Saturday, 21 January 2012

RTI-an old application to President to remove CIC

Posting of this application at this blog has been necessitated by certain reports that have come to my notice. These are about people who have been responsible for enforcing the law, after having subverted it thoroughly then, are now going around as its greatest proponents! This blog is therefore an attempt to expose the false gods that we worship or gods with feet of clay, as some may like to put it.

File: RTI/pio-remove cic-210407                                                        21 Apr 2007

The President
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi


1. The Right to Information Act is one of the best pieces of legislation in the post-independent era of this country. It does have it shortcomings and some amendments required urgently are given in Appendix A to this application. These suggestions have been submitted to the legislative department of the Ministry of Law and Justice through an e mail addressed to on 20 Apr 2007. But notwithstanding those suggestions, the performance of the Central Information Commission itself has been so shoddy that citizens, especially activists working in this field, are genuinely afraid that the Commission itself is subverting the Act. A public hearing took place on 24th Sep 2006 on the functioning of Central Information which was attended, amoung others, by the Chief Information Commissioner, Dr P C Alexander, T S Krishna Moorthy, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejrival, senior advocates Prashant Bhushan and Colin Gonsalves and about 200 people who had filed complaints/appeals with the Commission. Without going into the details of the discussion, the summary of recommendations, which emerged during the hearing, are listed below:

    1.1. Opportunity of being heard should be given to both parties in every case. It is upto the party to decide whether they wish to be physically present or send their written comments or decide not to avail of the opportunity.
   1. 2. No case should be closed, just by ordering that information be provided in the next 15 days etc. In most of the cases, it has been seen that the PIO does not comply with such an order. As a result, the appellant has to again approach the Commission and again wait for 7 months for his/her turn to come. Therefore, after passing an order, the case should be adjourned, and not closed. On the next hearing, if the appellant confirms having received information to his/her satisfaction, only then should a case be closed. This is the practice which is being successfully followed by Public Grievance Commission in Delhi for the last five years and also by State Information Commission of UP.
   1.3. The Information Commissioners should undergo training in judicial processes from some retired Supreme Court judges.
    1.4. Penalty should be imposed in every case of violation by government officials. Else RTI would soon be dead.
    1.5. Some guidelines should be made on the terms like "fiduciary", "private information" and "public interest", which should be uniformly adhered to by all the Commissioners.
    1.6. Appeal number should be given to every appellant/complainant and it should be   
              communicated to him within 24 hours of receipt of his appeal/complaint. Within  
              the next 24 hours, it should be put up on the website. Status of every appeal should
               be provided on the website, even if it is treated as inadmissible ab-initio.
    1.7. No case should be taken up on out of turn basis, unless there is some grave public interest involved, which should be mentioned in the order.
    1.8. There should be a public hearing every three months, which should be attended by all Commissioners.

2. The summary of cases filed/disposed off by the Commission is given at Appendix B. At the rate at which the back log is increasing it is difficult to miss the fact that the plight of information seekers will soon be worse than the plight of people seeking justice from our courts. But even that is not as bad as the decisions themselves that are given by the Commission. I am giving below two instances from personal experience. I must admit that in my 20 plus years of life in the army, I have not seen even a newly recruited clerk at the lowest level put up such shoddy drafts even for approval!

Case 1. Copies of the application I had submitted to the Public Information Officer (PIO), Supreme Court and the final orders of the Information Commission are attached as appendices C and D. The absurdity of the order is evident.

Case 2. Copies of the application I had submitted to the PIO, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and the two orders of the Information Commission are given at appendices E, F and G. Inspite of clarifying the fact that the appeal pertained to an application submitted to the PIO seeking information on the action taken by the NCDRC on a petition pending with them and sending the appeal again, the Information Commission had again send the application to the Kerala State Information Commission! If such decisions earn for the Information Commission the notoriety of being an Idiotic Commission can the public be blamed for it?

3. For reasons given above, I request you to kindly exercise the powers under Section 14(3)(d) of the RTI Act to remove the Chief Information Commissioner, Mr Wajahat Habibulla from his present assignment. I also take this opportunity to highlight the need to appoint people like Mr Aravind Kejriwal or Ms Aruna Roy to such posts so that the letter and spirit of the RTI Act is sustained and not subverted.

Yours truly

(P M Ravindran)


The Registrar
Supreme Court of India
New Delhi


It is understood that a petition has been filed by Common Cause as WP No 106/2005 against use of incineration of bio-medical waste.

I request you to provide me the following information in the context of the above petition:

1.      The present position of the petition and
2.      The next date of hearing in the matter of the petition.

Postal Order Number  58E997146      dated 25 Jul 2006 for  Rs 10.00 (Rs Ten only) issued by the Head Post Office, Palakkad-678001 and payable to the Registrar, Supreme Court, New Delhi is attached towards the prescribed fees.

Yours truly,

APPENDIX D (Order of the CIC in the complaint filed when NO response was there from the public authority)

CIC/AT/C/2007/00027 dated 13/2/2007

This is with reference to the information sought from the supreme court of India. The Commission has intimated that the progress of a matter can be taken by filing miscellaneous application in Supreme Court. The cmplaint is not maintainable as orders of the court are in public domain and accessible by website. Further action may be taken accordingly by you. The matter is being closed in the Commission accordingly. This issues with the approval of the Information Commissioner.

Sd/- Nisha Singh, Jt Secretary and Additional Registrar.


File: kscdrc/ncdrc-240306                                                                  24 Mar 2006

Public Information Officer
Joint Registrar, Room No.502
5th Floor, ‘A’ Wing, Janpath Bhawan
Janpath, NEW DELHI-110 001


Please refer the following:

-          Save Consumer Courts Action Council letter No NCDRC/170805-ksrdc-prez dated 17 Aug 2005 handed over to the Mr Justice M B Shaw, President, NCDRC on 22 Aug 2005 (photostat copy attached alongwith a photostat copy of the report that had appeared in the press on 24 Aug 2005)
-          RTI Act Sec 2, 6 and 20
-          Indian Postal Order No    58E997101                  for Rs 10.00 issued by HPO, Palakkad in favour of The Public Information Officer, NCDRC, payable at New Delhi towards fees for application under the RTI Act.

I may please be informed of the action taken on the above letter/petition.

If no action has been taken the reason thereof may please be communicated.

Yours truly,

Note:  Save Consumer Courts Action Council letter quoted is a complaint to the President National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for taking action against the then President of the Kerala SCDRC who had filed a false affidavit in the Kerala High Court and hence needed to be removed. While the Govt of Kerala as the appointing authority would be the final authority to remove the accused, the National CDRC had to initiate the action because of its administrative jurisdiction over state commissions. There are earlier instances when deficiencies in the service of the Commission had been brought to notice of the state govt, the complainant had been advised to approach the national commission. But all this is only background info for understanding the context. What is pertinent here is only the fact that an application was filed under the RTI Act to get information on the action taken by the NCDRC on this complaint!


When the PIO, NCDRC replied that the complaint (mentioned in the application) should be taken up with the Govt of Kerala which was not the information about the action taken on the complaint by the NCDRC itself , a complaint was filed with the CIC. The CIC forwarded the complaint (on an application made to a Central PIO)  to the Kerala SIC on 25/7/2006!

The matter was taken up with the then Chief IC Mr Wajahat Habibulla personally and he asked to send the complaint afresh! And when it was send the reply I got is given in Appendix G.


This response from the CIC, CIC/PB/C/2007/00035 dated 21/2/2007, stated that the appointment of the President KSCDRC is done by the Kerala Government. Hence the appeal lies with the State Information Commission!

Friday, 20 January 2012


Note: This is the text of the complaint submitted to the Petitions Committee of Kerala Legislative Assembly which held a sitting at Palakkad on 20 Jan 2012. The complaints at para 1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9 can be viewed at the following blogs:



1.       Kerala has the dubious reputation of being one of the most corrupt states in a country which is itself notorious as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But what I have experienced in the last few years of my stay in this state is that not only is corruption rampant here but there is no sign of any positive governance whatsoever. Right from refusal to provide receipts for documents handed over to any public authority to taking any effective action on complaints submitted to the ministers and even the Governor of the State, the citizens are being taken for a ride by the authorities. In this context I invite your attention to the following complaints I have submitted at various points of time:

1.1. Comp-ker gov-office procedures-190411 dated 19 Apr 2011 to the Governor of Kerala (copy attached)
1.2. Comp/cmk-kscdrc-070507 dated 07 May 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.3. Comp/cmk-ksic-070507 dated 07 May 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.4. Comp/cmk-cdrf pkd-031007 dated 03 Oct 2007 to the CM of Kerala
1.5. Comp/CMK-120110 dated 12 Jan 2010  to the CM of Kerala
1.6. Comp/minofcs ker-cdrfpkd n kscdrc-080111 dated 08 Jan 2011 to the Minister for Food & Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection etc
1.7. Comp/cm contpgm-consumer-221111 dated 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala
1.8. Comp/cm contpgm-distadm-221111 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala
1.9. Comp/cm contpgm-ksic-221111 dated 22 Nov 2011 to the CM of Kerala

I have attached only the copy of the complaint to the Governor. It is complete in itself and the other complaints I have quoted only reinforce the allegations contained in that complaint. And obviously the Committee should be able to access these documents also if it seriously investigates this petition. But my experience is that practically no action is taken (and the clerks have a wonderful term for disposing of such complaints- lodged! Atleast that is what is written on the noting sheets of complaints submitted to the Governor!) and even when information is sought under the RTI Act about it, the response is either that it is not traceable or that it has been sent to the concerned department for further action- almost akin to the public apprehending a thief and handing him over to the police with a complaint and the police telling the thief ‘now you dispose of this complaint too’!

2.       Aren’t the webcasting of the CM’s office and the CM’s Jansamparka paripadi just gimmicks? Can anyone make us wise on what is sought to be achieved by webcasting the CM’s office? Are we to believe that even if the CM accepts bribe he will do it in his office and that too in front of web cameras?

3.       The Janasamparka paripadi is another farce being perpetuated on the hapless citizens. Tens of thousands of complaints are collected and distributed amoung the same delinquent/corrupt officials for their response and these responses are routed back to the aggrieved citizens! People have been brought to the venue on stretchers! But did even they get justice? May be a few of them did but definitely not the majority. And even the few who apparently did cannot be said to have been given justice unless the official who had forced them to this nasty situation had been taken to task for his/her dereliction of duty. I know of people who had waited till midnight and officials had practically driven them out asking them to meet them in the same offices that have been sending them in circles for months, if not years, on end! And the CM was given the impression that he was leaving the venue after the last applicant/complainant had been attended to! Of course the media can tom-tom it the way the CM and his coterie would love to but the truth also travels fast enough! And just by the way, an RTI application seeking the expenses incurred and the source of funds revealed that there had been no funds allotted and the various tasks had been allotted to various departments like PWD, Water Authority, taluk offices etc! And you, I mean the people in government, want the citizens to believe that these departments/authorities have pooled their monthly pay packets and got these tasks done?

4.       Just to capture the requirement of this petition in the briefest terms, the list below will suffice.

4.1. Ensure that every document handed over to every public authority is acknowledged. In this context I would suggest that the Janasevana Kendram model be replicated for providing a single window system for accepting all applications/complaints/petitions from citizens and for providing them receipts. The receipt number should be used as reference for further correspondence and the receipt should contain the following details: the name of the applicant/complainant/petitioner, the subject, the official responsible for disposing it and the tentative date by which the applicant/complainant/petitioner would receive the response. This data should be uploaded to a common website at state level at least once in 24 hours, if not in real time.  The Jansevana Kendrams should be established at all village office/gram panchayat levels.
4.2. Along with the receipt a feedback form (postage pre paid) should be given to the applicant/complainant/petitioner to send a feedback to a nodal monitoring cell at the state level about the timeliness and quality of the response to the application/complaint/petition. This should be compiled and used to evaluate the performance of the public servant concerned and have a bearing on his/her promotions.
4.3. As in the case of RTI Act, a time frame-not more than 15 days-must be prescribed for final disposal of all applications/complaints/petitions. An extension of 7 days may be provided in certain cases but such cases should not exceed 10 percent of the total cases and the reasons for the delay should be intimated to the superior officer as well as the applicant/complainant/petitioner. Any delay more than this or in cases of more than 10 percent should invite penalties on the employee concerned. For the 1st three occasions it should be monitory, then administrative action and in the worst cases dismissal. The monitory penalties should be deterrent and 50 percent of it should be given to the affected applicant/complainant/petitioner as compensation. Also jumping the queue in the matter of disposing cases must also be viewed as corruption, except in cases that should be specified like senior citizen, pregnant/nursing women etc, and should invite penalties.
4.4. There should be a monitoring cell attached to the CM’s office to monitor the performance of the various quasi judicial organisations in the State and to accept complaints about them from aggrieved citizens. Today with all honesty it can be said that most, if not all, (this expression is used almost in a concessional manner to cover the grey areas, if any, in my own knowledge about these organizations; but purely from my experience, it would definitely be ‘all’ and never ‘most’!) these organizations are worse than fly by night operators. They are definitely a waste of taxpayers’ money.
4.5. The selection process for appointment to the quasi judicial organizations should be made totally transparent with well defined procedures which can be monitored by the citizens through web based information systems.

Submitted at Palakkad this 20th day of Jan 2012.

(P M Ravindran)
2/18, ‘Athira’, Kalpathy
Tel: 0491-2576042
E mail:


Justice delayed is justice denied!

So finally the Army Chief has moved court! Whether the court will give the justice that is his due remains to be seen.

The incredulity is not without basis. That our courts are notorious for delaying their judgments is accepted even by the most vociferous defenders of our judiciary. The reasons they quote may or may not be valid. For example the most quoted reason is the dearth of judges. And in support of this they are heard quoting another false logic- the judge to population ratio, made popular by the Maliamath Committee. Maliamath had argued that this ratio is 50 judges per million population in developed countries whereas in India it is only 10.5 judges per million population. To the gullible this may sound as pretty sound logic. But in a country where 40 pc of the population is below poverty line and almost 60 pc illiterate, the ones who are really concerned with law, rights and courts can be seen to be substantially meager! And those who have been to a court even once, either as a petitioner or as a respondent can easily understand that our courts need to really overhaul their procedures to be optimally productive. One aspect of this has been brought to light by a legal luminary practicing in the apex court of the land itself and that is it is not the judge to population ratio that matters but the judge to docket ratio! The statistics he has quoted is irrefutable too. While in the US of A, in the year 1999, 93.81 million cases were filed, in India it was only 13.6 million cases! The dockets per judge there was 3235, whereas here it was only 987!

But leave the delay part aside. Still, will the courts deliver a just decision?  Again, the answer is: doubtful! The courts have a plethora of reasons for going wrong on their decisions, beginning from lop sided investigation to even more lop sided presentation of the case/arguments by the advocates. We have seen how even election petitions take almost 5 years, if not more, to be finally disposed of by our judiciary. What is the use of holding the election of an MP or MLA invalid after he had continued to represent his constituency for, say, more than 4 years? Is there any way that the damage done could be undone?

We all know that even a fair decision of the court delivered later than 10 May 2012 will have only a notional effect. But why should the trial and judgement go beyond say, 3 months? There is no dispute that the actual date of birth of Gen V K Singh is 10 May 1951. The usual authentic record for this purpose is the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate. And there are provisions for correcting even this record if some mistake had crept into it initially. But even that is not the case with Gen Singh. His record on this is absolutely clear. The only mistake had been in the application that was submitted for his admission to the National Defence Academy and that too had been corrected at the intervention of the UPSC even before his admission to the NDA. And G E Vahanvati, the Government’s legal expert could only blurt out a totally illegal and idiotic reason for insisting on Gen V K Singh’s dob to be officially recognised as 1950- a nonexistent ‘line of succession’ theory! (Incidentally, this ‘line of succession’ theory makes sense only if viewed from the point that the next in line to be the COAS is Lt Gen Bikram Singh- the second sardar to make it to the Chief’s office during Sardar Man Mohan Singh’s tenure as PM!) Another idiotic statement was made by a former defense secretary- that Gen V K Singh had accepted his dob as 1950 during his earlier promotions! What this babu forgot was that he was indirectly saying that Gen V K Singh had been blackmailed by his ilk and the politicians to accept a blatantly unfair decision on the eve of his well earned promotions!

The courts have come down heavily on the government on some occasions in the matter of its treatment of the nation’s soldiers. But unfortunately even the courts have refrained from going beyond such platitudes.  It is truly said that governments can function (or not), the media can ignore national interest and politicians can shut down the nation, only so long as the nation exists. And if the nation owes its existence to anybody it is the soldier more than to anybody else. And unless this translates to recognition of his honour and esteem, the nation shall indeed be in peril, sooner than later!

Readers are also invited to  to read 
Army Chief Crisis: UPA & Judiciary equally to blame    Sandhya Jain    18 January 2012 at