Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Moily panel for repealing Official Secrets Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 17, 2006

Moily panel for repealing Official Secrets Act
Our Political Bureau / New Delhi June 10, 2006
The second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily has recommended the repeal of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), 1923 and that at least half of the members of information commissions should be from ‘non-civil service’ background.
It also recommended that the NGOs getting government grants should be brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act.
In its report on ‘Right to information: Master key to good governance’, submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, the ARC said the OSA should be repealed because in its current form, it was incongruous with the regime of transparency in a democratic society.
“The OSA should be repealed, and suitable safeguards to protect security of the state should be incorporated in the National Security Act,” it said.
As retired bureaucrats were being rehabilitated in information commissions in most of the states, the ARC said they should be drawn from non-civil service background.
Complete reorganization of public records was a precondition for effectively implementing the RTI, the ARC said.
A public records office should be established in each state as a repository of expertise, and to monitor and control all public records. One per cent of the funds of all flagship programmes of the Centre should be earmarked for five years for updating all records and building necessary infrastructure.
An ARC member told the Business Standard that the commission felt the need for indexing and classifying records, in the absence of which some officials tended to harass the public.
A reputed media organisation, seeking to do a report on the efficacy of the RTI, sought some information about some land deals.
“Officials decided to give bundles of useless records to the information seeker and demanded Rs 1.80 lakh as the fee. This made us think as to how to stop it,” said the ARC member.
Apart from Moily, the Second ARC, constituted in August, 2005, includes Jayaprakash Narayan, AP Mukherjee, AH Kalro, and V Ramachandran as members and Vineeta Rai as member secretary. ARC members were learnt to have requested the PM “not to appoint another committee” to implement their recommendations which they said were very exhaustive.
The commission recommended that the information commission should be entrusted with the authority and responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the RTI Act in all public authorities.
States may be advised to establish independent public grievance redressal authorities to deal with complaints of delay, harassment and corruption. These authorities should work in close coordination with the information commission.
Certain safeguards should be introduced to discourage frivolous requests so that the system is not overloaded, and discipline is not jeopardized. A roadmap should be charted out for effective implementation of the RTI Act in the legislature and judiciary at all levels.
The commission made specific recommendations and suggested a roadmap to implement a variety of issues including a civil service conduct rules and office procedures, record keeping, capacity building and awareness generation, and the exercise of power to remove difficulties.

One Response to “Moily panel for repealing Official Secrets Act”

  1. Bauelal Mandal said

    The Chief Minister of Bihar 28th Jul 2010.
    Sub: About Licence Of NOTARY MAGISTRATE.
    I am Bauelal Mandal S/o Shri. Late. Gajadhar Mandal Resident of At- Donwari (Chhota Udhba) Post- Brhamotra, Via- Khutauna, Dist- Madhubani, BIHAR – 847227, I Have a Major problem that I have Applied for Licence of NOTARY MAGISTRATE in 2002. Thereafter all verification done by the related department, My Name was also published in Gazette list 2004. Then I had received a letter from department in which letter states that your matter is under process. After 6 month I had gone to Patna Secretariat to know about that matter when I asked to related department clerk they replied that your Matter is under process. Again I got a letter from the department in which states that Character Verification will Done again. Character Verification Done Again in 2008. Again I had got a letter in which states that your Matter is under process. After 6 month I had approached to M.P. MR. Mangnilal Mandal he said Law Minister Mr. Ramnath Thakur that Issue the Licence to him. Mr. Ramnath Thakur said the licence will issued after Freemans Committee Organized. Within 3 month Freemans Committee Organize Done. But no any action has taken about that matter. Again I approached to M.P Mr. Mangnilal Mandal he said that he will tell to Mr. Ramnath Thakur. Thereafter again I had gone to Patna Secretariat to Know about that matter the clerk of related department said that your Matter is under process. Thereafter again meet to M.P Mr. Mangnilal Mandal he said that he already tell to Mr. Ramnath Thakur. But no any action taken by him, then I meet to M.L.A Mr. Hari Prasad Sahu then I again meet to Mr. Ramnath Thakur with Mr. Hari Prasad Sahu. Law Minister Mr. Ramnath said that your Licence will Issue within a month. But I have not received my license. After 2 month I was received a letter in which states that your Matter is under process. Again I had meet to Law Secretary Mr. Ramnaryan Mandal he said that your File have stolen by Madhubani District NOTARY Department Clerk Mr. Premchand Jha. Only premchand jha is the root cause of that whole matter.
    I want to ask to Chief Minister what is the real Age of “Under Processing”
    I am a only advocate of OBC in Phulparas Court
    I have been suffering from “your matter is Under Process” from 2002 to till date.
    Therefore I request to CM Please arrange to solve our problem as early as possible.
    I Shall Be highly Obliged for this Co-operation
    Thanks & Regards
    Bauelal Mandal (Advocate)
    Phulparas Court, Dist- Madhubani

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