Memorandum, on better implementation of RTI Act, presented today 18.1.2020, 5.30 pm to Chief SIC – Mr. Sumit Malik.
This is to inform you that Adv. Dilip Dhumaskar, Adv. Naseer Jahagirdar along with a group of RTI activists (Anil Galgali, Clarence Pinto and G R Vora) have presented today a Memorandum of demands to Chief State Information Commissioner – Mr. Sumit Mallik, for better implementation of RTI Act in Maharashtra.
It has been noticed that due to lax attitude of Information Commissioners the Public Information Officers (PIOs) and the First Appellate Authority (FAAs) are being callous in furnishing information to the citizens who use this sunshine law – the RTI Act.
The PIOs and FAAs do not adhere to the provisions of this Act and even blatantly deny information on illegal constructions, contracts, corruption etc. Of late it has been noticed that even the PIOs and FAAs threaten and assault the RTI applicants who seek information on corruption issues.
This non-transparency in governance matters is leading to violation of laws, abuse of power, circumventing of norms and thus misgovernance.
The Right to Information of common citizens has become fight for information.
So a list of corrective measures which need to be taken urgently by the Chief SIC were handed over to him by this delegation.
The following points were demanded to be implemented :–
The memorandum stressed on the need for implementation of Sec.18 and Sec.19 of the Act as per interpretation of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and that no order for information can be issued under Sec.18 but only for penalty. Stress was also laid on the fact that the practice of direct dismissal of complaints under Sec.18 without availing First and Second Appeal contradicted the law laid down by the Honble Supreme Court in Civil Application No. 10787 & 10788 of 2011 and that the remedy of penalty u/s 18 vide a direct complaint was very much provided by the Act.
The delegation also stressed on treating the applicants with dignity and empathy. It was a fruitful discussion with the Chief State Information Commission promising to abide by the interpretations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and administer the Act in its letter and spirit.
The entire Memorandum has been uploaded on this link :–
The doc being voluminous it has been uploaded on Google Drive on the following link :
A big thanks to Adv. Naseer Jahagirdar and Adv. Dilip Dhumaskar for forcefully putting across the point that by not adhering to the RTI Act, its Rules and relevant Court Orders, the PIO, the FAA and even the Information Commissioners are doing harm to this Law and nullifying its pro-transparency provisions.
We shall follow up on this Memorandum in the following weeks.