Campaign or Protest against Controversial Amendment / Mutilation of Karnataka RTI Act 2005
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, President, Prime Minister (PM), Governor / Guv of Karnataka, Chief Minister (CM) and Chief Secretary (CS)
Syed Tanveeruddin (Indian)
More Info at:
An appeal to save the Right to Information or RTI Act 2005
RTI Amendment in Karnataka India
Government Of Karnataka
NO.DPAR;14:RTI:2008 Karnataka Government Secretariat
DPAR (Janaspandana Cell)
3rd Floor. Podium Block, V V Towers
In exercise of the Powers conferred by Sub-Section (1) and (2) of Section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (Central Act 22 of 2005), The Government of Karnataka hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Karnataka Right to Information Rules, 2005, namely:
Title and Commencement: (1) These rules may be called the Karnataka Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2008.
(2) They shall come into force from the date of their publication in Official Gazette.
Insertion of new rule 14: In the Karnataka Right to Information Rules, 2005, after rule 13, the following shall be inserted, namely:
"14. Request relate only to single subject matter: A request in writing for information under section 6 of the Act shall relate to one subject matter and it shall not ordinarily exceed one hundred and fifty words. If an applicant wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter, he shall make separate applications;
Provided that in case, the request made relates to more than one subject matter, the Public Information Officer may respond to the request relating to the first subject matter only and may advise the applicant to make separate application for each of the other subject matters."
By Order and in the name of the
President of India
(B. Shivarudra Swamy)
Under Secretary to Government, I/C
DPAR (Janaspandana Cell - RTI)
Aruna Roy: don't mess with Information Act The Hindu Tuesday, Aug 22,2006
Ms. Roy said: "You can only blackmail those who have something to hide. For every one mischief maker, there are 99 others for whom the information is relevant."
"Any Government servant who will not put down his opinion must be sent home. It is a criminal offence to mislead the public. The people are sovereign. Thanks to years of secrecy, today the IAS is not a steel frame but a wooden frame riddled with white ants."
Ms. Roy's parting comments: If the Government messed with the Act it could forget about getting votes from the people.
RTI amendment triggers protests: Deccan Herald Thursday, April 17, 2008
The government appears to have opened a can of worms by bringing an amendment to the RTI Act as several Rights Groups have opposed the amendment vehemently.
When there is no popular government in place in Karnataka, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms brought an amendment to Act on March 17. The amendment says the request for information should relate only to a single subject matter and the question shall not 'ordinarily' exceed 150 words.
In case the application wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter, he shall make a separate application. If the request relates to more than one subject matter, the public information officer may respond to the request relating to the first subject matter only
and "may advise the applicant to make separate application for each of the other subject matters," says the new amendment.
Several RTI activists and rights groups have decided to oppose it. It is learnt members of Kriya Katte, an action forum which has launched an RTI study centre, has decided to complain to AICC president Sonia Gandhi. "It was Sonia Gandhi's initiative to introduce RTI. So, we have decided to brief her about the undemocratic move of bureaucrats when no popular government is in place," said Veeresh Bellur, a founder member of Kriya Katte.
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has slammed the move. The media and communications officer of CHRI Aditi Datta said, "This rule places unlawful limitations on citizens' fundamental right to information and leaves for enormous misuse."
Along with it, Mahiti Hakku Jagruthi Vedike too has criticised the move saying this is only to prevent people from seeking information and expose corruption in government departments.
The Right to Information Act 2005 was considered to be one of the greatest acts of Indian Parliament. Termed as a pro-people Act, the legislation was aimed at making the bureaucracy more transparent and accountable.
It helped the average citizen to get things done without paying bribes. But now unfortunately the Karnataka government has crippled the act by making fundamental ambiguous / dubious changes to the Act that makes it virtually useless.
The latest ambiguous / dubious amendment called the Karnataka Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2008 to the Karnataka Right to Information Rules, 2005 which shall come into force from the date of their publication in Official Gazette will take the sheen away from this otherwise people-friendly legislation.
There were hundreds, literally hundreds, who got their ration cards, electricity connections only by filing an application where they asked what was the daily progress of the applications and who were the officers dealing with their applications.
The basic objective of the Act, is to prevent and put a stop to corruption. We earnestly hope that the Karnataka government sees to it that the Act remains its basic strength. The/This ambiguous / dubious amendment has the potential to practically kill the infant law. It'll take the entire life out of the law, it's unfortunate.
Unfortunately the Karnataka government has bowed to pressure from the bureaucracy and the people in power. It'll give protection to corruption and the arbitrary use of power. Both these things can be understood in total only if we look at the way decisions are being made.
The Karnataka government unfortunately wants to take away most of what it'd given in 2005. The decision to introduce this crucial ambiguous / dubious amendment to the Karnataka RTI Act 2005 will weaken the impact of the Act. This amendment will affect people in their daily life in terms of various issues. So, it is simply not acceptable and we unfortunately doubt the intent of the Karnataka government.
The Karnataka government may please implement the Act in the right sense as this / the ambiguous / dubious amendment effectively destroys the Act. The / This ambiguous / dubious amendment may also reduce the power of the law to hold several government departments accountable, thereby weakening the law.
The Karnataka RTI 2005 has helped many citizens get their due, and thus, it is difficult to understand why the Karnataka government would want to dilute this law by ambiguously / dubiously amending it in 2008. Perhaps, the reason is that the law worked too well.
We're upset and disappointed by the move. The Karnataka government has damaged the soul of the right to information act by ambiguously / dubiously changing it. It seems like the decision to ambiguously / dubiously amend the Karnataka RTI Act was taken following the objections raised by some state government organisations.
The Karnataka government's decision is a setback. This unfortunately and obviously means the Karnataka RTI Act is likely to become an ambiguous / dubious act of the government babus / bureaucrats / officers / officials by the government babus / bureaucrats / officers / officials and for the government babus / bureaucrats / officers / officials.
An RTI Applicant has to file a separate application for each question or information sought pertaining to one subject matter. Each request / question in writing for seeking information should not ordinarily exceed 150 words.
The RTI Applicants will be unnecessarily harassed by this amendment as they've to waste their precious time, energy, money, stationary and effort to file multiple applications for the same subject matter if it exceeds 150 words.
If it is a different matter then the RTI Applicants have to file separate applications for each of the other subject matters.
This ambiguously means the APIO ( Assistant Public Information Officer ) or the PIO ( Public Information Officer ) can / could God forbid misuse his powers arbitrarily by separating each phrase and word in those 150 words by falsely claiming that the request / question in writing seeking information pertains to an unlimited number of subject matters and force the RTI Applicants to file multiple applications by splitting those 150 words into several parts / phrases.
The RTI Applicants will have to pay Rs.10/- through cash / DD or Demand Draft / Postal Order for each request / question in writing within 150 words for seeking information. This/It unfortunately amounts to legalised cash / corruption for each 150 worded request / question seeking information just to punish the RTI Applicants.
Normally the RTI Applicants get ambiguous / false / imprecise / incomplete / incorrect / wrong / no / zero information from the state government officials on filing the RTI Application. Now they've to file separate multiple first appeals after the 30 days of having filed their RTI Application(s).
Ordinarily even after the first appeal the RTI Applicants get ambiguous / false / imprecise incomplete / incorrect / wrong / no / zero information from the first appellate authority / authorities or state government officials. Now they've to file several separate multiple second appeals for each of their first appeals.
Even before this amendment the state government babus / bureaucrats / officers / officials used to desperately hunt for a clause under which they could deny information.
Conclusion: Therefore, we the undersigned appeal to everyone concerned to scrap this highly controversial and ambiguous / dubious amendment that's been made to the Karnataka RTI Act 2005.