Written By: Harshita Jain, Batch - 2013, Mahakal Institute of Technology, Ujjain
"If You want Your Government to Work, You will have to Act" - Shailesh Gandhi
Every Indian citizen has to deal with government procedures a lot many times in one life span. It starts straight from birth certificate, ration card, change of name request, voter Id, adhaar card, pan card, driving license, bank account, marriage certificate, passport/visa applications, claims for pension and then in your absence the death certificate.
Apart from these, there can be few more govt indulgence we can come across in our life - complaints of illegal activities, bad roads, encroachment or illegal construction and real estate frauds are few examples of things that could happen to you.
We always deal with situations where we have applied for one of the above-mentioned documents or register a complaint and waiting for a response for a long time. These are the times when we feel very helpless. It increases our repulsion towards Govt and we curse them for it.
But Maharashtra Govt has made some laws to give citizens a good relief. This Law can help us getting ensured responses within 45 days of our complaints or applications. It has a fancy name— “Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005”. It is commonly known as, “Transfers, Charters, and Delays Act 21, 2006.”
As the name suggests this law deals with below three categories -
Transfers - Section 4 of the act specifies that the tenure of Government servants will be three years and transfers will normally be made only in April and May of each year. If an officer has to be transferred for special reasons in less than his tenure, reasons have to be recorded in writing. When an officer is transferred in less than 2 years, send a letter to the Secretary of the concerned Department.Any Citizen can write such a letter in the format given below:
“Mr….. in….. Department at…..has been transferred from his job without completing his 3 year tenure. This is in violation of Section 4 of the ‘Transfers and Delays Act 21 of 2006. Please give me the web link where the reasons have been displayed and send me the file notings in this matter.”
Charters - Section 8 specifies every Office or Department must publish the Citizens Charter every year. In this respect, it is Section 64A for MCGM/BMC. “Citizens Charter” means a list of facilities or services rendered by the Office or Department, together with the time limit for providing such facility or services to the general public. Therefore, the Citizens Charter is expected to be available and updated. If not, send a letter to Secretary of concerned Department/ Municipal Commissioner, in the format given below:
“The Citizen’s Charter has not been prepared/updated as per Section 8 of the Transfers & Delays Act 21 of 2006. Please fix the responsibility for this lapse and take action against the responsible officer. Also please inform me of the date by which an updated Citizen’s charter would be displayed."
#Substitute: Section 64C in Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act.
Delays – Section 10 of the act having the highest potential to bring change in our Govt. The article is purely emphasizing on it. It states as - When a representation, complaint or application has been filed by a citizen, a response has to be sent within 45 days. If more than one department is involved max response limit is 90 days. No, any officer can keep a file for more than 7 days with him.
If violation of any of the above law has been observed then it should be brought into attention of the head of the dept. In such scenarios, a preliminary inquiry should be conducted against the officer in charge. If any intentional delay or negligence is observed then disciplinary action must be taken.
When a citizen files a complaint, representation or application, he/she has a right to a response. Failure of receiving a response in the specified time limit is a violation of the law. In that situation, one should write to the Head of Department or Secretary. This way you can draw their attention to the violation and demand for a preliminary inquiry.
For Maharashtra state Govt bodies
The Secretary, (_ _ _ _ _dept)/ Head of Dept
Mantralay. Mumbai 400032
I had given my application/complaint/representation for on ………. (copy enclosed). Since then I have received no communication. I would like to draw your attention to Section 10 of the Transfers Charters and Delays Act 21 of 2006 which mandates that no decision can be kept pending for over 90 days. In the instant case, no decision has been communicated to me despite the lapse of…… days. I request you to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days to fix the responsibility of the officers responsible for this delay and take appropriate disciplinary action against them. I request that the report of the enquiry may please be sent to me.
I look forward to your early action in the above matter.
Enclosed: Copy of file and proof of receipt in your office.
#Substitute: Section 64C in Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act.
If no response received send an RTI application for the following information to the Public Information officer of the department/BMC after 40 days, as given below:
I had sent a letter asking for action to be taken under Section 10 (64C) on … the date which reached on …… (copy enclosed). I want the following information on the action taken on it so far in the following format:
Date on which Application received
Name and designation of the officer receiving it.
Date on which forwarded to the Next officer/office.
Section 11 mentions where the Act will not apply to matters relating to:
cases referred to Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayuktas and other Constitutional institutions, Commissions, etc.;
cases related to Central or other State Governments;
cases related to Legislation;
cases involving major policy decisions.
Citizens must understand the power of this act. If massively followed, this act can bring significant changes in Maharashtra. It will be true democracy when we can force Govt to at least work, good or better is another milestone to look after.