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Showing posts from July, 2016

Redevelopment: Ghost-like Politicians Protecting Builders

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Mumbai, 14th July, 2016: I would not have believed it if I had'nt seen it with my own eyes. For many months, my client Tukaram Sutar had been insisting that the Jogeshwari Municipal Corporator Ujwala Modak was giving political support to the non-performing redevelopment builder and former managing committee members of his cooperative housing society... but I was skeptical. I asked him, "Where is the evidence? Has this corporator ever spoken or written letters to us, or interfered in our society's matters? No!" However, three days ago, when I found myself confronting Ujwala Modak at the society's hearing at the office of the Deputy Registrar of Cooperation (K-East Ward), Wadala, I realized that Mr Sutar was right. At the hearing, Ujwala Modak's conversation with Cooperation Department officials indicated that she had been meeting and phoning them for favourable orders. 
After our heated argument, corporator Modak helped the society's chairman Mrs Rajshree…

Corporator Ujwala Modak frames Activist Krishnaraj Rao in false case

Swimming pool: Amazing for exercises, physiotherapy & joint mobility and discovery of your super-powers!

As an avid swimmer who has been spending about 14 hours in the swimming pool per week, I have some insights and learnings to share. Swimming pool exercises give measurable improvement in physical and mental health to senior citizens, obese persons, patients recovering from paralytic strokes and spinal injuries, and even children with low self-esteem, body-image issues, bad posture, and learning disorders. The swimming pool has immense use as a place for therapeutic and rehabilitation exercises, as well as tremendous self-improvement, whether you are able to swim, or otherwise. For people who are weak, obese, arthritic, aged, etc. doing exercises on land can quite easily cause painful muscle pulls or joint injuries. However, doing the same exercises in the swimming pool is easy and painless, because water supports the body weight and also the weight of the limb being exercised. The below-mentioned exercises – which can all be practiced in the shallow end, start showing measurable res…

Prophetic Ramblings Chapter XI: The Dead Donkey and Nine Yards Of Silk

Throughout the length and breadth of the land, the infamy of Samirah, the rebellious and once-cast-out third wife of The #Messenger (blessings!), preceded her. The oracle in the mountains of Zo'am had prophesied that Samirah would be with child in nine moons, although The #Messenger (blessings!) had turned away from her in anger, and ceased to lie with her.

And verily, Samirah defied her lord and master, and swore to conceive a child. And lo and behold, on the nineth moon after the Day of Offerings, Samirah's belly swelled. "By what wickedness have you conceived this child?" asked Za'kilah, fifth wife of The #Messenger (blessings!). At that moment, a donkey brayed in the yard of their neighbour, Harugh the woodcutter. And Za'kilah rushed out to see and beheld that the donkey was in heat. "Confess! You have lain with the donkey, and brought shame to the tribe! Have you no piety, woman? Have you no respect for the man who wived you?" said Za'kilah.

Prophetic Ramblings Chapter XIV: Festival of Cleansing followed by Feasting

And thereupon it came to pass, on the Fourteenth Day of Za'karah, that The #Messenger (blessings!) and his tribe, whom he had led away from the cursed land of B'azilah, were resting in the mountains of Zo'am where they had taken up residence. And Za'kilah, fifth wife of The #Messenger (blessings!), saw that the toilet bowls were filthy, having been shat upon by her fifteen children, but the toilet brush and broom were nowhere to be found.
"And how, in the name of the Great Rickrack Rock, am I supposed to clean up this mess?" Za'kilah questioned The #Messenger (blessings!). The words of The #Messenger (blessings!) issued forth from the divine pie hole. "You may cut your hair and tie it to my staff, woman, and it shall be your toilet brush and broom. And you may cut the shredded gown on your body, which you brought from your father's household 15 moons ago, and it shall be the swab to wipe the floor with. Ask me no further questions, for the Great…

Layman’s Guide to RTI Act 2005 Part 7: Tips for writing successful RTI applications

1) A good RTI application as boring as a laundry list.
It is a bare list of items of information WITHOUT ANY reasoning. If the first draft of RTI application is interesting to read, something is wrong. Make corrections by deleting the interesting material, such as logical threads of reasoning and justification. You must focus on how to draft an RTI application that DOES NOT disclose the overall nature of the problem in your mind. It must not give a glimpse of what you intend to do with the requested information e.g. register police complaints, approach investigating agencies, file a PIL etc. Also, your RTI application must not indicate how badly you want the information, and therefore, please don’t mention anything such as “I am a senior citizen dependent on my pension cheques, and I have been pushed from pillar-to-post in search of this information.” When you write an RTI application, you must try to gain only information, and not sympathy, respect etc.
2) A good RTI application is s…

Layman’s Guide to RTI Act 2005 Part 6: Understanding RTI Rules

Maharashtra Government‘s RTI Rules are almost identical with Central Government’s RTI rules, with only tiny differences.
The rules are: Form of application. RTI application should generally be filed in format given as Annexture A of the Rules. Word limit and subject: Each RTI application should only be about one subject, and the queries or requests under the heading ‘Description of Information‘, should not exceed 150 words. You can file additional RTI applications on same subject, if your queries exceed 150 words, or you want information on more than one subject. For Central government, the word limit is 500 words. Application fee. Application fee of Rs.10/- are to be paid by affixing Court Fee Stamp or Indian Postal Order (IPO) or bank’s demand draft or banker’s cheque in favour of public authority from whom information is sought, or in cash at the concerned office against receipt. Copying charges. Information in A-3 or A-4 size paper -- Rs.2/- per page Large photocopie…

Layman’s Guide to RTI Act 2005 Part 5: Your Rights As A Citizen

Quite often, people feel guilty and try to explain why they want a particular piece of information. Some people write a covering letter for their RTI application explaining their grievances and how getting the information will help them. Others explain that they are collecting information for their doctoral thesis or newspaper article. Still others try to impress the PIO by writing that they are relatives of a Member of Parliament, or the president of some association or trade union.
All that is unnecessary.
Section 6(2) clearly says: An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason or any other personal details except those that necessary for contacting him.
So, whether you are drafting your RTI application, speaking to a PIO or any Appellate Authority, remember: you need not disclose the purpose for which you want the information, or any additional details about yourself. Your name and contract details is all that anybody needs to know!
What are…

Layman’s Guide to RTI Act 2005 Part 4: Refusal and Severability of Information

In case the requested documents are denied to you under sections 8, 9 or 11, and the PIO and appellate authorities refuse to budge, what to do?
The answer is: Take whatever documents you can get, after severing off the documents (or parts thereof) to which the above-mentioned sections apply.
Section 10: (1) Where a request for access to information is rejected on the ground that it is exempt from disclosure, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information.
(2) Where access is granted to a part of the record under sub-section(1) the PIO shall give a notice to the applicant, informing — that only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided; the reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the…

Layman’s Guide to RTI Act 2005 Part 3: How to avoid refusal by Public Information officer?

Can government give every information that is requested by a citizen? No. The country cannot run unless some information is secret or confidential in government organizations.
For example, information that is of strategic importance (such as the latest missile being developed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), cannot be shared with the public. Similarly, if peace talks are being held between Indian and its neighbouring country, such details cannot be disclosed until the talks are concluded.
Intelligence and national security organizations of the government are generally exempted from the ambit of the RTI Act. For example: Intelligence Bureau. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence Central Economic Intelligence Bureau Directorate of Enforcement Narcotics Control Bureau…
A complete and updated list of these exempted organizations is available in Second Schedule of RTI Act.
Generally, all the types of information that you may not get under RTI are speci…