Thursday, 21 November 2013

MISINFORMATION COMMISSIONER – A Sad Story to thwart & throttle RTI Act

Anil Galgali has raised serious concern in a letter addressed to the Governor, CM & CS about a recent controversial order issued by an eqally controversial Chief Information Commissioner, which exceeds his brief and powers conferred by the RTI Act to actually thwart and throttle the implementation of the RTI Act to meet aspirations of the common man.  RTI Act was implemented by the Govt to bring transparency in its activities and to ensure empowerment of common man to protect its interests. But it has now come to notice that the various positions created by the Act to protect the basic tenets of provisions in the Act are assuming the role of Law making body bypassing the Govt and Parliament / Legislature to pass rules which are against the framework of the Act as well as impediments in the deliverance of justice through the Act. 

Recently on 26/09/2013 the Chief Information Commissioner Mr Ratnakar Gaikwad passed an order addressed to The Principal Secretary, Urban Development Dept, Govt of Maharashtra stating that Under RTI Act Section 19(8)( c ) & Section 25 (5) all the public Planning Authorities like Municipal Corporations, Municipal Council’s and special planning authorities like MMRDA, SRA, Region wise Planning Authorities should refuse to give information about Sanction plans of Buildings and structures belonging to Govt / Semi Govt Offices, Hotels, Gymkhana, Hospitals, Malls, IT Buildings and commercial buildings.

Mr Anil Galgali in his representeation addressed to the Governor Shri K Shankarnarayan, Chief Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan & Chief secretary Shri Jayant Banthiya has questioned the wisdom of the Chief Information Commissioner in issueing such an Order which is bad in law, without application of mind, illegal and Unconstitution & against RTI Act. The role of any Information Commissioner is to allow dissemination of Information on Case to case basis, The position of the Commissioner has quasi – judicial powers. The Commissioner has to pass orders within the purview of RTI Act on a  case which is presented before it. It has no powers to pass any General Orders / Law (which is vested with either the Govt or the Legislature). The Order issued is not on the basis of any matter / case before it. Hence the order is illegal, bad in law and unconstitutional, without application of mind, added Galgali. 

The contents and implications of the orders has now raised questions about the intentions and the actual purpose of such an order and also leading to speculations of the actual beneficiaries of the orders, as this has come on a occasion where the Country is discussing the illegalities in the Campa Cola compound, it has also to be noted that almost 52% of buildings in city like Mumbai do not have OC’s. Such order will ensure that the illegalities committed by the builders in collusion with corrupt babu’s and neta’s are always buried. The Common man will never ever get to know about illegalities committed in a building in which he proposes to buy a flat / shop which in future, it will ensure repetition of Campa Cola type incidents, said Galgali. 

Mr Galgali further pointed that the RTI Act provides the Public Information Officer with powers to decide / allow or reject information to an applicant on the basis of its merit. If the applicant feels aggrieved by the decision, then he has the right to appeal before the 1st Appellate and if necessary the 2nd Appellate - the Information Commissioner himself. But instead to allowing the procedure to function as per the Act, Mr Gaikwad is trying to thwart the procedure to throttle the dissemination of information and also impinging on the powers conferred to the Public Information Officer as well as the 1st Appellate Officer. This Order, which has been issued with malafide intentions to protect vested interests of certain people is compromising the interests of Common Man. Mr Galgali also demanded to know which structure’s security interests was compromised by giving away the building plans and drawings? Mr Galgali finally demanded before the Governor to cancel the illegal order, which also impinges on the Powers of the Govt & Legislature to formulate.Information Commission which was formed to ensure transparency and deliverance of information assumes role of lawmaking.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Only 48% Bldgs have OC in Mumbai

Mumbai: 27000 cr budget's The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not have a system in place to track builders who violated rules. BMC admits that the work of tally building without OC is going on step by step. Last 9 years data shows that approximately 1597 proposal received and 766 OC's issued by BMC. In a short only 48% bldgs have OC. Its revealed by Anil Galgali who filed a RTI query at BMC.
Bmc was asked for the figures in a RTI query filed by Activist Anil Galgali. In response,  D P Solkar, Administrative Officer of Development Planning of Bmc transfer Galgali Application Deputy Chief Engineer of City and Suburbs. Instead to take action against illegally occupied buildings, revealed it is unaware of the number of buildings that do not have OC. Anil Galgali filed first Appeal at same office to Executive Engineer. In a hearing, V R More admits that the information regarding building proposal as well as development and planning, has step by step put on website.  Remain information has been available on website after  6 to 7 months. The argument made by Galgali that Every 3 month  a statements showing total no of proposal received and IOD, CC, OC, BCC issued  was submitted by Respective Deputy Chief Engineer of Building Proposal at Chief Engineer. Then why not tally of Bldgs without OC has no record and maintend . Mr More has give positive response to Galgali's argument and order to give a yearly record which was available from 2003. 
A data revealed that from 2003-04  to 2011-12, in a 9 years total 14370 proposal received. 9841 IOD (Intimation of Disapproval), 13313 CC (Commencement Certificate), 6888 OC ( Occupation Certificate) and 128 BCC (Building Completion Certificate) issued. In a year approximately 1597 new proposal received by Bmc but  only 48 % buildings get OC ie  766 in a year. Compare to proposal, CC issued by large number. Approximately 93% CC issued which is reached 1480 in a year. Simultaneously IOD percentage is 69. Bmc babus are so hurry to issued CC and IOD but when time come to issue OC, this babus hands not work according to the law and they has not perfect data of numbers of bldgs in Mumbai without OC, Said Galgali. Its Anil  Galgali 3rd RTI in same issue,  who every time assured by Authority that work is going on. Even Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan told the State Legislative Assembly in first week of July 2012 that there are nearly 5,000 buildings in Mumbai without OC. Mr Chavan announced that a special drive will be undertaken to survey buildings in Mumbai that have been handed over to flat buyers without an OC.
# Unsafe and irregularities in Construction
An OC is a document issued by the Municipal Body to a builder after the completion of a buildings to certify that the construction is in compliance of the approval plan and buildings codes and laws. Many times builders are denied an OC bcz they do not follow the norms. Builders can offten escape  by paying fine. In 2011, master  blaster Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar  also escape by paying a fine. Tendulkar was fined for occupying his multi storey bungalow at Perry Cross Road in Bandra without first getting an Occupation Certificate.  Residents of buildings without an  OC have to pay twice the water charges and a higher property tax. Flat buyers can suffer if the buillder of there construction does not procure an OC. If people's pay extra charges then how bmc claims that they have not complied figures of buildings in Mumbai, said Galgali.
A shocked Galgali said, CM also misguided by corrupt bmc officer's because after a information provided by Bmc, Chief Minister of State made announcement. After 2 year's till bmc not tally of bldgs without OC is something wrong. Because they have yearly records of all proposal received and issued IOD, CC, OC and CC.The concerned building proposal officer's from Sub Engineer to Chief Engineer should be held accountable when buildings are occupied by without OC. 
                         Statements of proposal, IOD, CC, OC and BCC is as follows : 

No. of Proposal Received
No. of IOD Issued
No. of CC
No. of OC Issued
No. of BCC Issued