Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Amendments in RTI would make it a more powerful tool: Govt

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 26, 2006

Amendments in RTI would make it a more powerful tool: Govt

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200607261814.htm

New Delhi, July 26. (PTI): In the face of severe criticism over the decision to exempt some “file notings” from the purview of Right to Information (RTI) law, the Government today said it was not a “retrogression” and the implementation of amendments in the measure would make it a “more powerful tool”.

Terming the criticism of last week’s cabinet decision as “largely misplaced” based on “incomplete knowledge” of facts, the Government said the disclosure of file notings on the most important and vast bulk of government activities has now become possible for the first time.

“This was not possible before. It is thus not a case of retrogression. This is a positive step forward,” an official release said.

Clarifying that only a small portion of file notings now remain exempted from disclosure, the release said it would be related to subjects that were already exempted under sub-Section (1) of the Section 8 of the Act and to personnel- related matters like examination, assessment and evaluation for recruitment, disciplinary proceedings etc.

Observing that the Act did not include any provision for full disclosure of “file notings” by officials, the UPA Government has remained committed to the principles of greater transparency and accountability in the public decision-making process.

In view of this firm belief, the Union Cabinet had approved last week an amendment to Sectioni 2(i)(a) of the Act that specifically provides that filenotings of all plans, schemes and programmes of the Government that relate to developemnt and social issues shall be disclosed, it said.

One Response to “Amendments in RTI would make it a more powerful tool: Govt”

  1. P.K. Aditya, Chandigarh said

    BETTER NAME CLASS OF DOCUMENTS TO BE NOT DISCLOSED.

    The Government can show its sincerity, in clarifying that only a small portion of file notings would be exempted from disclosure, such as subjects under sub-Section (1) of Section 8 of the Act and some more. These primarily would concern affairs of States. What has been of major concern is the manner in which the Department of Personnel and Training has excluded all type of notings, as a blanket, and ignored all representations, including decisions of the Chief Information Commission, from January to July 2006. In fitness of things, THE FIRST STEP which is required of the Government, to give confidence to citizens, that nothing unfair and unreasonable shall be done, would be to forthwith order removal of the obnoxious alteration made in the definition of ‘information’ under sec.2(f) of the Act, displayed on the websites: Persmin and RTI Portal.

    Let the method adopted be to not enlist some selected areas in which file notings shall be allowed to be disclosed, but areas in which file notings shall not be disclosed. Matters listed in Sec.8(1) (a) to (j) would be handy to start with, being affairs of State. Let it not be overlooked that for decades, Courts have examined documents on which the Governments claimed privilege, under sec.123 of Evidence Act and/or under Art 74(2) of the Constitution, and generally allowed the privilege, except in case of routine matters where it was either not shown, or it was not possible to show, prejudice to State if the document is disclosed. The situation should appear to improve with promulgation of the RTI Act, rather than become worse from what it was before the 2005 Act. In short: ‘BE POSITIVE’.

    P.K Aditya, Chandigarh.

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