Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BCCI not covered by RTI law: CIC

BCCI not covered by RTI law: CIC

Press Trust of India

Friday, January 25, 2008 7:42 PM

New Delhi: The country's apex cricket governing body BCCI could not be made accountable to provide information to citizens under the Right to Information law, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held.

In a recent order, the CIC rejected a citizen's plea to seek from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) certain information about its affairs.

Nagpur-based Anil Chintaman Khare in his RTI application had submitted that BCCI was registered under the Societies Registration Act and should be termed a "public authority" for the purposes of making it accountable under the transparency law.

The BCCI, however, contested the applicant's claim stating that despite being registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, it was not constituted under the Constitution or any law made by the Parliament or any state legislature.

Concurring with BCCI's stand, Information Commissioner Padma Balasubramanian said: "Registration under an Act is different from being established under it. Merely because BCCI is registered under the Societies Registration Act, does not bring it under the purview of RTI Act."

In its arguments before the Commission, the BCCI had contended that it did not receive any funds, directly or indirectly, from the Centre and also did not have on its board any nominee from any government.

The applicant said BCCI received a lot of tax benefits from the government and hence should be made answerable to the people of the country.

The Commission came to its decision after finding that BCCI did not fall under any of the categories required to bring any public office under the RTI Act.


Unaided schools can’t deny affiliation details to RTI applicant, rules CIC

Unaided schools can’t deny affiliation details to RTI applicant, rules CIC

Posted: May 03, 2008 at 2213 hrs IST

New Delhi, May 2: While a school that’s not aided by the Government can refuse to divulge information regarding its management, under the RTI, it cannot deny parting with details regarding its affiliation with the CBSE, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled.

Information Commissioner O P Kejriwal observed that since the CBSE is a public authority, documents submitted by any school — while seeking affiliation or extension of the affiliation — must be disclosed to an information seeker on demand. A school cannot turn down such a request by putting forth the contention that being an unaided institution, it’s not covered under the Right To Information (RTI) Act and hence, not liable to make public any information, noted the Commission.

“The Commission feels that while the school being an unaided one can retain its privacy regarding its management, administration and finance, the basis for being granted an affiliation by the CBSE and an extension of this affiliation are documents in the public domain and hence, must be disclosed,” Kejriwal held.

The CIC’s decision came on an appeal by Sanjay K D Chowdhary, hailing from Gondia in Maharashtra, who was denied information regarding the documents submitted by Shririnbai Neterwala School in Tumsar, Maharashtra, for its affiliation with the CBSE.

The CBSE, in its reply, had told Chowdhary that the information he had sought was with a third party, the school, and the latter had refused to make known the same arguing it was an unaided institution. Refusing to buy the school’s contention, the CIC directed the CBSE to disclose the documents pertaining to the extension of affiliation, as asked for by the appellant, by May 5.


RTI now a common man’s tool: study: THE HINDU

RTI now a common man’s tool: study

Vidya Subrahmaniam

Study belies propaganda it is used by select social activists

Applicants closed down polluting factories, fought corruption

Villagers see information as key to solving problems

New Delhi: An interim assessment of the Right to Information Act, 2005, undertaken independently, has concluded that more and more people are now using it in new ways, disproving the propaganda that RTI is an instrument handled only by select social activists.

The first of its kind, the comprehensive study, conducted jointly by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and the Right to Information Assessment and Analysis Group (RaaG), has been billed as a people’s initiative to assess who is using the Act and to what purpose. The study covered 10 States, besides Delhi.

In their report, “The People’s RTI Assessment 2008,” the NCPRI and RaaG pointed out that so far all information on RTI was either anecdotal or derived primarily from government data. Nor was there any evaluation of how the Act impacted societal actors such as the media, courts, the corporate sector and non-governmental organisations.

The NCPRI and RaaG conducted separate rural and urban surveys and also collected about 5,000 case studies from across the country, culled from the Hindi and English print media and downloaded from websites and blogs. A perusal of the cases showed that more and more people were invoking the Act, and for a variety of reasons.

In many cases, the applicants went beyond securing answers to their questions. They closed down polluting factories, fought corruption, and formed themselves into a larger group to support one another. Internet users formed their own online support groups, and helped applicants fill applications.

Specific examples of enlarging RTI: People in rural Karnataka combined campaigns for the Right to Information and the Right to Food to fight hunger. An 86-year-old Dalit farmer in Maharashtra used the RTI data to prevent his strawberry fields from drying up. In Uttar Pradesh, over 14,000 residents in a cluster of eight villages, 60 km. from Banda, used RTI to fight for their right to have roads, bridges and electricity.

The surveys showed that an overwhelming majority of rural residents saw information as the key to solving village problems. More than two-thirds of rural respondents said they had received a response to their applications and nearly one-third said their problems had been solved though they had received no information or received only partial information.

Among urban respondents, nearly three-fourths said they had received responses though they were slow in coming.

Only a third of respondents said they had received responses within the stipulated one month.

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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