The application sent to the Ministry of Law was published last week. This week we publish the reply received from the Ministry of Law and the Appeal made to the FAA against it.
The reply dated 16.11.2009 received from the Ministry of Law is given below:
An appeal was, thereafter, filed before the First Appellate Authority of the Ministry of Law on 22.11.2009. The text of the same is given below:
President, TNEB Stores Staff Union,
20/2077, Jeevan Bhima Nagar,
Anna Nagar West Extension,
Chennai – 600001
Shri. M. A.Khan Yusufi,
First Appellate Authority,
Ministry of Law & Justice,
Department of Legal Affairs,
Room No. 406 B- A, 4th Floor, “A” wing,
Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110001
Tel No.: 23385383
||Employees’ State Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2009 – indifferent attitude of the CPIO in a matter of national importance – Appeal under Sec.19 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005|
I invite your kind attention to the references cited.
2. I had, in the reference second cited, asked for certain information under Sec. 6 of the RTI Act, 2005, with reference to the Employees’ State Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2009. The information that I had requested was with reference to what would have, normally, been available as per the files of your Ministry.
3. But, the CPIO has, in the reference third cited, informed that no file is available in your Ministry as the Advice Section of your department had recorded its opinion in the concerned file of the Ministry of Labour & Employment and sent it to the Legislative Department which, in turn, sent the file back to the Ministry of Labour & Employment.
4. The CPIO had also informed me that the Ministry of Labour & Employment may provide the information requested by me. This, he has done after more than thirty days, when he could have transferred the application to the concerned Ministry. As per Sec. 6(3) of the RTI Act, 2005, he should have done so within five days from the date of receipt of the application. The action of the CPIO is in patent violation of Rule 6 (3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 notified by none other than your Ministry’s Legislative Department.
5. It becomes clear from the said reply of your CPIO that neither the Advice Section nor the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law & Justice considered it necessary to retain even the copies of the file-notings for their reference and record, in spite of the fact that the issue under their consideration was the amendment to the Principal Act.
6. If the single file system is the reason for non-maintenance of record, the CPIO should, in all fairness, have transferred the Application to the Ministry of Labour & Employment, on his own, for supplying the information requested by me, as both departments are part of the same secretariat.
7. Or, if the Ministry of Labour & Employment is considered to be some other department, your Ministry should have kept a record of the work done by your officials.
8. But, neither was done in this case.
9. The issue under consideration is the very serious amendments proposed to be made in the ESI Act, 1948. The way in which your Advice Department, which has the duty to examine the proposed amendments “from legal and Constitutional angle”, had dealt with so many amendments within five days from 24.6.2009 to 29.6.2009 *** shows very clearly that your officials had either not understood the significance of various clauses, especially the Clauses 5, 9, 15, 17, of the Bill very clearly or had been under undue pressure to clear the Bill fast without proper scrutiny.
10. The reply also shows that the Ministry of Law & Justice is not concerned about the implications of the amendments endorsed by them, even after the facts brought out in my Application had been read by them. I am aggrieved by the decision of the CPIO.
11. The implications of the amendment being very serious having wider ramifications on the society, the issue is proposed to be taken up through other legitimate fora. I, therefore, request you to kindly advise your CPIO to act, at least, as per Sec. 6 (3) of the RTI Act, 2005. Precious time has been wasted in a matter of national importance, because of the indifferent attitude of your CPIO to the provisions of Sec. 6(3).
N.B: It turned out later that the Ministry of Law Advice Department did not take five days but only two days. The details in this regard have alreay been given in a separate post in the following link: