Information about schemes proposed and being run to empower the transgender - CIC admonished the conduct of the then PIO for not providing any reply to the Appellant within the stipulated time frame as mandated in the RTI Act; Public authority cautioned
The Appellant sought following information:
- what are facilities are being provided to transgenders?
- please provide the all the schemes proposed and being run for transgender?
- what measures are being taken to empower the transgender, provide details of all states and UTs separately.
- how many transgender are being profited till now
- Please provide the budget sanction for transgender by central government what measures are being taken to empower girls.
• Having not received any reply from PIO within stipulated time-frame, Appellant filed First Appeal, vide letter dated 01.07.2022.
• The FAA vide order dated 12.07.2022 directed CPIO to furnish the information to the Appellant.
• In compliance of order of FAA dated 12.07.2022, the CPIO has furnished the reply dated 14.07.2022 as under:
“… I am directed to refer to your RTI appeal dated 01.07.2022 and order dated 12.07.2022 of the Appellate Authority on the above mentioned subject and to say that the Ministry enacted The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and provisions of the same came into force on 10th January, 2020.
2. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 were formulated and published in Gazette of India on 29 September, 2020.
3. National Council for Transgender Persons was constituted on 21st August, 2020 to advise Government on policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons.
4. A National Portal for Transgender Persons has been formally launched by the Ministry on 25th November 2020. The Portal has been developed with the aim of creating a one stop center for transgender person to access welfare measures specially curate for this particular segment of the population to mainstream them into the society.
5. Presently, there are 12 Pilot Garima Grehs across the country namely in Delhi, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar & Gujarat for destitute and abandoned transgender persons. A centralized system to capture real time data of beneficiaries and stakeholders has been created on the portal to monitor and track the activities being conducted at the shelter homes. It provides shelter facilities, food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities, medical support, legal aid, procurement of Identity cards and employment to the residents.
6. Further, the Ministry has launched a scheme SMILE: Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise on 12.02.2022, which includes sub scheme Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons. The focus of the sub-scheme is on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities and intervention, counseling, education, skill development, economic linkages to the transgender persons. The budget allocation for the sub scheme Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons under SMILE scheme for the financial year 2021-22 to 2025-2026 is Rs. 265.00 Crore…”
Grounds for Second Appeal:
The PIO has not provided correct information to the Appellant.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present: -
Respondent: Smt. Sunita Bhandari, Under Secretary & CPIO and Shri Lokesh Kumar Meena, ASO, participated in the hearing in person.
Upon perusal of the facts on record as well as on the basis of the proceedings during the hearing, the Commission observes that the Respondent has provided adequate reply to the Appellant only after the direction passed by the First Appellate Authority. Therefore, the Commission admonishes the conduct of the then CPIO for not providing any reply to the Appellant within the stipulated time-frame as mandated in the RTI Act. The Commission sternly cautions the Respondent public authority that in future, they shall ensure that replies to the RTI Applications shall be provided within the mandated time-frame as specified in the provisions of the RTI Act. A copy of this order shall be served upon the then CPIO by the present CPIO. Accordingly, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the instant matter.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shubham Gautam v. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, CIC/MOSJE/A/2022/647130; Date of Decision: 14.09.2023