MP Information Commissioner On Decision Behind Revolutionary Order On RTI

A journalist-turned-Info Commissioner at Madhya Pradesh State Info Fee, Rahul Singh, has been quietly revolutionising the way in which the Proper to Info (RTI) Act is used to elicit info by every one.

In addition to commonly penalising these responsible of suppressing info, Singh has been instrumental in utilizing technical means reminiscent of emails and WhatsApp to good impact in listening to appeals. For enhancing transparency, he commonly livestreams hearings by means of Fb.

Persevering with together with his efforts to strengthen RTI in several public domains, he has on Monday directed Further Chief Secretary, Basic Administration Division, to order all of the District Collectors to proactively disclose info associated to corruption in panchayats and data associated to finish motion taken to take away the responsible officers in these instances on district webpages.

Other than this, Singh has directed for the proactive disclosure of all of the details about the restoration of presidency funds in these instances to most people.

“The fee believes that the disclosure of the motion taken, that was earlier buried within the information for years, will result in empowerment of transparency and allow anti-corruption measures within the Panchayat Raj system,” stated Singh.

Underneath the MP Panchayat Raj and Village Swaraj Act 1993-94, motion is taken beneath Part 40 and Part 92 in opposition to the responsible panchayat officers for embezzlement of presidency funds. Part 40 has provisions that cope with the elimination of office-bearers of Panchayat and Part 92 gives for the restoration of the federal government cash.

Punitive motion can happen in simply 4 months beneath Part 40. However many such instances have been pending for years. It has been noticed that on the panchayat degree, most frequently motion is confined to information that get buried owing to political stress, added Singh.

Singh has acknowledged in his order that there’s a lack of transparency within the motion beneath Part 40 and Part 92 throughout Madhya Pradesh which ends up in a state of affairs the place details about the motion taken in these instances just isn’t accessible to the affected individuals and common public.

In his resolution, Singh has talked about in regards to the tips issued in 2016 by the Further Chief Secretary Panchayat and Rural Improvement Division. The rules acknowledged {that a} month-to-month assembly needs to be held on the district degree and directions got to make sure motion beneath Part 40 inside a stipulated time interval of 4 months. Additionally, there have been directions to tell the Panchayat Raj Ministry by means of electronic mail each month.

The Further Chief Secretary additionally stated in his order that if not resolved inside 4 months, then it’s a violation of regulation and disciplinary motion needs to be taken in opposition to the officers of the district involved.

Excerpts from an interview with Rahul Singh.

What’s going to change by making this info public?

The order states that the knowledge sought has two dimensions. One, that the panchayat official in opposition to whom motion is being taken, additionally has the proper to know on what foundation motion has been taken in opposition to him; secondly, most people who has the proper to know the premise on which embezzlement was accomplished by elected consultant and authorities worker and what was the motion taken to get well the federal government cash from them.

How will this increase transparency?

I consider that with this info coming within the public area, a clear system of anti-corruption will likely be enabled. After this order, from every district to each Gram Panchayat, the motion associated to corruption in panchayats will be seen by any frequent man on one click on.

Has the fee drafted an info format for the federal government?

Underneath Part 19, the Info Fee can direct the general public authority to launch any info in a particular format. I’ve launched a format beneath which info will likely be shared on public platforms. There are 6 columns on this format, it comprises village / Janapad / district panchayat info. Together with importing a duplicate of the motion taken beneath which part, and if FIR has been registered, there may be additionally a column of details about it.

How a lot time is given to a collector to make crucial preparations?

Three-month time has been given for district collectors to make preparations to make the knowledge accessible within the public area.

(Singh has additionally made it clear within the order that after three months if a grievance is made beneath Part 18 by an individual that the above info just isn’t accessible on the web site, then the Fee will maintain the District Collector accountable for the violation and the penalty will likely be imposed by the Fee.)

Whether or not the motion was taken on the premise of any grievance?

Social activist Shivanand Dwivedi of Rewa district tried to get the details about motion taken within the Panchayat Division, however this info was not accessible even after submitting an attraction, after which he complained in regards to the case. In that, he talked in regards to the absence of such info in Rewa district and different districts as nicely.

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