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How Big is Black

 

Infographic Courtesy: The Times of India

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Bribe Eye | What lies beneath Allegations

Three months after Virabhadra Singh, the former Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, resigned, he has again hit the headlines for corruption charges.

The five-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh was found guilty for his unaccounted cash entries emerging from his Income Tax (I-T) returns affidavit of assets filed for nomination to the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections in 2012.

Between April 24, 2008 and March 31, 2010, roughly Rs. 5 crore was deposited in his associate’s account in Punjab National Bank in Shimla. He also made corresponding deposits by cheque for LIC premiums totalling roughly Rs. 5 crore in favour of the former Steel Minister and the minister’s family.

The sudden increase in the minister’s assets was attributed to the increase in his agricultural income. However, the source of his income is yet to be known.

Prior to this, a news channel had aired a report alleging Ispat Industries Ltd. to have paid bureaucrats and officials in the steel and coal ministries during 2009-2010. The allegations, based on documents sourced from the Income Tax department, specifically mention Rs 2.28 crore paid to 'VBS' between October 2009 and October 2010. Mittal Diary is the document that had this information and gave a glimpse in to ‘routine payoffs to officials in the ministries of finance, commerce, company affairs, petroleum, coal, mines, steel, environment and forests, rural development, highways and road transport, PSUs and even the Korean High Commission. Payments to journalists for stopping negative articles and photographs are also listed in these cash accounts’ as quoted in the Hindu.

Added to this, the minister reacted to the media when asked on the various allegations made against him. He reacted by warning the media and said, “"I will break your cameras". In criticism to this, Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju pointed to Congress leader Virbhadra Singh’s terming it as an “ugly display of temper”.

Though its simple to brush aside this as any other case of allegation, one needs to read between the lines. This allegation underlines the horizontal presence of corruption as indicated by the number of ministries mentioned in the Mittal Diary. The diary also speaks of payoffs that reflect a quid pro quo that is emerging as a major form of corruption in India.

Diary also mentions to have paid few journalists from restraining to publish some ‘unfavourable’ content. This also represents a different facet of ‘paid news’.

Though nothing can be concluded as the allegation is yet to be proven, these certainly present an insight in to various dynamics surrounding the endemic corruption in India.

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Bribe Eye | Privacy versus Disclosure

PM Moots the Idea of Privacy

After the government exempted CBI from RTI Act four months back, the Prime Minister made another attempt to dilute the purpose of the act recently at a convention of Information Commissioners. He called for “a fine balance” between RTI and right to privacy while justifying the need for privacy. According to him, relevance of privacy stems from the fundamental right to liberty and life and the need to maintain personal privacy of an individual.

He even announced that an expert group was working on the need to enact a separate legislation on privacy. This clearly can be construed as an attempt to shield the issue of illegal deals between Robert Vadra and DLF from further drawing any public attention.

Exemption Clauses of RTI Come Under Criticism

RTI was enacted in 2005 to promote open data and also to ensure its accessibility to the public. Realizing the need to secure information related to strategic issues, the exemption clause was included in which certain sections of administrative activities were exempted from the RTI Act. These details can be found in Section 8 and 9 of the Act.  

Such exemptions, however, have come under criticisms by various RTI activists such as the members of National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). Even the former Chief Information Commissioners such as Wajahat Habibullah and A.N Tiwari were sceptical on exempting few organisations relating to the allegations of corruption.

PM stressed on the constructive use of the RTI act. However, he did not favour RTI’s blanket exemption as this might deter the foreign investors who participate in PPPs. He even questioned the terms of the act which is used to ridicule or criticize a public official.

Need to Raise Above Partisan Politics

His criticisms cannot be brushed aside as no anti-corruption legislation should be used to keep public officials at check. This would have a detrimental impact as public officials would refrain from taking initiatives or exploring more efficient ways to administer.

Nevertheless, the reason why legislations such as RTI are enacted in India is to ensure the accessibility of open data. The public needs to know the status of their money. Moreover, if a private concern such as DLF which is a real estate major transfers crores of rupees to Robert Vadra, then this ought to come under the scanner as Vadra is strongly linked to Gandhian family. And this will certainly raise questions over the pay-backs that constitute a major tool of corruption for the ruling power.

The power of legislate is bestowed by the parliament upon the legislature. This should be not misused to enact legislations to save the tarnishing image of a ruling party. The Prime Minister should display true leadership qualities by making decisions above partisan politics rather than being myopic over issues that can have far-flung adverse ramifications.

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National Investment Board to Boost Major Investments
  • National Investment Board (NIB) led by the Prime Minister is all set to assume the role of a super arbitrator to expedite clearances for major infrastructure projects.
     
  • This is aimed at eliminating red-tape, a major variant of corruption prevalent in India.
     
  • This is also to rectify the discretionary powers of ministries that are known for their arbitrary delays and refusals of major projects.
  • NIB will be constituted as an empowered Standing Committee of the Cabinet under the chairmanship of the PM with other key members such as Finance and Law & Justice ministers.
     
  • NIB will be supported by a secretariat engaged in identifying key projects that require continual monitoring. The initial focus will be on investments over Rs.1,000 crore in roads, mining (especially coal), power, petroleum and natural gas, ports and railway projects.
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Bribe Eye | Spot fine for drunken driving? Not allowed by the Law

• Spot fine is not supposed to be imposed for cases on drunken driving

• Only female officers can test women drivers

• Under new rules approved by the Union Cabinet on March1, 2012, for the first offence under drunken driving, the fine extends up to Rs.2000-/ & imprisonment up to six months

• Fine for subsequent case of drunken driving goes up to Rs.10,000 while the period of imprisonment is raised to 4years

 

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Bribe Eye | Sakala Guarantees Services in Karnataka

Ever wondered whether you can demand any service as a matter of right? Ever wondered whether you can hold an official responsible for failing to deliver a service within a given time period? Few states guarantee public services in India including Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Orissa.

Karnataka - Sakala:

  • Guarantee of services to citizens is passed under Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act, 2011
  • This is a part of e-governance endeavour as status will be available online.
  • This is an appellate authority related to citizen-related services
  • An application number will be provided to the citizen who has appealed. The number can be used to monitor the status of the procedure.
  • The manner of application is to apply to the designated officer for one or more services appended in the Schedule.
  • Designated officer or authorized person shall issue acknowledgement in Form-B, upon receipt of the written application. Computerised acknowledgement number shall be given for each application.
  • Citizens are entitled for compensatory cost in case of delay in the delivery of services.
  • Citizen who has been denied the service is entitled for compensatory cost by submitting a copy of Form-B to the Competent Officer or filing a complaint with the acknowledgement number through call centre.
  • After receipt of application for compensatory cost, the Competent Officer shall assess the compensatory cost entitled to the applicant on the basis of online information and take necessary action to make immediate payment and get the acknowledgement with signature. Thereafter, he shall initiate action to recover the same from the defaulting Public Servant within 30 days as prescribed under the act.
  • The act also entails liability of the public servant who has failed to deliver services within the stipulated period. Within a period of fifteen days of the payment of compensatory cost, the competent officer after conducting preliminary enquiry, shall issue a notice against the public servant found responsible for the delay.
  • To encourage and enhance the efficiency of the designated officer, a letter of appreciation for not a single default reported may be issued and entered in his Annual Performance Report by the head of the Public Authority. This will ensure the sincerity of the public servant.
  • Schedule is mentioned in the given link - http://sakala.kar.nic.in/kgsc1/download/KGSC%20BILL%20SCHEDULE%20ENG%20-%20FIN.pdf
  • The act bars the power of jurisdiction of the civil court.

Orissa government is also set to follow Karnataka’s initiative as Orissa cabinet has approved a draft bill in this regard and is sent for Central Government approval

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/7981885585_6c1b7e96cb_z.jpg

 

 

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Bribe Eye | You are Under Arrest? No need to Panic

Arrest is bound to cause panic regardless of the accused being guilty or otherwise. Few details are to be remembered  if you find yourself or anyone close to you in this kind of a crises situation. 

  • Few of the rights that Constitution of India guarantees in case of arrest even if the person is a citizen or a non-citizen are:
  1. The right to remain silent as anything the detained person mentions can be used against that very person.
  2. The person also enjoys the right to have a lawyer present while being questioned.
  • Do not resist arrest, even if you believe you are innocent. You will have to face an additional charge of Resisting Arrest.
  • If you are told that you are under arrest, give only your name, address, and telephone number or that of your immediate family or your employer. This information is needed in setting bail.
  • Any law enforcement officer can arrest you. They can arrest you even if they do not have an arrest warrant only if the crime is cognizable, in which case they must have seen you commit an action that may resemble an offence for which the arrest has been made.
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Bribe Eye | Process of Re-registering Outside State Vehicles

As required by road regulations, vehicles are re-registered when they are brought from other states. In many states across India, the requirement of certain documents are mandatory such as NoC, CMV form, Insurance certificate and vehicle RC copy among others. In some states such as Chattisgarh, even tax paid certificate is also mandatory. In some other states such as Delhi, parking fees is also required. Here is a list of documents required for re-registration in Karnataka.

The list of documents that are mandatory while submitting for a re-registration document is mentioned below:
1.      Two copies of CMV Form 27 as per Rule 54
2.      One copy each of
   a.    CMV Form 27 as per Rule 46(3) [It is also Form 27 but a different one]
   b.    Form 14
          i. For change of address, which is obvious since you have changed the state in which you are residing
   c.    CMV Form 33
   d.    State Crime Record Bureau Report
           i. From 7th Floor, MS Building, KR Circle
           ii.It will cost 20/-
3.      Two copies of No-objection Certificate from the original RTO
4.      Original Invoice of the Vehicle (for RTO to arrive at Tax amount)
5.      Vehicle Insurance Certificate Copy
6.      Vehicle Pollution Under Control Certificate Copy
7.      Vehicle RC [One Original Copy]
8.      ID Proof (PAN Card/Passport/Voter ID etc.) of the applicant
9.      Rental Agreement (in the name of the applicant)
10.    Electricity Bill of the local premise
11.    Affidavit citing that the applicant does not have any address proof like Ration Card etc. to provide as an address proof
12.    Self-addressed postal envelope with adequate postage stamp for RTO to mail your RC book
13.    Demand Draft for the tax amount in the name of RTO Bangalore [Only if the amount to be paid is over 3000/- otherwise it is acceptable in cash]
14.    250/- Fee for change of address


To know the amount to be paid as Demand Draft, you are first required to fill up all the forms and then take it to the RTO, where you will be told about the DD amount. All these forms need to be filed properly and given to the official. All the forms are available free-of-cost at RTO office. These can also be downloaded from net or purchased from shops located around RTO office, which generally keep these handy.

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Bribe Eye | NHRC in Defence of a Fruit Vendor

A common man can seek protection by the state even when harassed by a policeman. NHRC stands as a testimony for this.

NHRC has issued notice to higher police officials in Allahabad, where a police had tortured a fruit vendor who was unable to pay a bribe of Rs.50. NHRC took cognizance of the matter based on a media report and supporting evidences sent by a complainant. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a commission that deals with human rights violation.

NHRC is an autonomous body that deals with torture by police, upholding human rights such as life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. NHRC was established under the provisions of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The body is chaired by an ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. The primary function of NHRC is to inquire into human rights violations or negligence by an individual or group of individuals including public servant.

Functions of NHRC are:

  • Hold an Inquiry , on its own initiative or victim’s petition
  • Inquire into human rights violations or negligence by a public servant
  • Intervene in any proceeding involving any violation of human rights
  • It may recommend to the concerned Government on the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as deemed fit against
  • Visit any jail or other institution under the control of State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection
  • Encouraging efforts of civil society organisations working in the field of human rights
  • Review safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law, in force, for the protection of human rights and recommend measures

The Procedure Adopted by NHRC Following Completion of An Inquiry Is:

1) Where the inquiry discloses human rights violation or negligence in the prevention of human rights violation by a public servant, it may recommend to the concerned Government or authority  to initiate proceedings for prosecution or action as deemed fit against the concerned person or persons

2) Approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary

3) Recommend to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such immediate interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission may consider necessary.

NHRC has taken up cases from areas such as Police Administration, Failure in taking action, Unlawful Detention, False Implication, Custodial Violence, llIegal Arrest, Other Police excesses, Custodial Deaths, Encounter deaths, Harassment of Prisoners, Jail Conditions, Atrocities on SCs and STs, Bonded labour, Child Labour, Child marriage, Communal violence, Dowry death or its attempt, Dowry Demand Abduction, Rape and Murder, Sexual Harassment and Indignity to Women and Exploitation of Women.

Here is a format that could be useful to file a complaint (PDF link):

 Format for filing a complaint with the NHRC

A. COMPLAINANT’S DETAILS

1. Name

2. Sex

3. State

4. Full Address

5. District

6. Pin Code

B. INCIDENT DETAILS

1. Incident Place(Village/Town/City)

2. State

3. District

4. Date of Incident

C. VICTIM’S DETAILS

1. Name of the victim

2. No. of victims

3. State

4. Full Address

5. District

6. Pin-Code

7. Religion

8. Caste(SC/ST/OBC/General)

9. Sex

10.Age

11.Whether Disabled Person

D. ALLEGATION DETAILS

1.Brief Summary of Facts/Allegations of human rights involved

2.Whether complaint is against Members of Armed Forces/ Para-Military- Yes/No

3.Whether similar complaint has been filed before any Court/State Human Rights Commission

4.Name, designation & address of the public servant against whom complaint is being made

5.Name, designation & addressof the authority to whom the public officials are answerable

6.Prayer/ Relief if any, sought

 

The List Below Mentions Those States that have HRCs with their Websites and Fax Numbers:

 

Assam SHRC - http://www.ahrc.gov.in ; 2529450/2527076

Bihar SHRC - http://www.bhrc.bih.nic.in ; 2232280,6456250

Chhattisgarh SHRC - http://www.hrc.cg.gov.in ; 2235590

Karnataka SHRC - http://www.kshrc.kar.nic.in ; 22392206, 22373123, 22392207

Kerala SHRC - http://www.kshrc.kerala.gov.in ; 2337148

Himachal Pradesh SHRC - www.himachal.nic.in ; 2620025

Maharashtra SHRC - http://www.mshrc.gov.in ; 22078962, 22091804, 22070361, 22092857

Madhya Pradesh SHRC - http://www.mphrc.nic.in ; 2574028

Manipur SHRC - mhrc@man.nic.in ; 2451017

Orissa SHRC - www.ohrc.ori.nic.in ; 2573785/2573783/2572010/2572234

Punjab SHRC - www.pshrc.net ; 3029666 / 3029619

Rajasthan SHRC - www.rshrc.nic.in ; 2227738

Uttar Pradesh SHRC - uphrclko@yahoo.co.in ; 2305808, 9

West Bengal SHRC - www.wbhrc.nic.in ; 2479-9633/7750

 

 

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Bribe Eye | All about Green Cess

Green Cess is based on "polluter pays principle" that aims to discourage use of private vehicles by imposing higher taxes and also help generate resources to fund public transport projects. This is generally paid on old vehicles. Only two states that levy green cess in India are Maharashtra and Karnataka. 

In Karnataka, this is levied on non-transport vehicles that have completed 15 years since the date of its registration. Likewise, the cess is levied on transport vehicles that have completed 7 years of registration during the time of renewal of fitness certificate. These are levied as per sub-section (10), of section 41, of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act (PDF link) , 1988. 

Karnataka

- For Two Wheelers: Rs 250
- For Other Vehicles: Rs 500
- For Transport Vehicles: Rs 200

Maharashtra

- For 15 Year-old Two Wheelers: Rs 2,000 for 5 years
- For 15 year-old Petrol Vehicles: Rs 3,000 for 5 years
- For 15 year-old Diesel Vehicles: Rs 3,500 for 5 years

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