The organization had come to know many cases wherein common people of Maharashtra were denied the information of the public records under the Right to Information Act 2005 or demanded otherwise by simply stating the ‘Public Records’ are ‘Not Traceable’ or have been ‘Lost’. Such errant officers did not even bother to give such information of loss of public records in written communications thereafter resulting in many cases stopping of pursuance of such matters by the common people for traditional ignorance of their existing laws.
The Maharashtra Public Records Act 2005-
Many few people know that the State of Maharashtra has already enacted the act above mentioned to regulate, maintain, preserve & secure the public records & has even made provisions of harsh punishment for any unlawful destruction or disposal of the public records.
The copy of the act can be downloaded with following link-
Click To Download- Maharashtra Public Records Act 2005.Pdf
Important Provisions of the Maharashtra Public Records Act 2005-
1) Definition of the Public Records-
Section 2 (g) defines the Public Records which includes any document, manuscript, file, microfilm, any other material produced by computer or any other device etc.
Section 3 provides that the State Government shall have power of supervision, management & control of archives.
Section 4 makes provision of prior approval of the State Government necessary for taking the public records out of state of Maharashtra.
2) Appointment & Duties of Records Officer-
Section 5 makes a mandatory provision for creating record rooms & records officer.
Section 6 further makes provisions that records officer shall be responsible for proper management, security, maintenance & preservation of public records etc. under his charge.
3) Record Officer to take appropriate action for unauthorized removal, destruction etc. of Public Records-
Section 7 of the act puts mandatory duty upon Records Officer to take immediate appropriate action for the unauthorized removal, destruction, defacement, altercation etc. for the recovery and restoration & submit the report to the Director without any delay who may further take action he deems necessary.
4) No Public Records be destroyed except with ‘Prescribed Procedure’-
Section 8 makes provision that no public records shall be destroyed or disposed off except in manner prescribed. Also it further makes provision that no Public Records older than 100 years shall be destroyed except if in the opinion of Director it is so defaced or in such condition that cannot be put in archival condition. We have intentionally mentioned this provision here as we have observed some officers misguide common people with false information that they are not bound to preserve the documents beyond 10 or 20 years etc.
5) Penalty for Contravention-
Section 9 makes provision that any person contravening the Section 4 or Section 8 shall be punishable with imprisonment with a term which may extend to 5 years & fine which may extend to Rs.10000/- or both. Thus any unauthorized transportation of documents out of state of Maharashtra, any unlawful destruction or disposal can result in severe punishment against the responsible person.
Does this work? Effectiveness of this act-
The organization was recently approached by Mumbai based education activist Mr.Prasad Tulaskar whose status of RTI application was shockingly shown ‘Untraceable’ by the PIO of the Ministry of Education Maharashtra. The matter was adjudicated before the State Information Commission. Mr.Tulaskar mentioned the seriousness of his ‘missing’ RTI application with the explanation of the provisions of the Maharashtra Public Records Act 2005 & magically his application was found immediately. However The State Information Commission took serious note of the same and imposed Rs.25000/- fine upon the PIO of the Ministry of Education, Maharashtra. The article can be read as follows-
Maharashtra Ministry of Education neglects RTI Act 2005 gets slapped with fine of Rs.25000/-
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Founder President-Bharatiya Krantikari Sangathan
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