For More Info Log on to

Google Groups Subscribe to RTI Group
Browse Archives at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

RTI activists want CCTVs in State Information Commissioner's Office

RTI activists want CCTVs in State Information Commissioner's office to ensure transparency in hearings, so that public authority can be made accountable.

Activists fighting to make Right To Information (RTI) Act a potent tool, are now demanding that all the hearings and interactions that the State Information Commissioner hold with activists, appellants and public be recorded to ensure accountability and transparency in hearings.

This demand is a part of the Charter of Demands that activists have prepared for proper implementation of the RTI Act in Maharashtra.

A delegation of five prominent RTI activists in the city, which Andheri resident Mohammed Afzal led, handed over the same to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan early this week. Accompanying the activists was Mumbai North MP Sanjay Nirupam, who the activists feel is convinced that Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 was not being properly implemented in Maharashtra.

Says Mohammed Afzal, "There should be a CCTV or digital video recorders to record all meetings, so that a copy of it can be made available to the applicant or any citizen on payment of a small fee, say Rs 50." In fact, Afzal also happens to be one of the 11 activists that Mumbai Police arrested on the evening of May 19 and jailed for two days for allegedly trespassing and rioting at the office of the Chief State Information Commissioner (SIC) Suresh Joshi. Adds Afzal, "Had there been a recording of that meeting, such gross injustice would not have been meted out to 11 activists, who have been crusading to strengthen the RTI Act. If there was a CCTV used, applicants, activists and even the bureaucrats would feel safer, as every action can be put on record, when required. No Information Commissioner should have an objection with this suggestion until and unless he has something to hide."

States Krishnaraj Rao, "We are happy that the Chief Minister, State Govt. and even the Central Government are showing keenness to ensure proper implementation of the RTI Act, which is a powerful tool in the common man's hand. The CM has assured us that he will look into the matter, which is encouraging. The crusade we have initiated shall not stop till we ensure proper implementation of RTI Act, and stop the bureaucratic abuse of this important Act."

Asserts MP Sanjay Niruapm, "It's a priority for our Government to correct the faulty implementation of RTI Act. We have taken up the issue with the CM, along with these activists, and will keep following it up at the highest level if required."


Maharashtra Government must direct every Information Commissioner (IC) to serve show-cause notice to Public Information Officer (PIO) along with notice of hearing. The purpose of hearing is to determine whether the PIO and the public authority acted diligently under the RTI Act and if not, what penalty and disciplinary action is to be imposed. The purpose of hearing is not to enter into discussions, negotiations and grievance redressal.

· Whatever transpired during the hearing between the Information Commissioner, Public Information Officer, Appellant authority and the applicant -- it has been seen many a times that the final order does not reflect the hearing proceedings. A Speaking Order (gist of the facts during the hearings) is very much required for the applicant.

· Maharashtra Govt. must put in place a mechanism, whereby if PIO and public authority do not comply with IC's orders, disciplinary action is automatically initiated against both PIO and head of the public authority, and the same is recorded in their Annual Confidential Report and Service Book.

· Maharashtra Govt. must set up clear and realistic mechanisms for implementation of Section 4 of RTI Act (suo moto disclosure of information) by each public authority.

· If it is discovered that the method of selection of any Information Commissioner was flawed, Maharashtra Govt. must set aside the appointment of that Information Commissioner as being unlawful ab initio.

· Maharashtra Govt. must ensure transparency in new appointments of SICs.
Report in 4th July 2009 Bombay Times (West Mumbai supplement circulated from Bandra to Virar)

No comments: