right to information (r2i)

For BCAJ December, 2016

 

Part A | Decision of Supreme Court

Disclosure of names of big loan defaulters pointless: SC

 

The Supreme Court said public disclosure of names of defaulters who owe banks over Rs. 500 crore in bad loans is pointless.

 

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said focus, instead, should be on the question “why these non-performing assets [NPAs] are piling up.”

 

“Disclosure of the names will not lead us anywhere. The root of the problem is why these are NPAs accumulating ... why are they being allowed to do so?” Chief Justice Thakur observed.

 

The observation from the Bench gains significance as it was on the Supreme Court’s order that the government filed a confidential list of 57 defaulters who owe the banks about Rs. 85,000 crore in bad loans.

 

The previous hearings had seen the apex court turn the heat on the Reserve Bank of India for expressing reluctance in making public the names of big loan defaulters.

 

“Who are these people who have borrowed money and are not paying back? Why this fact that the person has borrowed money and not paying back be not known to public?” the Chief Justice had asked in the previous hearing.

 

The apex court had said the RBI should bring the names of defaulters into the public domain through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

“People should know how much money a person has borrowed and how much money he needs to pay back. The amount payable should be known to public. Why should you withhold information?” Chief Justice Thakur had asked.

 

On Friday, the Bench’s change of stance about disclosure of the names was stark, especially when it asked “what change will it [disclosing the names and details of big defaulters to the public] do?”

 

“The real service is to find out the root cause of the accumulated NPAs. Your petition is not anyway about the disclosure of names,” Chief Justice Thakur addressed advocate Kamini Jaiswal, representing the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation.

 

The court said the second important thing was to recover the NPAs. To this, Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre and the RBI, submitted that the government was taking steps to clear the NPAs.

 

Source: The Hindu

 

Part B | RTI Act, 2005

Now you can file complaints, appeals online in CIC

 

RTI applicants will soon be able to file complaints and appeals with Central Information Commission (CIC) online.

 

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate the two-day annual convention of the CIC on Monday, during which he will launch the 'e-Court' system -- aimed at enabling speedy disposal of appeals and complaints by using digital technology.

 

"The system will allow online filing of appeals and complaints and case disposals using latest technology. The system will generate a unique number which can be used by the applicant for tracking the status of a case filed with the Commission.

 

"As soon as a case is filed online or offline, the system will generate SMS and email alert to the applicant. Alerts will also be generated to inform the applicant at the stage of registration, issue of facilitation memo, scheduling of the case hearing and also at the stage of decision uploading," a press release issued today by Personnel Ministry said.

 

The system will offer an online search facility which allow users to search for dak, file, hearing notice and decision etc., it said.

 

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh will also be present on the occasion.

 

The RTI Act, 2005, which was enacted by the then UPA government, enables a citizen to seek governance-related information in a time-bound manner from central government departments by filing an application.

 

The CIC was constituted in 2005 for dealing with second appeals and complaints filed under the RTI Act, 2005. The Commission has till now heard and disposed off about two lakh cases.

 

For convenience of the information seekers, the Commission encourages hearings through video conference. Since April 1, 2015, the Commission has heard almost 19,000 cases through video conferencing.

 

In all 25,960 cases were registered with CIC in 2015-16 and during the same period 28,188 cases were disposed off.

 

During April-October, 2016 about 12,780 cases were registered and 15,993 cases have been disposed off by the Commission, the release said.

 

The Home Minister will also release a book on RTI success stories which has been prepared by Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, Pune.

 

The convention is expected to be attended, among other high dignitaries, by all present and former Central Information Commissioners and State Information Commissioners as well as representatives of public authorities and other stakeholders.

 

The inauguration function will be followed by various sessions on topics such as RTI in railways, RTI web portal by Department of Personnel and Training, RTI in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), RTI in banking and insurance, academic papers on RTI and RTI in states. The sessions will be attended by eminent panelists and experts in these areas.

 

The implementation of RTI in RBI, SBI, PFRDA, IRDAI and LIC will also be discussed in a separate session. Academic papers on topics like success and failure of the Right to Information Act, harnessing IT for RTI in an Institute of Higher Learning, RTI as an instrument of change, Right to Petition to Right to Information etc. will also be discussed in a separate session.

 

 

Source: The Economics Times

 

Part C | Success Story

 

I am M. S. Vohra. I made an RTI application with the help of RTI clinic BCAS in Collector of Stamps who have overcharged the stamp duty on my documents lodged for adjudication. After my RTI application, the collector of stamps, old Customs house, Fort reduced the stamp duty from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 3,000 based on the fresh documents submitted by me one year back, which remained unattended for more than a year.

 

Due to the RTI application, I got the stamp duty reduced by 90%.

 

Thanks to the RTI clinic and BCAS support and help for making RTI application.

 

M. S. Vohra

Mobile: 9869450623