Maharashtra Government secretly ammended the RTI rule without taking people into confidence. The Amendment was done on 16 - 01 - 2012.
This has greatly weakened the RTI Act.
This petition that you Sign will GO Directly as an Email to our CM on his official Email ID.
The more the Emails, CM will be under more PRESSURE to withdraw the Ammendment.
The Government has DEFIED THE LEGAL MANDATE OF SECTION 4(1)(C) OF RTI ACT 2005: “ Every public authority shall - publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public.”
The notification for this is available here : http://tinyurl.com/Mrashtra-RTIRulesAmend-Jan2012
The amendment says:
(i) Request for information must nor ordinarily exceed 150 words
(ii) Request for information must relate to one subject matter only. If necessary, separate applications must be made if it relates to more than one.
(iii) Public Information Officer (PIO) must allow the person inspecting the documents to take a pencil only. All other writing instruments must be deposited with the PIO.
The third point appears aimed at preventing RTI applicants from making permanent marks on public documents while taking inspection. On the face of it, that seems fair enough.
We object to point
(i) because a majority of Maharashtra’s people – less educated people living in slums and villages – may lack the verbal skills for drafting an RTI application within a word limit of 150 words. By what process was the 150 word-limit arrived at? Why not 250 words? Unless it is based on study and judicious reasoning, this rule is arbitrary and capricious. If we accept such an arbitrary rule today, the government may pass another amendment tomorrow imposing a limit of 10 words.
It is therefore unacceptable to the community of RTI activists and users.
(ii) WE STRENUOUSLY OBJECT TO THIS “SINGLE SUBJECT MATTER” RULE, AS IT GIVES THE PIO UNNECESSARY DISCRETIONARY POWERS. There is a large subjective element involved in deciding what is a “single subject matter”; where does one draw the line between two subject matters?
FOR EXAMPLE: An RTI applicant asks the Municipal Commissioner’s office for copies of complaints, and the papers showing action taken on them, relating to impure water supply in A, B and C wards. An uncooperative PIO can argue that this RTI application has three subject matters, as each ward is a separate “subject matter”. Another man in his position can argue that complaints are one subject matter, and the actions taken on complaints are a different subject matter. Sir, based on our common experiences, we anticipate that the PIOs and appellate authorities will be drawn into such hair-splitting disputes, diverting their attention from the intent of the RTI Act. This will end up hurting the inexperienced first-time RTI applicants the most.
Hence, Please Sign this Petition to urge the CM to take immediate action to safeguard good governance and transparent administration in the state.