1. From website of Delhi Government it appears that Environment Department, Forest Conservation Department and Delhi Pollution Control Committee are dealing with its environment-related functions. Further:
    • Environment Dept is a department of Delhi Govt, listed on its website under "E" in alphabetical list of links to departmental websites. It functions under Secretary (Environment) Ms Naini Jayaseelan. RTI Act, 2005, section on Delhi Govt website provides for it links to documents corresponding to all 17 items under s.4(1)(b). Deputy Secretary Mr RTL D'Souza is designated Public Information Officer and Ms Naini Jayaseelan First Appellate Authority.
    • Forest Dept is a department of Delhi Govt, listed on its website under "C" in alphabetical list of links to departmental websites. It functions under Secretary (Environment, Forest & Wildlife) Ms Naini Jayaseelan. RTI Act, 2005, section on Delhi Govt website provides for it links to documents corresponding to 9 out of the 17 items under s.4(1)(b). No PIO is designated.
    • DPCC is listed as an autonomous body on Delhi Govt website under alphabetical list of links to websites of those. On website of Environmental Dept, however, About-us and Plan-Schemes pages say DPCC is under Environment Dept. But document corresponding to s.4(1)(b)(viii) states: "no such board, councils, committees are functioning under Environment Department". DPCC Chairperson is Secretary (Environment) Ms Naini Jayaseelan. RTI Act section on Delhi Govt website does not provide links for DPCC and DPCC website does not mention RTI Act or PIO.
  2. The precise organisational relation of these three is not clear. However:
    • DPCC website is prominently linked from home-page of Environment Dept via links labelled "Also visit Delhi Pollution Control Committee", "Booklet: Towards Cleaner Air", "Environment Quality Standards" and 12 links under "Acts & Rules", which is the same list as on the Acts & Rules page of DPCC website. Website of Environment Dept is not linked from DPCC website.
    • Forest Dept website is also linked from home-page of website of Environment Dept through link labelled "Greening Delhi Action Plan 2005-2006". Website of Environment Dept is not linked from Forest Dept website.
  3. It appears that Forest Dept, with strength of 112 (as per directory corresponding to s.4(1)(b)xi), implements forest and wildlife protection law and DPCC, with strength of 87 (as per organisational-strength page on its website, which indicates 167 sanctioned posts), implements pollution control law. Environment Dept, with strength of 14 (as per directory under s.4(1)(b)xi), implements 7 "Plan-Schemes", for which it has a budget outlay of 470 lakhs for 2005-2006 (as per document for s.4(1)(b)xi). Of this:
    • The minimum of 10 lakhs is for "Grant-in-Aid to DPCC" and maximum of 150 lakhs for setting up a cell for "Pollution Disaster and Hazardous Waste Management". Rationale for this apparent duplication of DPCC functions is unclear, with web-page for this Plan-Scheme referring only to studies, completed around 2003, by National Productivity council and CRISIL.
    • 120 lakhs and 100 lakhs are for "Public Environmental Awareness and Other Activities" and "Setting up Eco clubs in Schools and Colleges", Plan-Schemes that apparently duplicate awareness activities of Forest Dept and DPCC.
    • 30 lakhs each are for the other 3 Plan-Schemes, whose role is not clear. Website pages for "Environmental Data Generation, Survey, Research Project and Other Activities" and "Assistance to NGOs in the Promotion, Conservation and Preservation of Environment" enumerate a total of 26 studies / projects, but reports / outcomes are not listed even as a category of documents held by the department in information under s.4(1)(b)(vi). About "Strengthening of technical set-up in Environmental Department", all that is clear is that 5 of the 14 officers / employees listed under s.4(1)(b)(ix) are Scientists. Neither this Plan-scheme web-page nor the functions, duties, procedures and norms disclosed under s.4(1)(b)(i)-(iv) indicate the precise technical role of or gaps in technical set-up in Environment Dept.
  4. Like the relation of Plan-Schemes to statutory imperatives, the relation of Environmental Dept activities to its Plan-Schemes is fuzzy. Its home-page displays prominently the logo of and unmistakeably a focus on Bhagidaari. Only "Eco Clubs" and "Assistance to NGOs" Plan-Schemes are highlighted and all other links not connected to websites of DPCC or Forest Deptt are similarly oriented, viz, Do's & Don'ts "For Schools" and "For RWAs/MTAs", "Calendar of the year 2006", "Chief Minister Appeal" and "Campaigns" (with sub-links labelled "Anti Crackers", "Say No To Polybags", "Keep Yamuna clean" and "Khelo Holi Naturally") and to “About-Us” page that mainly lists these activities and an “Achievements” page that also does not use the 7 Plan-Schemes as reporting structure. It is most striking that Achievements page also makes no or inadequate reference to statutory imperatives / yardsticks for performance measurement and role of other agencies. For instance:
    • Paragraph on "Plantation/Greening of Delhi" dwells on contribution of RWAs / MTAs / NGOs / Schools to plantation activities of Forest Department / greening agencies without reference to the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, or the Tree Authority mandated by it.
    • Paragraph on "Ambient Air Quality" dwells on traffic generated pollution abatement without reference to DPCC or to the Air Pollution (Prevention and Control Act), 1981, whereby Central Govt has declared Delhi as a pollution control area.
    • Paragraph on "Conservation of Water" dwells on rain-water efforts through RWAs / NGOs / eco-club schools without reference to Central Ground Water Authority initiatives or notifications under EPA, 1986
    • Paragraph on "Waste Management" dwells on waste minimisation and segregation efforts through RWAs (in 125 colonies) / NGOs / eco-club schools and training (with NGOs and Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health in LNJP Hospital) of 1000 health care personnel in respect of bio-medical waste. It does refer to the Delhi Plastic Bag (Manufacture, Sales and Usage) and Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 2000, but not to DPCC or local bodies for which the Act contemplates implementation powers and duties, casting upon Delhi Govt only powers / duties to notify date of coming into force (in exercise of which was issued Notification No.F.4(32)/LA/2000/Env./6297 dated 19.09.2001 to appoint 02.10.2001 as the date for coming into force, except Chapter III (Management of Non Biodegradable Garbage and Biodegradable Garbage) which came into force only in 125 colonies/areas) and to make Rules (which Delhi Govt appears not to have done). The paragraph does not refer to the related Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999, notified under EPA,1986 and listed on home-page of Environmental Dept website. Similarly, it refers to (and seems to claim inspection, etc, achievements of DPCC in respect of) the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, notified by MoEF under EPA,1986, but does not refer to the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, or the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, or the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 (as amended in 2003) notified under EPA,1986 (all listed on home-page of Environment Dept website).
    • Paragraph on "Environmental Awareness Campaigns" is most exhaustive and specifically notes success on Bhagidaari programme objectives. The last item in this says: "Yamuna action Plan Phase-II of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India is coordinated by this Department and some projects have been finalized in association with DJB & MCD". No further details are available of the website.
  5. Nomenclature of Environment Dept conveys at the least a coordination function in respect of all Delhi Govt activities for implementing environment statutes, but the information disclosed relates to its activities for implementing Delhi Govt Bhagidaari program, in nature of advocacy rather than disclosure, and is rather irrelevant, if not contrary, to the transparency and accountability purposes of RTI Act. From the available information:
    • It is not possible to measure Achievements of Environment Deptt against intended benefits of its budget outlay since these are not reported in relation to its 7 Plan-schemes and objectives of its 7 Plan-Schemes are also not clearly stated.
    • It is not possible to isolate or assess the contribution of the Environment Deptt in the statutory functions of DPCC, Forest Deptt and local bodies under Delhi Govt since organisational inter-relation with them is not identifiable.
    • It is not even possible to make basic assumptions of data validity and reliability on account of poor quality of, and even inconsistencies within, the information disclosed under s.4(1)(b) of RTI Act.
    • Notwithstanding the claim, in statement in compliance of s.4(1)(b)(xiv), that "All relevant information regarding Department of Environment, Govt. of NCT of Delhi is also available on the web site of this department", it is not possible to consider the website information "relevant" without accepting the assumption that Bhagidaari achievements are leading to environmental achievements and it is not possible to accept this assumption in face of clear indications in available information of overlaps and conflicts (at least to extent of competing claims for credit) with activities of other official departments and agencies pursuing statutory approaches.
    • It is not possible to ignore the thrust on advocacy rather than disclosure in face, especially, of failure to designate PIOs for Forest Dept and DPCC while designating PIO for Environment Dept, even as the three are headed by the same official, Ms Naini Jayaseelan, also designated Appellate Authority for the only PIO designated.
  6. Significant among the omissions / suppressions in the information disclosed are the following environment-related statutory instruments that, in effect, do not leave it open to Delhi govt to pursue open-ended Bhagidaari initiatives:
    • The Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, and the Tree Authority mandated by its s.3 (under Secretary (Forest), at present Ms Naini Jayaseelan) is not mentioned on Environment Dept website. The Forest Dept website has the Act as well as statistics of cases of Tree Offences disposed off under it in last five years, but also does not mention the Tree Authority. This is even as Forest Dept discharges many and Environment Dept assists somewhat (by coordinating / constituting some "Task Force") a few of its duties mandated by s.7. On both websites, especially on that of Environment Dept, these duties are projected as Bhagidari program initiatives.
    • The central Environmental Impact Assessment notification (last amended on 07.07.04) under Environmental Protection Act, 1986, is not mentioned on Environment Dept website. It is also not mentioned in the list of 12 Acts & Rules on DPCC website, though DPCC discharges duties of state Govt in respect of it and 2 of the 4 documents in “Tenders & Notices” section on its website are Public Notices issued under it. It is pertinent that both these are undated limited-period notices (the one for 21-days was published in newspapers on 13.03.05). In clear omission in respect of s.4(1)(c) of RTI Act, neither status of proceedings on the published notices nor information of subsequent EIA notices, such as those published in newspapers in November 2005 by DPCC and by DMRC in January 2005, is available on DPCC or Environment Deptt websites. Information is also not available of other projects, including those of Delhi Govt, for which EIA public notices need to be but have not been issued.
    • There is no mention of Delhi Master Plan / Delhi Development Act, 1957, on the websites of Environment Deptt, Forest Deptt and DPCC. This is even though DPCC was represented (through Member Secretary) on the sub-group for environment and pollution for preparing Master Plan 2021. The draft proposes to provide basis in Delhi Development Act for ridge re-delineation by Forest Deptt pursuant to Supreme Court orders. It also includes recommendations of Supreme Court appointed committee for Yamuna that are closely connected to the Yamuna Action Plan that Environment Deptt is coordinating as per its website.
    • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and the State Biodiversity Board mandated by its s.22 are not mentioned on websites of Environment Deptt and Forest Deptt. Both websites do mention a project by Delhi Govt in 2000-2001 for rehabilitation of Asola-Bhatti through Indian Army and Delhi University CEMDE with an objective of improvement in bio-diversity of Aravali ecosystem, but neither mentions the Act or Board or subsequent Biodiversity initiatives of CEMDE, etc.
  7. Disregarding the house-cleaning opportunity provided by s.4 of RTI Act, 2005, the Environment Dept appears engrossed in inertial pursuit of marketing-management style disclosure. This is amply illustrated by comprehensive violation of s.4 in four cases since October 2005, when the RTI Act came fully in force, including press publication of a DPCC Public Notice under EIA notification (in November 2005), press publicity of decision of Ms Naini Jayaseelan to invite Ridge Management Board / NGOs to make a policy proposal to Delhi Govt (in December 2005), and press publication of Public Notice inviting suggestions on DMRC EIA report (in January 2005). It is pertinent that all these directly relate to sub-judice matters in which Delhi Govt, impleaded as Respondent for violations of environmental law in ridge or riverbed areas, has not cared to file replies despite repeated court orders.