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Dear all,

The Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India has invited comments on a new set of Draft Rules (available in English only) to implement The Right to Information Act, 2005. The RTI Rules were last amended in 2012 after a long period of consultation with various stakeholders. The Government's move to put the draft RTI Rules out for people's comments and suggestions for change is a welcome continuation of the tradition of public consultation.

Positive aspects of the Draft RTI Rules

While 60-65% of the Draft RTI Rules repeat the content of the 2012 RTI Rules, some new aspects deserve appreciation as they clarify the manner of implementation of key provisions of the RTI Act. These are:

  1. Provisions for dealing with non-compliance of the orders and directives of the Central Information Commission (CIC) by public authorities- this was missing in the 2012 RTI Rules. Non-compliance is increasingly becoming a major problem- two of my non-compliance cases are pending before the CIC;
  2. Posting of non-compliance cases involving public interest before larger Benches of the CIC;
  3. Procedure for filing complaints under Section 18(1) of the RTI Act;
  4. Prescription of formats for filing appeals and complaints, without making them mandatory;
  5. Making it mandatory for the public authority to serve an advance copy of its counter to an appeal or complaint on the appellant/complainant.

Despite these positive elements, there are several problematic areas in the Draft Rules.

Problematic aspects of the Draft RTI Rules

To begin with, the very approach to the Rule-making exercise has not moved from a bureaucratic one to a citizen-friendly one. Some of the new proposals seem to be inspired by the overtly bureaucratic and largely citizen-unfriendly RTI Rules notified in Uttar Pradesh since 2015. The Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission has not been able to publish any Annual Report during the last 13 years of implementation of the RTI Act. At the end of February, 2017 more than 48,000 appeals and complaints were pending before the UPIC. So with due respect, it must be pointed out, UP cannot become the model for RTI implementation for the rest of India.

Instead, with a truly citizen-friendly set of RTI Rules and a more than 90% rate of disposal of appeals and complaints between 2005 and 2016, Uttarakhand should be treated as the model, at least for the framing of the RTI Rules (see attachment for UTK's RTI Rules). CHRI had brought this model to the DoPT in 2016.

Major problem areas in the DoPT's Draft RTI Rules are given below:

Allowing for the withdrawal and abatement of appeals is like a death sentence

Draft Rule 12 seeks to empower the CIC to permit withdrawal of an appeal if an appellant makes a written request. Pending appeals proceedings will come to an end automatically with the death of the appellant. In 2011, the DoPT had proposed a similar provision which civil society vehemently opposed. Both measures were dropped because civil society actors were able to highlight media reports of murderous attacks on RTI users who sought information of public interest. The Draft Rules have reintroduced this idea seemingly inspired by Rule 13 of the UP RTI Rules, 2015.

In 2017, there are more than 375 recorded instances of attacks on citizens who sought information to expose corruption and wrongdoing in various public authorities. Of these, 56 are murders, at least 157 cases of physical assault and more than 160 cases of harassment and threats some of which have resulted in death by suicide. UP alone accounts for 6 alleged murders, 10 cases of physical assault and at least 9 cases of harassment since 2005. By legally permitting withdrawal of appeals vested interests will feel emboldened to pressurise RTI users to withdraw their appeals before the CIC. If this proposed Rule becomes law at the Centre, most other States will make similar amendments, thereby unwittingly jeopardising the life and safety of RTI users. These amendments must not be allowed to go through when the Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011 has been put in cold storage and Parliament is being called upon to approve a regressive set of amendments that will effectively discourage all whistleblowing in the country and permit the prosecution of the few courageous ones under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

Further, in Union of India vs Namit Sharma (2013) the Supreme Court recognised and accepted CHRI's argument (made as an Intervenor) that RTI appeals and complaints are not in the nature of a lis (dispute- civil or criminal in nature where rights of parties have to be decided). RTI Act deals with administrative matters only- whether or not the requested information ought to be disclosed. This is why the Apex Court ruled that the Information Commissions established under the RTI Act are only administrative tribunals, not quasi-judicial tribunals. So, given this understanding of RTI appeals and complaints there is no reason why an appeal should come to an end on the death of the appellant. Instead the CIC should pursue the matter and rule in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act. Where information is directed to be disclosed, it may be proactively displayed on the website of the concerned public authority and a copy sent to the deceased's address so that the family or friends may make use of it. Retention of the abatement Rule will encourage more murderous attacks on RTI users to silence them and put an and to the proceedings before the CIC.

Turning appeals and complaints procedures into complex court procedures

Draft Rule 8(1)(viii), (ix) and (3) and Draft Rule 13(1)(vi) and (3), require an appellant or a complainant, as the case may be, to serve an advance copy of all documents and written submissions to the public authority and attach evidence of having done this. This must be done "before submitting the appeal or the complaint" to the CIC. This procedure which is followed in courts where 'lis' (see immediately previous paragraph) are decided, is completely unsuited for the CIC. An appeal or a complaint becomes such only upon submission to the CIC. Until it is submitted to the CIC is is only a "draft appeal" or "draft complaint". Instead the Rule should specify that a copy of the complaint/appeal should be transmitted to the public authority concerned simultaneously or after submission to the CIC with proof to be shown at the time of hearing.

This principle is already evidenced in Draft Rule 19. A public authority is required to serve a copy of its counter statement to an appellant or complainant only after it is submitted to the CIC. There is no reason why an appellant or complainant should be subjected to a different standard of treatment.

Mandatory requirement of an RTI application in complaint cases

Despite providing separate procedures for submitting appeals and complaints, the Draft Rules do not seem to have understood the difference between these two remedies. In the matter of Chief Information Commr. Manipur & Anr. vs State of Manipur & Anr. (2011) the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India clarified that it is mandatory to use the 2-tiered appeals procedure give under Section 19 of the Act if the RTI applicant is aggrieved by any action of the CPIO or the First Appellate Authority. The complaints procedure under Section 18 of the Act is meant for supervisory purposes only. It is possible to file a complaint against a public authority, for example, for not complying with the strict obligation of proactive information disclosure under Section 4(1) of the RTI Act. An RTI application should not be required to access such information. This is clearly mentioned in Section 4(2) of the RTI Act which requires every public authority to take action to make more and more information publicly available so that people's need to make formal requests for information is reduced. If such information is not posted on the website of the public authority, it should be possible to file a complaint directly with the CIC. A copy of the RTI application should not be made a mandatory support document in such cases, as there will not be any.

No person other than a designated officer should decide first appeals

Even though the Draft Rules do not provide for a procedure for deciding first appeals, Draft Rule 10(a) opens up the possibility of such cases being decided by "any other person competent" who is not designated as the first appellate authority. This is a contravention of Section 19(1) of the RTI Act which requires an officer senior in rank to be designated as the first appellate authority to receive and decide first appeals and complaints from RTI applicants who are aggrieved by a CPIO's decision or inaction. Reference to "any other person competent to decide" must be deleted from Draft Rule 19(a).

No time limits for serving notice of hearings on appellants and complainants

While the Draft Rules introduce time limits that complainants must observe for filing complaints, there are no time limits for ensuring that notice of a hearing in an appeal or complaint reaches the citizen well in advance. Draft Rule 18 must be amended to require the CIC to ensure that notice of every hearing in an appeal or complaint must be delivered to the person at least 15 days in advance of the date of such hearing. Time limts should be applicable to everybody and not only appellants and complainants.

Posting matters of non-compliance before other Commissioner(s)

Draft Rule 17 leaves it to the discretion of the Chief Information Commissioner to post a non-compliance matter before a 'Bench' other than which decided the initial matter or before a larger Bench. First, given the finding of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Union of India vs Namit Sharma (2013) that the CIC is only an administrative tribunal, it would be improper to label Commissioners sitting to hear and decide cases as 'Benches'. Second, the Rules must provide for posting a non-compliance matter before another Commissioner or a set of Commissioners on the request of the appellant/complainant also.

DoPT does not seem to be keeping up with the NDA's digital revolution

Draft Rule 4 continues to prescribe fees for providing information in the form of 'diskettes and floppies'. Both forms of electronic storage have become outdated. The DoPT must recognise that information can be provided electronically through email, flash drives or CDs/DVDs. The Rules must prescribe fees for providing information through these methods. The DoPT is directly under the Hon'ble Prime Minister who is pushing India towards the digital age in the TINA mode (There Is No Alternative mode) without ascertaining whether people want it or not and if there is adequate infrastructure and awareness amongst people for so doing. It must discard floppies and diskettes and adopt more modern methods of information storage.

What is missing from the amendment proposals

  1. No procedure for deciding first appeals: The Draft Rules are silent on the procedure to be adopted by the first appellate authority (FAA) for deciding first appeals from citizens aggrieved by a decision or inaction of the CPIO. According to the RAAG Study published in 2013, the first appeals system has become nearly defunct across the country. One of the reasons for this is the absence of detailed rules for disposing first appeals. The UP RTI Rules also do not provide for a first appeals procedure. However, the Uttarakhand RTI Rules contain a detailed procedure for disposing first appeals. CHRI had sent a copy of the Uttarakhand Rules to the DoPT in 2016. The enthusiasm for adopting the UP model seems to have resulted in the DoPT completely ignoring the Uttarakhand model.
  2. No Rules for deciding appeals in life and liberty cases: The RTI Act provides for the disclosure of information concerning the life and liberty of a person on an urgent basis- within 48 hours. However the Act is silent on the timelines for disposing appeals and complaints in cases relating to life and liberty. A citizen is compelled to wait for 45 days for the FAA's order and then endlessly for the CIC's order. This lacuna could have been corrected in he Draft Rules, 2017 but they are silent on this issue.
  3. No time limit for CIC to decide cases: A major problem that almost every RTI user and also studies commissioned by the DoPT and civil society recognise is the long delays in disposal of appeals and complaints filed before the CIC. The Draft Rules do not prescribe a time limit for the CIC to dispose of such cases. The MP RTI Rules require the State Information Commission (SIC) to dispose of appeals in 180 days. The J&K RI Act requires the SIC to dispose of second appeals within 120 days at maximum. The RTI Rules must also lay down a practical time limit for the disposal of cases by the CIC. Instead, all time limits in the Draft Rules are imposed on citizens only.
  4. Increasing convenience for fee payments: Several RTI activists have called for the institution of special RTI stationery for payment of application and additional fees. Until such stationery is developed, it is advisable to increase the methods of fee payment to include money orders
  5. No procedure for penalty proceedings: The Delhi High Court has given multiple judgements that create confusion to the point of preventing an appellant or complainant from participating in a proceedings before the CIC to decide whether or not penalty may be imposed on the CPIO. The Draft Rules must be amended to allow the participation of the citizen in the penalty proceedings as the cause for action is always instituted by him or her through the appeal or complaint filed before the CIC. There is no justification for treating penalty proceedings solely as a matter between the CIC, the errant CPIO and the concerned public authority.
  6. No clarity of procedure to be followed in non-compliance cases: While the Draft Rules provide for the institution of a case about non-compliance with the CIC's orders, there is no clarity on how such proceedings must be conducted. Also, in all such cases penalty for non-compliance and recommendation of disciplinary action against the errant CPIO should be the default position unless he or she is able to demonstrate that the non-compliance was not due to disobedience or wilful negligence.

Consultation process is elitist

The DoPT's notification (in English) states that comments may be offered on the Draft RTI Rules, 2017 only via email by 15th April, 2017. With barely 25% citizens having access to the Internet, let alone email and most of them not conversant in English, this consultation exercise does not seem to adhere to the principle- 'sab ka saath' the first half of the hallmark slogan of the NDA Government. To prevent this consultation from becoming an elitist exercise, the time limit for consultation should be expanded to one month as there is no reason for rushing through this exercise and the text of the Draft Rules must be made available at least in Hindi, to start with. Several public authorities like the Department of Financial Services, Reserve Bank of India and the NHPC send replies to RTI applications in Hindi and at least one Central Information Commissioner has adopted the welcome measure of recording decisions in Hindi. There is no reason why the consultation cannot be made more broadbased as the DoPT's notification does not contain any justification for the hurried consultation process. According to the CIC, in 2015-16 9.6 lakh RTI applications were submitted to various public authorities in the Central Government and the Union Territories. Surely, many of these applicants would like to have their say in the consultation process.

It is advisable for the DoPT to make arrangements to listen to the Mann ki Baat of citizens as well. Surely, conversations can be called such, only when they are a two-way traffic of views.

Thanks

Venkatesh Nayak
Programme Coordinator - Access to Information Programme
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Website: www.humanrightsinitiative.org

“The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything, that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing": Justice K K Mathew, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, (1975)

"“Where a society has chosen to accept democracy as its credal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing": Justice P N Bhagwati, former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, (1981)

"Information is the currency that every citizen requires to participate in the life and governance of society”: Justice A. P. Shah, former Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, (2010)

In a landmark decision the Mumbai DG of police office has issued a circular directing all the police officials between the rank of PSI to PI to file their assets returns till 31st March. Up till now only IPS officers had to file such returns every year, this is the first time MPSC cadre officers will have to file returns which shall be repeated every year. Considering the massive corruption among lower rank officers this is a big and positive decision taken by the Government.

This circular had also made it clear that officers who fail to file their returns will have to face disciplinary action. Although it might not reduce the corruption but it will definitely make it complicated for corrupt officers to invest their black money. Time and again we have heard of police officers who amass assets worth crores of rupees, but never file any returns which makes ACB's job difficult.

Interestingly, this circular, while dated 10 days before RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge filed an RTI requesting the information came to light only several days after the filing of the application 😉

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In June, the CIC, which ensures the RTI Act is implemented and public queries are answered by government departments, ruled that the six major national parties (NCP, Congress, BJPCPIBSPCPI(M)) are public authorities under the Right to Information Act and as such must respond to RTI applications. The parties were directed to appoint PIOs and appellate authorities within six weeks as required to be compliant with the RTI Act.

The Bench, comprising Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Information Commissioners Annapurna Dixit and M.L. Sharma, held that the six political parties had been substantially financed by the Central government. Section 2(h)(ii) of the RTI Act states that “public authority” includes any non-governmental organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly, by funds provided by the appropriate government.

Large tracts of land in prime areas of Delhi had been placed at the disposal of the political parties that are respondents at exceptionally low ratesHuge government accommodations have been placed at the disposal of political parties at very cheap ratesIncome tax exemptions granted and the free air time allotted on All India Radio and Doordarshan at the time of elections also substantially contribute to the financing of the political parties by the Central government. Political parties affect the lives of citizens, directly or indirectly, in every conceivable way and are continuously engaged in performing public duty.

“It is, therefore, important that they became accountable to the public,”

Transparency and accountability of public Authorities is the backbone of a democracy. And the CIC has batted a huge one for the public when they pointed out:

“It would be odd to argue that transparency is good for all state organs but not so good for political parties, which, in reality, control all the vital organs of the state,”

It is a reflection on the state of rule of law and order in India that none of the parties have done so. Instead, having failed to make a convincing case to keep them out of the purview of the RTI Act, they are doing what they do best. Change law, so that the CIC has no authority over them.

This isn't the only way they are using law to protect their interests that are directly against national interest. The UPA is trying to build a consensus to create a law overturning a Supreme Court verdict that an elected representative convicted of a crime cannot continue in office, even if they appeal to a higher court of law. The method used by politicians convicted of crimes was to file appeals and continue in their roles with the excuse that their case was under appeal. This obviously suits political parties, considering that there is a higher percentage of people with criminal cases against them in Assemblies and the Parliament than on the streets. So, they are trying to bring about a law that will sabotage this landmark judgment by the highest court in India.

Incidentally, the current government probably holds some kind of record for pending bills, but these "save-your-ass" bills seem to anticipate no trouble getting passed. Even the Walkout Party (BJP) is expected to support them, in the longstanding tradition that the laws most harmful to people and profitable to corrupt politicians have been passed unanimously and with minimum debate.

Coming back to the original point, do you know what this joker UPA sarkar gave as a reason to deny any need for RTI for political parties?

Political parties and candidates including MLAs and MPs are accountable to the Election Commission, Income Tax authority and the law of the land

This, is a massive LIE! Flashback to 2009. Ashok Chavan (of Adarsh Scam fame) submitted election expenses to the Eletion Commission of India stated that he spent less than 7 lakh on his total election campaign, inluding Rs. 5,379 on newspaper advertisements (for 6 ads in one minor daily) and Rs.6,000 on cable television ads. Burst out laughing, didja? The Hindu stated that it had collected 47 full page color advertisements in newspapers (including at least one full front page and major dailies ) like Lokmat (which is among the 10 largest newspapers in India and top in Maharashtra -NRS 2006). Essentially, Chavan submitted acounts that would give him a full color page in a newspaper for less than Rs. 200. Of course this is absurd, and the Election Commission wanted to disqualify him for bogus accounts.

Ashok Chavan challenged the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of India to disqualify him in the Supreme Court. In a counter-affidavit to the Election Commission's stand, the UPA argued that the “correctness or otherwise” of the accounts is no concern of the body that conducts and regulates elections and held that the ECI's authority to disqualify a candidate “arises only in the event of failure to lodge an account of expenses and not for any other reason…”. In other words, as long as accounts were submitted, however bogus, the Election Commission of India had no authority to disqualify candidates for outright fakery. So much for accountable to the Election Commission of India.

Accountable to the law of the land? This counter affidavit also went against an earlier Supreme Court judgement in the R. Shivarama Gowde vs. P.M. Chandrashekar case (AIR 1999 SC. 252) where, a full Bench ruled “The commissioncan go into the correctness of election expenses filed by the candidate and disqualify a candidate under section 10A of Representation of the People Act 1951.” The court had further held that even if the candidate had not exceeded theelection expenditure limit, the ECI could still disqualify him if he had not lodged those accounts in a true and correct manner.

That was Supreme Court then. This is Parliament now and UPA is also going on record saying that MPs and MLAs are accountable to the Election Commission of India as a reason for why there is no need for RTI into political parties. In essence, UPA is a "double dhol" to borrow quaint Mumbai street slang. By faking facts on whim, it is merrily sabotaging law and eroding the right of people to demand accountability from entities that lie behind all government policies.

Also as Professor Jagdeep S Chhokar writes in the DNA:

Myth No. 3:    Political parties give all necessary information to the ECI and income tax authorities, and citizens can get it from them.

Reality
: This is not true. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) got copies of income tax returns of political parties through a long-drawn RTI process in 2008. It was discovered from the IT returns that sources of only 20 per cent of the total income, on average, were disclosed in the IT returns. The sources of the balance 80 per cent remain shrouded in mystery. This is what led ADR to seek more information from political parties.

They refused saying they would not do so as they were not public authorities. This is what led to ADR’s complaint to the CIC. All appropriate information is not available to citizens.

A report titled a report titled 'analysis of income, expenditure and donations of MP's major political parties' released by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that more than 75% of funding to political parties is from unknown sources. Companies like DOW Chemicals and Vedanta have contributed to political parties in a violation of Foreign Contribution Act (FCRA). The article is worth a read to understand where the money comes from that designs governance that impacts our lives. One only has to remember Bhopal to remember how DOW and the Congress government colluded to deny the victims of the ghastly disaster adequate compensation and prevent prosecution of the management. One only has to see the monumental struggle the tribals of Niyamgiri have to fight to protect their land from Vedanta (also represented by a top Congress politician in courts). It is incestuous, it is opaque and it is against the interest of Indians.

If we let this pass, we will be left with a government that thinks nothing of fooling us to profit itself and hold on to power.

Save India. Save RTI.

India is rapidly becoming a country lost in depression. With over a hundred bills pending, the opposition staging walkouts like it was a fashion show ramp, precarious economy, the two things our politicians appear to be unanimous on are both against National Interest.

 

One is

Baijayant Panda, MP tweeted that the UPA was trying for an all-party consensus on a law against the Supreme Court order disqualifying convicted MPs. Considering that the main parties in the Parliament also happen to be the parties with the most politicians with criminal cases against them, they are coming together to pass a law and save their behinds. So they can continue to comfortably enjoy their privilege while filing appeals and leisurely court cases.

It would be tough to imagine anything worse than this in terms of democracy, but there is worse. After the CIC order that ruled that six National Parties would be brought under RTI Act because they were public authorities, the government is doing what it does best. Match fixing. Said six parties are in agreement that they will do no such thing and are amending the law to provide exempton to political parties. This morning. None of the parties have instituted PIOs as directed.

So let us get this straight. Citizens rights are eroded for "security", but the far greater problem of corruption and accountability in a country that has almost made a religion out of it does not deserve transparency.

A democracy defends citizen's rights and provides transparency in public organizations. This worthless government and the useless oppositon and their cronies in the Parliament will conspire to prevent accountabilty in what have emerged as the greatest hubs of corruption.

The political parties that get land for their offices in Delhi, residential space for leaders, that don't pay taxes on donations they get from the public have the gall to formally put information about them out of reach of questioning by the masses.

They do not think the public has a right to know how they run their party before trusting them to run the government. It seems after these jokers wrecking the country to this extent, they still expect us to make our decisions based on the propaganda they design for us to swallow instead of examining how they operate and seeing if we want that for the nation.

Today, they will bring about this farce in the Parliament. I sincerely hope enough people with conscience are still left alive that it doesn't pass, but hopes are low. If they bring about this perversion of the RTI Act, remember names. Remember faces. Remember parties. Never vote for them ever again.

Save India. Save the right of people to demand accountability.

Save RTI.

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Mumbai, 24thJuly 2012: Beware Mumbai citizens! Think twice before complaining against illegal building activity to MCGM’s officers on their official email id and mobile numbers, or they may threaten to book you under cyber-crime laws! Also be careful if they invite you to meet them with your complaint on Lokshahi Din, because they may land you in trouble! Your efforts in bringing the illegal activities to the attention of the authorities may not be appreciated; far from it! After a tongue-lashing, you may well be scrambling to save your skin from the cybercrime police, for the cyber-crime of emailing a complaint!

state-bank-india-juhu-Slab-Punctured-Staircase outside state bank of India JuhuOn Monday 15th July, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balamvar sent this message to citizens loud and clear in his office at his Lokshahi Din (which ironically means, “the day when the citizen is king”). Advocate Sunil Tiwari, who had waited patiently outside his office from 3.30 till 5.15, was asked why he had sent complaints and building photographs to his email id (DMC.z4@mcgm.gov.in) and to his mobile phone (9820702619) on Whatsapp, was asked to produce documents to prove that he was actually an advocate! The DMC refused point-blank to even talk about Adv. Tiwari’s complaint about the illegal alteration (breaking the ground-floor slab to install a stairway) of a Juhu building by State Bank of India, photos attached) causing a danger of building collapse, and instead asked Tiwari what right he had to clog his official email and his mobile phone with complaints and photos of the building.

“Are you living in that building? How are you affected by the alterations being made? If you are not living in that building, what right have you to send me such messages? I want you to delete the email, the message you sent me from my mailbox and phone. Will you do that? Otherwise, I will complain to cyber-crime police, and look at what action to take against you under the cyber-laws,” he allegedly said. Adv Sunil Tiwari (9820702619) was shaken and indignant at the end of this unexpected turn of events, to say the least!

damaged slab and illegal staircase construction

Sunil’s friend and mentor in activism, RTI Activist Sulaiman Bhimani (9323642081), who is an interior designer, remarks that this reveals the nexus between commercial interests who make illegal alternations in buildings, and BMC’s officers, who knowingly look the other way. “Memories of recent building collapses are fresh in the minds of Mumbaikar, especially those who lost their near and dear ones due to the greed of someone. Many of the buildings collapsed due to illegal and unauthorized structural changes made on ground floor. MCGM engineers fail to take cognizance of such activities and they turn nelson eyes to such rampant illegal changes the reasons best known to them. And it seems that citizens who complain against such corruption and malpractices are intimidated by Municipal officials, who should be protecting the citizens instead of protecting such unlawful elements! If Mr Balamvar does not take cognizance of Adv. Tiwari’s complaint on a serious matter concerning common people’s lives, and instead, can talk arrogantly like this to an advocate, imagine how he would be dealing with poor people who approach him with grievances and complaints! And, if their official phones and email addresses – which is paid for with taxpayer money -- cannot be used for sending complaints, what will the citizens do?” asks Bhimani.

 

Although the President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister and others are used to routinely receive complaints from irate citizens, one doubts that anybody has threatened citizens with action under cyber-crime laws! But evidently, this Deputy Municipal Commissioner wants to set a precedent and firmly show citizens their place!

Says Corporator Dilip Patel, BJP group leader in MCGM and member of MMRDA committee (was cc-ed in almost all the complaints that Sunil Tiwari sent to MCGM), “I phoned and asked Balamvar about this altercation with Adv. Sunil, whom I have met. Balamvar replied that he would explain everything to me personally, and so, I will be meeting him tomorrow. Let us see what he says.”

 

Meanwhile, Adv Tiwari has written to CM Prithviraj Chavan and others to suspend DMC Balamwar, Asst commissioner K/West ward and the concerned engineers, and to check their call records to reveal their nexus.

 

DOWNLOADS FOR MEDIA:

1)      Adv Sunil Tiwari’s  complaint  against UNAUTHORIZED CIVIL WORK: http://tinyurl.com/complaint-x-SBI-Juhu

2)      Publishable photo of SBI Juhu from outside: http://tinyurl.com/SBI-Juhu

3)      Full text of Tiwari’s complaint against DMC Vijay Balamvar, sent by email & speedpost to CM, Municipal Commissioner etc: http://tinyurl.com/complaint-x-DMC-Balamvar

 

Far from being cowed down, we urge the common man to register their complaints (and also their protest against such bad behavior by civic officials) on their email ids – official or otherwise – and also their mobile phones!

 

Warmly,

Krishnaraj Rao

RTI Activist

9821588114