Transparency and Accountability

Right to Information

My RTI story: Defence Ministry to disclose joint operational doctrines

After seven years since I sought the information under the RTI Act, the CIC has directed the HQ-IDS to make the complete text of these doctrines public within 15 days. Whether HQ-IDS will comply with the CIC's direction and disclose the Joint Doctrines or challenge that decision in the Delhi High Court remains to be seen.

October 5,2018

Transparency and Accountability

Sunlight is the best disinfectant: SC on live-streaming of court proceedings

In a more than welcomed judgment pertaining to Indira Jaising v. Registrar General of Supreme Court commonly known as the “live streaming” case, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud conceded to the demand of the petitioner-in-person, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising to allow the live-streaming of court proceedings. Justices Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud authored two separate judgments with Chief Justice Misra siding with Justice Khanwilkar.

September 27,2018

Case update

[Exclusive] No foundation course for civil servants, for now

In a response to an RTI application filed by one Paras Nath Singh on May 30, 2018, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) cum Under Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) after being directed by the First Appellate Authority (FAA), informed Singh on September 19, 2018, that no such proposal was under consideration by the Union Government at present.

September 25,2018

Politics

SBI’s leap year daze over Mallya on Feb 29, 2016

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave on February 28, 2016 after assessing the situation advised the SBI team to immediately approach the Supreme Court the next day, February 29, seeking an order restraining Mallya’s overseas travel. But something happened in the next 24 hours after the crucial meeting between the SBI team and Dave. Dave waited but there was no response from the SBI team on February 29. Why?

September 14,2018

Right to Information

CIC, SICs: Centre sitting on appointments

In response to a PIL, the Government of India in an affidavit has said that it is looking at only four of the eight vacancies, and has also not committed any specific timeframe within which to fill in all the vacancies should be filled. The affidavit has also revealed that Modi Government has been intending to amend the RTI Act, 2005 since 2016 itself to change the very nature of the posy of Information Commissioners.

September 12,2018

Right To Informtion

Charging GST on fees under RTI Act is illegal

All public authorities under the RTI Act, whether within the public or the non-government sector are prohibited from charging GST for providing information under the RTI Act. he GST Act's exemption will directly apply to the duties that PIOs perform under the RTI Act.  This exemption will apply to First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) also who are government servants, wherever the State RTI Rules empower them to charge appeal fees. Therefore, it would be brazenly illegal to charge GST for providing access to information or deciding first appeals under the RTI Act.

September 4,2018

Transparency and Accountability

EVMs: SC seeks reply from ECI on unauthorised handling

The Petitioner has contended that in the Uttarakhand State Elections held in February 2017, not only the Election Commission officials and employees of Electronics Corporation Of India Limited(ECIL) were allowed access to the EVMs, but also several persons belonging to a private firm M/s T&M Services Consulting Private Limited engaged by the ECIL were allowed to access the EVMs — thereby raising serious concerns and apprehensions about the possibility of a security breach.

September 4,2018

Law and Technology

How Aadhaar can rig the electoral system

Aadhaar data-linked sensitive private information on citizens that Central and State governments, and by default, the political parties in power, have access to could easily be used to create caste and religion based voter maps. Such data would be invaluable to a Delimitation Committee mandated with the task of redrawing the boundaries of constituencies, and could well empower such a Committee with the potential to influence the delimitation process in a manner that could influence the outcome of an election in favour of a particular political party/group, thereby unethically influencing the electoral system and undermining democracy.

August 30,2018

Right To Informtion

CIC denies info on Amit Shah’s personal security

The RTI application was filed on July 5, 2014 which cited media report stating that Amit Shah, the national president of the Bhartiya Janata Party, would be provided Z-Plus security cover by the Government. This information was denied by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the MHA, citing exemption clause (g) & (j) of the Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, and has now been upheld by the CIC.

August 25,2018

Transparency and Accountability

Live-Streaming: SC agrees to test Jaising’s plea

The petitioner, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising herself, had filed a Writ Petition on January 18, 2018 to permit the live streaming of Supreme Court case proceedings of constitutional and national importance, having an impact to the public at large. The primary grounds for the request was based on the mandates under Article 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which upon a conjoint reading correspond to the right to receive information, and the access to justice through open courts

August 24,2018

Transparency and Accountability

CIC wants Zee News editor’s RTI answered

The applicant, Sudhir Chaudhary, on May 12, 2016 filed an RTI application seeking information on the process of filing a criminal complaint on behalf of Government of NCT of Delhi. A criminal complaint was filed against Zee News, News X, and India News with allegations of having knowingly and with malicious intent caused damage to JNU students. Charges under Sections 465 (punishment for forgery) and 471 (using as genuine forged document or electronic record) of the IPC were pressed.

August 23,2018

Transparency and Accountability

Whither political transparency?

Enquiries through the Right to Information Act have become a powerful facilitator of accountability of state institutions by the citizens of India. Recent developments have indicated however that the State Bank of India has been dodging pertinent information related to electoral bonds.

August 18,2018

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