Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Information on corruption inquiries need not be secret, nor on procurement contracts. If the RTI Act is to fulfil its professed aims of creating transparency in the functioning of government agencies, containing corruption and enhancing accountability, both the military and paramilitary forces must be brought within its ambit.

Posted by rtiact2005 on June 21, 2006

Pull wool over our eyes

Hindustan Times

June 20, 2006

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1723789,0012.htm#

Administrative Reforms Commission Chairperson Veerappa Moily had our approval last week for suggesting that subjects concerning the country’s security be put under the purview of the National Security Act, and that the colonial-era Official Secrets Act be scrapped. However, Mr Moily’s latest recommendation, that the armed forces be taken out of the ambit of the Right to Information Act, contradicts the very reasoning that underpins the earlier suggestion. Arguing that the army deserves the same treatment as the paramilitary forces that lie outside the Act’s ambit, Mr Moily has applied bizarre reverse logic, which will only set off a race to the bottom with regard to transparency and accountability.Ostensibly, the paramilitary forces are out of the purview of the RTI Act in order to safeguard information critical to the country’s security. But, there is no such thing as an absolute secret. Operational plans, activities and equipment specifications of the armed forces of today may be secret, but surely not those of 30 years ago? Information on corruption inquiries need not be secret, nor on procurement contracts.

As it is,  Section 1.8 of the Act provides for the withholding of information whose disclosure might ‘affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence’. What excuse is there, then, to exempt the military and paramilitary forces from the purview of the Act?

The armed forces and the paramilitary are key instruments of the State, as well as society. So, while everything must be done to ensure that they are able to function in an unfettered way, they cannot be allowed to cut themselves off from the requirements of accountability and transparency of all government institutions.

In recent years, there have been a number of charges of corruption and human rights violation in both these institutions, as well as a corresponding decline in the credibility of their self-audit and internal justice systems.

It is our contention that more transparency will actually boost their credibility among the people and enhance their functional abilities.

If the RTI Act is to fulfil its professed aims of creating transparency in the functioning of government agencies, containing corruption and enhancing accountability, both the military and paramilitary forces must be brought within its ambit.

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One Response to “Information on corruption inquiries need not be secret, nor on procurement contracts. If the RTI Act is to fulfil its professed aims of creating transparency in the functioning of government agencies, containing corruption and enhancing accountability, both the military and paramilitary forces must be brought within its ambit.”

  1. […] Pull wool over our eyes – ” Information on corruption inquiries need not be secret, nor on procurement contracts.”https://right2information.wordpress.com/2006/06/21/pull-wool-over-our-eyes-information-on-corruption-inquiries-need-not-be-secret-nor-on-procurement-contracts/ […]

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