Monday, September 26, 2022

Sharing my experience with RTI Appeals: You need to be persistent

I have shared snippets of my legal fight with bureaucracy in Bengaluru in an attempt to avoid a huge bribe (link to twitter campaign - Land registration pending for 25 Yrs with Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner ).

In order to find out the latest status of the case review and why it was stuck, I decided to bypass agents and filed an RTI application
  1. The RTI application was specific with Information requested:
    1. I wish to have information on the review of my file relating to case RRT.XXX
    2. I wish to request information on the status of review of this issue by the Deputy Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban
  2. The initial RTI went unheeded by the designated Public Information Officer (PIO). No response even after I waited for over 30 days
  3. I filed an RTI First appeal with First Appellant Authority (FAA) and waited for 45 days but didn’t receive any information
  4. I filed an RTI Second appeal with the State’s Information Commission (in triplicate – copy to PIO, FAA. Had to redo the application after it was initially rejected since I sent copies directly to PIO/FAA not the three copies to SIC)
  5. After I waited for several weeks, the State’s Information Commission scheduled a hearing and sent me a letter about the Webex meeting.
  6. A week after I got the letter from State’s Information Commission, I got a bundle in registered post. This was the entire copy of my case file along with notations and filing by my attorney
  7. I decided to attend the State’s Information Commission hearing by Webex VC and when my turn came, I confirmed that I received the case file, but the case hadn’t been reviewed yet. (Note to self: I was impressed with the use of Webex and remote case hearing at local administration)
  8. The SIC officer said their focus was on making sure I got the information, not following up on the case.
Bottomline: Filing RTI is any day better than running around bribing local babus asking about your file that may be stuck
  • Was it an easy journey? No. There were lot of missteps in between and duplication of paperwork, but I was persistent.
  • Does this mean my case is being resolved? No. I will have to pursue it with the authorities.
  • So, what does it mean? I have reviewed the case file and know exactly where it is stuck. This information, while dealing with government officials is the key to moving forward!