3rd Annual RTI Lecture by Justice M N Venkatachaliah: 19th December!
Let me start with the exciting news that Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah, 25th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and one of the most respected legal luminaries of India has agreed to deliver the 3rd Right to Information Lecture on 19th December 2020.
The subject also addresses a crying concern of every thinking Indian: "Is Our Judiciary Delivering on its Role as Sentinel on the Qui Vive in these Changing Times?" The ongoing pandemic requires us to hold the session online so I request all of you to consider this a personal invitation and block your calendars for this special programme at 6.30 pm.
Justice Venkatachaliah commitment to justice, transparency and human rights is already well-known as were his efforts to reduce pendency in court, which has fallen by the wayside over the decades since his retirement. As head of the national commission to review the working of the constitution, who better than him to talk about the role of the judiciary today, in the context of what the constitution as well as various judicial reviews have envisaged. We hope you are as exited about this talk as we are. Our trustee and former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy will preside over the session.
Based on our article, video and complaints on social media we began to receive messages from scores of investors who have yet to receive maturity amounts and interest from investments in various Sahara Cooperative Societies. Moneylife Foundation decided to create a Telegram group to help such investors and connected them with the Sahara group. We have nearly 150 people on the group who have provided details and after a regular follow-up, we are happy to report that a few payments have begun to trickle in. We will keep you updated on this interesting development.
Anugrah Stock & Broking
As some you might be aware, we tried to help investors who have been victims of the Anugrah Stock & Broking fraud, by starting a Telegram group and quickly brought together almost 500 of those aggrieved. We then subsequently filled in the gaps, by organising a series of webinars in the hopes of educating and guiding these investors in their approach to various redressal forums for recovery. In this process, these investors were exposed and had access to advice from legal and market experts, which helped them to collectively take appropriate steps in holding the regulator accountable.
A 60 page order by the NSE Clearing Ltd (NCL) for 'restitution' of clients' shares worth Rs460.32 crore that were 'wrongly' sold by Edelweiss Custodial Services Ltd., is a big breakthrough, even if it is challenged in court.
This has only been possible because aggrieved investors of Anugrah were quickly able to pool their resources and collectively put pressure on the regulators for action. You can read more about this here. This is something that we did not see happen in the PMC Bank case, which dragged on for months with no decisive action in the favor of depositors. Although this also been a learning experience for us, we hope that this will serve as an example for people in the future and hope that it paves the way for class action suits.
Many of you would have noticed that Moneylife Foundation's webinars over the last few weeks are sharply focused on issues that concern us in these unusual times. If you were unable to participate in any of our previous webinars, you can always watch the video recordings on our YouTube Channel.
Please follow our news letters for some exciting book discussions and events planned in the coming days, which may be announced at short notice. As always, we look forward to your active feedback on issues that you would like us to discuss, and we will do our best to make it happen. Please do write to us at [email protected]
Programmes in October
We had the pleasure of having Brijendra K Syngal, who brought the internet to us in India as chairman of VSNL, along with other telecom industry stalwarts such as Dr Mahesh Uppal, Director ComFirst India, Alhad Apte, former Chief of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and many others, discuss whether TRAI's Proposed Broadband Recommendations are Good For Us. It was an enlightening session with inputs from many activists and experts who were present in the webinar, and you can still watch a video recording of the session here. We made the effort of putting together the comments and suggestions from this session and submitted the same to TRAI for due consideration.
This month we also celebrated 15 years of the RTI Act coming into effect, with a thought provoking session with Shailesh Gandhi, retired Central Information Commissioner, Vinita Deshmukh, RTI activist and Consulting Editor for Moneylife, and RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, as they discussed. The session also saw attendance of other activists, who shared their experiences in using the RTI Act over the years. As always a video recording of the session is available on our YouTube Channels for you to check out.
In another interesting session, we had two retired Central Information Commissioners, Shailesh Gandhi and Dr Sridhar Acharyulu, discuss Commonly Misused & Misinterpreted Exemptions Under RTI Act. This session was also attended by other RTI activists, who shared their perspective on the working of the RTI Act. You can watch a video recording of this session here.
We conducted another session discussing the RTI Act with activists Vivek Velankar and Girish Mittal, where they explained how we can use RTI to Make Reserve Bank and Public Sector Banks Answerable. Using examples from RTI applications, that they had personally filed, both Mr Velankar and Mr Mittal explained how RBI and public sector banks are shirking responsibility in maintaining transparency. We have extensively covered their findings on Moneylife, where you can read more about them. A video recording of this session is also available now on our YouTube Channel here.
Moneylife TV & Helplines
With the outbreak of covid-19, our physical events and daily clinics for this month have been suspended for the safety and benefit of all those involved. However, in this lockdown period you can still take advantage of our numerous videos of past seminars and workshops which are always available on our YouTube Channel Moneylife TV and Moneylife News Bites.
Although counselling on various issues from our experts is not possible in-person, you are welcome to email on [email protected] with your details. We shall forward your mail to the expert for guidance and do our best to get your query resolved.
Also, Moneylife Foundation is now on Telegram and Instagram, so do follow us on these channels to stay updated on our activities and events.
Let me close by wishing you all very prosperous and happy Diwali. Things are slowly opening up, but do take care and stay safe.
Founder-Trustee, Moneylife Foundation
Trustees: TS Krishnamurthy, Dr KC Chakrabarty, Walter Vieira, Sucheta Dalal, Debashis Basu.
Moneylife Foundation is registered with the Charity Commissioner of Mumbai, is an Affiliate member of OECD's International Network on Financial Education, is a Supporter Member of Consumers International, Development Partner of Advocates for International Development (A4ID), and is a winner of the 10th MR Pai Memorial Award.
Donations are eligible for tax benefits under Sec 80G of the Income Tax 1961 (50% tax exemption) and MLF is registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.