Skip to main content

Gujarat BJP MP instructs officials not to provide info under RTI, activist objects, complains to Lok Sabha speaker

CR Patil
By Pankti Jog*
When a law maker become law breaker, democracy is in danger. But when a law maker instructs offices to break a law, the situation becomes even more dangerous. On February 3, 2017, BJP MP from Navsari (Gujarat) CR Patil, wrote a letter to the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) virtually instructing it not give information to citizens under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The letter alleges that “not only SMC but most of the public authorities are receiving applications under RTI Act by frivolous applicants, blackmailers and money extorters.” However, the letter does not give any data, reason or justification that may form the base of the allegation.
Patil further says that in the case of SMC most of the applications are related to “Illegal constructions”, and after receiving information, citizens blackmail the “illegal construction owners”, adding, they even give threats for demolition. Again, he does not give the list of owners of illegal constructions who are being threatened.
Patil recommends that SMC should prepare a list of such users and should blacklist them, and should instruct all offices not to give any information under the RTI Act, 2005. He adds, his recommendation should be taken up at the coordination committee or Sankalan Samiti meeting of SMC.
The letter, written by Patil on February 2, was received by SMC in February 3, and was marked to all head offices of SMC on the same day. It was also marked to the Sankalan Samiti, which probably was on February 4, 2017, as per the noting on the letter.
CR Patil's letter
Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), an organization of concerned citizen working to spread RTI at the grassroots level, has strongly opposed the letter, as also the culture/mindset of secrecy of the MP, and has made written representation to the Lok Sabha speaker.
The representation states that an MP takes oath to honour the constitution and laws of the state and cannot outrightly instruct or recommend for violation of any law passed by Parliament. It appeals to the Lok Sabha speaker to seek explanation from CR Patil for the basis of such “unconstitutional” act by him.
MAGP founder Harinesh Pandya says that Patil has “written his letter on his letter head and he alleges that RTI users are frivolous, and clearly recommends blacklisting and not providing any information under RTI.”
“Has he submitted any data to the Lok Sabha and taken permission for writing such recommendatory letter? The MP is officially admitting that he is dishonouring a law passed by Parliament. He is accountable towards people, also towards the Lok Sabha. He should be asked explain with data the rationale, reason and justification for his unconstitutional act”, Pandya insists.
“Elected representatives may give instructions to statutory bodies or bureaucracy on people’s issues, but not for violating any law. If such cases repeat, it will result into lawlessness. We have started a mass letter writing campaign condemning this act to send a strong message that our elected representatives cannot misuse the power given to them by people and go unchallenged. Our campaign will continue till Patil withdraws his recommendation”, Pandya warns.
---
*Senior activist, Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel

Comments

Unknown said…
Excellent.
Jatin Sheth said…
This is a very serious matter since a MP is supposed to be law maker and takes oath to protect constitution whereas here is a MP who recommends by writing a letter to Municipal Commissioner of Surat city, to blacklist RTI activists and not to divulge information thus prompting violation of law and attack on citizen's right to information. Since there is a proof of his action, he has no right to continue as MP and speaker must disqualify him as MP and for holding any public office henceforth.
Unknown said…
What is his authority to issue such directives ? Is it not proper to report the same to Speaker complaining his abetting of illegal acts ?

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.