For More Info Log on to

Google Groups Subscribe to RTI Group
Browse Archives at

Saturday, July 24, 2010

HT & The Hindu: Police & Information Commissions endanger RTI Activists

Gujarat, Maharashtra not safe for RTI Activists

Hindustan Times, Mumbai: The murder of Amit jethwa, an RTI activist in Gujarat, has brought into the focus the fact that these crusaders are constantly living under danger or being harmed and killed. Interestingly, Gujarat and Maharashtra lead in terms of number of killings of such activists.

In fact, Maharashtra, which boasts of being a safe state, has had four instances of activists being murdered, the most gruesome being the killing of Satish Shetty in January in Pune. Shetty had been crusading against the local builders. Shetty was hacked to death near his house when he was out for a morning walk.

Apart from Shetty, Arun Sawant was murdered in Badlapur on February 26, Vithal Gite was murdered in Beed on April 21 and Datta Patil, an activist from Kolhapur, was murdered on May 31. Gujarat has seen two such killings, while Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have had one incident of activists being murdered.

G R Vora, a Mumbai-based activist against corruption and encroachment, told Hindustan Times that he faces constant threats from encroachers and builders. “In January, the police commissioner D Shivanandan issued a circular asking every police station to treat complaints made by activists very seriously, but nothing has been done so far,” Vora lamented.

He said that activists face danger as people from Information Commissioners’ office leak their names to people against whom they are fighting.

Additional Director General (Law & Order) K P Raghuvanshi said that state government had given strict instructions for providing security to activists.

Delhi Activists’ rally on Monday

Denouncing the death of Amit Jethwa on July 20, Delhi’s RTI fraternity has decided to hold a protest rally on Monday to call for strict implementation of laws to protect whistleblowers. Jethwa, who exposed the mining mafia via the RTI, was shot in Ahmedabad on July 20 near the Gujarat High Court.

In March, activist Mohit Sharma, a Dilshad Garden resident, had alleged that two MCD officers had threatened to murder him for having sought information under the RTI Act in connection with certain illegal construction in Shahdara (North) Zone.

Initially, the police had refused to lodge an FIR, but media pressure ensured that an FIR was lodged and the officials concerned were punished.

The Hindu: 8 RTI activists killed in 7 months

With the cold-blooded murder of Right to Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa near the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad this past Tuesday, the number of such killings of whistleblowers has gone up to eight just this year alone. The Congress-ruled Maharashtra tops the list with four killings, followed by the BJP-ruled Gujarat with two.

The murdered RTI activists were: Datta Patil of Kolhapur (Maharashtra), killed on May 31; Vitthal Gite of Beed district, Maharashtra, on April 21; Sola Ranga Rao of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, on April 11; Arun Sawant of Badlapur, Maharashtra, on February 26; Shashidhar Mishra of Begusarai, Bihar, on February 14; Vishram Laxman Dodiya of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on February 11; and Satish Shetty of Pune, Maharashtra, killed on January 13.

RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao points out that after every murder the respective State Government gave a standard reply: “Matter is under investigation. We will find the culprits.” He alleges that this is nothing but eyewash. In most cases, the top brass knew exactly what was going on. “By not penalising slippery public information officers and not compelling evasive public authorities to provide information, the State Information Commissioners too blunt the RTI activist's sword and prolong his battle for years, until somebody gets him in the end,” he complains.

Meanwhile, various NGOs and human rights organisations are planning to undertake a rally from ITO in New Delhi this coming Monday at 6 p.m. to condemn the brutal killing of Amit Jethwa.

Warm Regards,
98215 88114

RTI Activists’ killings in 2010: Maharashtra leads with 4 out of 8 murders

Dear fellow activists

Did you think that UP and Bihar are lawless states? You will shout Jai Maharashtra when you read this scoreboard of murder:
1) July 20, Amit Jethwa, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
2) May 31, Datta Patil, Kolhapur, Maharashtra
3) April 21, RTI activist Vitthal Gite, Beed, Maharashtra
4) April 11, Sola Ranga Rao, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh
5) February 26, Arun Sawant, Badlapur, Maharashtra
6) February 14, Shashidhar Mishra, Begusarai, Bihar
7) February 11, Vishram Laxman Dodiya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
8) January 13, Satish Shetty, Pune, Maharashtra

Maharashtra is the top performer, and Garvi Gujarat is runner-up.

After every murder, the state administration’s standard reply is, “Matter is under investigation. We will find the culprits.” That is eyewash; in most cases, the top brass knows exactly what is going on: an innocent citizen blew the whistle on the rackets run by powerful politically-connected people, and they bumped him off. Chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Narendra Modi know quite a bit, but their silence is golden.

Through their inaction and apathy, state government and police cold-bloodedly leave the citizen-activist standing in the line of fire for months and years, alone, undefended and crying out for justice. He is an orphan, an easy target.

It is police’s mandated duty to register an FIR within 48 hours, based on documents and information that the citizen-activist painstakingly gathers. How many different ways must this truth be told?

· What CrPC says about the duty of police to register FIR:

· What Maharashtra DGP’s order said:

· What Supreme Court said in 2008:

· What Bombay High Court (full bench) said in 2009:

· What Mumbai Police Commissioner Sivanandhan’s circular said after Satish Shetty’s murder:

But in spite of all this, police still won’t register an FIR against builders, land and illegal mining mafias, etc. And Supreme Court and High Court will do nothing to make this happen, despite their own pious orders. So the citizen is helpless and alone in his battle.

State Information Commissioners are helping to put hundreds of activists in harm’s way. By not penalizing slippery public information officers and by not compelling evasive public authorities to provide information, SICs blunt the activist’s sword and prolong his battle for years and years, until somebody gets him in the end.

Are SICs doing this in good faith? Do they really believe that this is the way to implement the RTI Act? Hmm… tough question. To find the answer to that, let us think aloud: A committee consisting of Chief Minister, a trusted cabinet minister and the opposition leader hand-picks a candidate whose name is forwarded by General Administration Department. This candidate is hand-picked to become the second appellate authority, a.k.a. SIC, whose only purpose is to support citizen-activists who want to dig skeletons out of administration cupboards.

So, in Maharashtra, the soft-spoken and hard-of-hearing Dr Suresh Joshi and his paan-chewing sidekick Ramanand Tiwari -- both formerly from Urban Development ministry -- were specifically selected to help you get all possible information from Mantralaya and public authorities, and to expose corruption and rackets in high places.

Good joke, no? Please laugh and say Jai Maharashtra. Laughter is the best medicine for everything… except maybe bullet wounds.

Warm Regards,
98215 88114

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ab Tak 20: Attacks on RTI Activists Continue

1. 20th July: Amit Jethwa murdered
Right to Information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa was killed on Tuesday evening near the Gujarat High Court by unidentified men. Ahmedabad police official said that some unidentified men on a motorcycle fired at Jethwa killing him.

Jethwa was reportedly coming out of a building after meeting his lawyer and about to enter his vehicle when he was fired upon. Even though he was hit in the abdomen by the bullets, he tried to grapple with his assailants, who fled from after leaving behind their motorcycle. Police inspector HM Kundaliya said Jethwa died on the spot after he was shot. "His body was being sent for postmortem and search for the assailants was on," Kundaliya said.

He had filed several petitions in the Gujarat High Court against the forest department and had also filed a a public interest litigation (PIL) on the illegal mining in the Gir forests of Junagadh district which is considered the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world.

Jethwa was also the president of Gir Nature Youth Club.

Other isues taken up by Jethwa: A Director (Class-I), Forest and Environment Department [equivalent to rank of Additional Secretary of Govt. of Gujarat] was promoted through blatant violation of rules of promotion in the year 2003 on adhoc basis. He continued on this sensitive post, until he was removed on 15-06-2010.

Amit B. Jethwa of Khambha village and president of Gir Nature Youth Club [environment NGO] believed that this officer was not eligible for such an important post relating to environment protection, should continue to it. He filed RTI applications with Govt. of Gujarat and Gujarat Public Service Commission and collected all papers and information relating to his promotion. Based on this, he tried to persuade State Govt. to post an eligible and competent person for protection of environment. He knew that entire belt consisting of Baroda, Ankaleshwar, Vapi is engulfed with dangerous chemical pollution and its disaster would be 100 times worse than that of Bhopal.

Jethwa filed petition No. SCA No. 3949 of 2009 under article 226 for quo-warranto writ, in Hon'ble High Court of Gujarat in June 2009. On 15-06-2010 Hon'ble Court issued writ and ordered State Govt. to remove that officer from the post as his promotion was illegal and against rules. Application by concerned officer to stay operation of this order to enable him to appeal in higher court was also declined by the Hon'ble Court.

Through his writ petitions, Jethwa was also instrumental in:

a) Getting two additional Information Commissioners posted in Mar 2010 at Gujarat Information Commission.

b) Compelling State Govt. to include postal order as mode of payment for RTI fees/charges in March 2010 through a writ.

c) Filling up the post of Lokayukta in Gujarat, which had been vacant since 2003.

2. April 1, 2010 -- Advocate Abhay Patil’s home attacked:

Abhay patil from Pachora Taluka, Jalgaon district, Maharashtra is the former taluka president of youth congress and a social and RTI activist. His wife Varsha is a woman police constable in Pachora. On 1/4/2010, about 10.30 pnm, a mob of 15-20 persons came their house house and attacked their door, calling Abhay to come out. When Varsha phoned the police station, they asked her to come to police station and lodge a complaint. The mob was demanding that Abhay should withdraw all complaints of corruption against Dilip Wagh, MLA (Rashtrawadi) about muncipal council and educational trust.

After half an hour, the mob went away, and then the police came, and the terrorized couple moved to a friend’s house for the night. Varsha’s contention is that although she complainted the next day, home minister RR Patil used his powers to “interfere” in her complaint. Later on, a false complaint was lodged against her, and with the intervention of R R Patil, orders were given for her suspension. On a later date, Abhay’s father’s car was also attacked at midnight.

Read Abhay’s RTI application and appeals here:

Adv. Abhay Patil, 9423161993

3. May 31: Datta Patil killed:
Datta Patil of Ichalkaranji, Kolhapur district, Maharashtra was found dead on 22 may. The motive behind Patil’s murder could not be anything other than being exposed of the corruption by the government employees through RTI.

4. April (date uncertain): RTI activist Vitthal Gite killed

An RTI activist who had exposed irregularities in a Maharashtra village school has been killed in a clash between two groups. The activist was seriously injured when the rival group, led by the son of the educational society that runs Sainath Vidyalaya at Waghbet villager in Beed, attacked him on Sunday. RTI activist Vitthal Gite (39) was a farmer and a flour-mill owner. Gite, along with another activist, Brijmohan Mishra, had sought information under RTI Act and exposed irregularities in the functioning of a few other schools in the village as well.

The rival group, which inflicted serious injuries on the activist, was led by the son of the president of the educational society that runs the school, Sainath Vidyalaya. The alleged irregularities in Sainath Vidyalaya were published in a local newspaper, which led to the clash between the two groups in which Gite was killed. The police, however, said ‘‘old enmity’’ between the two groups had triggered the clash.

5. July 16, Mumbai: RTI activist Ashok Kumar Shinde beaten up.
Ashok Kumar Shinde was beaten up by some unknown people for his RTI followed by a PIL against Public Works Department officials making money on the pretext of repairs in Bombay High Court premises. Shinde was attacked right outside the Public Works Department building in Mumbai on Wednesday. Shinde had earlier taken on the PWD with a string of RTIs and a PIL and alleged that PWD officials had illegally made around Rs 24 crore, in the name of repairs at the Bombay High Court premises. "They have indulged in corrupt practice and made money in the High Court project. I found this out by using RTI," says Shinde.
Shinde alleges that the attackers threatened to kill him.
"I was threatened that if i did not drop the cases against the High Court and the PWD, they would kill me," he claims.
The attack on Shinde is the latest among the increasing number of attacks on activists in the state. Mumbai Police registered an FIR.
6. Murderous attack on Environmentalists Sumaira Abdulali & Naseer Jalal, and TOI Journalists. Maharashtra, March 16.

On March 16, the sand-mining mafia which is choking Bankot Creek – a rich mangrove habitat for migratory birds, crocodiles and marine life in Maharashtra’s Raigad district -- attacked environmental activists Sumaira Abdulali and Naseer Jalal, and a team of journalists from The Times of India, when they visited the creek on Tuesday afternoon to report on the rampant illegal activities.

After a 10 km high-speed chase on a twisting ghat road, Sumaira’s vehicle was rammed by an LCV as it entered the highway, and immediately surrounded by three other vehicles. In the presence of a traffic cop, 15 to 20 people smashed the vehicle’s rear window, the side mirror and side window. They then tried to snatch the camera from the TOI photographer but failed. The mob threatened to kill local activist Jalal who was in the vehicle and asked Abdulali not to visit the area again… or else.

Cops reached the spot after being phoned by the TOI office, but the attackers continued to threaten and abuse the team of journalists and environmentalists; they had spent Rs 28 crore “buying the creek’’ and nobody could stop sand-dredging there, the mob said.

Cops then escorted the team to the Mahad police station, four kilometres away, where police officials filed an FIR and booked the accused for attempt to murder, criminal intimidation and rioting. The Mahad police registered a case of attempt to murder, criminal intimidation and rioting. Shockingly, they did not arrest the accused who were present at the police station from 3 pm to 9 pm. One of the accused, present in the mob, was the local MLA’s son. At 9 pm, Sumaira and her colleagues were hurriedly ushered out of the police station as the MLA came in. The accused are now said to be “absconding”.

7. Police raid on the house of Journalist Dandapani Mohapatra. Orissa, March 11.

On 11th March, while Mr Mohapatra was away in some meeting, violating all procedures, the police raided his house for nearly six hours ransacking all his belongings and not even allowing his ailing wife and children to take their food. The police had not given a copy of any search warrant to his family members, nor stated any reason for the raid. As per Mr Mohapatra the police took away a number of old journals such as Ghadaghadi, Inquilab and Marga O Chinta – none of which is proscribed by the government – without giving a seizure list, which is mandatory. Strangely, the police took the signatures of Mr Mohaptra’s son and that of the local Sarpanch on a number of plain sheets of paper. After raiding the house, the SDPO Chhatrapur threatened him on the same day in the evening asking him to come to the Police station by 15th of March or face the dire consequences. No criminal case is said to be pending against him under any allegation.

It is believed that the intention of the police in raiding the house of Mr Mohapatra was to terrorize him and suppress his dissent, which he has been expressing through his writings continuously for many years. He is the General Secretary of Dakhshina Odisha Sahitya Sammelani, a literary organization. He was publishing a satirical magazine called Ghadaghadi between 1984 to 1990. Currently, he has been writing for a weekly tabloid called ‘Sahanamela’.

The police seem to have told the media that the raid was undertaken due to suspected Maoist links.

8. FIR on Journalist Dr E Rati Rao. Karnataka, March 5.

Dr E Rati Rao, Vice-President of PUCL-Karnataka and Vice President of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), a senior scientist and activist with many decades of standing in the women's movement, the civil liberties movement, and campaigns against communal violence and caste atrocities, has been charged with sedition by the Karnataka police. The FIR against her implies that in Karnataka, defending secularism, opposing atrocities against dalits and minorities or fake encounters, and organising marginalised communities for struggle amounts to 'sedition.'

Dr. Rati Rao was Editor of an in-house PUCL-Karnataka Kannada language bulletin (called PUCL Varthapatra)– and it is this bulletin (last published in 2007) that is the supposed basis for the charges of ‘sedition’. The FIR against Dr. Rati Rao accuses her of publishing the PUCL bulletin that is “favoring naxals and Muslims and is propagating that the police are killing innocent people in the name of encounter”; that “calls upon dalits, women, minorities, farmers and adivasis to build organizations in order to fight for their rights”; that “accuses the Sangh Parivar in Karavali (coastal Karnataka) of indulging in false propaganda and fueling communal disharmony” and “calls upon the secular forces to raise their voice against such spread of communal hate”; and “by raising such issues incite and spread intolerance, disbelief, discontent amongst the public”; that “in the name of doing good to the dalits, women, minorities, & adivasis the said bulletin is spreading false information against the casteist & communal Government…It is propagating intolerance, disbelief, and discontent amongst the Government officials.” The sections under which Dr. Rati Rao has been booked are Section 124 A (Sedition), Section 505 (False statement, rumour, etc., circulated with intent to cause mutiny or cause communal discord) and sections of the Press Act that relate to knowingly spreading false information.

The PUCL Bulletin in question had discussed the attacks on the Christian community in Karnataka and had indicted the Government for failing to do enough to protect the minority community.

9. Murderous mob attack on Muzaffar Bhat & eight others, followed by FIR & arrest. Jammu & Kashmir, February 27

Dr Muzaffar Bhat, Convener of J&K Right to Information Movement and 8 other colleagues who had organized an RTI awareness programme in Branwar had all the tyres of their vehicle punctured during their overnight stay in that town. After they had their tyres repaired in nearby Chadoora market, they were murderously assaulted by a mob of 20 persons, and rescued in the nick of time by CRP and police personnel.

However, when the activists complained to the police, the police booked them instead, based on motivated charges leveled by Rashida Begum w/o Chaudhury Saifuddin of Branwar, who is also Halqa President and affiliated with the National Conference in the area. The activists were booked for rioting and house trespass, assault and theft (stealing gold ornaments) in FIR No. 42 of 2010 registered at Chadoora Police Station. Five activists were arrested and detained in custody over the weekend, namely Mushtaque Ahmed Mir, Abdul Rehman Bhat, Bashir Ahmed Lone, Nazir Ahmed Ganai and Mohammed Sadiq. Muzaffar, Dr. Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Latif Ahmed and Ashik Ahmed applied for anticipatory bail. Thus, victims of the attack are being further victimized by the police, while those guilty of the attack are at large.

Detailed story:

Contact: , 94195.62190

10. Murder of Shashidhar Mishra. Bihar, February 14

On Feb. 14 in Bihar, well-known RTI activist Shashidhar Mishra was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles at the entrance of his home. He had been working to expose local welfare schemes.

11. Murder of Vishram Laxman Dodiya. Gujarat, February 11.

Vishram Laxman Dodiya of Ahmedabad had filed an application under RTI to get details about the illegal electricity connection by Torrent Power. He could not get any information. On February 11, 2010 he was found murdered, shortly after meeting with the company officials. Three people were arrested in the case. His son is yet to receive the information under RTI.

Contact: Harinesh Pandya, Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) 079-26821553/0719

12. Murderous assault on Ajay Kumar & colleague, followed by false FIR. New Delhi, January 12.

When Ajay Kumar asked New Delhi authorities later in 2009 why Municipal councillor Satbir Sharma had authorized the construction of private houses and shops on public land, he didn't imagine the question would land him in the hospital with a fractured nose.

Mr Kumar was stonewalled by the public information officer at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, so he appealed to the Central Information Commission, which directed the MCD together with the police to jointly inspect the property. However, only two persons were allowed to come and inspect. Accordingly, Mr Kumar, who is General Secretary of an NGO, Public Grievance and Welfare Society, Kishan Ganj, went with his colleague Manmohan Gupta on January 12… only to find themselves surrounded by a mob.

"Neither the police nor the MCD officials helped us," says Mr Kumar, who was beaten in the head repeatedly by an iron rod, leaving him unconscious and bleeding profusely. Society president Surinder Puri said, “The police registered an FIR on January 18, after we took up the matter with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. But to our horror, we found that on January 12, they had filed a false FIR against us in connection with a weapon – a loaded katta (countrymade gun) supposedly found in our car.”

13. Priyanka Borpujari & other Mumbai journalists assaulted, followed by FIR. Chhatisgarh, January 6

Priyanka Borpujari, a journalist from Mumbai, and her colleagues, were physically assaulted by locals and by police in Dantewada, Chattisgarh. Her camera was forcibly snatched away, they were detained overnight and a motivated FIR was lodged against them with charges of dacoity etc. More details at

For details, contact: Priyanka Borpujari 9820741992

14. Murder of Satish Shetty. Maharashtra, January 13

Social activist Satish Shetty (39), who had blown the whistle on a series of land scams in and around Talegaon, Lonavala and Pimpri-Chinchwad near here, was brutally murdered near his residence at Talegaon-Dabhade. Shetty was on his morning walk around 7am when he was attacked with swords and sharp weapons. An anti-corruption crusader for the last 15 years, Shetty had used the RTI Act to expose the irregularities in government offices. He had exposed many land scams in and around Talegaon, besides the setting up of restaurants and marriage halls in residential zones, selling in the black market of kerosene meant for distribution through ration shops, etc. Shetty’s murder is a major embarrassment for the police as he had demanded police protection after having received threats to his life.
For details, contact: Sandeep Shetty 99603 86681 or Vijay Kumbhar 99232 99199

15. Firing outside Nayana Kathpalia’s house. Mumbai, January 8.

Two assailants barged into the Swastik building opposite Oval Maidan in Churchgate at 6.45am and fired a round with a country-made revolver outside Nayana Kathpalia’s first-floor residence. The 65-year-old co-convenor of the NGO Citispace, who has been fighting for open spaces in the city, escaped unhurt. “The two men entered the building to kill Kathpalia. In the absence of a watchman, one stood near the gate while the other went to her house and opened fire after Kathpalia’s domestic help Soma China, 28, opened the grilled security door. The panicked assailant fled immediately,” said an officer from the Marine Drive police station. “While an additional bullet was found outside the house, the gun lay abandoned under a tree outside the building. The police have registered a case under section 307 of the IPC and under various sections of the Indian Arms Act.”

The officer said that the dog squad, deployed after the incident, led the police to a restaurant next to the sessions court opposite the Maidan.

The NGO has been targeted for its relentless protests against Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme being implemented on open spaces and their opposition to hawkers.

Five other incidents of attacks whose dates need to be researched:

16. Attacks on Kheema Ram

17. There have been many attacks on Kheema Ram, a member of India's Dalit or "untouchable" communities, who has filed over 400 RTI applications. The 35-year-old father of three, who lives in rural Rajasthan want to use the law to fight this discrimination. Using RTI, Kheema has outed the manager of a cooperative bank who embezzled funds and fought for equal pay of male and female manual laborers. But it hasn't been without risk. Kheema Ram has been attacked over two dozen times.

17. Mohit Sharma threatened

In New Delhi, two MCD engineers assistant engineer Umesh Singh and executive engineer B M N Rao were arrested in northeast district after they allegedly threatened an activist who had filed an RTI application seeking details of illegal construction in Shahdara (North). The two had gone to the house of the complainant Mohit Sharma in Dilshad Garden and threatened him.

18. Sola Ranga Rao murdered

30-year-old Sola Ranga Rao of Andhra Pradesh, an RTI activist in Krishna district, was found murdered near his house because of the RTI application he had filed with a district office regarding funding of the village's drainage system. Even the information commission suspected the involvement of the public information officer (PIO) of MPDO in Ranga Rao's alleged murder.

19. Arun Sawant shot dead

Two men shot and critically injured RTI activist Arun Sawant at Badlapur, Thane. Sawant had gone to the Badlapur Municipal Council (BMC) to file an RTI application. The shooting happened on his way back, at around 1.30 pm, on Katrap Road, which was 100 meters from the Council office.

20. Venkatesh of Eranapalyta

RTI activist Venkatesh of Eranapalyta was supari-killed by Lohit Raja alias T C raja . Police first thought Venkatesh was killed in an accident but the post mortem report revealed it was murder. Venkatesh had sought information under the RTI Act regarding encroachment of government land in Jnanabharathi. This angered some people involved in land grabbing there and to eliminate him, they paid Lohit Raja. Police said Raja and his associates murdered Venkatesh and made it look like an accieent. But when the post mortem revealed it was murder, the case was handed over to the CCB which arrested Raja later on.

Older Incidents

21. 19th May 2009: False charges were slapped upon 10 RTI activists by Maharashtra’s Chief SIC Dr Suresh Joshi (and also Marine Drive Police Station), when they visited his office to request him to implement the Act in proper manner, give reasoned orders, penalize PIOs etc. They were imprisoned for 48 hours at Azad Maidan Police lock-up and in the dreaded Arthur Road Jail. They were charged with trespass, intention to hurt, rioting and preventing a public servant from doing his duty (IPC Sections 143, 145, 146, 448, 452 & 353), when in fact they only had sung the National Anthem in the course of a 5-minute meeting that the Commissioner granted them at the end of the day. Read detailed account:

22. 18th December 2007: Thirteen RTI activists were arrested in Palakkad when Kerala’s Chief State Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas was visiting there. The RTI activists were distributing leaflets on how improperly the RTI Act was implemented in the state. They were imprisoned by DSP Viswanathan and charged (C.R. No. 389 / 07) at Town South Police Station under IPC Sec. 143, 188 and 149. (i.e. unlawful assembly and disobedience of an order given by a public servant etc.) These activists are now being repeatedly dragged to court.
Read detailed account:

THE NUMBERS CONTINUE TO MOUNT. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS? Are we going to be content with signing online petitions? Or are we capable of ramping up our actions? Please remember, by doing so, we will not be acting altruistically, we will be acting in enlightened self-interest.

Let us go beyond just signing online petitions, sending letters of support and holding meetings. Let us organize at least a one-day protest this Sunday in support of all such people, who have been under attack from both anti-social elements and the police / administration.

What kind of protest? Let us think hatke. Also, think nationwide.

Here is one idea: On Sunday, for 24 hours (say 8 am to 8 am), we walk up and down the streets of our own cities wearing black clothes, handcuffs and mouth-coverings of the sort that Jain monks wear. We carry placards that says, "Citizens who seek Truth are under attack by goons and police in all states of India."

Wherever we feel tired, we sit down and rest -- even if it is on a footpath. If the police asks us to move, we move. In the evening, we ask aam janta / supporters to give us candles, which we light at various places -- walls, street corners, gates etc. and we go around all night till 8 am.

And we distribute pamphlets, give people copies of letters to the Chief Ministers of these states, along with postage stamps and envelopes (for which we charge money to meet costs). we ask people to sign, seal and post these letters. Alternatively, we can post them. Hopefully, we can get such letters signed and sent in the hundreds.

Can we all do this in various cities, this Sunday, next Sunday... and maybe the next? In this way, we can try to build public opinion and media glare on the entire issue of oppression of RTI activists.

Warm Regards,


Monday, July 19, 2010

RTI Reply: Govt paid Singhvi Rs 48L to muzzle whistleblower

Manoj Mitta | TNN; New Delhi: The lengths to which a government body could go to harass a whistleblower is evident from an RTI reply disclosing that over 18 months it had paid Rs 69.24 lakh as fees to lawyers, the bulk of which went to Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
For complete news pl visit:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Format for Anti-Corruption FIR against SIC/CIC staff & Info Commissioners

When monetary penalties and disciplinary actions appear likely, people offer bribes to escape. During casual chats, Maharashtra SIC staff talk about how PIOs and FAAs of slippery public authorities – especially those dealing with builders and land mafias -- offer hefty amounts. In return, Information Commissioners and their staff render “services” such as:

a) Giving orders favourable to PIO, ignoring facts

b) Condoning unjustified delays and denials

c) Not passing orders after the hearing

d) Passing vague, unreasoned and meaningless orders

e) SIC’s staff not issuing show-cause notice even after adverse order

f) Not posting adverse order and/or not putting it up on website

g) Posting hearing notice to appellant on or after hearing date, or close to hearing date, so that appellant cannot attend

h) Not calling appellant for hearing and passing ex-parte order

i) Ignoring incriminating evidence produced by appellant

j) Allowing PIO’s or FAA’s contentions unsupported by documents or evidence.

Sections 7 - 14 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA 88), describes various corrupt acts performed by public servants and their henchmen. Section 7 (“Public Servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act”) defines gratification thus: “The word ‘gratification’ is not restricted to pecuniary gratifications or to gratifications estimable in money.” For instance, if an Information Commissioner, or his wife or son, is rewarded with a plum post-retirement posting by Mantralaya, that is “gratification”. Or, if the State Information Commissioner’s wife or son gets a plum contract with a builder’s firm, that is “gratification”.

Thus, PCA 88 does not require evidence of money changing hands. If we can establish that “gratification” was given in respect of an official act, we should complain to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and try to get an FIR registered under PCA 88 and Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In fact, even gratification need not be established by evidence under PCA 88. Abuse of public office is enough to get the ACB to register a complaint and investigate. Section 13(1) of PCA 88 says, “(1) A public servant is said to commit the offence of criminal misconduct (c) if he habitually accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person for himself or for any other person, any valuable thing without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate from any person whom he knows to have been, or to be , or to be likely to be concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with the official functions of himself or of any public servant to whom he is subordinate, or from any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or (d) If he - (i) by corrupt or illegal means, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage ; or (ii) by abusing his position as a public servant, obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage; or (iii) while holding office as a public servant obtains for any person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage without any public interest”.

In Maharashtra, a very useful High Court order can directly lead to investigation and action by ACB.
Download this order:

There are at least a hundred activists and RTI appellants out there, who have direct first-hand knowledge of such activities happening in various State Information Commissions and their secretariats. I would urge them to use this format to file a complaint against their corrupt Information Commissioner and/or member of his staff.

Download format for Complaint to ACB:

Other useful links:

Warm Regards,
98215 88114

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is RTI activism succeeding? Nazar ko badal ke dekho, nazaare badal jaayenge!

Dear fellow activists,

Sometimes, realities change and we fail to notice. The ground-shift since the enactment of the Right to Information Act on 15 June 2005 has gone unnoticed. Absorbed as we are in the details, I think we missed seeing the big picture.

The RTI Act gave us a lot more than just access to information. It shifted the balance of power. By making the walls of government porous, it allowed citizens to enquire into governance. It made every common man a superintendent over the activities of the State.

We the people of India awakened to a sense of our real ownership of this nation. But we the activists of India continued to beat our breasts and lament, and exchange old tales of our powerlessness.

Look around you. Every week, in each state and at the centre, new tales of heroism are emerging. Half a dozen Information Commissioners are each presiding over scores of hearings where the administration is on trial, where ordinary citizens are knowingly or unknowingly playing the role of prosecutors. These are not high-profile heroes like Anna Hazare and Medha Patkar, these are not seasoned system fighters… yet they are engaging the administration in a blow-by-blow battle. Painfully aware that the battlefield is slanted in favour of the administration, they bash on nevertheless!

Every week, heads roll, sometimes on both sides. Ordinary men and women living in ordinary neighborhoods fight with extraordinary courage for justice and truth. Can there be a greater Satyagraha?

Observe another massive change. Remember when conferences and seminars used to be for the select few, and one could count them on the fingers of one hand? Today, the equivalent of a dozen state-level and national-level seminars happen on the internet every day, routinely. Several thousand citizens come together on email and on discussion forums, and have an informed discussion in many languages. New insights emerge, new courses of action are decided and executed. This is the new face of activism.

This ongoing revolution is our new reality. The heroes of this revolution are in offices, at street corners, on buses and trains, in suburbs and slums. They eat, breathe and dream their fundamental rights and duties. They daily sacrifice their meager salaries and pensions, and the peace of their families, for one obsessive vision: a cleaner, more transparent India.


If this is true, then why are we stuck with our feelings of powerlessness and frustration? Because, locked into our own personal battles with the administration, we failed to see the larger picture of the revolution. We are victims of an outdated vision of victory that looks like the final scenes of a movie where villains fall into an abyss and their evil empires literally collapse. This, my friend, is an unrealistic fantasy. Such fantasies condemn people like you and me to remain frustrated and defeated, even though we are continually winning. Such unfulfilled fantasies are draining away our energy and self confidence.

Let us upgrade our vision. In the context of modern India, let us re-envision what victory means.

India is an aggregate of 1.2 billion lives and their dreams -- a massive nation with a huge momentum, moving like a mighty ship through the oceans. So victory cannot be your dream or mine alone. Victory cannot be a 180-degree U-turn by the administration; it can only be a gentle course correction of one or two degrees over some years. But take comfort: when a massive nation steers a couple of degrees, the effect is huge beyond our imagining. Everything changes.

Have faith, massive change will happen… but it will be so gradual and imperceptible that none of us will get any credit for it. There may be no thrilling historic moments. No evil empires will collapse dramatically, because they will dissolve and fade away over some years. There will be no dramatic surrender or laying down of arms, no Freedom at Midnight speeches. Victory will come as a gradual re-discovery of each citizen’s power to say NO to mundane evils in daily life. No glorious heroes will lead the “masses” into battle and emerge victorious; the masses – our countrymen -- will themselves regain a sense of individual and collective public morality, and fight a gradual war against injustice and untruth.

In this war, there may be no Bheeshma-pratigyas -- no grand acts of self-sacrifice or superhuman self-control, no fasts-unto-death, no spectacular Dandi March. There will only be the daily grind of several hundred RTI applications, appeals, hearings, complaints, representations, meetings and a general unwillingness to take the easy way out – an unstoppable nationwide grinding-down of indifference and corruption by small lawful and truthful acts.

So now the shift only needs to happen in our own hearts and minds -- a conscious shift in perspective that we activists need to make. We need to decide: are we investing our life’s energies on winning our own battles, and growing into tall and mighty trees on India’s skyline? Or are we investing in furthering the green growth of the shoots and saplings of “We the people of India”? The latter is a game at which we can never be beaten, regardless of the outcome of our individual battles.

Nazar ko badlo, nazaare badal jaayenge!

As an activist, I used to seek a kind of absolute and indisputable victory in our campaigns. But now I feel that winning is unimportant; what is crucial is that we do battle on a continuing basis, exerting broad moral and legal pressures on the system in the direction of the truth.

Warm Regards,
98215 88114

Monday, July 5, 2010

Four golden rules for writing effective RTI Applications

Dear fellow Activists,
We often sit down to draft an RTI application in an angry and unrealistic mood. When we write RTI applications, our focus should be on getting information. Instead, we are thinking about stopping some wrongdoings, getting some officials and corrupt contractors penalized, making the authorities “answerable” for negligence etc, etc. At such times, we fail to think clearly about the items of information that we need.

Right to Information Act 2005 is a law, and effectiveness in legal work depends on using the law without anger, resentment and wishful thinking.

While asking for information, the 4 golden rules are:

1) Point to various specific documents. Your application should look like a shopping-list of documents.

2) Name documents using words from Sec 2(f) and Sec 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act – reports, logbooks, emails, advices, rules, regulations, manuals etc. Only after exhausting these should you use other similar documents e.g. quality audit reports, correspondence etc. In case this information is denied, the similarity of wordings will help you to convince appellate authorities that your requested information is “records” and “information” that must be mandatorily given.

3) Don’t ask questions, don’t demand explanations, and don’t make allegations. Don’t make your application sound like a letter of complaint or a letter-to-the-editor. Don’t preface it with a covering letter or an introductory paragraph. RTI applications should be emotionless and bland.

4) Avoid vague expressions and requests such as

(a) “What is the status of my complaint? What further action has been taken on my complaint/letter? Give me action-taken report.” Words like “status” and “action” are open to interpretation, and usually fail to point towards any particular document; they can mean different things to different persons like applicant, PIO, APIO and appellate authorities. In most cases, there is no such document called “action-taken report” in existence, and therefore, the PIO cannot be rightly asked under RTI to generate such a document in reply to your application; PIO can only be asked to give you copy of a document that exists. The right way is to ask for signed and stamped copy of all correspondence till date in the matter of your complaint, including memos, emails, covering letters for forwarding your complaint etc. Ask for copy of logbook or any other book where details of your complaint are entered, marked to specific officers for their investigation and action. Ask for a copy of all their remarks, feedback, reports etc. If the case on your complaint is closed, ask for the closing remarks of the officer concerned.

(b) “Give particulars of the project to build XYZ.” What “particulars” do you want? Engineering drawings? Budgets? Financial projections? Feasibility reports? Consultants’ studies? This is not clear. Don’t leave it to the PIO to decide what documents to include and what to leave out. Be specific and name the documents that you want copied. Make it difficult for the PIO to loosely interpret your request.

Also read:

B. Seven surprising tips for writing good RTI applications

C. Five psychological reasons for failure-prone RTI Applications

D. Examples of success-oriented and failure-prone RTI applications

Warm Regards,


098215 88114

Tells RTI Applicant Data Could Affect Sovereignty

Himanshi Dhawan | TNN
New Delhi: If there was a mole in Indira Gandhi’s government, he will not be unmasked. The Cabinet Secretariat has denied disclosure of information related to crucial cabinet meetings during the 1971 war on grounds that revelations would prejudicially affect the “sovereignty and integrity” of India.
The 1971 case relates to an alleged mole in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet who was reported to have leaked information on cabinet meetings to the CIA. The leaks, it has been alleged, could have adversely impacted the India-Pakistan war.

For complete news visit:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

RTI replies from PMO & DoPT betray rajneeti in Info. Commissioners’ selection

30th June 2010: 22 Information Commissioners from across the country will retire in the next few months. Out of them, 11 are Chief Information Commissioners.

So many posts will fall vacant. What should be the process of their appointment? The law is silent on that. Barring prescribing the composition of a selection committee (consisting of PM, Leader of Opposition and one Cabinet Minister), the law does not lay down the procedure that this committee should follow to invite names and process them.

Documents obtained under RTI from DOPT and PMO by Arvind Kejriwal reveal how intense lobbying takes place before every appointment to the posts of Central Information Commissioners.

Ravi Shankar Singh is a journalist with The Tribune. His name was recommended by none other than Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana himself through a personal letter written to the Prime Minister. Hooda writes – “He is well known to me for the last more than twenty years. … I would be highly obliged if you kindly consider his name for the post of Deputy Information Commission in the Central Information Commission.”

Ravi Shankar’s name was also recommended by Kumari Selja, Minister of State and two MPs namely Naveen Jindal and Dr Karan Singh.

Likewise, 7 MPs recommended the name of Dr Krishna Kabir Anthony.

Interestingly, neither Ravi Shankar nor Dr Anthony’s names were even put up to the selection committee, which comprises of Prime Minsiter, Leader of Opposition and a Cabinet Minister.

Before every set of appointments, the word spreads around. Several people either apply themselves or are recommended by others. Recommendations are found to have been made by very influential people including Chief Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, MPs, Supreme Court Bar Council etc.

The names for selection are put up to selection committee through an agenda note. The agenda note is prepared by DOPT. However, none of these recommendations or applications was ever put up to the selection committee.

Interestingly, the names which made it to agenda note and who were finally selected, never applied nor were they ever recommended by anyone, according to records provided by DOPT and PMO.

For instance, in August 2008, the selection committee cleared the names of four people in its meeting on 27th August 2008, namely Annapurna Dixit, M L Sharma, S N Mishra and Shailesh Gandhi. Before this meeting, the following applications/recommendations were received by the PMO and DOPT:

· President of Bar Council of India recommended the name of Sudhanshu Ranjan (a journalist) to the Prime Minister and DOPT.
· 7 MPs names, Nakul Das Rai (MP), Shivanand Tiwari (MP), Sukhdeo Paswan (MP), Rajniti Prasad (MP), Ganesh Prasad Singh (MP), Lalhming Lian (MP) and Alok Kumar Mehta (MP) recommended the name of Dr Krishna Kabir Anthony.
· Bhupinder Singh Hooda, CM Haryana, Naveen Jindal (MP), Dr Karan Singh (MP) and Kumari Selja, MOS recommended the name of Ravi Shankar Singh, a journalist

However, the agenda note prepared by DOPT did not contain any of the above names. The agenda note was prepared by S K Sarkar, the then Joint Secretary in DOPT. He included the name of his own boss S N Mishra (the then DOPT Secretary), and the names of Mrs Annapurna Dixit, Ashok K Mohapatra, R B Shreekumar, M L Sharma and Shailesh Gandhi. Whereas Shailesh Gandhi’s name was proposed by several RTI activists through an open letter to the Government, but where did other names come from? According to records, none of them applied for these posts, nor were their names recommended by anyone. This means that something is happening outside the files. Who called up these people and asked them for their CVs? Why were only these people contacted?

Several questions arise. Firstly, how were the people like Ravi Shankar Singh, Sudhanshu Ranjan and Dr Krishna Kabir Anthony found unfit and not even put up to selection committee? Who did their assessment and on what basis? Who decided that these names should not be put up to the selection committee?

The agenda note is prepared by DOPT. Obviously someone in DOPT decided to reject these names. Does DOPT have these powers under RTI Act to reject names? No. DOPT merely acts as secretariat to the selection committee. It neither has the powers to reject anyone nor select anyone.

Next question is - how did the bio-datas of S N Mishra, Annapurna Dixit, Ashok Mohapatra, R B Shreekumar and M L Sharma make it to the file? How did these names make it to agenda note? How was it decided to include these names and not others?

It is surprising that the names recommended by MPs, Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers are not even put up to the selection committee. But some other names make it to agenda note.

Interestingly, S N Mishra was the then DOPT Secretary. All this was happening under his nose. He shamelessly includes his own name in the agenda note and excludes those of others.

It appears that the DOPT has become de-facto selection committee and selection committee provided in the law has been reduced to an endorsement committee. The selection committee merely endorses the names put up to it.

In its first meeting on 5th October 2005, 5 names were put up to selection committee and it cleared all the five names. In its next meeting on 27th August 2008, six names were put up and it cleared four of them. In the next meeting on 6th April 2009, only one name was put up and the same was cleared. In the meeting on 25th August 2009, four names were put up and it selected two of them. DOPT, by rejecting all names and presenting a very short list of names, creates a situation of fait accompli for the selection committee, wherein the committee almost endorses what is presented to them.

For instance, Omita Paul, who is known to be quite close to Pranab Mukherjee and has worked with him for many years, was working as Advisor to him before last Parliamentary elections. After the announcement of elections, the selection committee met specially on 6.4.09 to clear her name for the post of Information Commissioner. Only one name was presented to the selection committee and the committee cleared that name.

Interestingly, this was done in violation of model code of conduct. Though the Joint Secretary, in his notings, warned his seniors that model code of conduct was in operation and permission from Election Commission would be required, however, the permission was never sought. One wonders what was the hurry for appointing her? Omita joined on 13th May. Interestingly, as soon as UPA came to power, Omita resigned within a month on 26th June and went back and joined Pranab Mukherjee again.

What emerges from all this is that DOPT has become de facto selection or rejection committee. It rejects the names of all those who either apply or are recommended by others. It then prepares its own list of names (sources of which are unknown) and includes in this list, the names of its own bosses. The selection committee provided in RTI Act has been reduced to an endorsement committee of DOPT.

What does the law say? The law prescribes a selection committee consisting of the PM, Leader of Opposition and one Cabinet Minister. Then it says that the incumbent should be a person of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance. He should not be a Member of Parliament or Member of any Legislature or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.

The law does not provide for any procedure how nominations would be invited and how would they be processed. DOPT had a duty to make rules under section 27 of RTI Act to lay down procedures. However, DOPT has not made any rules so far.

Selection Committee meeting on 5th Oct 2005:

Who applied?

1. G C Srivastava, IAS (Retd) – he applied himself.
2. Shri Lakshmi Chand, IAS (Retd) - – he applied himself.
3. Shri R Ganesan, (IPoS:69), Secy & DG, Chairman, Postal Service Board, Department of Posts – he applied himself.
4. Shri G Mohal Kumar, (IPoS:69), Member (Personnel), Postal Service Board, Deptt of Posts – he applied himself.
5. Shri P R Devi Prasad (IES:82) – he applied himself.
6. Shri K Jaikumar, Dir (IT) in D/o AR&PG no specific post mentioned – he applied himself.
7. Rameshbhai’s name recommended by Nirmala Deshpande, MP to the PM
8. Smt Neena Ranjan, Secy, Ministry of Culture – she applied herself.
9. Prof Akhtarul Wasey (Dean, Jamia Milia Islamia)
10. Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu (trade union leader from Jharkhand)
11. Nripendra Mishra
12. Mohan Kanda (Chief Secretary to Government of AP)
13. Dinesh Chandra Gupta (former Finance Secretary)
14. Prof Dr B K Chandrashekhar (former Education Minister, Karnataka)
15. Akhtar Majeed (Dean, Hamdard University)

Names which were put up to the selection committee through agenda note:

(None of the above names were put up)

1. Wajahat Habibullah
2. Dr O P Kejariwal
3. A N Tiwari
4. Prof M M Ansari
5. Padma Balasubramanian

Names selected by Selection committee:

All the above five names were selected.

Selection Committee meeting on 27th August 2008:

Who applied?

1. Sudhanshu Ranjan (a journalist) recommended by the President of Bar Council of India to PM and DOPT
2. Dr Krishna Kabir Anthony recommended by Nakul Das Rai (MP), Shivanand Tiwari (MP), Sukhdeo Paswan (MP), Rajniti Prasad (MP), Ganesh Prasad Singh (MP), Lalhming Lian (MP) and Alok Kumar Mehta (MP)
3. Ravi Shankar Singh (a journalist with The Tribune) recommended by Sh Bhupinder Singh Hooda , CM Haryana; Naveen Jindal (MP); Dr Karan Singh (MP) and Kumari Selja, MOS

Names which were put up to the selection committee through agenda note:

(None of the above names were put up)

1. Mrs Annapurna Dixit
2. Ashok K Mohapatra
3. R B Shreekumar
4. M L Sharma
5. Shailesh Gandhi
6. S N Mishra

Names selected by Selection committee:

1. Shailesh Gandhi
2. S N Mishra
3. Annapurna Dixit
4. M L Sharma

Selection Committee meeting on 6th April 2009:

Who applied?

Meeting held suddenly. No one came to know about it. No names found on the file.

Names which were put up to the selection committee through agenda note:

1. Omita Paul

Names selected by Selection committee:

1. Omita Paul

Selection Committee meeting on 25th August 2009:

Who applied?

1. Smt Sushma Singh, Secretary (I&B) recommended by her own Minister Anand Sharma, MOS (External Affairs and I&B) to the PM.
2. Dr C V Ananda Bose recommended by Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs.
3. Saroj Bala, Member (R), CBDT directly applies herself.
4. Mr Choubey recommended by M Veerappa Moily. Mr Moily also writes to Mrs Sonia Gandhi.
5. Adm Pradeep Kaushiva recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
6. Lt Gen Mahajan recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
7. Amitav Tripathi recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
8. Neelam Deo recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
9. Maja Daruwala recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
10. Krishan M Sahni recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
11. Chitra Chopra recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
12. Suman Dubey recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
13. Ishtiaq Hussain recommended by Wajahat Habibullah
14. Sudhanshu Ranjan, a journalist recommended by Sadanand Singh, former Chairperson, Bihar Legislative Assembly. He writes both to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and to the PM.

Names which were put up to the selection committee through agenda note:

(Only Sushma Singh’s name was picked up from the above list. Why only Sushma Singh?)

1. Deepak Sandhu
2. Sushma Singh
3. Mahendra Kumavat
4. R P Agarwal

Names selected by Selection committee:

1. Deepak Sandhu
2. Sushma Singh

98215 88114

No transparency in selection of information commissioners: Arvind Kejriwal

Names received by DoPT do not make it to the selection committee
Danish Raza | June 30 2010

The applications received by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) for the post of information commissioners (ICs) do not make it to the selection committee comprising of the prime minister, leader of the opposition and a cabinet minister. This, despite the fact that majority of the names received by the DoPT are duly recommended by the chief ministers, cabinet ministers and MPs. The names for selection are put before the selection committee through an agenda note prepared by the DoPT. Noted RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal obtained this information through RTI applications filed in the PMO and DoPT.

“What emerges is that the DoPT has become de facto selection or rejection committee.

For complete news please visit:

Other action tools available to RTI activist

Sometimes, we start thinking that RTI is the only tool available to activist citizens. Then we start speaking of ourselves as “RTI activists”, as if RTI is the only thing that matters to us. We forget our larger objective i.e. improving the quality of governance and administration. We become over-focused on uncovering information, getting hearings, winning / losing appeals and cribbing about Information Commissioners.

Such tunnel-vision happens to everybody – including myself -- because the process of RTI application and appeals are so intensely discussed on various forums. There is a relative absence of thought and discussion on other tools available to public-spirited citizens.

Please remember RTI IS ONLY ONE OF THE MANY POTENT TOOLS for demanding implementation of laws or rules, for challenging established ways of doing things, for unleashing societal forces for change, for altering administration’s perception and behavior on issues etc. etc.

What are these tools? Download this document:

Warm Regards,
98215 88114