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Structuring public grievance hearings Dated - 04/03/2003

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Govt. of NCT of Delhi
Delhi Secretariat, I.P. Estate, New Delhi 

No. F.17/17/AR/02/Vol.II/400 

Dated :04/03/2003

Subject :- Structuring public grievance hearings

1. Of late, there has been a movement initiated by some individuals and organizations who have begun taking up issues relating to public grievances in an open fora. Jan Sunwais and Lok Adalats are examples of this. 

2.Under the Right to Information Act, there is already a statutory forum available for the public to demand information and there is also a Public Grievance Commission where they can further take up the matter, in the absence of receiving a satisfactory response. Nonetheless, in respect of provision of many services there still persists a feeling of dissatisfaction in some quarters. People are disillusioned with the responses as well as quality of work undertaken, particularly at a micro level. This includes repair of roads, street lighting, cleaning of drains, garbage and malba, laying of water and sewage connections, transport related problems of DTC, RTVs, auto rickshaws and generally harassment caused by outmoded processes and systems etc. 

3. Particularly, in regard to public works, there is an apprehension that funds have either been wasted or not spent as prioritized; that the public is not taken into confidence when these plans are made; that there exists a nexus whereby some influential sections of society benefit more. When we are doing so much to instill a climate of transparency and responsiveness, such apprehensions must be addressed squarely and the fears of the public allayed. Particularly now that MCD, Co-operatives, some of the DC's Offices and many others have exhaustive websites, the effort should be to publicize these efforts.

4.In order to see that the benefit of having a public interface is encouraged, but at the same time it does not disintegrate into a fault-finding session, it is necessary for all Heads of organizations like Transport, Labour, Delhi Transport Corporation, Divisional Commissioner's office etc., to arrange for their own public hearings. Through this mechanism, an open house may be organized where the problems get highlighted and discussed. Similar public hearings could be organized at the sub-district and zonal level by the departmental officers. The leadership role has to be assumed by the HoD himself and his departmental officers and a problem solving approach has to exist. Such meetings could be organized once in a month or once in a quarter, as considered necessary, with the following ingredients:-

(i)An announcement giving at least 15 days notice that such an open discussion will take place chaired by the Head of the Organization/ Department. His/her name has to be announced and telephone and e-mail address provided;

(ii) Two or three generic issues which would be taken up, should be identified and announced;

(iii) That people can put their applications in advance has to be notified. It needs to be clarified that individual problems will not normally be entertained, only community related issues i.e. which affect a class of people within the group would be taken up; 

(iv) Ideally,such meetings should be held in different districts/sub-districts/zones by prior announcement;

(v) In order to let the public know, efforts should be made to contact either the RWAs or the key organizations who have a role to play in all these matters to further disseminate the information;

(vi) Ground rules for maintaining the decorum of the meeting should be laid in advance.

5. AR Department will be requesting for information on the organization of such public hearings by each Department. I hope I can count on you to find ways and means to build up confidence in the public. Steps which have been taken and which you are introducing to improve your Department's interface with the public must be made known to the people, through proper publicity.


No. F.17/17/AR/02/Vol.II/400 
Dated : 04.03.2003

All Pr. Secretaries/Secretaries/HODs,
Autonomous/Local Bodies/Undertakings under
Govt. of NCT of Delhi,
Delhi/New Delhi.

Copy for information to :-

1. Secretary to Lt. Governor, Delhi
2. Pr. Secretary to Chief Minister
3. OSD to Chief Secretary.