THE LAWFILE

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Society

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“As the examining bodies have not been exempted, and as the examination processes of examining bodies have not been exempted, the examining bodies will have to gear themselves to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act,” a Bench of Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik said. The apex court made the observations while directing the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to reveal “standard criteria” relating to moderation, employed by it, for the purpose of making revisions to a candidate.

“The RTI Act does not bar or prohibit the disclosure of question papers, model answers (solutions to questions) and instructions if any given to the examiners and moderators after the examination and after the evaluation of answerscripts is completed, as at that stage they will not harm the competitive position of any third party,” the court said.

No burden

The bench rejected the contention of ICAI that it would burden the examination body with extra work. “Additional workload is not a defence. If there are practical insurmountable difficulties, it is open to the examining bodies to bring them to the notice of the government for consideration so that any changes to the Act can be deliberated upon.”

“Examining bodies like ICAI should change their old mindsets and tune them to the new regime of disclosure of maximum information.

Public authorities should realise that in an era of transparency, previous practices of unwarranted secrecy have no longer a place. Accountability and prevention of corruption is possible only through transparency. Attaining transparency no doubt would involve additional work with reference to maintaining records and furnishing information,” the court said. The bench also noted that the Parliament has enacted the RTI Act providing access to information, after great debate and deliberations by the Civil Society, and in its wisdom, has chosen to exempt only certain categories of information from disclosure and certain organizations from the applicability of the Act.

COURTESY: DECCAN HERALD

Ministers, MPs face ‘aam aadmi’ protest

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People protesting for Jan-Lokpal Bill supporting Anna Hazare

Top ministers, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some MPs on Monday faced protests on the issue of the Lokpal Bill after people gathered in front of their houses here following a call by Anna Hazare.

People protested in front of the residences of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Ms. Dikshit and some MPs.

The first to face the ire of people was Mr. Sibal. Around 40 protesters staged a protest outside his Teen Murti residence seeking his support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The protests came following Mr. Hazare’s call to stage demonstrations outside the residences of ministers and MPs to ask them their stand on the Lokpal bill.

“We have come here to request Sibal to support the Jan Lokpal Bill. This is a good bill and everybody should support it,” a protester outside Sibal’s Teen Murti residence said.

On Sunday evening also several people had gathered outside the residence of Mr. Sibal and shouted slogans against him. They left before the police could come to the spot.

People also gathered outside the Talkatora residence of Mr. Mukherjee, who was member of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill along with Mr. Sibal, and shouted slogans against the government.

Police was deployed outside their residences.

Protesters also staged demonstrations outside Dikshit’s Motilal Nehru Road residence. They shouted slogans against the Chief Minister and also mentioned the CAG report on Commonwealth Games.

A protest was also held outside BJP MP Ashok Argal’s residence.

COURTESY: THE HINDU

Civil society leaders behaving like legislators: Pranab

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Pranab Mukherjee, Indian politician, current F...

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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that the leaders of the civil society movement for a Lokpal Bill have given an impression as if they have become legislators.

“The way the civil society movement is continuing in the country, it gives an impression that the leaders have become legislators,” Mukherjee said.

Speaking at the convocation of the Bengal Engineering and Science University in Shibpur in Howrah district, Mukherjee said he had been asked during a programme in Hanoi why the Indian government was giving so much importance to the civil society movement in the country.

“I told them that Indian democracy is not stagnant. It is a multi-faceted democracy. We have to consider opinions of different people and organisations. It is a new kind of process. We have to listen to them,” Mukherjee said.

There are thousands of opinions on any important issue which have to be heard, the Finance Minister said.

Speaking at the Bengal Engineering and Science University in Shibpur in Howrah district, Mukherjee said he had been asked during a programme in Hanoi why the Indian government was giving so much importance to the civil society movement in the country.

“I told them that Indian democracy is not stagnant. It is multi-faceted. We have to consider opinions of different people and organisations. It is a new kind of process. We have to listen to them,” Mukherjee said.

He said, “Pre-legislation consultation will not have to be necessarily confined to civil servants and political executives. If larger sections of society want to participate in it in a disciplined and well-established format, we can go for it. There may be failures, there may be successes but the point is Indian democratic system is not stagnant. It is expressing itself in various formats.”

There are thousands of opinions on any important issue which have to be heard, the Finance Minister said.

COURTESY: INDIAN EXPRESS

Hectic preparations at Ramlila Maidan

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People Supporting Anna Hazare's Fast

With social activist Anna Hazare all set to move to the Ramlila Maidan here on Friday, hectic preparations were under way on Thursday with members and volunteers associated with main organiser ‘India Against Corruption’, along with the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), all pitching in to do their bit to get the show rolling.

The police had, however, cordoned off all entry points on Thursday to prevent protesters from moving into the ground while it was still being prepared. Apart from a huge shamiana to cover one-third of the ground, facilities such as fans, lights, loudspeakers and security arrangements were on the agenda of the organisers. Arrangements also include a two-level special stage. While Mr. Hazare would sit on the top level provided with a mattress, the stage below has been earmarked for singing and discourse. Other arrangements include mats to cover the floor and provide seating space and a separate enclosure for VIP guests including two VIP toilets.

The MCD is ensuring that the ground is completely cleaned, dried and levelled, given the slush following the recent heavy rain. The organisers are arranging for tents, food, water and toilet facilities, either by roping in contractor agencies or seeking help from volunteering organisations who have offered free assistance to Mr. Hazare’s supporters till the hunger protest ends.

Deputy Mayor Anil Sharma, who visited the ground to take stock of the arrangements and discuss preparations with Team Anna, said that over half of the ground had been cleaned and the civic body officials and employees would work overnight to complete as much work as possible. “It was only on Thursday morning that the MCD came to know about the approval given to Team Anna for holding the protest at Ramlila Maidan. On reaching the ground, the officials noticed [that] the heavy rain during the past few days had made the ground muddy, requiring co-ordination of different departments including engineering, horticulture, and sanitation to take up the cleaning, drying, and levelling process of the venue by putting additional malba and soft earth at the ground,” he said.

Hazare supporter-cum-volunteer Gulab Singh, 41, said: “After having participated in the Ramlila during Navratri at this very ground for the past 20 years, I consider it my good fortune to be getting a chance to serve my part in Anna Hazare’s protest that is being organised here. I have taken a week-long leave from office to come here and extend my support to the cause of ending corruption in India.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party would also be providing one lakh water pouches daily for the participants, according to the Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta who was present at the ground.

Undertaking fumigation

According to the civic body, it is also undertaking fumigation at the ground premises and providing medical aid facilities including two ambulances and three mobile dispensary units. About 30 to 40 dustbins are also being provided by the MCD.

About 200 to 300 loudspeakers, 20 to 25 speaker boxes, and 15 mikes are being installed for the programme though television screens have been ruled out owing to the possibility of rain. In addition, eight to 10 mobile toilet facility units are also being sponsored free of cost by the Slum Department of the Delhi government.

Arvind Kejriwal, who was overseeing arrangements, expressed concern over the possibility of rain and its impact on the arrangements. Mr. Kejriwal said free food and water was being arranged through a voluntary organisation. “The bhandara people who provide food and water during the Amarnath Yatra have pledged to help us by providing free food and water till the duration of the protest at Ramlila Maidan.”