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State Level RTI: Madhya Pradesh

Background

Madhya Pradesh was one of the first states in India to actively engage in securing the right to information for the public. In October 1996, the Commissioner of Bilaspur Division, Mr Harsh Mander, issued executive orders to give people in the districts of Bilaspur, Raigarh and Sarguja the right to scrutinise government records pertaining to the public distribution system.

In May 1997, at the same time that Tamil Nadu and Goa were passing right to information laws, the Madhya Pradesh Government also drafted a Right to Information Bill. On 30th April 1998 the assembly passed the bill by voice vote. Significantly, after passing the Bill in the State Assembly, the Government chose to send the Bill to the President of India for assent. Unfortunately, it appears that due to a disagreement about whether the states or the Centre have competence to enact right to information laws, Presidential assent was denied to the Bill and it was shelved.

As a solution, the State Government issued a number of Executive Orders from February 1998 which operated to allow access to information from close to 50 departments. The series of Executive Orders have been compiled by the Department of General Administration in a book titled 'Janane Ka Haq'. The Executive Orders specifically identified a number of topics on which Departments were required to provide information to the public. The Orders also provided for appeals on non-disclosure decisions and penalties in accordance with the MP Civil Services Conduct Rules 1965 and the MP Civil Services Classification Control and Appeal Act 1966.

Despite the existence of the Executive Orders, the Madhya Pradesh Government in 2003 again decided to pursue legislation on the right to information in order to set up a more comprehensive access to information regime. Ultimately, on 24 January 2003 the Madhya Pradesh Jankari Ki Swatantrata Adhiniyam 2002 received the assent of the Governor and on 31 January 2003 was published in the Madhya Pradesh Gazette.

Law

In May 2005, the national Right to Information Act 2005 was passed by Parliament. The RTI Act 2005 received Presidential assent on 15 June and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. (For more information on the passage of the RTI Act 2005 and implementation at the national level, click here.) The RTI Act 2005 covers all Central, State and local government bodies and applies to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh. It is not clear at this time whether the Madhya Pradesh Jankari Ki Swatantrata Adhiniyam 2002 will be repealed.

The Madhya Pradesh Government has issued Madhya Pradesh Right to Information (Fees and Appeal ) Rules, 2005.

For a list of Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities designated by the State Government, click here.

Details of Fee & Costs

Application

Rs 10 (No fee is charged to people living below the poverty line)

Mode of payment

Cash against receipt/ non-judicial stamp.

Additional Fees:

Printing expenditure or medium exact price of the material of the information

As determined by above SPIO/SAPIO shall be deposited by the applicant to the State Public Information Officer in cash or in the form of non-judicial stamp

Larger paper

Actual cost

Publication or printed form

Actual cost of photocopies

Floppy/disk / video casette

Fees as fixed by the SPIO or SAPIO

Samples

Fees as fixed by the SPIO or SAPIO

Inspection of records

First hour or less than that Rs 50 , Rs 25 for each subsequent 15 minute

Appeal fee:

 

First appeal to Appellate Authority

Rs 50

Second appeal to SIC

Rs 100

Second Appeals and complaints against non-disclosure of information may be filed with the Madhya Pradesh State Information Commission.

State Information Commission

S.N.

Name of Commissioner

Contact

1.

Mr. P.P Tiwari
Commissioner

Nirvachan Bhavan
2nd Floor,58 Arera Hills
Bhopal—462011 M.P.
Ph.0755-2761366/67/68
Fax 0755-2761368
Email: mpsic.nic.in
Website: htttp://www.mpsic.nic.in

2.

Shri Dinesh Chandra Jugan
Information Commissioner

Ph.0755-2761366

3.

Shri Iqbal Ahmad
Information Commissioner

Ph.0755-2551828

4.

Shri Mahesh Pandey
Information Commissioner

Ph.0755-2551829

Newsupdates, Activities & Advocacy

  • In what could be described as a landmark decision, the state chief information commissioner T.N. Shrivastava imposed a fine of Rs. 25 thousand on tahasildar of Gyaraspur Shri H.S. Chouhan for not providing the information to an applicant within the time limit and for ignoring the State Information Commission. The Chief Information Commissioner has also recommended disciplinary action against the first appellate authority and Sub Divisional Officer, Gyaraspur Shri Sharad Shroti for his conduct unbecoming of the dignity of his office. The Chief Information Commissioner directed that the tahasildar has to deposit the amount of fine within 30 days of issuance of the order. Click here to view the whole story.
  • The General Administration Department (GAD) has issued a circular containing guidelines and clarifications on implementation of the RTI Act based on recommendations made by RTI activists in Madhya Pradesh. These clarifications include: acceptance of information requests on plain paper, explicit recognition of file notings, no transfer of applications within a public authority etc.
  • The MP Government website on right to information provides citizens with access to information from various departments. The website includes links to the Government's 20-point implementation programme for the RTI Act 2005.
  • Retired IAS officer T N Shrivastava has been sworn in as the Chief Information Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh. Governor Balram Jakhar administered the oath of office to Mr Shrivastava on 15 October at Raj Bhavan.
  • The Government is all set to implement the RTI Act. Officials are finalizing the process of seeking information from various officers. A format has been finalised in which people can seek certain information by depositing the prescribed fee with the treasury. The proforma has been made available at a number of places including stationery shops, post offices and banks.
  • In September 2005, CHRI in collaboration with Suchna Adhikar Abhiyan (Sandhan), Katni conducted a series of district level workshops in the Vindhya Mahakoshal region to educate CSOs, the media, advocates, elected members of Panchayats, Municipal bodies and the district administration to understand and implement the RTI Act.
  • On the invitation of the RCVP Noronha Academy of Administration, Bhopal CHRI conducted a two-day training workshop from 29-30 August. The workshop was attended by the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretaries and close to 100 officers. While in the area CHRI also took the opportunity to sensitise the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Network in Madhya Pradesh on the provisions of the RTI Act.

  • The National Campaign for People's Right to Information is active in Madhya Pradesh. On 8 May 2002, they conducted a Junsunwai in Bhopal on the proposed Maheshwar hydroelectric project in Khargone District of Madhya Pradesh. The purpose of the public hearing was to assist people - especially those affected by the project - to demand information on the project and to raise questions about the Maheshwar Project with the government, financial institutions and other organisations involved, affected or concerned with the Project.
    For further information: Contact Madhya Pradesh Campaign for People's Right to Information at E-7/21, Ashok Society, Arera Colony, Bhopal-16, Tel: 91-755-562802,783178. Fax 55567467
  • Sandhan, an NGO, works on the right to information in Madhya Pradesh. Sandhan is currently attempting to undertake an implementation audit of the Madhya Pradesh Right to Information Act. Sandhan also undertakes Election Watch activities.
    For further information: Contact Sandhan at Sandhan Association of Advocacy and Development, Maijee Ka Bagicha, Mai Ghat, Katni-483501. Tel: 91-7622-235782. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

     

Resources & Articles

Government

  • Right to Information Act 2005. (English)
  • Right to Information Act 2005. (Hindi)
  • Madhya Pradesh Right to Information (Fees and Appeal ) Rules, 2005
  • Madhya Pradesh Jankari Ki Swatantrata Adhiniyam 2002.
  • "Janneka Haq, Suchna Ka Adhikar", Government of Madhya Pradesh.
    It is a compilation of all the executive orders passed by various departments of the Government of Madhya Pradesh. It also contains the M. P. right o Information Bill 1998. It has been published by Government of Madhya Pradesh. The document is 234 pages long. To get a copy of it contact Government of Madhya Pradesh or CHRI, B-117, 1st floor, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi-10017, Tel: 91-11-26528152, 26850523, Fax: 91-11-26864688, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Website: www.humanrightsinitiative.org

CHRI

  • The Right to Information and Panchayati Raj Institutions: Madhya Pradesh as a Case Study [ English & Hindi ] (2006), written by Sohini Paul and Edited by Charmaine Rodrigues, CHRI.
  • CHRI (2005) Forwarding Information Requests and Appeals: A Step by Step Guide for Assistant Public Information Officers under the Right to Information Act 2005, prepared by Mr Venkatesh Nayak.
  • CHRI (2005) Processing Information Requests: A Step by Step Guide for Assistant Public Information Officers under the Right to Information Act 2005, prepared by Mr Venkatesh Nayak.
  • For CHRI's posters on RTI click here.
  • For information regarding CHRI's activities in Madhya Pradesh, click here.

Miscellaneous

Links

 

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