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SRINAGAR, Oct 12: MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami today said that he would like to see Kulgam district to come up as a model district with regard to implementation of Right to Information (RTI) Act particularly with respect to proactive disclosure of information of use and importance to the residents.The MLA Kulgam promised support including resource support from his MLA fund in order to make the vision of transparency and accountability in the district administration come true in the real sense and that too in near future. He said the RTI Act is not just any other law, but the very essence of good governance."In order to improve the system, awareness of RTI law among the people of Jammu & Kashmir is vital," said Tarigami while delivering the Presidential address at the District lev...Read more
Posted By : Saine
The Indian government is pressing agencies to proactively release more of the information repeatedly sought by requesters under the Right to Information Act. The government has asked all departments to do an analysis of information sought often by applicants and suo-motu make such details public, according to media reports such as an article in The New Indian Express. The report says the effort is in response to a recommendation by a Parliamentary Standing Committee. For more click the link below http://www.freedominfo.org/2015/07/india-looks-to-encourage-more-proactive-disclosure/...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Rapid Study 3.0 on the state of the Information Commissions in India, published by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative annually can be accessed as an attachment to the post. ...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
New Delhi based Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an NGO working on Access to Information, Prison and Police reforms programmes in India and many countries of commonwealth has welcomed the move of Jammu & Kashmir High Court for notifying its own rules as per the mandate of the J&K RTI Act 2009.  For more, see http://www.earlytimes.in/newsdet.aspx?q=152221...Read more
Posted By : Saine
The political parties are an integral part of parliamentary democracy as they are the ones which either run a government or keep a check on the government in the form of opposition. In the 170th report, the Law Commission had recommended transparency in the functioning of political parties with a special emphasis on the internal party democracy, transparency in financial matters and accountability in their working. It is almost 2 years since the June 3, 2013 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which ruled that the six national political parties (Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party and Bahujan Samaj Party) are covered under the definition of the public authorities under the Section 2(h) of the...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
      Dear all,One silver lining in the dark cloud that was the debate on the amendments to the Whistleblowers Protection Act (WBP Act) was the frequent mention made of the power of the right to information (RTI) and the numerous attacks on RTI users. Several MPs cutting across party lines made these salutary references. Even the Hon'ble Minister of State for Personnel who was piloting the Amendment Bill, justified the amendments as being necessary to further the cause of transparency and accountability and protection of persons combating against corruption though he did not mention how curtailing the scope of whistleblowing by 90% would help those very public causes.The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) was referred to by one MP in the context of the attack...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Why isn't the government appointing a Chief Information Commissioner so I can get the answer sheets that I have been fighting for?" asks Chandan Singh, a disabled engineering student, as he hands over a copy of his petition filed at the Prime Minister's Office. Chandan had moved the Central Information Commission (CIC) against his college, the National Institute of Technology, Trichy, to get a copy of his answer sheets. He won, but the institute insisted it couldn't locate all the papers."When I complained to the commission, they said I would have to wait for the government to appoint the Chief Information Commissioner," says the 22-year-old who was born without a lower arm. "How much longer will it take?"Chandan isn't the only one asking that question ahead of the 10th anniversary, next m...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
UNE: A total of 4.18 lakh people have benefitted from the System of Assisting Residents and Tourists through Helpline Information (Sarathi) started by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), where 89,512 citizens' complaints were addressed through the civic body's grievance monitoring system."A total of 89,695 phone calls were received from citizens till April 30, 2015. Of which, 62,863 sought information while the remaining were complaints. On an average, 440 calls were received every day since the helpline started. The complaint redressal stands at 97.43%," said Neelkanth Poman, in-charge of the works under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.Poman said the Sarathi booklet is available in Marathi, Hindi and English on the website of the civic body. For more cl...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal has said that in accordancewith the provisions of the National Sports Development Code of India (NSDCI), the recognised National Sports Federations arerequired to furnish certain documents namely, annual audited accounts, annual report, details of National / International championships including calendar of events, funds received from other sources etc. to the Ministry every year for annual renewal of their recognition from the Government. For more click on the link below: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/pro-active-disclosure-sports-activities-ioa-and-ns...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
When the Right to Information Act came into force on October 12, 2005, Tamil Nadu was one of the states that put in place a system aimed at implementing it in earnest. Ten years later, the system lies in a shambles, transparency has become a casualty.RTI applications are piling up as only three of the four available information commissioners hear cases on any given day.The Act says that every state can have 11 information commissioners, including the chief information commissioner. However, the state government has sanctioned posts for only seven information commissioners.Adding to delay and pile-up is the commissioners' intransigence that they hear cases in a hall. The Tamil Nadu State Information Commission (TNSIC) building has only three court halls. For more clck on the link below ht...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Tamil Nadu police have closed  over 20 per cent of the cases filed by them in 190 police stations across the State in 39 months till March 2013, a data collected by an NGO has shown. This otherwise means the police citing their investigation have recommended that no further action is required. Based on the data obtained through the Right To Information (RTI) Act, Evidence, the Madurai-based NGO working on Dalit issues, has claimed that 23 per cent of First Information Reports (FIRs) filed at 190 police stations across 10 districts from 2010 to March 2013 have been closed by the police themselves without filing chargesheets or beginning the trial process.   For full news item click on the link below: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Tamil-Nadu-Police-Arbitrarily-C...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Activist and citizens on Tuesday criticised the move to bring in an ordinance for the Maharashtra Right to Public Services (RTS) stating that there was no 'emergency' for it. The Bill though introduced in the budget session was not cleared in both houses. On Monday, governor Vidyasagar Rao signed an ordinance on RTS, paving the way for the state to implement it. As per the Bill submitted in the state legislature, public authorities means government departments and authorities, corporations and local bodies, co-operative societies and anybody financed by the government – not just 'substantially' financed as in the case of RTI Act. Even non-governmental organisations receiving financial assistance from state government will also be covered.   For more click the link below: http://www....Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
  There is some good news for all those who want to file RTI applications. The department of civics and politics of the University of Mumbai will start a certificate course on RTI from the new academic year in July-August. To be in both English and Marathi, it will have a batch of 30 students. The course curriculum has been finalised and it has been moved for approval. For full report please click the link below: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-varsity-to-begin-rti-course-in-july-2081299...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Writing on the Wall is a video documentation of CHRI's intervention in one village in Panchmahals district of Gujarat in India to promote people's access to crucial information they must have from their panchayat (village administration office) under India's Right to Information Act. Villagers narrate how RTI has helped them engage with the bureaucracy effectively for securing their rightful entitlements, combatting corruption and demanding accountability for their actions. Watch the video on the link below: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WvK3H-ZeDr8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvK3H-ZeDr8&feature=youtu.be...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken it upon himself to unravel one of modern India's greatest mysteries, the fate of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, from secret files held by his government. Three days after an India Today Group exclusive revealed a 20-year surveillance on the Bose family, Modi assured Netaji's Grand nephew Surya Kumar Bose of his "personal interest in the matter". And the venue was, quite appropriately, Berlin where Bose surfaced after escaping from India in 1941 to launch an armed struggle for freedom."The truth must come out," the Prime Minister told the Germany-based businessman soon after accepting a petition on behalf of the freedom fighter's family. It was no empty assurance. Barely 48 hours later, the government announced a committee headed by the Cabinet secretary ...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Centre today announced the formation of a three-member committee of senior bureaucrats to study the review of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) in the wake of the requirements under the Right to Information (RTI).The committee, including the Secretaries of Home, Law and Personnel, was formed after the Cabinet Secretary met in February and decided to study the issue in depth, official sources said adding that the first meeting will be held tomorrow. To read more click below http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/committee-formed-to-review-osa-rti-conflict/68046.html...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The provisions of Medical Council of India to protect confidentiality in patients' records cannot override statutes of Right to Information Act, Central Information Commission has held.  Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu held that after RTI Act has come into being, any rules which are not in conformity with the disclosure norms will be overridden by the transparency law.  For further information click on the link below: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/rti-overrides-privacy-norms-of-mci-in-patients-records-central-information-commission/articleshow/46936518.cms  ...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Despite having one of the stronger RTI Laws in the region, India has witnessed an increasing number of instances of attacks and murders of RTI Activists and Users. The report authored by Suchi Pande analyses the reports for such incidents and recommends a more focussed approach on spreading awareness about use of RTI Laws and increasing reprisals against RTI users. You can read the report here!...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Times of India carries a news report about the non-compliance of well known security and intelligence organisations with their obligation of reporting RTI applications statistics to the Central Information Commission (CIC) in India. The streak of comments that followed the news article seemed that they believe that Intelligence agencies should not be brought with the purview of the RTI Act. Here is Mr. Venkatesh Nayak's reply.  To read further click on the link below: http://counterview.org/2015/04/07/disclosing-rti-statistics-does-not-in-any-manner-jeopardise-national-security-external-or-internal/...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Security and intelligence organizations continue to work under the veil of secrecy with minimal scrutiny from Parliament and judiciary. Nearly half of them have not bothered to disclose the number of RTI applications received in the last seven years.  About 11 or 44% of the 25 security agencies including Intelligence Bureau, RAW, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Aviation Research Centre among others have not reported the number of applications received, rejected or information given under RTI since 2007.  To read more about the findings, please click the link below: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RAW-IB-did-not-report-RTI-queries-finds-CIC/articleshow/46830859.cms?...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
A decade after enactment of the Right to Information Act , a study conducted by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has revealed that the government departments are unwilling to share even basic data on how many RTI applications have been received, disposed of or rejected. The study shows that the percentage of public authorities unwilling to share this data with Central Information Commission (CIC), the transparency watchdog, has increased over the years, with 27% of government departments not reporting this data in 2013-14, compared to 11% in 2005-06, the year of introduction of RTI Act. For full news coverage click the link below: http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31816&articlexml=Ministries-Reluctant-to-Share-Info-Under-RTI-says-01042015002072...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The RTI machinery all over India seems to be crumbling. Half the state information commissions, the final appellate authorities for handling cases under the Right to Information Act in states, are subsisting two or fewer commissioners as state governments refuse to fill vacant positions.  To read more about it, click the link below: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/right-to-information-mechanism-is-largely-obsolete/articleshow/46819076.cms...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission's website sought comments form the people on the Draft Regulations for the management of State Information Commission. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative had sent its comments within the deadline specified in the notice. We have made two major recommendations amongst others:   1) that the Draft Rules be translated into Hindi for people in UP and elsewhere to be able to send comments in larger numbers; and   2) extension of the deadline for submission of comments.   Several other RTI users, activists and organisations in UP may have made similar demands.    The UPSIC has put out a notice stating that the Hindi version of the Draft Rules will soon be available for consultation purposes. You may check this on their website at: http://...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
A decade after enactment of the Right to Information Act, a study conducted by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has revealed that the government departments are unwilling to share even basic data on how many RTI applications have been received, disposed of or rejected.  For further information click the link below http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/ministries-still-reluctant-to-share-information-on-rti-applications-with-cic-study/articleshow/46763786.cms  ...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Jammu & Kashmir State Information Commission recently put the J&K State Information Commission (Management) Regulations 2015 which can be accessed at http://jksic.nic.in/RTI%20Act%20publication.pdf for pre legislative consultation. This is tandom of the pre-legislative consultation policy of the of the Central Government. Though CHRI missed on the dates for sending the comments/suggestions, we have requested for an extention of the deadline and would soon sent out comments/suggestion on the draft regulations. The draft regulations are attached....Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Committee of Secretaries of Legislative Department of Ministry of Justice, Government of India on 5th February, 2015 came up with a policy on pre-legislative consultation which is to be invariably followed by every Ministry?Department of Central Government before any legislative proposal is submitted to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. It also requires that the comments/suggestions from the public or the stakeholders should also be made avaible in the public domain. The policy is a commendable initiative in promoting transparency and accountability of the Government....Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Source : Business Standard http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/ls-rs-delhi-hc-not-filing-rti-compliance-reports-chri-115032600772_1.html   Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats and Delhi High Court are among some prominent offices which have not filed mandatory annual reports of compliance of RTI Act even once since the transparency law was enacted nine years ago, according to an advocacy group.Commonwealth Human Right Initiative did a study of annual reports of the Central Information Commission which has been tabled in the Parliament every year and concluded that CIC is not able to compel a large number of public authorities to submit data.Every public authority under the RTI Act is mandated to submit the statistics related to processing of the information seeking ap...Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami
Published on 19 Oct 2014 Venkatesh Nayak, Program Coordinator (Access to Justice) with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, tells us how he used the RTI to ask the Central Government why it has not framed Whistleblowers' Protection Rules, despite the enactment of the Whistleblowers' Protection Act. He also asks what the Government is doing to protect Whistleblowers in India, where cases of assault and murder of Whistleblowers have been steadily increasing. #useRTIsaveRTI...Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami
The report covers international privacy principles, national privacy principles, rationale and emerging issues along with an analysis of relevent legislations/Bills from a privacy perspective....Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami
For two years, national political parties have defied the RTI Act that they themselves passed. They have not sought legal remedy either by appealing against the CIC order declaring them to be Public Authorities. If lawmakers defy the law in this fashion, it sets a bad precedent. Political parties should be more accountable if they break the law, not less Six national parties in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Indian National Congress (INC), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPM and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), have refused to comply with the Central Information Commission (CIC) order of 2013 declaring them as Public Authorities. On March 16, 2015, the CIC passed another order which in effect said...Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami
In the Indian state of Gujarat, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and its partner, Nagrik Adhikar Kendra (Citizens' Rights Centre) worked with local public authorities to transform a rural town into a model for the proactive disclosure of information. Watch this short film on their success in bringing RTI to Malav.    ...Read more
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According to an Office Memorandum put out on Friday by the government’s Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the Department of Posts service will permit NRIs to purchase an Indian Postal Order electronically by paying a fee on-line through e-Post Office Portal. Full news report can be read here. Scanned copy of the press note from the ministry is also attached....Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami
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SummaryOn 10th December 2012 a full bench of the Central Information Commission established under the Right to Information Act, 2005 decided that the Attorney General for India is not a public authority with obligations of transparency and information disclosure. Here you will find a critical analysis of the decision by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.For the full text of the decision, please click here.Excerpt 1. Basic Facts:1.1 Three citizens sought information from the Attorney General for India (AGI) under India’s Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). Shri S C Agrawal (Applicant/Complainant 1) sought the following information: “1. Is it true that Union Ministry for Minority Affairs sought opinion of Honourable Attorney General of India on aspect of providing copies of ...Read more
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SummaryIf the contents of the attachment to this mail are indeed what has been filed before the Registry of the Apex Court the narrative makes for very interesting reading. Paras ‘xvii’ – ‘xxii’ narrate the haste with which the Court took up this matter. Paras ‘T’ and ‘U’ in the Grounds section of the review petition indicate how the arguments and contentions filed by the Central Government do not find any mention in the judgement. All in all the review petition seems to cover most of the grounds that we have been identifying as problem areas in the judgement. The prayers leave much to be desired. I would leave it to our lawyer friends to tell us whether more specific prayers could have been added.I must clarify that I have circulated this attachment in ‘good faith’ a...Read more
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This publication assesses and promotes the information disclosure provisions of the State Panchayat Act and eleven other related laws in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is a valuable resource for individuals using these laws, NGOs working with panchayats and elected representatives or government officials who wish to learn more about their duties under these laws....Read more
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This book analyses the difficult provisions in the RTI Rules that apply to the various offices of the judiciary in Delhi. It contains analyses and recommendations for improvement i the Rules will encourage each court to review and refine its procedure and adopt liberal and assisting approaches to implement RTI....Read more
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This publication assesses and promotes the information disclosure provisions of the State Panchayat Act and nine other related laws in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a valuable resource for individuals using these laws, NGOs working with panchayats and elected representatives or government officials who wish to learn more about their duties under these laws....Read more
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This updated user guide is an invaluable resource for individuals, NGOs and governments, whether they seek to use India’s Right to Information Act (2005) or draw on India’s experience under the Act in their own countries. It answers the questions “What is the Right to Information?”, “How can I get the Act to help me?”, “What information can I get?” and covers a range of other issues, from proactive disclosures to the appeals process....Read more
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his book covers the social, economic and political arguments in favour of the Right to Information, the international and regional instruments protecting it, steps toward practical implementation and a range of vivid case studies from across the world. With a foreword by India’s Chief Information Commissioner, this is a great resource for everybody – from concerned citizens to seasoned campaigners and experts....Read more
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Under India’s Right to Information Act (2005), third parties have certain rights to intervene when an application relates to information about them or which they have provides to public authorities. These parties include any person or body (including a public authority) who is neither (a) the person submitting the application/appeal nor (b) the authority processing the application. This Guidance Note clarifies the rights of these parties, who they are, when they must be consulted and the relevant procedures under the law....Read more
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After the excitement stirred by the passage of India’s Right to Information Act in 2005, this guidance note seeks to clarify the rights, responsibilities and practical operations of the new Information Commissions, whose formation is mandated by the Act at the central and state levels. Drawing on best practice and experience in India and abroad, this resource covers the appeals and complaints procedures, the promotion of the Act, coordination between the different nodal institutions and the sensitive issue of requesting information regarding human rights allegations....Read more
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This publication assesses and promotes the information disclosure provisions of the State Panchayat Raj Act and seven other related laws in Chhattisgarh, India. It is a useful resource for individuals using these laws, NGOs working with panchayats and elected representatives or government officials who wish to learn more about their duties under these laws...Read more
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