Monday, March 10, 2008

RTI Project Updates 14

Working with the Commission
Last week I learnt from Nity that HRF (Human Rights Foundation) was organising an RTI conference in Madurai on 17th. So when I showed Nity the analysis I had done with 83 cases of the commission. He suggested that we can do a report on this at the conference. Another problem for the commission was that, when the SIC imposes fines, the Public authorities go to the high court challenging the decision. The High court grants an interim stay, and once the case enters the cour, it will rest there for ever. Hence I was also thinking of trying to look at the Public Authorities (PAs) who were going to court with Writ Petitions against the SIC's orders. Hence I met Mr.Dhandapani on Monday asking him to give me the files relating to the cases in HC against SIC's orders. He told me that he will instruct Mr.Jayaraman and asked me to come back on wednesday for those files. When I came to the SIC on wednesday, I was told that he had gone on leave and will be back only on Monday. I was irritated. I met the chief commissioner and I told him that it is really tough to get files from Mr.Dhandapani. He thought for a couple of seconds, called MR.Jayaraman and asked him to let me look at the files. So I started looking at th files. I learnt from Mr.Jayaraman there were about 23 cases in all. So starting Wednesday I started looking at those files. By the end of the week I had looked at about 15 of them. The analysis is given here.

In the meanwhile I met Nity and discussed with him if the data I was collecting for High court cases was sufficient and also discussed the format of the report we were going to present in Madurai. We decided to call it "The status of RTI Implementation in Tamilnadu". Having discussed the structure, I have to prepare th report, get some comments from him and get it translated into Tamil (for which Nity has said, that he could be of help in giving me contacts). We hope this will have some impact since there will be good media coverage for this event.

Awareness sessions
This saturday there was an awareness session in Manali a municipality in North Chennai in a church where about 15 women and a few men had come together. The session started pretty late. I got the feeling, that the audience were not sure what they were going to get, and hence it was more of a speech to them rather than something they can practically use.

1 comment:

Aru said...

Hi Madhav,
I cannot find words to express what an inspiration you are to “Association for India’s Development”. The work you are doing for the people around you is outstanding. The updates on your blog is wonderful.

I just joined the Bay Area chapter (AIDBA; based in San Jose, California. But I spent 24 years of my life in Chennai. I joined your RTI initiative with coordinator Pratik Mankidy (AIDBA Volunteer).

For a while I have been trying understand the structure of RTI and how they connect “a person” to a “particular Ministry in Central Gov. of India”. I did find clear links to the RTI Act, their application processes with a printable version of the form, for two Ministries, in their official website. I am sure there are more, unfortunately the information is not well connected.

I did go through the conversation you had with other AIDBA volunteers and looks like there are some issues which needs further attention. Kindly go through my questions and see if these might be helpful for you and other RTI projects. Please share your concerns, which would help in a better understanding of how things will affect from the peoples standpoint.

My questions are?

1) AruS Question: Out of the 48 ministries in the Central Government of India with “N” number of State/ Regional Offices, is it obvious under which category a RTI application can be documented?

2) AruS Question: In general does NGOs in India need a comprehensive information database about Central Government Ministries, regional office contacts for documenting RTIs?

3) AruS Question: Will this kind of an information “on-line” to begin with, be helpful?

4) AruS Question: Are all RTI applications (that you help in documenting) directed to the SIC (Tamil Nadu in the applicant’s case)?

There was a previous question which leads to question number 5)
PAST Question from AIDBA: Is there a list of government depts. that “he” has in mind to use RTI applications for?

5) AruS Question: Could we (AIDBA) specifically help in furnishing more details about “list of Departments” and other initiatives that share similar projects and have offices locally in Chennai.