the distribution runs in crores of rupees. But it is shocking to know that many schools had to make photo copies as they were not supplied enough question papers. The department has said they will seek reasons on why there was a shortage of question papers,” Naik said.The RTI reply also reveals that teachers who were appointed to set question papers for the baseline tests, were paid Rs 400 per day.In 2016 the baseline test question papers were leaked and found being sold at Xerox centre for Rs20 and Rs40 of first language and Maths paper. The maiden baseline test was successfully conducted across the state in 2015.This is the third year the baseline tests were held. Most teachers’ organizations have asked the education department to make question papers of baseline tests available online, instead of sending it manually, to stop paper leaks.MONEY SPENT2015-2016:Compiled evaluation cost: Rs 2.91 crore​Baseline test question papers cost: Rs 2.57 crore​2016-2017:Compiled evaluation cost: Rs 3.14 croreBaseline test question papers cost: Rs 29 lakh
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Yogi Adityanath

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Colaba locals demand pay-and-park

Harrowed by the persistent parking problems in their area, Colaba residents have demanded that a plot of land on which a market is to be built but hasn’t yet be made into a pay-and-park facility until the new structure is built. The plot of land is near the fish market building in Colaba market.”We would first want a market to come up there because that is our demand. However, when we tried to get some details about it under RTI when it was stuck for too long, we realised that there are floor space index (FSI) and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) issues,” said Ajay Multani, honorary treasurer, Strand Marg Association, and added, “Since the BMC is not able to take a decision and the lot is lying as it is for the past 30 years, we feel they should allow a pay-and-park. That will help us tackle our parking issues.”Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, A ward said, “It is not possible because the plot is reserved for a market. Many people have different demands.”
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Yogi Adityanath

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BMC denies info to RTI applicant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An RTI applicant was denied information about the occupation certificate and ground floor plan of a ward office by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) stating that it will be a threat to security.While denying such information, it cited an order from former chief information commissioner which was itself corrected after much hue and cry as it blocked giving away details of buildings under RTI.Girish Mittal, Borivli resident, had filed an RTI application with the R/Central (Borivli) ward office, seeking details of reason along with file notings on why only one entry gate was open to the public for entry, reason for not allowing public to park in the ward’s premises, the DC rules on the two subject, the occupation certificate and the ground floor lay out.While replying to the information, the public information officer cited an order of former chief information commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad’s order which stated that due to security reasons the building plan not be provided. Often alleged to be the most corrupt department, Gaikwad’s order attracted sharp criticism and a clarification as activists said that terrorists did not need to file an RTI application to access building details.Gaikwad then issued a clarification which categorically stated that parking, cross section of building, occupancy certificate, and other relevant details be provided under RTI except internal details of the building.”It is a classic case of officers being well aware of all the negative orders that block transparency and little that promote it. There was a clarification on this order,” said Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner.”There is no question that such information cannot be provided. What they cannot provide is internal detailing. That is what was decided in the technical advisory committee of the BMC which decides what to give under RTI,” said Bhaskar Prabhu.

Aadhaar is not a secret number, data is safe and secure, there has been no data leak: UIDAI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said today that Aadhaar data is completely safe and secure. Aadhaar number, it said, is not a secret number and it is to be shared with authorised agencies if one wishes to avail a certain service or benefit of government welfare schemes or other services.”Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI,” the authority said in response to a report based on RTI that 210 government website made Aadhaar information public .”There was no breach or leakage of Aadhaar data from UIDAI database or server…,” it said in a statement.The UIDAI had said in the RTI reply that it “found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public”.UIDAI said the data which was placed in the public domain as a measure of proactive disclosure under the RTI Act by the government and institutional websites included beneficiaries name, address, bank account and other details including Aadhaar number. It was collected from the third party and users for various welfare schemes.The authority said it acted promptly on the report, and both the UIDAI and Ministry of Electronics and IT directed the government departments and the ministries concerned to immediately remove the data from their websites and ensure that such violation does not occur in the future.”Certain other measures were also taken at various levels to ensure that such incidents of display of Aadhaar numbers do not take place. Following UIDAI’s action such data were removed from these websites immediately,” the statement said.It added that Aadhaar numbers which were made public on the said websites do not pose any real threat to the people as biometric information is never shared and is fully secure with highest level of software security codes encryption at UIDAI. “…mere display of demographic information cannot be misused without biometrics,” the statement said. UIDAI said that any Aadhaar linked transaction is processed after a successful authentication of fingerprint or iris of individual. “Further all authentications happen in presence of personnel of respective service provider which further add to the security of the system,”

UIDAI admits Aadhaar details were leaked on 210 govt sites

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has accepted that around 210 central and state government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some of Aadhaar beneficiaries. The statutory authority, in response to an RTI query, also said that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.The authority however did not specify when the breach took place but also claimed the details of Aadhaar have never been made public by it at any point of time and it is maintaining highest level of data security and integrity.In the RTI reply, the authority said, “However, it was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public.”The authority also said that it has a well-designed, multi-layer robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity.”Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually thereby appropriately controlling and monitoring any movement of people, material and data in and out of UIDAI premises, particularly the data centres,” UIDAI said in the reply.The authority said that it carries out security audits on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data.

Govt does not keep a tab on cab bills’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An RTI applicant was surprised to know that no records are maintained of expenses by government staff when it comes to use of taxis and cabs. The General Administration Department (GAD) of the state government in reply to an RTI applicant said that such information is not collated and kept with the government.Sanjay Shirodkar, RTI applicant, had sought details of list of books available, stored, preserved in GAD library, list of newspapers and periodicals provided to officers, and amount spent on taxi/cab journeys of officers and those paid for private vehicles by GAD.The public information officer (PIO) of the GAD of state government stated that they do not keep such details.Shirodkar said, “In most of the cases they have said that they do not have such records or copy of such bills. The chief minister often heads this department and how can such a department not even have an office copy? As far as public record Act is concerned, they should be having such details. They should have kept details because they are giving from tax payer’s money. They should keep a record of it.”

224 nursing homes, illegal clinics being run in Gurgaon: RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A total of 224 nursing homes and illegal clinics are being run under the district’s community health centre (CHC) in the millennium city, an RTI query has revealed.The civil surgeon office of the Haryana health department in the Right to Information (RTI) query said the illegal clinics and nursing homes actively running in Gurgaon are 23 in Patudi, one in Bhangrola, 18 in Bhodakala, 15 in Sohna, 54 in Farukhnagar, 48 in Harsaru, 26 in Gangola and 39 in Badshahpur.”A complaint was also made against them before the chief minister window but no action has been taken so far. We cannot take action against them as there is no Haryana Nursing Homes Registration Act,” B K Rajoura, civil surgeon Gurgaon Health Department, said.One Mahender Kumar, a resident of Bahalpa village in Sohna, had filed the RTI on October 10 in the civil surgeon office seeking information in connection with the fake doctors, illegal nursing homes and clinics running in Gurgaon.In its reply on October 23, the civil surgeon office said there are 224 illegal clinics and nursing homes under the district’s CHC in the city.There are over 141 bogus doctors in these nursing homes and illegal clinics. They are not qualified and have medical degree or certificates. They are not MBBS but only compounders, the RTI said.

Ahmedabad-Mumbai line: Railways makes U-turn on RTI reply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The route on which India’s first Bullet train is supposed to run came under question after an RTI reply from the Railways seemed to have suggested that over 40 per cent of seats on the existing trains running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad always remained unoccupied. However, the Western Railway (WR) has now clarified that this sector has been seeing over 100 per cent occupancy, and that the RTI reply was misconstrued.Western Railway’s Chief PRO Ravinder Bhakar in a press release said that between July and September this year, the total earning on this sector was Rs 233 crore. “There are 9 direct trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad having halts at en route stations, except the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Duronto Express.The total available berths of these 9 trains during this period works out to 8,03,150 against which actual passengers booked were 8,30,978. Thus, the total occupancy was 103 per cent,” said Bhakar.In the RTI reply provided to activist Anil Galgali, WR’s Chief Commercial Manager Manijit Singh had stated that 40 per cent seats were going vacant on this sector, resulting in losses of almost Rs 30 crore between July and September.However, the WR has stated that in addition to direct trains, there are 25 long-distance trains going beyond Ahmedabad and serving the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector. On these trains too, the berth potential for this period was 10,70,719 and actual passengers booked were 12,30,585, which works out to occupancy of 115 per cent.Bhakar clarified that the reply given in the RTI query is against the specific question of number of passengers from only Mumbai Central to Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad to Mumbai Central stations.”The RTI does not include information about en route traffic, i.e, passengers from originating station to en route stations, intermediate stations to intermediate stations and intermediate stations to destination station between Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad thereby showing lesser occupancy,” added Bhakar.Meanwhile, Galgali said it was surprising that when he had asked for information about occupancy on trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, it implied that information should have also been provided about all stations en route. “They have made a joke out of an RTI application. My data has come from the commercial department that knows about the statistics that are now being produced,” said Galgali.OCCUPANCY CLAIMBetween July-Sept ’17, total earning on this sector was Rs 233 crore
On the nine direct trains on the route, total occupancy was 103%

Army corrects JCO status after 6 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a goof-up in 2011 when the Army referred to Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) as non-gazetted officers in a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it has corrected the mistake and clarified its earlier stand that downgraded them. Six years later, it took another RTI application for the Army to clear the air and state that JCOs are gazette officers putting an end to the confusion over their status which impacted the morale of the ranks.JCOs play a pivotal role as a bridge between the officers and the ranks, especially in field operations.A gazetted officer has the authority to certify documents and can be given financial powers if required.Since the RTI reply in 2011, JCOs were being equated with assistant section officers of the Armed Forces Headquarters Service, a cadre that comprises civilians for administrative duties in the forces.In an order passed on October 30, 2017, the Adjutant General’s Branch set the record straight stating that two RTI replies regarding status of JCO’s are ‘contradictory’. It cancelled the July 2011 RTI reply that had called JCOs non-gazetted.JCOs comprise personnel with ranks of Subedar Major, Subedar and Naib Subedar.The February 2017 RTI says that JCOs of Armed Forces are gazetted officers and are commissioned by President of India in accordance with the Army Act, 1950.According to the Army Act, Junior Commissioned Officer means a person commissioned, gazette or getting the same pay in the Indian Army.Sources said the anomaly was affecting the morale of the JCOs and other ranks. “It was necessary to rectify the mistake and give them the status of gazetted officers that they are entitled to,” said an army source.The RTI reply dated February 27, 2017 also clarifies that there is no provision to establish one to one equivalence with civil posts. “The JCO being a gazetted officer will always remain senior to Assistant Section Officer.”The forces have been taking measures to boost the morale of the forces.As part of enhancing the status of junior ranks of the Indian Army nearly 1.45 lakh personnel will finally get promotions after a long wait of 33 years.A cadre review of the ranks, the first since 1984 was approved recently after Ministry of finance that had earlier rejected proposals of the Ministry of Defence gave the nod.With the upgrade in lower ranks 64,930 Naiks, 58,493 Havaldars, 13,466 Naik Subedar, 7769 Subedar and 479 Subedar Majors will benefit.Increasing need for counter terror operations was among the reasons cited as the need to boost morale of the force by upgrading ranks.The approval came soon after Nirmala Sitharaman took charge as the Defence Minster.

Over 100% occupancy on Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor: WR clarifies RTI reply on Rs 30 crore losses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after an RTI reply stated how the Mumbai-Ahmedabad train route had incurred losses of nearly Rs 30 crore with 40% of seats remaining empty, the Western Railway authorities on Wednesday clarified that there is over 100% passenger occupancy on Mumbai–Ahmedabad sector.Ravinder Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway in a press release said that during these 3 months, the total earnings on this sector was Rs 233 crore. “There are 9 direct trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and back. Except for the Ahmedabad Duronto Express, the other trains have several stops.“The total available berths of these 9 trains from July 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 works out to 8,03,150 against which actual passengers booked were 8,30,978. Thus the total occupancy was 103%,” said Bhakar.He clarified that the reply given in the RTI query is against the specific question of number of passengers from only Mumbai Central to Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad to Mumbai Central stations. The information does not include information about enroute traffic.The Mumbai – Ahmedabad sector is one of the busiest routes of Indian Railways caterered by 9 direct trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and around 25 trains going to onward destinations via Ahmedabad. This sector also serves important enroute stations and industrial towns such as Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi, Valsad etc.

Murder of RTI activist in Gujarat: SC cancels bail of BJP’s Dinubhai Solanki

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today cancelled the bail of former Gujarat BJP MP Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, an accused in the 2010 murder case of RTI activist Amit Jethwa, till the examination of eight key eye witnesses and ordered day-to-day trial.A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also allowed the re-examination of 26 witnesses and directed Solanki to surrender to the police forthwith.”The bail of the accused shall remain cancelled till the examination of eight key witnesses in the case. The trial shall be held on day-to-day basis and the accused (Solanki) will not enter Gujarat unless required in the case,” the bench said.The HC had ordered retrial in the matter, which was challenged by Solanki in the apex court.On April 6, the Supreme Court had expressed regret for not having heard a plea for rescinding bail of the former Gujarat MP in the case and had expressed concern over witnesses turning hostile in the matter.While perusing the CBI report, the court had said that the witnesses in the case have complained about having received threats.Solanki is the prime accused in the murder case of Jethwa who was shot dead in broad daylight outside the Gujarat High Court premises in July 2010.The CBI had chargesheeted Solanki, who represented Junagarh constituency in Lok Sabha at that time, in the case along with six others including his nephew Shiva Solanki and sharp-shooter Sailesh Pandya.Jethwa had filed numerous RTI applications and a PIL in the high court against illegal mining in and around Gir forest sanctuary.The case was transferred to the CBI in 2012 by the Gujarat High Court after his father alleged no action by the state police.

Garage outside school: PIOs face penalty for not giving info

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two public information officers (PIO) have been slapped with a notice asking why they should not be penalised for not providing information on action taken on a motor garage that functioned outside a school premises and created problems for its students. The school, and an ex-student had complained about the illegal encroachment of the passage to the school but there was little action.Nava Samaj Mandal, which runs a school, and several other educational activities from its campus on Dixit Cross Road No. 1, Vile Parle (east) had filed a complaint of a motor garage that encroached the passage to the school.Along with it, it had also given signatures of the student. The complaint was filed with the municipal commissioner’s office after the garage owner did not stop parking vehicles and repairing despite assuring about the same.“They had filed a complaint and not enough action was taken. With spare parts, and oil on the road, access had become slippery and students had to navigate their way. When I went to the school, they informed me that road becomes slippery and dirty because of the spilled oil. I decided to file another complaint and follow up the action through an RTI application to know the action taken,” said Chetan Kothari, a former student of the school.Chetan in his application had sought details of action taken report, copy of notice issued and action taken on motor garage owner, details where the complaints were sent to take action, and officer who conducted the enquiry.

IT details of Dera Sacha Sauda-linked bodies ‘private’, reveals RTI query

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The details of income tax exemption claimed by social and religious organisations controlled by the Dera Sacha Sauda, which were in public domain four years ago, have now been classified as “private”, an RTI query has revealed.Replying to an RTI query filed by social worker Ramesh Verma, the Income Tax department’s Deputy Commissioner Office in Chandigarh said on September 29 that the information sought fell under the “third party” category, as mentioned in section 11 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. The information sought under sections 11 and 8(1)(j) of the Act fell under the private category and had no relation to public interest, the office said.The Income Tax Office in Sirsa, however, had provided the tax details of the institutions linked with the Dera on July 11, 2013.According to that information, the tax-free income of Dera Sacha Sauda, Begu Road, Shah Satnamji Marg, Sirsa, was Rs 29.18 crore during financial year 2010-11.Shah Satnam Ji Research & Development Foundation’s tax- free income was Rs 16.52 crore. Parampita Shah Satnamiji Education and Welfare Society’s tax-free income was Rs 1.80 crore and Shah Satnamji Green and Welfare Force Society’s tax-free income was Rs 3 crore. All these organisations are based in Sirsa.Asked about the Income Tax department’s classification of the organisations linked to the Dera as “private”, former chief information commissioner A N Tiwari said the tax exemption had been given by the government. “This is a loss to the consolidated fund of India. People have the right to know about it,” Tiwari said. When asked if there had been any amendment to the RTI Act between 2013 and 2017 with regard to providing such information, Tiwari said there have been no changes.

Activist rakes up 2016 RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Western Railway (WR) in February 2016 had responded to an RTI saying the bridges on Churchgate-Virar route are safe. After the stampede massacre at Elphinstone Road, the RTI activist, Sharad Yadav, who had filed the RTI, has decided to move court and rake up the issue.”I had asked the WR authorities about the condition of bridges between Churchgate and Virar in February 2016. They had then said that all bridges on this section are safe and that the old bridges are replaced in a programmed way before they become unsafe,” said Yadav.The RTI has said once they notice the defect, it is rectified immediately or within a time frame. The reply further states that repairing and reconstruction is planned each year after inspection of the bridge.

State body issues notice to blood bank over wastage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a complaint filed on September 11 by RTI activist Chetan Kothari with the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) about the negligence and wastage on the part of Ambedkar Hospital’s blood bank, MMC issued a notice to Dr Navnath Jadhav, the BMC doctor who is in charge of the blood bank.According to the complaint, blood wastage accounts to medical negligence on the part of the blood bank in Kandivali. The RTI reply reveals that there was wastage of 2,446 units of blood bags, that is, 856.1 litre of blood from 2009 to 2016.Speaking about why the complaint was filed, Kothari said, “There has been discrepancy in blood storage records with the blood banks and Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS). The records are manipulated. There is also an unavailability of pathological services at the hospital giving rise to the cut practice.”As per the RTI reply received, in eight years from 2009 to 2016, according to MDACS records, total blood collection in this blood bank was 19,613 units of which 2,446 units have been expired. And during the same period, as per blood bank’s record, hospital had collected 21,735 units of blood of which 1,300 units are expired. The MMC has issued a notice to Dr Jadhav, stating that a detailed remark along with proof must be submitted. Chetan Kothari said, “MMC should decide on the punishment to be given to the doctor for medical negligence in the blood bank. The punishment will prevent re-occurrence of the incident in future.”

HIV due to unsafe sex tops ICTC data list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of the 6,723 HIV patients in the city, only 18 cases were declared HIV positive because of transmission through blood and blood products and 17 cases due to infected syringe and needles. As per the Integrated Counseling and Testing C entre (ICTC) data given by the Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) department, in 2016-17, unprotected sex accounted for the highest number of HIV cases in Mumbai.The data on causes of HIV infection transmission in the Mumbai-based civic-run hospitals, between 2012-17, was collected by RTI activist Chetan Kothari. According to the response given by the MDASC department, various routes which cause HIV infected cases include – unprotected sex, blood and blood products, infected syringes and needles, parents to child, as per the ICTC data.The data also reveals that there has been decreasing number of HIV infected cases every year through various means of transmission. In 2012-13, while there were 53 cases due to transmission of blood, the number of cases fell to 18 in 2016-17.RTI activist Chetan Kothari said, “Since two years, the number of infected cases due to blood transmission are 18. We had previously filed RTI and asked why names of blood bank not asked to patients and whether any information is available. According to MDACS, they don’t have information related to which blood bank these blood are taken because it is not there in National Aids Control Organization’s protocol.”The data was provided by Dr Shrikala Acharya, Additional Director & Public Information Officer, MDACS. “Last year a complaint was made with National Human Rights Commission asking for a committee under IAS or Additional Municipal Commissioner for implementation of NAT testing and filling of staff. They forwarded the complaint to the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission. It is still under process,” Kothari added.

No records of any previous ‘surgical strike’: DGMO in RTI reply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Directorate General of Military Operations of the Army does not have records of any “surgical strike” conducted before September 29, 2016.Responding to an RTI application filed by PTI, the DGMO at the Integrated Headquarters of the Defence Ministry (Army) said a “surgical strike” was carried out on September 29, 2016. “This section does not maintain records of any other surgical strikes, if any conducted earlier,” the reply said. It said a statement on this was issued by the DGMO at a press conference. The RTI application with the Defence Ministry also sought the definition of the term “surgical strikes” in the records of Indian Army.The DGMO replied, “As per the information available in ‘open source’ the definition of ‘surgical strike’ is ‘…an operation which is planned based on specific intelligence, on a legitimate military target for maximum effect and with minimum or no collateral damage. It involves deliberate insertion to target area, precise execution and swift extrication of the body of troops back to the base’.” The application asked the Defence Ministry if the “surgical strike” mentioned in a DGMO statement of September 29, 2016, was the first ever in the history of the Indian Army.It also wanted to know if the Army had carried out a “surgical strike” between 2004 and 2014. The Ministry transferred the application to the Integrated Headquarters (Army) which sought information from the DGMO.The DGMO provided the responses which were forwarded to the petitioner by the IHQ (Army). The Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) was severely hit in the cross-LoC surgical strikes on terror launch pads carried out by the Indian Army with assessment reports of radio intercepts indicating that around 20 of its militants were killed.In a well calibrated operation, on the intervening night of September 28-29, the Indian Army moved across the LoC and smashed four launch pads that were under the guard of a Pakistani post located 700 metres from the LoC.”Based on receiving specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along the Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists,” the DGMO had said in a statement after the strike.

Furnish report on workplace harassment case: HC tells IB

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what can be deemed victory of a lone man’s fight against the system, the Delhi High Court (HC) has instructed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to provide information sought by Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi, after the latter put up a long legal fight to obtain his records.The HC quashed IB’s writ petition for not making available Chaturvedi’s “confidential” report and had sought exemption from providing the report under Right to Information Act, as sought by Chaturvedi. It also upheld Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order and said that the report pertained to issues of corruption and human rights violation as faced by Chaturvedi and should be supplied to him.The HC states, “There appears to be truth in contention of Chaturvedi regarding alleged harassment meted out to him by the Haryana government. His request for change of cadre from Haryana to Uttarakhand merits consideration.”HC further noted that IB cannot stonewall RTI requests indiscriminately and has to make information pertaining to corruption and human rights violation available. In 2014, after Chaturvedi started exposing alleged corruption cases in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, in the capacity of Central Vigilance Officer, the central government has asked the IB to submit a report on Chaturvedi.In December 2015, Chaturvedi filed an RTI with Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking documents on his deputation and transfer including the IB report. MoEF declined to provide the report, citing that IB was exempt from the ambit of RTI.Chaturvedi challenged the refusal in the CIC in 2016, which passed an order in his favour. IB later took the case to the HC in 2016. Judgement was pronounced on August 23, 2017, in favour of Chaturvedi.Chaturvedi has exposed corruption cases of illicit poaching and felling of trees, construction of a government-run herbal park on private land, a scam of a fake plantation in Jhajjar running into up to Rs 15 crores among others.THE CRUSADERAn IFS officer of 2002 batch, Chaturvedi exposed a bevy of alleged corruption cases in Haryana. He has also filed 200 cases of corruption in AIIMS.
He faced twelve transfers in five years, poor appraisal reports, two charge-sheets for dismissal from services and four interventions from the President as he faced harassment.

Disclose lease documents of land to Moolchand Hospital: CIC to

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Information Commission has directed the union urban development ministry to disclose lease agreement documents of the land for the Moolchand Hospital within a week. Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said the information as sought by the appellant Harvinder Singh, a resident of Lajpat Nagar here, is undeniably one which every citizen has a right to know. Through his RTI application, Singh had demanded from the Ministry the lease agreement of the land for Moolchand Hospital, the copy of documents submitted by Moolchand Kharaiti Ram Charitable Trust for the allotment of the land and the policy under which the land was allocated to it. The Ministry official responding to his RTI query asked him to furnish documentary proof to establish his stake in the Moolchand Khairati Ram Trust within 10 days. Under the RTI Act, a Central Public Information Officer cannot ask an information seeker the reasons behind raising the query. “After hearing parties and perusal of record, the Commission finds that no legitimate exemption in terms of RTI Act have been cited by the Respondent (the ministry) to deny disclosure of information,” Azad said. He said the ministry has taken the “unusual route” of questioning the purpose of the query and the locus standi of Singh in seeking the information. “It is clear from the averment of the Respondent (the Ministry) that the custodian of information is the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India which awarded the land under lease agreement to the Moolchand hospital,” Azad said. He directed to disclose all the material sought by Singh.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RTI is my new amulet: Faith-healer-cum-RTI activist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five days a week, 45-year-old Ghulam Mohiudin Sheikh is quietly at work as a carpenter. On the weekends, he dons a new hat — and seeks to change people’s lives. Sheikh, a preacher-cum-faith healer over the weekends, has now found a novel way to solve people’s problems. Apart from the amulet that Peer Sahab, as he is generally known, gives the believer, he files a Right to Information (RTI) application wherever needed. People come to me with all sorts of issues health, education, employment and other personal matters and I give them a taveez (amulet). But apart from these problems, they have administrative grievances such as not getting rations, acquiring a BPL ration card and so on,” he said. It is for problems such as these that he files an RTI, addressing people’s issues on developmental work, benefits under central or state schemes or allowances under welfare funds. “A taveez cannot possibly prove helpful there, Sheikh told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Despite increase in ridership, Metro-1 incurring loss

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BEST buses are not the only loss-making public transport system in the city, data obtained by DNA under Right To Information (RTI) Act, reveal that despite a steady increase in ridership, Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro-1 corridor is facing a huge revenue deficit and is running in losses with the operator spending more than double the amount compared to the income.Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL)’s expenditure to operate Metro-1 stood at about Rs 1,500 crore between June 2014 and June 2017. However, the latter could merely earn about Rs 640 crore in the form of ticketing and non-ticketing revenue in that period.In a RTI reply dated August 10, 2017, MMOPL revealed its gross income via ticketing revenue between June 2014 and June 2017 stands at Rs 5,79,71,45,418 crore followed by Rs 66,42,30,629 crore through non-ticketing revenue between the same period.The reply further revealed that the gross expenditure for the operation of Metro-1 in that period stood at Rs 15,72,70,47,735 crore, which means it is spending more than double the amount compared to its income through ticketing and otherwise.Non-ticketing revenue of Metro-1 is via real estate at the station as in renting of space to a third party for commercial operations or allowing a third party to conduct film or advertisement shooting inside Metro stations.One of the reasons anticipated behind the loss could be its daily ridership, according to the detailed project report (DPR) available on Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) website, it was anticipated that Metro-1 would carry 4.28 lakh commuters per day by 2011 followed by 6.65 lakh by 2021 and 8.83 lakh by 2031.But Metro-1’s record ridership announced last month stood at 3.8 lakh commuters on July 17, 2017 followed by 3.71 lakh on June 28, 2017, and on September 21, 2016, it had carried 3.68 lakh commuters.The Metro-1 corridor is the eight densest Metro corridor in the world with 12 Metro stations. It is the first Metro corridor constructed on public private partnership (PPP) model in India in which MMOPL has 69 per cent stakes followed by 26 per cent stakes of MMRDA and 5 per cent of Veolia.FARE FIXATIONSince the inception of Metro-1, MMOPL and MMRDA are tangled in court case over increase of fares to avoid losses for the mass transit system.
Fare fixation committee set up by the state government had also recommended a fare of Rs 10-110, up from the current Rs 10-40.

Andhra government sets up information commission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over three years after the bifurcation of the state, the Andhra Pradesh government today constituted the information commission as mandated under the RTI Act. The Andhra Pradesh Information Commission has been set up under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The quasi- judicial body deals with the complaints and second appeals filed against public information officers and appellate authorities respectively. With the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana directing AP to appoint information commissioners within six weeks, the government, as a precursor, constituted the commission, official sources said today. “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 15 of Right to Information Act, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, hereby, constitutes the Andhra Pradesh Information Commission to exercise the powers conferred on and to perform the functions assigned to it under the Act,” said General Administration Department Special Chief Secretary Lingaraj Panigrahi in an order. The commission would function from a rented premises at Mangalagiri in the Amaravati capital region, the order said. Though the state bifurcation took place on June 2, 2014, the AP Information Commission of the erstwhile united state was not divided. The term of office of the information commissioners appointed under the RTI Act also ended last year. The HC, in a ruling on a writ petition last week, directed the state government to complete the appointment process within six weeks.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SRA project: Cong MLA files plaint saying builder bribed RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MLA Yashomati Thakur today filed a complaint with a police station in south Mumbai demanding a probe into a builder allegedly bribing an RTI activist for “suppressing irregularities” the latter has found in his slum redevelopment project in a city suburb. “I have filed a complaint with the Cuffe Parade police station. RTI activist Sandeep Yeole had met me and told me that he had received Rs one crore from a city-based builder for allegedly suppressing some irregularities Yeole had found in the slum redevelopment project in suburban Ghatkopar. “Yeole also told me that he had gone to several investigation agencies but none of them took his complaint seriously,” Thakur told reporters outside the state Assembly here. The monsoon session of the state legislature is currently underway. The MLA, who represents Teosa constituency in Amravati district, said she decided to take up the matter as she found the activist genuine. “I also handed over Rs four lakh in cash, which was given to me by Yeole as a proof (of the bribe), to the Cuffe Parade police. They are counting it and preparing a report. I am hopeful the police will soon file an FIR after completing their primary information gathering,” she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Aadhaar hasn’t helped in weeding out ‘fake’ ration cards,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of social activists today questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement, made in February, that Aadhaar linking has helped weed out around 4 crore fake ration cards and claimed that there was no data to back it. Addressing a press conference, activists and academics including Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, Reetika Khera, Dipa Sinha and Amrita Johri also accused the government of sharing “misleading data” to paint a rosy picture of the benefits of Aadhaar. Bhardwaj of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information said an RTI application seeking details on the prime minister’s statement, made in Lok Sabha on February 7 this year, elicited no concrete response. She said she had filed the RTI with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking state-wise break-up of the bogus ration cards referred to by the PM and the names and addresses of all those whose cards were cancelled. The PMO transferred the RTI application to Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), which in turn directed Bhardwaj to refer to its website, which had a document having consolidated state-wise data of the period 2006-2016. “According to that document, 6.26 crore bogus/ineligible ration cards have been deleted by the states between 2006 and 2016. Now firstly, ineligible does not necessarily mean fake and secondly the data do not pertain to the period PM referred to and thirdly it do not match with the figures shared by him,” she said. On the query seeking names and addresses of those whose cards were cancelled, till now 10 states and union territories have replied stating that there are no bogus ration cards or that they do not maintain any such record, Bhardwaj claimed. Modi had said that the extensive use of Aadhar has helped in apprehending 3.94 crore fake ration cards in two and a half years, preventing siphoning of Rs 14,000 crore to the middlemen. During the press conference, the activists also claimed that people were facing problems arising out of the introduction of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication in schemes such as Mid-Day Meal or the Public Distribution System, even in the national capital.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Get info commissions to pass order on section 4: Shailesh Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner (CIC) on Sunday, speaking at a seminar, asked RTI propagators to seek information that is important, of public interest and get information commissions to pass order that such information should be part of section 4 (suo motu disclosure).Gandhi said, “I have filed a complaint for details of welfare funds to be put online by the government. An order was given by the commission but the details are still not up. I am now trying to follow that up with RTI applications. It may take time for them to upload but it’s important that information that could be of interest to citizens be given suo motu by public authorities. Such information citizens will be able to decide better as compared to details like salaries that are also to be given under suo motu disclosure. If authorities haven’t put up such information, then you should take up the issue and get the commission to pass orders for its implementation.”Gandhi also asked those gathered to use Act 21 of the state government that talks about disciplinary action on government servants. The Act is called Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005. “While under RTI, disciplinary action can only be recommended, in this Act, if a file is not cleared in 45 days, disciplinary action can be taken. Most officers fear taking one thinking that it will have long term repercussions on the career of a person but it is a very stringent Act,” said Gandhi.The seminar was organised by NGO Tarun Mitra Mandal to celebrate its 10 years of propagating RTI.

DNA EXCLUSIVE: 577 cops suspended, 71 sacked in Delhi in 11 yrs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 577 personnel from Delhi Police control rooms (PCRs) have been suspended and 71 others dismissed on various charges between 2006 and May this year, an RTI application filed by DNA has revealed. On an average, this comes to one cop suspended every week in the last 11 years. Also, 20 PCR personnel are facing a vigilance inquiry at present, the information provided by the Delhi Police says.Former Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar admitted that the numbers were high and could be attributed to indiscipline, misbehaviour, extortion, and callousness in investigation or even criminal involvement. He, however, said that the action also showed that departments such as the PCR had zero tolerance towards any misconduct by their personnel.”PCR is one important unit which is sensitive, and action against its officers in high numbers shall also be seen in a positive way,” Kumar said.As many as 51 personnel were suspended, 14 dismissed and inquiries initiated against 19 from the special branch, the Delhi Police’s anti-terror squad, in the past ten years, the data shows.The Delhi police’s unit that handles the safety and security of India’s President, his family members and other VVIPs, who visit Rashtrapati Bhavan, however, refused to disclose the number of personnel dismissed, suspended or facing inquiry due to safety reasons.The RTI data also shows that 175 PCR personnel have opted for voluntary retirement in the past decade.The information says that every six days, an inquiry was ordered against one police officer from the southeast district between 2008 and now. One officer was suspended every ten days.In the southeast district, since its formation on October 1, 2008, 315 police personnel have been placed under suspension, 27 cops dismissed from service and 499 departmental inquiries initiated.In the west district, 214 personnel were suspended, 29 dismissed and departmental inquiries ordered against 47 between 2007 and now.‘IN LINE OF FIRE’577 PCR cops suspended, 71 dismissed in 11 years
20 PCR cops facing vigilance inquiry at present
51 special branch personnel suspended, 14 dismissed and inquiries initiated against 19 in the past 10 years
Reasons could range from misbehaviour, extortion, poor probe and criminal involvement

Buldhana district collectorate admits of EVM malfunctioning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Buldhana district collectorate has admitted that one of the electronic voting machines (EVM) that was used in the local body polls held in February this year was malfunctioning. An independent candidate Asha Arun Zore, who contested the zilla parishad elections, had raised objection in this regard after it was found that the votes were getting registered in favour of BJP despite pressing the button indicating her symbol. After technical investigation of the machine, the district collectorate officials in their report sent to the state government admitted that voters were pressing a button but the vote was getting registered in favour of BJP. “When a voter pressed a symbol of coconut, allotted to Zore, the LED lamp of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s symbol Lotus used to flash. This was reported to the District Collector by the Returning Officer (RO) in his inquiry report and furnished under an RTI query,” Anil Galgali, an RTI activist said. Galgali had filed an RTI query on June 16, when he came to know about Zore’s complaint on the “EVM fraud” during the February 16 elections, and demanded details of the probe report submitted by the returning officer. “The Buldhana collectorate’s election department in a written reply stated that at polling station No 56 in Sultanpur of Lonar town, when the voter pressed the independent candidate No 1’s coconut symbol, the LED lamp flashed against the BJP candidate No 4’s Lotus symbol, signifying that the vote had gone to the latter,” Galgali said. However, after several parties demanded a re-poll, the voting took place on February 21 for the same seat. “This case proves an EVM being vulnerable to tampering. It was brought to notice by a voter, confirmed by many other voters, the returning officer and other officials also reconfirmed it and sent a report to the Collector,” Galgali said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RTI reveals Chennai’s largest estuary Ennore Creek missing in the latest CRZ map

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two widely conflicting maps of the Chennai’s largest estuary Ennore Creek, both of which were presented as Government of India-approved Coastal Regulatory Zone maps in two separate RTIs, have exposed serious irregularities and possible fraud in the functioning of the State Department of Environment.A 1996 CRZ map obtained by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network under RTI in 2009 from the Department of Environment shows 6,469 acres of Ennore Creek to be a tidal water body protected as ‘No Development Zone’ under CRZ 1. However, the entire Ennore Creek has disappeared in the latest map received in response to a RTI petition in 2017 after controversy erupted over diversion of Ennore wetlands.”Since both maps have been obtained under RTI, the Department of Environment has falsified information in one of the two cases. That is a punishable offence under the RTI Act,” said Jesu Rathinam, Convenor of the Coastal Action Network.”Two separate complaints have been filed with the Tamil Nadu Information Commission seeking a probe into the matter. The organisations have also approached the State Disaster Management Authority and the Chief Secretary to intervene to avert a disaster,” said environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman.The map obtained by CAN covers a stretch of 16 km, and is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Plan that identifies Thiruvallur District as covering a coastal stretch of 16 km. The latest map given in response to the 2017 RTI, however, covers only 13 km and makes it seem as if there is no Creek in the map area.Releasing the documents at a press conference, Coastal Action Network, Coastal Resource Centre, Save Ennore Creek Campaign and Ennore fisherfolk demanded an independent probe into the functioning of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the State Environment and Forest Department that heads the authority. The destruction of the Ennore Creek poses a serious threat to life and property of the people living in the North Chennai as the Creek helps drain the flood waters to the sea.The MOEF, GOI, in a letter in 1997, allowed the Tamil Nadu government to re-draw the backwater limits contained in the 1996 approved map based on the survey by the Chief Hydrographer to the Union government. However, the Ministry denied the state’s demand to remove salt pans in Ennore from the purview of CRZ and insisted that salt pans influenced by the tidal action would invoke the protection of the CRZ notification. The letter does not mention any request made or approval granted to alter the boundaries of the CRZ map. “We believe the 1996 map – declaring the entire Creek as CRZ 1 — is the correct one as it is consistent with law and reality,” said K. Saravanan of Coastal Resource Centre.

AAP told to reply in Assembly via email, pen drive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reduce the use of paper, the Delhi Assembly has directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in the Capital to respond to lawmakers’ questions via email or in a pen drive.In a recent directive to the head of all departments of the state government, the Delhi secretariat stated they should use PDF format to file their replies to questions asked by MLAs during the Question Hour in the Assembly.An official said the system will come into effect when the four-day Monsoon session of the Assembly begins on August 8. “All principal secretaries, secretaries, and heads of departments should send their replies by e-mail and in a pen drive. Reply to each question should be given in a separate PDF file, along with requisite enclosures, if any,” the directive stated.The official said the move is aimed at making the Delhi Assembly transactions paperless. The lawmakers, however, would continue to get hard copies of the replies in the House. “After receiving the soft copies, the Secretariat will upload them on the Assembly’s website so that people won’t need to file the Right To Information (RTI) applications for the same,” the official said, requesting anonymity.On July 10, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the AAP government would put all the relevant information online to ensure transparency in its functioning. He had said the government also plans to upload all RTI replies online to ensure there was no repetition of applications.Meanwhile, the Monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly is set to begin on August 8 and will continue for four days. The government might table its pending Bills, which were passed by the Delhi Assembly but were sent back by the Centre, which had stated that the AAP dispensation had not taken the consent of the Lieutenant Governor (LG).Last week, Kejriwal had directed the law department to submit a “way forward” roadmap on legislative bills that are awaiting Centre’s clearance.

Health issues go for a toss, netas busy renaming hosps

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On matters of health, Mumbai’s municipal councillors appear to have found more pressing concerns than the city’s poor fight against tuberculosis, and over bearing seasonal illnesses such as dengue and swine flu. In the last five years, during health committee meetings, maximum motions raised were to rename the government-run hospitals and health centers, an RTI query found.As per the Right To Information (RTI) reply received by Praja Foundation, 67 renaming motions were raised by the municipal councillors during public health committee meetings between 2012 and 2017.In 2016-17, Shiv Sena’s Pramod Sawant raised the question of changing the name of the Marol Maroshi Road (ward no.74) municipal maternity home to Mata Ramabai Ambedkar Maternity Home.In another, older instance, a question was raised on naming the Kandivli-based Shatabdi Hospital as Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital.Meanwhile, a dismal 45 questions were raised on tuberculosis (TB) in the last five years.”Of these, only four questions were raised during the meetings on TB in last three years from 2013 to 2017,” Milind Mhaske, Project Director of Praja Foundation, said.The most recent question on TB was raised on March 31 by municipal councillor of ward 168, Saeeda Arif Khan. The NCP corporator raised a question about providing milk and ground nuts to TB patients seeking treatment in municipal hospitals.”Not a single question was raised by the corporators on diarrhoea in the last four years, from 2013 to 2017,” Mhaske said.The RTI details received on Wednesday, have come as a shocker, health activists said.The city has seen a 37 per cent rise in the incidence of TB between 2012-17. According to the 2016-17 government data, over 50,000 TB cases have been registered at government institutes.TB NEWS IN NUMBERSAn estimated 32,862 people died due to TB in the last five years (April 2012-March 2017) Ward-wise worst affected TB hotspots in 2016-17L ward (Kurla) 1254 casesH/E ward (Santacruz) 659 casesR/S ward (Kandivli) 493 cases

Google Maps help kids get admission in school via RTE

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Google Maps came to the aid of four children who were being denied admission to the KG section in Balmohan Vidhya Mandir at Dadar on the grounds that their residences were not within 3-km radius of the school, as required by the Right to Education (RTE) Act.In an affidavit filed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) through counsel Anil Sakhare said that the school had wrongly taken into account the distance to deny admission, but as per aerial measurement through Google Maps, the distance between the residences and school is within 3 km. Thus the school has been asked to admit the students.Parents of the four students had approached the court after the school denied admission to their children who had already secured admission by filling the form online, and received the admit card.Last week, the court had asked the school and parents to approach the civic body and try resolve the issue amicably.Sakhare had earlier told the court that it had issued notices to the schools, asking for a reply why their recognition should not be cancelled and why action should not be taken.Under RTE, the corporation had a functioning redressal mechanism and if there is a dispute with regards to the documents of the parents, the school can approach the corporation to resolve the same, but cannot on its own deny admission to the students.The school in Dadar had opposed the petition claiming that parents had failed to submit proper income and other documents to facilitate grant of admission. It was also said that the children granted admission under RTE drop out mid-way.RTI MECHANISMUnder RTE, the corporation had a functioning redressal mechanism and if there is a dispute with regards to the documents of the parents, the school can approach the corporation to resolve the same, but cannot on its own deny admission to the students.

CIC asks HUDCO to disclose details of gifts given by its CMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CIC today directed the state- run HUDCO to disclose information about expensive gifts including iPhones, ipads and Mont Blanc pens allegedly given by its CMD to different people, suspecting an attempt was being made to “cover up” the issue. Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu also marked a copy of the order to Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh and Secretary Nandita Chatterjee for necessary action. The order was issued on an RTI application seeking information from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation about presents given for the financial years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, names of people who received the gifts, and number of expensive items gifted including iPhones and premium pens such as Mont Blanc by its Chairman-cum-Managing Director M Ravi Kanth. Vishwas Bhamburkar, the applicant, had also sought to know the number of air-conditioners installed at Kanth’s residence from official expenses, his electricity bills, complaints pending against Kanth, among other things. Central Public Information Officer of HUDCO asked the applicant to forward his identity proof only “to ascertain” whether information available will be useful to him either “personally or socially or nationally”. During the hearing, representative of the applicant, Mukul Jain alleged that around Rs five crore worth “malpractice” had happened at Hudco in the form of giving and receiving expensive gifts involving senior people in the Urban Development Ministry. Jain contended the CPIO had no authority to demand the identity proof and to ascertain whether information will be useful to him either personally, socially or nationally. In the past also, the Commission had directed HUDCO to allow the same applicant to inspect the records but the direction were not complied with, Jain alleged. Despite notices from the Commission, no representative was sent by the HUDCO to attend the CIC hearings. “The public authority has a duty to inform details about gifts purchased; if given to any officer, to whom and why; what is the legal basis or justification for giving gifts, did they maintain any register of gifts purchased and delivered, if not the receipt of gifts, and about expenditure on the house and office of MD etc,” Acharyulu said. In a strongly worded show cause notice to officials handling RTI applications at the HUDCO, Acharyulu said they “breached their duty” in not answering how many Mont Blanc Pens, iPhones and ipads were purchased and gifted. He said it appeared that HUDCO was trying “to cover up the whole issue” by avoiding responding to RTI applications of the appellant. “The Commission directs the CPIO DK Gupta to explain why Commission should not recommend disciplinary action against him for acting in defiance of RTI Act, 2005 and gives him, as a last chance, time up to 20th July 2017 to file his explanation to show cause notice,” he said. He also directed Gupta to explain why maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for not complying with the order of the CIC. “The anti-RTI attitude of HUDCO officers in this case gives rise to suspicion that there was a serious scandal of purchasing gifts worth crores, and spending huge amount of public money on residence and office of the Managing Director, and hence the public authority, the office of MD and RTI section are trying to avoid responses by putting forward lame excuses just to consume time,” Acharyulu noted.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

86 % of funds by ‘Gau Sewa Commission’ allotted to Mulayam’s daughter-in-law’s NGO RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Uttar Pradesh animal husbandry department granted nearly 86 per cent to an NGO run by the former state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav?s sister-in-law Aparna Yadav, according to an RTI reply. The Uttar Pradesh Gau Seva Ayog allocated Rs 8.35 crore, nearly 86.4 per cent of its total budget of Rs 9.66 crore to Jeev Aashraya, an animal rescue organisation, between 2012 and 2017, when Akhilesh Yadav government was in power. Aparna is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the step-brother of Akhilesh Yadav. Her NGO runs a gaushala at Amausi in Lucknow district. Talking to ANI, RTI activist Nutan Thakur said the lease of land given to Aparna Yadav’s organisation, initially for 3 years, was later extended to 5 years during Samajwadi Party’s rule. ?This property was given to Jeev Aashraya on lease during SP government?s rule. The validity of lease was extended by 5 years. 86% of fund received for Gau Seva was given to Aparna Yadav?s organization. Aparna Yadav portrayed that she was running the organization with her own money but in fact it was the government?s money. Political parties misuse public money for their own benefits. Reply to RTI is yet awaited,? she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Aparna Yadav’s NGO given 86% of SP govt cow welfare grant: RTI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 86 per cent of the grant sanctioned by the SP government for organisations working for cow welfare in Uttar Pradesh went to an NGO run by the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s sister-in-law Aparna Yadav, an RTI reply has revealed. To a query by activist Nutan Thakur, the UP Gau Sewa Aayog replied that from 2012 to 2017, it sanctioned Rs 9.66 crore, of which Rs 8.35 crore (86.4 per cent) went to Jeev Ashraya, the NGO run by Aparna Yadav. Aparna is the wife of Prateek Yadav, the step-brother of Akhilesh Yadav. Her NGO runs a gaushala at Amausi in Lucknow district. The Aayog comes under the state Animal Husbandry department and gives funds to guashalas (cowsheds) and organisations working for the welfare of cows. In the reply, the Aayog’s Public Information Officer Sanjay Yadav said that during financial years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, Jeev Ashraya was given Rs 49.89 lakh, Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 1.41 crore, respectively. In the financial year 2015-16, Jeev Ashray got Rs 2.58 crore, while Sripad Baba Goshala in Vrindavan got Rs 41 lakh, the RTI reply stated. “In 2016-17, of the total grant of Rs 3.45 crore, Jeev Ashraya got Rs 2.55 crore, while among other four NGOs, Sripad Goshala got Rs 63 lakh,” it stated. However, during 2017-18, till now, Rs 1.05 crore has been given to various gaushalas. But Jeev Ashraya was not one of the recipients. Dayodaya Goshala in Lalitpur got the highest amount, Rs 63 lakh, it said. Nutan Thakur is the wife of IPS officer Amitabh Thakur who had running feud with the Samajwadi Party’s first family. Aparna Yadav was not immediately available for comments.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sukma attack: After embarrassing RTI response, CRPF claims response ‘misinterpreted’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing flak for not acknowledging that the killing of its men in the Sukma naxal attack was a “human rights violation”, the CRPF tried to assuage the matter on Friday and said its response had been “misinterpreted”. It also said that the development painted the force in “bad light”.The matter pertains to an RTI application filed by human rights activist Venkatesh Nayak seeking inquiry report in the April 24 Sukma attack wherein 25 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in naxal attack. “I would like to obtain the following information…as prima facie, it pertains to allegations of violation of the right to life of CRPF personnel who were killed in the attack that occurred on April 24, 2017 in Sukma, Chhattisgarh,” the application stated.”I believe this is a fit case for disclosure of information under the second proviso of section 24 of the RTI Act. Kindly obtain the approval of the Central Information Commission (CIC) prior to disclosing the information…,” it said.
ALSO READ Sukma attack: CRPF denies any human rights violationThe force is exempted from making disclosures under the RTI Act, but the second proviso of Section 24(1) of the Act allows disclosure of information sought if it pertains to allegations of human right violations and corruption. In order to disclose the information pertaining to the human rights violation, the force needs to refer the matter to the Central Information Commission.In response to the application, the CRPF, in addition to citing section 24(1) (which exempts it from the RTI Act) and security issues in the report had said there appeared to be no violations of human rights in the instant matter. “In the instant matter, there appears to be no violations of human rights as well as the facts of the case do not attract allegations of corruption. Moreover, your application does not make any reference to such allegations. Hence, this department is not liable to provide any information in this regard to you under RTI Act, 2005,” it said.
ALSO READ DNA Special: Here’s KPS Gill’s last article on Sukma attack and India’s fight against NaxalsFinding itself in an embarrassing position after the ‘insensitive’ response, the CRPF issued a statement saying, “This RTI reply has been misinterpreted and the news item is contrary to facts and paints the force in a bad light.” “This department has replied that security forces including CRPF are exempted to provide information, except those queries related to allegations of corruption/violation of human rights under Section 24(1) of RTI Act-2005,” it said.The force added it had categorically intimated the RTI applicant (Nayak) that the enquiry report contained various security and tactics related issues which cannot be shared under the RTI Act on the grounds that it might adversely affect the organisation’s strategic response. The clarification by CRPF, however, was silent on its response which had stated, “in the instant matter, there appears to be no violations of Human Rights…”

Sukma attack: Embarrassed CRPF now says its ‘human rights’ statement was misinterpreted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing flak for stating there was no human rights violation in the Sukma Naxal attack in which 25 CRPF personnel were killed, the force today tried to do some damage control claiming its version was ‘misinterpreted’.It also said that the development painted the force in “bad light”.The matter pertains to an RTI application filed by human rights activist Venkatesh Nayak seeking an inquiry report in the April 24 Sukma attack.”I would like to obtain the following information… as prima facie, it pertains to allegations of violation of the right to life of CRPF personnel who were killed in the attack that occurred on April 24, 2017 in Sukma, Chhattisgarh,” the application stated.”I believe this is a fit case for disclosure of information under the second proviso of section 24 of the RTI Act. Kindly obtain the approval of the Central Information Commission (CIC) prior to disclosing the information…,” it said.
ALSO READ Sukma massacre: CRPF rejects claim that killing of jawans by Naxals is human rights violationThe force is exempted from making disclosures under the RTI Act, but the second proviso of Section 24(1) of the Act allows disclosure of information sought if it pertains to allegations of human right violations and corruption.In order to disclose the information pertaining to the human rights violation, the force needs to refer the matter to the Central Information Commission.In response to the application, the CRPF, in addition to citing section 24(1) (which exempts it from the RTI Act) and security issues in the report had said there appeared to be no violation of human rights in the instant matter.”In the instant matter, there appears to be no violations of human rights as well as the facts of the case do not attract allegations of corruption. Moreover, your application does not make any reference to such allegations. Hence, this department is not liable to provide any information in this regard to you under RTI Act, 2005,” it said.Finding itself in an embarrassing position after the response, the CRPF issued a statement saying, “This RTI reply has been misinterpreted and the news item is contrary to facts and paints the force in a bad light.””This department has replied that security forces including CRPF are exempted to provide information, except those queries related to allegations of corruption/violation of human rights under Section 24(1) of RTI Act-2005,” it said.The force added it had categorically intimated Nayak that the inquiry report contained various security and tactics related issues which cannot be shared under the RTI Act on the grounds that it might adversely affect the organisation’s strategic response.There was, however, no mention of the human rights violation issue in the CRPF statement.

Naxal killings not human right violation of jawans: CRPF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the CRPF, the killing of 25 personnel by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district does not qualify as the “human right violation” of the slain jawans, judging by the paramilitary force’s reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query. The CRPF gave this response while refusing to share its inquiry report into the incident with an RTI applicant. Human rights activist Venkatesh Nayak had sought the report, saying the massacre violated the human rights of those killed in April this year. The force is exempted from making disclosures under the RTI Act unless the information sought pertains to allegations of human right violations and corruption. Citing the exemption clause, the CRPF in its response said, “In the instant matter, there appears to be no violations of Human Rights as well as facts of the case do not attract allegations of corruption. Moreover, your application does not make any reference to such allegations. Hence this department is not liable to provide any information in this regard to your under RTI Act-2005.” The CRPF also said the report also could not be shared because it contained operational details. Nayak said the murderous attack by the ultras amounted to a violation of their human rights by “non-State actors” and by denying this “reality”, the CRPF may be doing injustice to its own personnel. “Every time such an attack occurs, self-appointed conscience-keepers of the ‘nation’ and advocates of a belligerent brand of ‘nationalism’ … accuse human right advocates of not raising their voice against the violation of the rights of security personnel,” Nayak said. He added that the government’s attitude towards such incidents had to be questioned. “Why does the government and in this case, the CRPF, fight shy of treating these attacks as ‘human right violations’ of their personnel? Surely, there must be a reason for it,” he said. Nayak said if such attacks causing the deaths of security personnel were not treated as violations committed by non- State actors, why should right activists be portrayed as “villains”, even though they always condemn such incidents. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the premier central police force for internal security. The CRPF played a pivotal role in curbing militancy in Punjab during the 1980s and insurgency in Tripura during 1990s. Today, more than one third of the force is deployed in left-wing extremist affected areas to control extremism.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RK Nagar bypoll: EC orders FIR over ‘bribing of voters’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission has asked the Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer to lodge a police case over the alleged bribery of voters in R K Nagar assembly segment, the poll panel has said in reply to a query under transparency law.The bypoll slated for April 12 was cancelled subsequently following allegations of large-scale distribution of money to voters, entailing raids by the tax authorities. The ECI said it had directed the CEO, Tamil Nadu on April 18 to ask the RK Nagar returning officer to file a complaint with police for bribing the voters.In its response to a plea under Right to Information Act by a Chennai-based lawyer, M P Vairakkannan, a copy of which was circulated to media here, ECI Secretary Malay Mallick in his letter to the CEO refers to the Income Tax report on raids in Tamil Nadu, vis-a-vis the bypoll. The letter said the Commission had received a report on April 9 from IT department on search and seizure of documents indicating large-scale distribution of money to bribe voters.
ALSO READ RK Nagar bypolls: Sasikala camp calls poll cancellation ‘undemocratic’; Stalin demands probe against CM PalaniswamiThe alleged bribe/ inducement was to influence the bypoll in RK Nagar which is an offence under IPC, the letter noted. “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the Commission has directed that an FIR may be filed by the RO in the instant case,” the letter said. The letter, signed by Mallick, further said, “It is expected that quick and appropriate action is taken by the police and the Commission is apprised about the same at the earliest.”The RTI plea of April 26 was received by the Commission on May 3 and the first of its eight questions sought to know about the action over the alleged distribution of money. The query asked as to what action the poll panel would be taking against the electoral misconduct of distribution of money to voters in RK Nagar constituency against various persons.
ALSO READ RK Nagar by-polls bribery: EC directs FIR against TTV Dinakaran, CM PalanisamyThe people against whom the proposed action by the poll panel had been enquired about included AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran, Chief Minister Edapadi K Palanisamy and ministers Sengotaiyan, Sellur K Raju, Thangamani and Vijayabaskar. In response to the RTI plea, the ECI said “the Commission has directed that an FIR may be filed by the returning officer in the instant case, vide the Commission’s letter dated April 18.”The second query in the RTI application asked, “Whether you (the ECI) have any proposal to disqualify the above persons for indulging in election misconduct?” The ECI has responded to this query saying “information not in material form.” Similar was the answer to a question asking if there was any proposal to refer the matter to the CBI for a probe.Meanwhile, Vairakkannan has approached the Madras High Court over this issue. In his writ plea, expected to come up tomorrow for hearing, he contended that though ECI directed the Tamil Nadu CEO to take appropriate action, the latter and the R K Nagar returning officer had not done so. On the RTI response, he alleged that the CEO and the returning officer “are shielding the offenders for political reason.”He further submitted that it was just and necessary to direct the TN CEO and R K Nagar RO to file an FIR with the police. He also sought a direction to the police to probe the matter and file a chargesheet for the commission of offence punishable under the IPC.

Nikhil Dey, 4 others convicted in 19-yr-old case, granted bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RTI activist Nikhil Dey and four others have been sentenced to four months in jail by a court in Ajmer after it found them guilty of “causing hurt” and “trespass” in a 19-year-old case. However, all of them were released on bail soon after. Dey, a representative of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS) along with other accused were convicted in a case registered under IPC sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 451 (trespass) in 1998. The other who were convicted by the court in Kishangarh town include former sarpanch of Harmada village Norti Bai and activists Ram Karan, Babulal and Chotu Lal Malakar. The case pertains to a dispute with the then sarpanch of Harmada, Pyare Lal Tak. Dey and four others had gone to the house of Tak to see some records on May 5, 1998, after they received several complaints from people that they were not getting money, they were entitled to, under the Indira Awas Yojna and other government schemes. They wanted to see the related documents after a change in the rules which allowed people to access panchayat records was made in 1997. On May 6, 1998, the activists reached Tak’s house but they were allegedly threatened by the sarpanch and his family members. Following which, Tak and the activists filed cross FIRs, in which Dey and others had alleged that Tak and his family had assaulted and abused them when they had gone to meet him to get some information on May 6, 1998. While the sarpanch’s family had complained that the activists allegedly assaulted them. Meanwhile, Dey said he will challenge his conviction in a higher court. “RTI activists are intimidated, harassed, threatened and beaten. Many have even been killed. Even if this case had resulted in an acquittal, it still means the loss of time, effort and money. However, we will be challenging the conviction order in a higher court,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rights body urges Centre to probe blood wastage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union health ministry to probe into the wastage of 28 lakh units of blood in the last five years, as revealed by an RTI (Right to Information) in April.The NHRC has given the health ministry eight weeks to take appropriate action in the matter. Mumbai-based RTI activist Chetan Kothari had filed an application to the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), and two months ago, he received the response. The loss of 28 lakh units of blood also cost a loss of six lakh litres of blood components such as red blood cells and plasma. This despite blood being essential to Thalassemia and blood cancer patients.After obtaining the data, Kothari approached the NHRC seeking action as blood and blood components are essential life-saving drugs.The RTI revealed that states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were among the worst offenders when it came to wastage of blood.Most of the wastage occurred due to lack of coordination among blood banks across India, said Kothari. “In many cases, blood was wasted because of delays to conduct tests due to staff shortage. Lack of exchange of blood between private and public blood banks also affected utilisation,” he said.Ironically, when Mumbai reported a spate of dengue cases last year, some patients paid as high as Rs 25,000 per unit of blood at tony private hospitals in the city.Meanwhile, health experts are worried that the “media trial” of blood wastage may dissuade people from donating blood. Vinay Shetty, Vice President, Think Foundation, said, “The overall percentage of blood wasted. What will happen if people stop donating blood? Patients would die. Stopping blood donation won’t solve the problem.”

1-rupee clinic: 15 RTI pleas raise concern

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the cost effective ‘one rupee clinic’ initiative gains pace in the city, over 15 Right To Information (RTI) applications raising questions about the concept and its business model have been filed within a month. One rupee clinics at five railway stations — Ghatkopar, Dadar, Kurla, Mulund and Wadala — started in the month of May, have seen a footfall of 6,900 visitors.According to Dr Rahul Ghule, who started the concept, there have been over 15 RTIs filed by citizens to the Food & Durg Administration (FDA) department within a month of its opening. Dr Rahul Ghule, said, “We are a private organisation due to which we did not receive any RTI directly but there are few filed with the FDA by citizens to know about the funding and business model. It is good to see that many people want to know about the ‘one rupee clinic’ initiative. We are an open platform so citizens can ask us their queries. We have taken Rs 50 lakh loan to open the clinics and there are no government funds involved. It is a sustainable model.”FDA Comissioner, Harshadeep Kamble, said, “Since it is collaboration, there is no need of a giving special license to them.”

Mamata expresses ‘shock’ over Centre’s RTI reply on Netaji

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed shock over the Centre?s unilateral decision on Subhas Chandra Bose. ?The Central Government recently gave information about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose through a reply under the RTI Act. I am shocked to see this unilateral decision of the Central Government without evidence. Netaji is a great son of the soil. Our state, the country and the whole world are proud of him,? Mamata said in her Facebook post. She further said that any matter involving a person of his stature does not deserve to be handled in such a casual manner. ?I have drawn the attention of Hon’ble Prime Minister to this matter and has sought the considered stand of Central Government in this regard. I thought of sharing this with all of you,? she added. In a reply to an RTI query on Subhash Chandra Bose, the Narendra Modi Government said that Netaji died in a plane crash. The RTI application was filed by one Sayak Sen in April wherein he asked if there was any information available with the government on Gumnamibaba or Bhagwanji who lived incognito in Uttar Pradesh till 1985 and was rumoured to be Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. To this, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) replied that some information about Gumnami Baba and Bhagwanji is available in the Mukherjee Commission report on page 114-122. The RTI application asked if the government has any information regarding the whereabouts of Netaji post August 18, 1945. Replying to the query, the MHA said that after considering the reports of various commissions, the government has arrived at the conclusion that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in a plane crash on August 18, 1945.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Other Acts should be invoked or cited with RTI in public interest matters: Ratnakar Gaikwad, on his last day as state info chief

Gaikwad’s stint saw some landmark orders like ministers’ offices coming under the RTI ambit, Reliance Metro being declared a public authority, FIRs and police manual being brought under RTI Act, among others <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his last day of office on Monday, state chief information commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad emphasized that information commissioners should now increasingly look to invoke or cite various Acts along with the RTI Act in their orders, whenever there is a public interest application.Speaking to DNA as he prepared to demit office on Monday after a five year tenure, Gaikwad said,”In all public interest matters, other Acts like Public Records Act, legislation on delay in file movements etc should be clubbed in the orders. That will help in development and achieve greater transparency,” said Gaikwad.Gaikwad’s stint saw some landmark orders like ministers’ offices coming under the RTI ambit, Reliance Metro being declared a public authority, FIRs and police manual being brought under RTI Act, among others. He also issued show cause notices to senior officials under IPC sections and defined powers of a chief information commissioner that were upheld by court. Application of RTI Act that sought reasons for government decisions if controversial transfers were made further ensured that several provisions of RTI Act were in use.

RTI query reveals nearly 3,000 raids on meat shops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There were 2,928 raids conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the last year on meat shops in the city. Of the total raids conducted, prosecution was initiated in 753 cases. The details were provided by the BMC on an RTI application of raids conducted between April 2016 to March 2017.As per the reply given to the RTI application made by RTI applicant Chetan Kothari, there are two categories of shops that are provided with licenses. These are inside markets and outside. As per information provided, the total number of such shops stood at 2,488.Of the total number of shops those selling mutton stood at 1,229, beef at 596, chicken at 551, pork at 29 and cold storage at 83. Wards L (Kurla), M (Chembur), N (Ghatkopar) S (Bhandup) and T ward (Mulund) did not have any shops that were selling pork.The information provided stated that the of the total raids in which prosecution was done, the court fined them Rs 11.90 lakh. The BMC also recovered Rs 6.43 lakh by auctioning poultry birds and fish that were seized during the raids.The quantity of poultry birds seized was 18,200 while that of the fish seized was 4,502 kgs. Number of goats / sheep seized stood at 1,844 while large animals stood at 12. The most quantum in seizure was in beef category which stood at 40,408 kgs. Seizures in chicken, mutton and pork stood at 1,399 kg, mutton at 430 kg and pork at 10 kg.”I had filed this RTI application because there was some action taken in some other states. Hence I wanted to check what is happening in city with respect to shops in city. I wanted to know if the take action and what they do. From what they told me, they said that there are very few staff and inspectors. I think it is satisfactory that they are taking some action,” said Chetan Kothari, RTI applicant.& analysisThe regular raids conducted show that officials have been acting on various illegalities. In fact, the applicant felt that the government should provide more staff so that issue of illegality does not arise at all.

By March, CIC aims to clear all pending cases filed till 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Information Commission is looking to clear by March next year all the pending cases filed till 2016, Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur today said. The Commission has 26,719 RTI Act related cases pending. Besides the Chief Information Commissioner, there are eight Information Commissioners — two short of the full capcity– who adjudicate on issue related to the RTI Act ranging from timely disposal of cases to complaints of incorrect interpretation of the law by processing officers. Addressing a seminar on the implementation of the RTI Act in the country, Mathur said the Commission has taken several steps to reduce the pendency of cases. “The Commission will dispose all the cases filed till 2016 by March next year,” he said. Speaking at the seminar, Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative highlighted conflicting decisions by various high courts on the matters related to the RTI Act which, he said, make the implementation of the Act difficult. Another noted RTI activist, Subhash Agrawal, pointed out that several non-governmental organisations oppose any step taken to stop the “misuse” of the Act. “Because, according to them, percentage of such misuse is totally insignificant. It is not known how they have made the study,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RTI round-table: Varied opinions, advice crop up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A round-table conference on ‘RTI Draft Rules 2017 for the Central Information Commission’ saw a variety of suggestions from present at the meet. Organised by and held at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Mumbai, the meeting aimed at analysing the impact of the rules of filing RTI applications, second appeals, and complaints. Besides these, discussions were also held on recognising noteworthy provisions and on what can be added to make these provisions more effective.Among those present on the panel were former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Ganghi, State Information Commissioner (Brihanmumbai Bench) Ajit Kumar Jain, former Chairman of Railway Board Vivek Sahai, RTI activists Bhaskar Prabhu and Anil Galgali, lawyer Sandeep Jalan, and journalist Priyanka Kakodkar.”There is a need for more comprehensive RTI rules,” said Jain, adding that while most draft provisions were necessary, the rules need to be more exhaustive. “I am of the opinion that rules should also state that affidavits should be notarised even when public information officers are giving their opinion. The decision of the commission orders should also be reviewed so that factual errors can be corrected,” said Jain, stating that abatement of an application in the case of death of the applicant, should be removed.”Even if that is to happen, the commission should ask the applicant or the authority to provide information on why they withdrew the appeal. If coercion is found to be the reason behind it, the withdrawal should be nullified,” said Gandhi.

Appoint more info commissioners to clear RTI cases: Activist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noted RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi has urged the Maharashtra government to immediately announce a successor to Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Ratnakar Gaikwad who is set to retire by the month-end. Gandhi, a former Central Information Commissioner, has written a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, urging him to appoint the next State CIC by this month-end and also name three more Information Commissioners (in addition to existing 7) to help dispose of pending RTI applications. Gaikwad’s five-year term as CIC will end on May 31. “There is a huge backlog in some of the benches of the State Information Commission. This is partly due to not appointing information commissioners in a timely manner since 2005,” Gandhi said in the letter sent to the CM’s Office on Thursday. Currently, about 40,000 cases are pending before the Maharashtra State Information Commission. “Most commissioners in the country dispose of around 3,000 cases a year. The Maharashtra Information Commissioners are reported to be disposing of about 5,000 cases per year,” the letter claimed. He said the situation is “grave” in Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Amravati divisions, which have more than 5,000 cases pending with each of them. Gandhi said the Right to Information Act permits appointment of up to 11 information commissioners in a state. Hence, steps should be taken to appoint three more commissioners in order to clear the huge backlog of cases in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pakistan violated ceasefire daily along LoC in 2015, 2016; 23 jawans killed in past 2 years: MHA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least one incident of ceasefire violation by Pakistan has been reported daily along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 and 2016, with 23 security personnel being killed in the two years, the Home Ministry has said in an RTI reply.It also said that 1,142 terror incidents were reported in J&K between 2012 and 2016 in which 236 security personnel and 90 civilians were killed.In the same period, 507 terrorists were killed in encounters, the ministry said.According to the reply, Pakistan violated the ceasefire across the Line of Control 449 times in 2016, as compared to 405 violations in 2015. Twenty-three security personnel were killed in the two-year period, it said.Major Gen (retd) G D Bakshi said Pakistan is running a “covert” war against India.
ALSO READ Soldiers mutilation: IAS officer, wife come forward to financially aid daughter of one of the martyrs”Though Pakistan talks about peace, it does not believe in it, and Jammu and Kashmir is an example,” he said.Compared to 220 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in 2012, there were 322 incidents in 2016 in which 82 security personnel and 15 civilians were killed, the RTI reply said.
ALSO READ Soldiers mutilation: If they behead one, we should behead 100, says Baba Ramdev It said in 2015, 39 security personnel and 17 civilians were killed in 208 terror incidents while 108 terrorists were killed in encounters. While 47 security personnel and 28 civilians were killed in the state, 110 terrorists were killed in encounters in 2014, the reply said.The RTI reply said in 2012, 15 security personnel and as many civilians were killed in 220 terror incidents, and 72 terrorists were killed in encounters.
ALSO READ Soldiers mutilated: Jaitley rubbishes Pak’s denial, says Pakistani Army involved In 2013, 53 security personnel and 15 civilians were killed in 170 terror incidents in J&K with security forces killing 67 terrorists in encounters.”There is a new trend these days. Whenever the army surrounds militants in an area, messages are sent on social media platforms and residents from nearby places gather there, slowing down operations,” Bakshi said.

Missing files stumbling block in implementing RTI Act: CIC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A comprehensive plan should be devised to handle the issue of missing files which has become a “stumbling block” in implementing the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission has told the Department of Personnel and Training. The Commission also made it clear that ‘missing-files’ is no defence and it cannot be used as an excuse to deny information. It has issued a show-cause notice to officials of the Labour Ministry for giving the excuse of missing files allegedly for covering up delay in furnishing information or avoiding uncomfortable queries. “What is the policy of Government of India or concerned states to deal with the cases of missing files? Under Section 4(1)(c) of the RTI Act it is mandatory to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu held. He was hearing a plea by Balendra Kumar who had filed an RTI application with the Ministry of Labour and Employment to which the Central Public Information Officer had said the “file was not traceable”. “The Commission recommends DoPT to come up with comprehensive plan, policy and action program to tackle the issue of missing files which become a stumbling block in implementation of RTI, devise means and resources for implementing Public Records Act, 1993,” he said. He said missing files could be a potential strategy to undermine the rule of law and criminal justice systems besides facilitating several white-collar criminals in the public authorities to escape. Only a file which might contain proof of irregularities or corruption would go missing, he pointed out. Acharyulu said that according to the Public Records Act, the records officer shall, in the event of any unauthorised removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge, forthwith take appropriate action for the recovery or restoration of such public records. “In hundreds of cases of second appeals, this Commission could not find that any public authority has a record to explain that any such appropriate action for recovery or restoration was taken,” he noted. He said the plea of missing file itself is the proof of denial of right to information of the appellant. “It is pathetic that the CPIO or his public authority, who attend the second appeals simply spell the mantra of ‘missing file’ and keep silent,” he said. Acharyulu said there are instances of missing files in public offices where they have to permanently maintain certain public records. “For instance a University has to preserve and make accessible for verification, the records pertaining to education, such as BA BSc or MA, MSc, etc. Registration department also lost a registered sale deed, or will deed or marriage records,” Acharyulu said. Acharyulu had ordered disclosure of Delhi University records pertaining for 1978, the year Narendra Modi (now the Prime Minister) had passed out. He said if Government of India or a particular state does not have any policy to tackle the problem of missing files in public offices, that becomes the policy of the government not to have anything to do with it. “That naturally affects the entire administration and public at large,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha CIC orders govt offices to maintain RTI e-register

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has directed the government authorities to create an e-register providing details of the applications filed under RTI Act, and also upload the information on the websites so that people can access it. Maharashtra CIC Ratnakar Gaikwad passed the order yesterday after hearing a complaint filed by the former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi. In his complaint, Gandhi had said that as of now all the RTI applications submitted by citizens are being entered in a physical register maintained by the public information officer (PIO/APIO) in every office. “As a result, while the PIO knows the number and status of the RTI applications in his/her office, there is no mechanism by which senior officers and Heads of Departments can track the status of such applications. Even an applicant is currently forced to keep contacting the concerned office to find out the status of the application,” Gandhi’s complaint said. Gaikwad, in his order, said, “The Commission orders that Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, should create an online RTI register in every office, which has a PIO, and put on a single platform all the RTI applications filed in every office at every level, and also upload this information on the websites of public authorities so that citizens can also access this vital information.” Calling it a landmark order, Gandhi said, “Not only the applicants would be benefited with the implementation of this order, but it will also make it easy for the Commission to give its annual report to the Legislature.” He also expressed hope that activists would try and persuade various state commissions and the Central Information Commission to issue similar orders.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sonu Nigam row: Tweet strikes chord, but wary police refuse to lower volume

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While a series of controversial tweets from singer Sonu Nigam on Monday, questioning the need for mosques to use loudspeakers for Azaan (a call to prayer), sparked a furore on social media, it brought into focus the dismal record of the police in dealing with complaints of violations of decibel level rules by unauthorised loudspeakers at religious places or political rallies.”God bless everyone. I’m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India,” Nigam tweeted on Monday morning.This was followed by another: “And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?””I don’t believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity to wake up people who don’t follow the religion. Why then..? Honest? True?” he added.Nigam ended with, “Gundagardi hai bus.”In October 2014, the Bombay High Court (HC) had ordered the Mumbai Police to act against illegal loudspeakers at religious structures. However, in response to Right to Information (RTI) applications by Kurla resident Sagar Deore, the police owned up its reluctance to take any effective action.Through an RTI application on December 30, 2016, Deore sought details of the action taken by the police on a complaint by residents in Kurla against unauthorised loudspeakers at mosques. The police replied that it was unable act as it could lead to law-and-order problems. The applicant also asked the police to provide a date by which illegal loudspeakers would be removed if not already removed.The answer was: “As it can create a law-and-order situation, no action has been taken.”Speaking to DNA, Deore claimed: “We have filed RTIs in several police stations. Most have replied in a similar manner; some did not even reply. Some of them have replied verbally that no action has been taken.””We will be filing a contempt petition in court on the reply,” said Sanjiv Punalekar, a HC lawyer.Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Awaaz Foundation, said: “The Supreme Court as well as the Bombay High Court, through several orders, have directed noise pollution rules to be strictly followed and emphasised that religion should not be the reason to break the provisions of noise pollution rules.”She added that in its final order in August 2016, the HC specifically directed that noise pollution in religious places should be controlled in accordance with silence zone norms, which do not permit the use of loudspeakers or public address system.Abdulali said that when court orders clearly state that loudspeakers are banned in silence zones, they need to be seized and action needs to be taken, regardless of whether the violation was in a mosque or a temple. “Noise pollution is a health issue, and adversely affects the health of people from all communities. It is known to cause sleep deprivation and adversely affect hearing, mental health, heart and blood pressure,” she said.Vashi, Sector 4 resident Ajay Marathe, who has been pursuing a case of noise level violation by a mosque opposite his building, located in a silence zone, said that noise pollution should be treated as noise pollution and not as a religious issue.”I am pursuing my complaints against the mosque as noise rules are being violated. I have also filed several complaints about the harmful effects of crackers being burst on Diwali, citing that apart from noise pollution it also causes air pollution,” said Marathe.

SHRC orders Rs 15 lakh compensation for RTI activist’s family

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a serious note of the murder of RTI activist Satish Shetty in 2010, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has directed the state government to give a compensation of Rs 15 lakh to his family within four weeks. The commission also ordered departmental inquiry against the concerned superintendent of police, sub-divisional police officer and others for not taking action on Shetty’s application seeking police protection. Shetty, who had exposed several land-related scams through Right To Information Act, was brutally murdered at Talegaon Dabhade in Pune district on January 13, 2010. In November 2009, Shetty had submitted an application to the superintendent of police, Pune rural, claiming there was a threat to his life after he unearthed a scam, and demanding protection. “This is yet another incident of apathy/negligence and possible partisan attitude on the part of the concerned police which has resulted in the loss of another RTI activist,” MSHRC Chairperson S R Bannumath and member M M Sayyed said. “…the death of Satish Shetty was because of serious lapses and negligence on part of the police officers,” the commission said in an order passed on March 27. “It is just and proper to award interim compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the legal heirs of the victim within four weeks,” the commission said, adjourning further hearing to the next month. Human Rights Association for Protection, an NGO, had approached the commission seeking a direction to the police to strictly follow a Government Resolution (GR) which says that if an RTI activist demands police protection, it should be given immediately. The commission directed the state Home Department to instruct all police officials to follow the GR strictly. “In spite of a government resolution issued in 2000, no action was taken on Shetty’s representation and on January 13, 2010 Shetty was brutally murdered,” the commission noted. “It is apparent that various police officials including those of the rank of SDPO and SP slept over the application of Shetty,” it remarked.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

1,707 abattoirs registered under FSSA; most in TN, MP, Maha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A query under the Right to Information has revealed that only 1,707 slaughterhouses in the country are registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA), 2006. There are no abattoirs registered under the 2006 Act in Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Further, these states/Union Territories do not have a single slaughterhouse which has a license issued by either the state or the Central authority. Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP government is clamping down on illegal slaughterhouses, is not in the top three states where the highest number of slaughterhouses registered under FSSA are located. These top three states are Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Chandrashekhar Gaud, an RTI activist, obtained this information under RTI from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). “These figures show that there are large number of illegal slaughterhouses in the country,” he said. FSSAI data showed that Tamil Nadu has the highest number of slaughterhouses registered under the Act (425), followed by Madhya Pradesh (262) and Maharashtra (249). In other words, 55 per cent of abattoirs registered under FSSA are located in these three states. Uttar Pradesh, in news recently over closure of illegal slaughterhouses, has only 58 which are registered under the Act. Meanwhile, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a press release here has said that there are an estimated 30,000 unlicensed slaughterhouses in the country. Leather industry has no system in place to ensure that the skins used as raw material are not sourced from illegal slaughterhouses, it said, and appealed for closure of all unlicensed slaughterhouses.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Email id for black money info receives over 38,000 mails

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The email address launched by the Finance Ministry for getting tips about black money received over 38,000 emails, but only 16 per cent of them were forwarded for further inquiry, CBDT said in a reply to an RTI query earlier this month. Jitendra Ghadge, a city-based Right To Information activist, had asked for information about response to the email address `[email protected]’, launched last December. The Central Board of Direct Taxes said in its reply dated April 7 that 38,068 emails were received, and 6,050 or about 16 per cent of them were forwarded to the respective Director Generals Of Income Tax (Investigation) for further inquiry. The remaining 32,018 emails were closed without any action, it said. To Ghadge’s query about number of “false” emails received, CBDT said this information was “subject to completion of investigation”. In December last year, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia announced launch of the email address [email protected] for whistle blowers. “Over 84 per cent tip-offs have been closed without any inquiry. This shows that either most emails were frivolous, or the authorities did not take them seriously, or may be shortage of staff forced them to do so,” Ghadge said. Ghadge had also filed another RTI query seeking number of demonetised notes deposited with RBI after January 1, 2017. However, the Central bank refused to furnish the information, citing exemption under the RTI Act.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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