Thursday, 9 July 2015

CROCODILE TEARS OF MAHARASHTRA STATE INFORMATION COMMISSION

This has reference to the news item in DNA daily newspaper dated 04/07/2015 under the caption, "Follow BMC in ensuring info, chief secy told" quoting an instruction of the Maharashtra State Information Commission to the Chief Secretary of the State. But if MSIC’s own decisions are taken into consideration, I can tell with certainty that its own decisions are in the reverse gear taking the RTI Act backwards and MSIC’s outburst is only a crocodile tears.

To cite my own example, in my case, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mumbai Suburban District made its decision in Marathi language. At same time I found that in other cases, decisions were made in English language. Therefore, I made an application to the SPIO of the Mumbai Suburban District Forum with a request to inform me “.. the distinguishing factor for selecting different language for different complaint may be furnished to the applicant”. In the reply, the SPIO replied quoting a rule that in my case decision was made in Marathi language in accordance with that rule. But the information regarding the rule under which decisions were made in English was not provided even after 1st appeal. Then only the distinguishing factor could be understood. Then I approached the MSIC with the following 2nd appeal request: “Rule under which Marathi Language was used in appellant’s case is furnished. Rule under which English Language was used in other cases is not furnished”. But the second appeal decision of the same Chief Information Commissioner mentioned above really surprised me. In his order dated 10/11/2014 he stated that my request for information is in the nature of a dispute and hence it is not covered under the definition of ‘Information’ under the RTI Act 2005. What is the dispute? Does knowing the distinguishing factor for selecting different languages for different cases by the same judicial authority is a dispute? Actually there is a dispute between myself and the SPIO that the information regarding using English Language in the decisions of the Forum is not furnished. For solving this dispute between myself and the SPIO, I approached the MSIC. Otherwise, why MSIC is there? Only for giving instructions to the Chief Secretary?


I think that the MSIC is in a backlog clearance spree by quick disposal by dismissing the appeals without applying the mind by simply stating that it is not an information covered under the RTI Act2005 to discourage the applicants/appellants so that there would not be any huge backlog. 

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