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A New Weapon For Maharashtra Citizens To Fight Corruption

19 April 2011 No Comment

RTI Activist Krishnaraj Rao has been one of the few people who has been hunting down and getting out tools for fellow RTI Activists, here are few ways which people in Maharashtra Can follow and can bring the Guilty to Book.

Tagore wrote, “You can’t cross a sea merely by standing and staring into the water”. In the battle against corruption, don’t you want to go beyond facebooking, twittering and sloganeering? Don’t you really want to have a movement? Guys, most of us have only talked the talk. If you want to walk the talk, then take this weapon and get moving. Like the Jan Lokpal Bill, this too is Anna Hazare’s brainchild; rest assured it’s not a rival product.

Since February 2011, Maharashtra has instituted a high-level Corruption Eradication Committees at Taluka, District and Divisional level. These committees are waiting to receive complaints and oral submissions from you. Bhavesh Patel, Anna Hazare’s man on one of these committees, informs us that In Mumbai, they now hold monthly meetings around noon on the first Monday of every month.

These are high-level committees chaired by the quasi-judicial officers at three levels — Divisional Commissioners, District Collectors (a.k.a. District Magistrates with powers under Criminal Procedure Code) and Tahsildars (a.k.a. Tahsil Magistrates), and they have Anti-Corruption Bureau Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police as their members. Besides, chiefs of various government departments are the members.

This complaint mechanism can be used to target corruption by the smallest State Govt. chaprasi (peon), karmachari (worker) and karkhoon (clerk) to the most powerful State Govt. officer and Babu (bureaucrat).

It cannot be directly used to target corruption by netas (political leaders and elected representatives), mantris (ministers), constitutional appointees (such as Information Commissioners, Human Rights Commissioners etc), and private entities (such as individuals, cooperative societies, companies). This is because the maximum that these committees can recommend if the charges are found to have substance is to recommend departmental enquiry and disciplinary action. These people and entities cannot be subjected to departmental enquiry and disciplinary action.

With all its limitations, this mechanism is still very powerful, because in the course of a departmental enquiry, the role of elected representatives and ministers is likely to come out, and the evidence gathered thereby has a good chance of landing with the Anti-Corruption Bureau and/or resulting in prosecution against all concerned – ministers and private parties also. The public servant is thus the weakest link in the chain of corruption, and it must be broken through our concerted action.

Click here to download Ready-to-use Complaint Format

Where to send complaint, whom to send, where to go for meeting?

Venues /contact phone nos. of these monthly meetings, where they receive complaints:

1)      Mumbai City & North Mumbai (Suburbs)

2)      Thane, Navi Mumbai, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, etc.

3)      Pune

4)      Rest of Maharashtra

You can send your complaint to The Divisional Headquarters, District  Collectorate or Taluka indicated in the above addresses.

Who do you address your complaints to?

Keeping in mind the jurisdiction, you have options and alternatives. You can address it to:

1)      Divisional Commissioner, in his capacity as Chairman of Divisional Corruption Eradication Committee of one of the six divisions of Maharashtra, viz. Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad, Konkan, Nashik and Pune Division. You can also address it to Deputy Commissioner (Revenue), in his capacity as Secretary. This committee sits at Divisional Headquarters.

2)      District Collector, in his capacity as Chairman of District Corruption Eradication Committee of one of the 31 districts of Maharashtra.  You can also address it to the Resident Deputy Collector, who is the Secretary. This committee sits at District Collectorate.

3)      Deputy Collector in his capacity as Chairman of the Tehsil Corruption Eradication Committee. Or you can address it to the Tehsildar in his capacity as Secretary. This committee sits at Taluka/Tehsildar office.

4)      You can also address it to the Chief of the Vigilance Squad in your district, and send it to the District Collectorate.

Who they are, what are their powers, duties & obligations:

  • The officers who are ex-officio on these high-level committees, click here:

English Marathi

  • The action that they are required to take on your complaint, click here:

English Marathi

  • To read about Vigilance Squads & its Duties, click here:

English Marathi

What you need for filing Complaint:

1)      Specific knowledge to expose a wrongdoing and/or a corrupt government employee/employees.

OR

2)      RTI documents as evidence of delaying tactics, non-acceptance of complaints, and inaction amounting to deliberate dereliction of duty, negligence etc.

OR

3)      Evidence of Disproportionate Assets, information from reliable sources etc.

4)      Your complaint need not necessarily be against any individual. You can point out wrongdoings of a department as a whole if you have knowledge of how a certain scam works.

Note: It is not necessary for you to have conclusive proof of the wrongdoing. Remember, you are only a well-meaning citizen, not an investigating agency or private detective. Information that can establish prima facie guilt is sufficient for you to trigger the statewide mechanism of Vigilance Squads, which will independently investigate based on your complaint, and report to the respective Corruption Eradication Committee.

Examples of such information or evidence:

a)      RTI documents that show undue favours and abuse of discretionary authority

b)      Correspondence that indicates unwillingness to perform their official duties as per the law

c)      Photographs or recordings of soliciting/accepting bribes

d)      A video-recording of touts in and around offices such as RTO, Octroi collection checkposts etc.

e)      Knowledge of disproportionate assets owned by government servants

Optional reading: Read about the recent GR that mandates the formation of Corruption Eradication Committees and enables the citizens to action against corruption. RTI activists will find it quite easy to take action as they would already have large amounts of evidence of wrongdoings at their disposal, and because they are used to doing paperwork.

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