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Lawfully yours: By Justice K Chandru

Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court. Do you have a question? Email us at

Lawfully yours: By Justice K Chandru

Justice K Chandru

CHENNAI: Take up civic issues in writing with copy marked to GCC Commissioner

Q: The indifference of civic authorities, be it the Greater Chennai Corporation or their zonal/ward offices, towards public concerns is shocking. Our councillors, who fall at our feet seeking votes, are duty-bound to take care of their respective wards and use the funds judiciously. Some of the stinking colonies in Madhavaram are a case in point. Bins are always overflowing and stray cattle (allowed to roam our streets in violation of rules) make a mess out of the place. Civic officials make random house visits to check for open freshwater stagnation and book residents but ignore the stinking mess. The councillor who passes through daily seems to be ignorant of the public’s plight, sitting inside the comforts of a vehicle. Civic associations here repeatedly raised complaints but in vain. Is there a legal way to wake up the authorities from slumber? How can we make the councillor accountable and answerable for the menace?

— Mohanraj, Madhavaram

A: Civic woes are plenty. The elected ward councillors not taking steps to address the grievances of the citizens is also true. The only way is to address your zonal officer with a letter in writing with a copy to the GCC Commissioner. Still, if no action is taken, then move the High Court with a writ petition. In some areas, that’s why the GCC has outsourced the sanitary work. Another option is to write to the newspapers which have opened columns for expressing grievances on civic issues. The GCC attends to such adverse publicity.

RTI Act will not distinguish between ruling party or opposition party

Q: I had filed an RTI application asking for details about advertisements issued by the Tamil Nadu government to various news dailies in the State for ten years, covering the regime of both the predominant Dravidian parties, to probe any misuse of taxpayer’s money for the gain of ruling parties. But I got particulars for 5 years, covering the period of the opposition party (safely protecting the ruling party). I appealed for details of the break-up of advertisement expenses of the ruling party. But my plea went unanswered. What can I do further to get details of the missed 5-year period?

— Sanjith Kumar, Korattur

You may call some newspapers as opposition party’s paper and some ruling party’s paper. In law, such classification is not possible. Every time a new government takes over, they will issue an office order specifying the newspapers to which ads can be released. The list will have the names of all newspapers (including magazines) irrespective of political affiliations but based on circulation. But how many advertisements are released to each paper you may not get details. Under the RTI Act, the department will give the figures for each paper but not classify whether it is the ruling party’s or opposition party’s. That is not the job of the information provider.

Justice K Chandru
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