Fw: OPEN Letter to Prime Minister of India with request to ensure implementation of RTI Act, 2005
- TRUTH SHALL ALWAYS PREVAIL
Milap Choraria Editor: Suchna Ka Adhikar / RTI TIMES
National Convenor : Movement for Accountability to Public (MAP)
--- On Mon, 1/5/09, Milap Choraria <milap_choraria@...> wrote:
From: Milap Choraria <milap_choraria@...>
Subject: OPEN Letter to Prime Minister of India with request to ensure implementation of RTI Act, 2005
Date: Monday, January 5, 2009, 4:13 PM
OPEN Letter to Prime Minister of India to ensure implementation of RTI Act, 2005
Through application dated 19/07/2007, submitted under RTI Act, 2005, I wanted to inspect the respective file, from the date of receipt of Notice u/S 80 of CPC from me, till filing of the Caveat, with all other documents including respective legal advice, if any, received by the Ministry, in view of the aforesaid Caveat dated 5th September, 2007, through letter dated 7th September, 2007 and further wanted to know whether grievances referred by me in the aforesaid Notice were at all fairly examined/considered by the Department of Revenue and Central Board of Direct Taxes or not? On the aforesaid matter Full Bench hearing of CIC was held on 12th September, 2008, but CIC could not arrived on any decision, thus Fresh Notice dated 22/12/2008, for further hearing by Full Bench fixed on 6th February, 2009 was issued and following Public Authorities are invited to participate in the hearing:-
1. Cabinet Secretary, Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi-110004
2. Secretary, Department of Personnel & Training, North Block, New Delhi-110001
3. Secretary of Ministry of Law and Justice, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110001
4. Secretary, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi-110001
5. Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi-110001
6. Shri D. Srinivas, Director (Inv.II & III), & AA., Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi-110001, and
7. Shri Aarsi Prasad, Under Secretary, & CPIO (Inv.II & III), Central Board of Direct Taxes, Ministry of Finance, North Block, New Delhi-110001
Considering the importance of the matter, I also call attention of the Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, by sending following representation:-
B-5/52, Sector-7, Rohini,Delhi-110085 Dated 5th January, 2009
OPEN Letter to Prime Minister of India to ensure implementation of RTI Act, 2005
Hon’ble Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji,
Prime Minister of India ,
I may be permitted to recall from your honors remembrances that during your honor’s tenure as the Finance Minister of India, I was occasions, in my capacity as Honorary General Secretary of Indian Council of Small Industries, along with my the then President Shri S. S. Singhania, since deceased, to participate in 5 (five) Pre-Budget Discussions, time to time, called by Your Honor to discuss with SSI Sector, once I met Your Honor at the Rajbhawan, Kolkata and again once I met Your Honor, at your Office the then situated in the North Block, arranged on our request by Mr. Ashok Desai, your the then Economical adviser, wherein in presence of Addl. Baking Secretary, we pointed out with the data that Banks are not subsidizing the SSI Sector rather SSI Sector is subsidizing to the Banks by paying higher interests rates. On the very next day Public Sector Banks reduced the interest rate of 1% applicable on the borrowings for the SSI Sector. This was first such reduction in the Bank’s interests during the then prevailed period. These created my impressions that Your Honor is a person of honesty, sincerity and committed to business, with regards to economical growth is concerned.
Now I call your honors attention that during the inauguration of third Annual Convention of Central Information Commission, held on November 3, 2008 at New Delhi , Your Honor interalia said that “Our Government takes great pride in the implementation of the Right to Information Act. It is often said that in modern society information is power. By sharing that information with the people at large, we are therefore, proposing decentralisation and participatory governance. It is revolutionary enactment that has placed huge powers in the hands of the ordinary citizen of the country to demand a transparent and accountable administration. This transition from a tradition of secrecy in official matters has of course not been easy. It has involved not only setting up of an appropriate institutional mechanism but also a change in the mindset of public servants.” and that “There are also some difficulties in the implementation of the Act that we must remove.”
I am fully agreed to Your Honor’s assertions that “The Right to Information Act is a powerful instrument of citizens’ empowerment. It is indicative of the process of nurturing of our democracy and the assertion of people’s power at various levels of Government. However, our citizens must also constantly remember that democracy is not just about Rights. It is also about Responsibilities. Democracy is not just about asserting our own identity. It is also about respecting the identity of others. Democracy is not just about seeking benefits. It is also about contributing to the process of nation building. We are passing through a phase in our national life when each one of us is more conscious about our Rights, our entitlements, and about our identities. But we do not seem to be really equally conscious of our Responsibilities, our social obligations, and our national commitments as citizens of a free democratic country. Even as we celebrate our individual empowerment through legislations like the Right to Information Act, let us not forget our collective responsibilities and concern for our national goals.”. In fact I always voiced through my articles published in most of Hindi Newspapers through out India and also mentioned in my Websites, mentioning therein about the problems, their root cause and also make suggestion to ensure solutions.
I also fully agree with Your Honor’s further assertions that “I must also take this opportunity to caution that we need to strike a balance between the need for disclosure of information and the limited time and resources available with the public authorities. Also, vexatious demands should not be allowed to deprive genuine information seekers of their legitimate claims on limited public resources. I do hope your Convention will bring out certain suggestions to deal with this situation.”. However, in view of the my experiences, an important question is arise that whether this caution should allowed a ‘Strong Iron Covert’ on the corrupt practices going on at the High Levels under influence of powerful politicians to support the Mafia activities?
Hon’ble Sir, since my childhood, I was active to fight strongly against corruption. I raised successful voices against powerful people, engaged in exploitations of the common man’s interests. These issues are widely circulated in the Print Media, and if I would be asked, I will provide photocopies of the same. Without going in to much detail, I come to matter of issue relating to my representation.
Since, 1987 I am fighting against Kolkata land Mafia, and raised strong voices at every level and before every authority, but no results, since Kolkata land Mafia was Benami Partner of one Powerful Politician. During Your Honor’s Tenure as Finance Minister of India, one Senior Bureaucrat Dr. E. A. S Sarma, who subsequently elevated as the Expenditure Secretary in the Finance Ministry, helped me a lot, and in view of the Information now available under RTI Act, his such help produces result though up to limited extent. The Raid, Search, Seizure, Enquiry and Investigation were conducted by the Income Tax Department. According to reports now available under RTI Act, 2005, a total concealment of Rs13.22 Crores was found. After going trough the aforesaid Information and going through the documents received from the other Public Authority this was justified to me that Income Tax Department under the supervision of the CBDT manipulated the entire process of the Raid, Search, Seizure, Enquiry and Investigation, and its Reports, as I have detailed in my written arguments with supporting documents, total of 103 Pages enclosed herewith.
In the respective Written Arguments, to be examined by the Full Bench of Central Information Commission in Complaint Case NO. CIC/AT/C/2008/00025, the order in which will directly and indirectly decide some Issues of Very National Importance, and same are very much concerned to affective implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005, to ensure transparent and accountable governance.
Therefore, this is my humble submission that Your Honor should depute some Senior Most Officer, fully conversant with the subject matter, from the Prime Minster’s Office, to assist the entire Government machinery, if Government really wants to implement the citizen’s rights of participatory governance and to ensure accountable and transparent governance, as promised by Your Honor, during the Parliament debate, on the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Some of the issues raised by me are as under:-
(1) Any public authority cannot represented by a Public Officers or through a Counsel, without supporting Affidavit in Complaint case filed under Section 18(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, under the mandate of Section 18(3) of the Civil Procedure Code, under which Information Commission is a Civil Court, when adjudicating such Complaint Case;
(2) Any documents supplied by a Third Party in compliance of the mandate of the law or collected by the public authority in accordance with the law can not be termed as “Confidential”, to invoke Section 11 of the Right to Information Act, 2005;
(3) Object and purpose of the appointments of the Advocates, by the Government, is to ensure Public Interests, not to protect vested Interests of the Tax Evaders or Criminal acts of the Public Officers, committed under connivance to protect wrong doers;
(4) Public Officers have no overriding privileges than fundamental rights of justice of the citizens;
(5) Government Advocates cannot make any arguments without examining the true facts, which otherwise can protect the criminal misconduct of the Public Officers;
(6) Government cannot jump on behalf of a Public Officer, without examining the fact that whether his conduct being subject matter of a Notice under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code is covered or not within the meaning, scope, and ambit of “Official Duty”, of the respective Public Officer or a Crime committed under gratification and / or under connivance with any offender like Big Tax Evaders;
(7) Government Advocates misusing the Consolidated Fund of India, cannot file a Caveat before institution of a Suit against a Public Officer, in contravention of Order 27 Rule 5-A of the Civil Procedure Code;
(8) Function of the Central Board of Direct Taxes is to supervise the functions of the Income Tax Department, just to check creation of the black money by the Big Tax Evaders, instead of allowing the Public Officers to ensure immunity for Big Tax Evaders, those having strong Nexus with the powerful politicians; and
(9) Central Baird of Direct Taxes cannot misuse its Offices or functioning of the Income Tax Department to deprive a person’s legitimate entitlement, just because such person is fighting to eradicate corruption, and trying to expose creation of huge black money thus becoming part of the parallel economy.
I hope that your honor would ensure true implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
With Best Regards,
Enclosed: Copy of the Written Arguments with the supporting documents, containing 103 pages, submitted in response to the Notice dated 22.12.2008, issued for further hearing to be held on 6th February, 2009, by the Full Bench of the Central Information Commissioner, in Complaint Case NO. CIC/AT/C/2008/00025.