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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

‘Stick to deadline in replying to queries’

Paul John TNN : Ahmedabad: Cracking the whip on state authorities, state chief information commissioner RN Das ordered that whenever an applicant sought information within 48 hours from any public authority under the Right to Information Act (RTI) which concerned his or her ‘life and liberty’, the authorities should consider the time limit as 48 hours from the time the application was accepted. Das ruled that by invoking the clause of ‘life and liberty’ of the tention was that loud noise from crackers can cause serious health problems in old people, patients with cardiac problems and even infants or children. In case of cardiac patients, loud blasts may even result in deaths. Invoking the ‘life and liberty’ clause of the RTI Act, the applicant had demanded details pertaining to issuance of licences to cracker sellers and whether the police kept a tab on public safety issues in areas where there are cracker stalls. He had also asked for the zonewise list of police officers and their respective mobile and land line numbers for lodging complaints. RTI Act, an applicant may need the information to protect his life or liberty or may be demanding information on behalf of any other person, in public interest. The commission reiterated that it is an obligatory function of the authorities to respond to them in a time-bound manner as specified under section 7 (1) of the RTI Act.The issue came up for hearing before the state information commission recently when an applicant, Rahul Mangaonkar, demanded from the police, measures taken to regulate noise pollution in areas. The applicant’s main con-The order further states that no public holiday or weekend may be considered as an excuse by authorities in delaying information to the applicant under the ‘life and liberty’ clause of the RTI Act. On the issue of responding within 30 days, Das stated in the order that it may be considered as 30 calendar days, which also includes weekends or any public holiday in between. The order further states that no grace period will be allowed to the public authorities under the RTI Act.
Publication: Times Of India Ahmedabad; Date:2007 Feb 26; Section:Ahmedabad; Page Number 3

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