Anonymous RTI petitions
It refers to Kolkatta High Court verdict paving way for anonymous RTI petitions to be filed at post-box addresses without revealing identity of the petitioner. Verdict will tend to protect lives of RTI petitioners where many of RTI petitioners have already been gunned down by bad elements having been affected by exposures made through their RTI petitions.
Verdict will also tend to eliminate chances of fake RTI petitions filed in name of some known RTI petitioners, most probably by insiders in the organisations where fake petitioners could note down responses by movement of files caused because of such fake RTI petitions. (Many such fake petitions have been filed under this writer's name and address in different organisations).
Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) took corrective measures of imposing a 500-word limit when some people had begun filing extra-long petitions. Some more corrective measures like increasing RTI-fees to rupees fifty with provision of providing first twenty copies of pages free-of-cost may be taken to prevent mockery of RTI Act by someones because of an insignificant RTI fees of just rupees ten. It will save huge man-hours and postal-charges both for public-authorities and the petitioners. However this fees should be uniform for all states and competent authorities through amendment in sections 27 and 28 of RTI Act because there is RTI fees of rupees 500 in several states and High Courts despite DoPT's advisory for harmony in RTI fees. Already there is provision for persons 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) to file RTI petitions without paying any RTI fees and even copying charges, a facility being misused at times by big contractors when they manage to get extra large number of copied documents free-of-cost by getting RTI petitions filed under names of persons under BPL category.
RTI stamps accepted by Department of Posts following full-bench CIC-verdict should be issued without further delay to save huge loss of revenue on handling postal-orders with operational-cost of rupees 37.45 to recover present RTI fees of rupees ten.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Delhi
An Appeal from Scientists
The Maharashtra State government has promulgated, in August, an ordinance to check a few extremely outrageous black magic (and related) practices. This followed the murder of the rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, who had led the anti-superstition movement in Maharashtra and had been campaigning for such a law for over twenty years. If this ordinance is not passed into law in the upcoming session of the assembly it will lapse. There is a very real danger of this happening—it has happened before in 2005. The passage of such a bill in Maharashtra is crucial even for India as a whole, because it will set the precedent for a comprehensive national legislation. States like Karnataka are already set to follow the example.
A concerted appeal from Indian scientists in institutions across the country and abroad will send a strong message to Maharashtra legislators (and to the national leadership), across party lines, that this bill is important to us. We would like to personally request you to visit the following webpage http://science-petition.bharatvivek.org where you will find the link to sign the appeal as well as relevant background information.
We will greatly appreciate it if you could please forward this message to your scientific colleagues and help us reach out to a wider circle at your institution as well as elsewhere.
The scientists' appeal is part of a larger grassroots campaign to mobilise public support for this bill. You will find the link to this Act Now! campaign on the above website. Please also consider signing the petition there and bringing it to the attention of friends, students and family members.
Atish Dabholkar (Sorbonne Universites & CNRS, Paris),
Rajesh Gopakumar (Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad)
‘The Golden Dawn’
Savvas Matsas, a Greek philosopher, literary critic, Biblical scholar and leader of the Marxist Workers Revolutionary Party (EEK), stands charged with "defaming" the Greek neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, "inciting violence" against them, and "disturbing the peace." His case went to trial on September 3, 2013. The evidence for "defamation" seemed to be that he called them "criminals"; for the charge of "inciting violence" that he appealed for a fight against fascism; and for the charge of "disturbing the peace" that he wrote a tract calling for a demonstration against them.
The Golden Dawn party is con-ducting a virulent campaign against Savvas, whom they've called "an agent of the international Jewish conspiracy against the Greek nation who is trying to provoke a civil war in order to establish a Jewish-Bolshevik regime." Sound familiar?
As outrageous as the charges against Savvas, is that Greece's conservative Government, which has several Cabinet members whose origins lie in the extreme right, should consider such legally protected behavior as worthy of judicial action. This may even be the first time that any country that pretends to be a democracy has made opposition to fascism into a crime. If it succeeds in Greece, it won't be the last.
Savvas has called for letters that support his "right" to fight fascism in all the ways listed in the charges be sent to him as soon as possible. Even one line will do. Letters are already beginning to flood in from Greece and several other countries. Take a moment and write, and then forward this appeal to all your contacts who take the fight against fascism (and the state's protection, bordering on open support, of the fascists in its midst) as seriously as Savvas does. Savvas' email address is: savvasmatsas @gmail.com
Department of Politics, NYU
Vol. 46, No. 26, Jan 5 -11, 2014
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