March 31st, 2012
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Maharashtra govt amends RTI rules, RTI activists disturbed

rti-amendedMumbai: RTI activists are disturbed by the amendments brought about by the Maharashtra government in the RTI rules. The Maharashtra government had decided to amend the RTI rules and as per a notification, dated January 16, an applicant can ask questions only on a single subject matter and his application cannot exceed 150 words. Besides, during inspection, a person can carry only a pencil along with him. RTI activists in the city have dubbed this move an “absolute breach of trust” and the clause of ‘single subject matter’ to be disturbing and unsettling.

According to RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao, “It was done only to scuttle the RTI Act. They did not even bother to tell us.” “Instead of appointing commissioners, the government is more interested in destroying the Act,” said GR Vora, who has started a signature campaign against the move. “Many scams have come out of the closet of the government. This is being done only to hide them,” alleged Bhaskar Prabhu, another RTI activist.

By exercising the powers conferred by sub sections 1 and 2 of section 27 of the RTI Act, 2005, the Government of Maharashtra can amend the RTI rules, 2005. The silently amended rules are called the Maharashtra Right to Information (Amendment) Rules, 2012.

As per the new rule if an applicant wishes to seek information on more than one subject matter he would have to submit separate applications. If a question posed by the applicant relates to more than one subject matter the Public Information Officer henceforth shall respond only to the first subject matter. For instance, if an RTI application poses a question that requires an answer from both the building proposal department and the building construction department, then he would have two separate RTI application forms.

An applicant who requests an inspection of record would be granted the permission to do so however the applicant can inspect the record only in the presence of the Public Information officer and should carry with him/ her only a pencil for making notes.



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