Sunday, May 11, 2014

Using an existing law in Maharashtra to get govt to respond to excessive delays

For tackling extensive delays in government work on something that concerns you, here's a suggestion by Sailesh Gandhi, prominent RTI Activist, who then served as a Central Information Commissioner for a couple of years and who gave many landmark decisions (rare example of an aam aadmi being part of the Govt).

Awareness about this Act is likely to be low in various Govt. depts (unlike RTI), so consistent and persistent use of these provisions will also serve that purpose.

 YOU Can Get Prompt Action         

Many Citizens find that when they make applications for certain services or for some corrections or make a complaint or representation to Government bodies they get no response. Now there is a very powerful law in Maharashtra which can empower us.  If citizens use it with RTI it can result in better governance and delivery of timely services. Its name is a mouthful: 'Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act (Act 21 of 2006)'. The first part –Chapter 2- specifies that government servants must have a tenure of three years and should normally be transferred only in April or May. If this is violated reasons must be given. Citizens can use this to curb arbitrary transfers of good officers like Khemka or Pardeshi.

The second part, Rule 10 effectively says that no decision on any file can take more than 45 days if a matter has to be decided within the department, and no more than 90 days where other departments have to be consulted.  Rule 10 (3) [ 64C for BMC] along with the rules requires the competent authority to do a preliminary investigation within 15 working days and take disciplinary action if negligence is established.

In short if an application/complaint/representation has received no response for over 90 days, if the citizen brings it to the notice of the competent authority (Secretary of the department), the Secretary is obliged to take steps to fix responsibility for dereliction of duty.

If you have received no response to your application/complaint/representation in Maharashtra please send a letter on the following lines to the Secretary of the department:

    " I had given my application for……….. on ………….. Since then I have received no communication. I would like to draw your attention to Section 10 of the Transfers and Delays Act 21 of 2006/ ( 64C of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act) which mandates that no decision can be kept pending for over 3 months. In the instant case, no decision has been communicated to me despite the lapse of…… months. I request to conduct a preliminary enquiry to fix responsibility on the officers responsible for this delay and take appropriate disciplinary action against them. I request that the report of the enquiry may please be sent to me.

     I look forward to your early action in the above matter,"

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