Corruption is rampant in most of the Government departments. The money and the wealth unearthed by the Karnataka Lokayukta during rides in recent past on the offices and residential premises of the corrupt Government officials would prove that the height of corruption in Karnataka is unimaginable. What the Karnataka Lokayukta has unearthed is only a decimal of a bigger proportion. There are lots of such corrupt elements in Government departments who need similar treatment by the Lokayukta. It is a known fact that unless the officials are bribed, nothing works. In most of the Government departments, right from the lowest level to the top level, corruption is prevalent. Citizen are greatly disturbed and distressed by these corrupt practices.
With the enactment of the Right to Information Act, 2005, by the Parliament, a ray of hope has emerged in the minds of the public to get the official machinery work in a corrupt free atmosphere since this Act gives power and paves the way for the honest citizen to get their official work processed without undue delay. If used properly, this Act could become a weapon to bring down the corruption in Government departments. A very encouraging development as far as this Act is concerned is that it is just not restricted to Government and Municipal Corporations but also includes all public authorities viz. organizations, NGOs and other bodies which are financed by the Government. The Right to Information Act is indeed a very beneficial Act for the common man and if used in a proper way, it may lead to less sleaze and more transparency.
The Right to Information Act, 2005 which has come into with effect from 12’h of Oct 2005 could help the property industry to a great extent since the land and building related documents which could not be procured easily from the Government departments viz. Taluk Office, Corporation Office, Sub-RegistrarOffice, Survey Department, Assistant Commissioner’s Office etc., without greasing the palms of the officials can now be insisted on to be furnished, studied and verified well in advance before embarking on any project by invoking the provisions of the Right to Information Act.. Section 2(j) of the Act defines the ‘right to information’ as.
Sub-Registrar Office, Survey Department, Assistant Commissioner’s Office etc., without greasing the palms of the officials can now be insisted on to be furnished, studied and verified well in advance before embarking on any project by invoking the provisions of the Right to Information Act. Section 2(j) of the Act defines the ‘right to information’ as a) Inspection of work, documents, records
b) Taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records
d) Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.
Thus, by invoking the provision of the Right to Information Act, an applicant who has been unsuccessful in getting his building plan sanctioned or there is inordinate delay in obtaining such sanction despite the plan complying all the statutory requirements and bye-laws prescribed can now put the BBMP administrative machinery to work speedily by seeking, inter alia, the following questions to be answered by the Public Information Officer of the department.
Further, he is now entitled to ask for the inspection of documents, records, take notes and obtain certified copies.
What is the status of his plan?
How many other plans were submitted on the day on which plans was submitted by him?
Out of those plans, how many have been sanctioned?
Under the Act, it is imperative for all the administrative offices of publicauthorities to appoint a Public Information Officer. He will act as a catalyst between the applicant who wants the information on the one side and thedepartment on the other. Nominal fee is collected for furnishing the information under the Right to Information Act. In normal course, the information sought forshould be provided within a period of one month. If there is delay in providing the information or deliberate refusal to part with the information, the PIO is penalized at Rs. 250/- for every day’s delay until the information is provided to theapplicant. This penal provision may drive the PIO to act fast and provide the information sought for. It is a requirement that the name of the PIO should be prominently displayed in all offices. If the name and address and telephonenumber of the PIO is not forthcoming in any organization, or the PIO is not available, the applicant can seek information by addressing his request letter to the PIO of the head office of the concerned department. If any application is submitted to the PIO who has no jurisdiction over the matter in question, thensuch PIO shall forward the application to the appropriate PIO.
Even after lapse of one month, if the information sought for under the Act is not provided satisfactorily by the concerned department or the department refuses to furnish the information, the aggrieved person can go on appeal against the decision of the PIO to the appellate authority who by default will be the officialsenior of the said PIO of the same department. If aggrieved by the decision of the Appellate Authority, the affected person may complain to the State or Central Information Commissioner which is an independent constitutional authority.Information which affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or security, strategic, scientific and economic interest of the state relation with foreign state and certain information as mentioned in Sections 8 & 9 of the Act may be denied to be furnished. By invoking the provisions of this Act by the public, the administrative machinery can be put on the right track which in turn can help in the reduction of corrupt practices.
The Public Information Officer,
(Name of the office with address)
Full name of the applicant:
Subject matter of information,
The Period to which the information relates Description of the information required,
Whether the information is required by post or in person,
The actual postal charges shall be included in additional fees),
Whether the applicant is below the poverty line: (If yes, then the photocopy ofthe proof thereof),
Place: (Signature of the Applicant)