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05 March, 2011

Change


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton Season 2 edition 18; the eighteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

“Do you know who he is Sir?” Said chambi the constable, sipping his tea.
“Yeah, He is the famous Mr. Ravinder” Replied a thoughtful inspector Sharma.
“You don’t mean the Founder of Ravinder & Ravinder Group of Industries ?” Senior constable Ravi kumar asked raising his eyebrows to inspector Sharma’s Nod
“He is the richest man of the country, why would he want to rob the minnow jewellery shop?” Chambi continued sipping his tea.
“It is all over the news channels and News papers, Richest Man of the country caught trying to Rob a petty jewellery shop. Want me to read the front page story from Times of India”? volunteered Sub-inspector Imtiyaz taking a seat besides Ravi Kumar at the Police canteen, holding a folded copy of Times of India Newspaper.

“We did a good job containing the news yesterday, else it would have been a raging fire and conducting the court would have been a mess” Inspector Sharma chirped in thoughtfully.

“Well, here I go” sub-inspector Imtiyaz started reading the front page news
“Mr Ravinder Pradhan, the founder of Ravinder & Ravinder group of Industries, the richest man of the country was caught in the act of trying to break into a small jewellery shop at Juhu two nights ago. Yesterday in a dramatic move he pleaded guilty in the Bombay high court and refused to take lawyer representation. What had everyone’s attention was his request to be sent to Bellary Central Jail and the judge honoured his request. Mr. Ravinder has been sentenced for three month period. His family and friends were not available for a comment. Mr. Ravinder retired from all his official posts in Ravinder & Ravinder group a week back when he turned 60 and handed the reins to his kith and kin. This chain of events had the attention of our reporter Siksha Desai; she started digging around and what she has found is simply amazing. A tale that will touch your hearts and shake your belief in the system and scheme of things.

Mr. Ravinder has spent the first 30 years of his life in Bellary Central Jail. Yes! you read it right. Some say he was born there and some others say his mother was imprisoned after few days of his birth. In either case, she died after a month she was sent to jail and from then on it is history. Ravinder was brought up in the jail – Fed, educated and employed. His eyes never saw the world outside the jail in first 30 years of life. But his mind was full of stories he heard from the employees and prisoners about the wonders and vanities of the world. He always wanted to see it, feel it and be a part of it. His wishes came true when his mentor, the jailer was to retire after serving a full term of 38 years. An adult Ravinder was relieved of his duties to the jail and accompanied the Jailer to Bombay where he setup a small canteen from his savings working at the jail canteen. From then, there was no looking back, Mr. Ravinder made all the right business moves and in the next ten years he owned chains of three star hotels and a retail stores. By the end of next decade, he also added automobiles, constructions, investments and real estate to his business group and by the time he retired last week, Ravinder & Ravinder Group had 42 companies under their cap and from the grand plans of his children, the group is bound to grow.

So why did such a successful man try to rob a jewellery shop? Isn’t it obvious now? Probably in the twilight days of his life, he wanted to spend some time at the place where he started his life. How human mind works is simply amazing. ‘Having achieved everything on this earth and with no milestone to reach, Mr. Ravinder could have gone crazy, anyone would. That is the reason, the last few months he has been saying that he needed a change, do something very different’  says a source close to Mr. Ravinder on condition of anonymity.

Well, whatever the change Mr. Ravinder was talking of, We presume it definitely wasn’t the one he is having now. Hope the dust settles and he comes to senses, takes a lawyer representation and walks out of the jail. For detailed report on the case, police interviews and detailed story of Mr. Ravinder in his first 30 years please turn to page 7 –Rachit Sen and Siskha Desai”.

Imtiyaz finished reading and looked around the table for responses. Inspector Sharma was the first to leave the table muttering under breath “Freak that one”.  Chambi left to pay for his tea. He screamed at the top of his “ Crazy old fag. There were better things to do than go to jail for change”. RaviKumar stared at Imtiyaz, he added “ That was very sentimental, ofcourse anyone would like to go back to the place of birth and life, atleast once before you die.”

After exchanging few glances Imityaz added “If I were he, I would commit a bigger crime and make sure I die where I was born” Smiles exchanged and Inspector Sharma returned to retort “ Get moving you lazy slugs. We aren’t grant children of Mr. Ravinder,  nor is he our father in law. We have duties to attend to and earn our daily Bread”. They all shared a laugh and went out for their daily  routines.


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Sitting in his cell at the Bellary Jail, Mr. Ravinder finished reading the article. He thought to himself “There is more to this jail than you could possibly now. I lived, laughed and fell in love here. This is my rightful place and this is the change I wanted. To get back to where It all started. And for all those of you who think I will be out in 3 months, I have been here long enough and  know tricks to stay in jail than get out. This is my final change in life and It all ends here”

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01 March, 2011

Scope of RTI Act, India 2005





Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of USA(1801-09) and author of the Declaration of Independence says  “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine”. A thought provoking statement with lot of depth to it. It just doesn’t talk of majority in the parliament but about all those wrong-doers who wish to grow their wealth at the expense of everyone else.
Right to Information Act, was brought on the table and made a reality just to counter such elements of the society. RTI guarantees transparency of Information that is vital to its functioning and to contain corruption. In other words, it aids to hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed.

We will try and understand more about the SCOPE of RTI, What information is accessible and what isn’t.


SCOPE of RTI

The following Governments, Organizations  and bodies are covered under RTI and are subject to it.

  •  Central, State and Local Governments.
  • All bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by these governments.
  • NGOs (Non Government Organizations) substantially financed directly or indirectly by appropriate government funds.
  •   Executive, Judiciary and legislature wings.
  •   The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir - which is covered under a State-level RTI law.

Information that can be seeked under RTI

The Act specifies that citizens have a right to:
  •  Request any information (as defined).
  • Obtain copies of documents.
  • Inspect documents, works and records.
  • Take certified samples of materials of work.
  • Obtain information about material held in any form (Electronic Media included)  such as
o   Records
o   Documents
o   Memos
o   Opinions & Advices
o   Press Releases
o   Circulars, orders & logbooks
o   Contracts
o   Reports, paper samples & models


PARTIAL DISCLOSURE  under RTI

The act also enforces non-disclosure of some Information which may be vital to the Country’s security and other related Information. Thus,  those part(s) of the requested records which are not exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from parts containing exempt information are to be provided to the Requestee under RTI.

This brings us to an important questions as to what information is not open to disclosure.

The following information is exempted from disclosure (S.8)

Information which would prejudicially
  • Affect the sovereignty and integrity of India
  • Affect the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.
  •  Affect the relation with foreign State.
  •  Leads to incitement of an offence.
  •  Information forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court.
  •  Cause a breach of privilege of parliament or the state legislature.
  •  Affect commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party.
  •   Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, competent authority if satisfied that the larger public interest can allow the disclosure of such information;
  •  Information received in confidence from foreign government.
This comprehensively covers the  scope of RTI, what information could be seeked and what is forbidden. Inshaallah, in the coming posts we will talk more about sample case studies of RTI and other related details.
Hope this information was helpful to all.