Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Appeal not to amend the Right to Information Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 3, 2006

Appeal not to amend the Right to Information Act and drop the clause allowing access to file notings.

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Honorable Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi, India 110 011
Fax: +91 11 23019545 / 23016857
Email: pmosb@pmo.nic.in

03 August 2006

Reg.:  Appeal not to amend the Right to Information Act and drop the clause allowing access to file notings

Respected Sir,

Every Prime Minister has a legacy to keep and we really hope that yours would not be one of blocking access to information.

As you are aware there is a country wide debate on the current moves of your government to drop access to file noting from the purview of the Right to Information Act.  The general mood is that the Act has served the citizens very well, and that in time it could establish a wholly different culture of governance, where every decision could potentially be accountable not merely by claim, but by evidence.  Good governments would champion provisions in law which provides access to such clauses as file notings in legislations such as the Right to Information Act.  Your government is attempting to do the converse, and we believe an amendment dropping the file noting clause would be tabled in Parliament tomorrow.

Whatever be the compulsions by which this thought has emerged that file notings need not be shared, as an administrator in regulatory agencies before becoming the Prime Minister, you would have seen hundreds of documents, and in so reviewing them, concentrated on file notings to form your decision.  Much as the content of a document in itself is important, what brings more value to the document is who took what decisions and why.  File notings thus become a crucial guiding light in forming a good decision.  Similarly, it is only by file notings that a bad decision can be understood, including exploring the lack of rationale that go against the wider public interest.

People across the country have awakened to the creative possibilities of utilising their Rights to Access Information.  In this light it would be expected that your government, which not too long ago was guided by one of the most progressive governance agendas of free India, would sustain this Right to access file notings.  Beyond mere electoral gains, it has the potency of promoting a legacy that few Prime Ministers in the past have enjoyed. Allowing regressive attempts as dropping access to file notings is equivalent to betraying an intelligent people the possibility of using their creativity in enjoying the full fruits of decision making.  Sooner than later, such betrayal will revive the messy loop of bad governance promoting bad decisions, as millions of babus, big and small, will bask contently in the knowledge that their hand in the pie will not be shown.

It is up to you to formulate your legacy.

You will be remembered as one who withstood the pressures of party and coalition compulsions, bureaucratic sleight of hand and also corporate pressures, in ensuring that act remains un-amended because peoples of India mattered more to you.  You will be remembered as the Prime Minister who ensured that peoples right to know as fully as can be possible without breaching the security of the country, what their government was doing for them, was a cornerstone of your governance approach.

File notings are critical in this schema, as it reveals good decisions for praise, as it exposes does bad decisions for contempt and punishment.  Take out file notings from the RTI and you will take out the hard fought hope of the citizens that our democracy works for its people.

Please retain a legacy you will be proud of.

Do consider this sincere appeal from a non-profit group that has systematically exposed many scams in decision making in the wider public interest, by accessing documents with file noting.

Sincerely,

Leo F. Saldanha

Bhargavi S. Rao

Subramanya Sastry

Mallesh K. R.

5 Responses to “Appeal not to amend the Right to Information Act”

  1. meesam raza said

    Appeal not to amend the Right to Information Act is good for all the people of india and specially poor and week person.

    This is an opening of small hope that being a week and poor person i can get the justice.

    so please please please for the sake of god dont make any change in rti which makes it weak and wortless.

    and spread it as far and as fast as possible in between the people so as they use it frequently to get the justice and stop the bribery.

    Thanks,
    s.meesam raza

  2. C.P.Gandhi said

    File notings are definitely the heart of the provisions of RTI act and if taken out, the Act will be nothing but the body in permanent coma. This provision only has started keeping the bureucracy restrained from taking wrong and whimsical decisions. In the interest of clean public image of Govt which most of the times gets tarnished by wrongfull actions of bureaucrats, the Govt must not amend the existing RTI Act.

  3. Vipul Gupta said

    I would like to thank the NDTV for making public informed, deligent about the Provisions of the RTI ACT, so that Indian people can take informed decisions and an early redressial of their public grievances. Thanks for creating an awareness among the masses by broadcasting various programmes relating to RTI ACT.

    I will like to thank Mr. C.P. Gandhi.
    File notings are just like test reports based on which medicines are prescribed meaning in legal parlance decisions are arrived. File notings are an invetable part of the main document. It is the file notings by different authorities on which can decisions are really taken. They should be made aware to the public in the interest of true and fair justice.

    Thanks

    Vipul

  4. AJAY MAKKAR said

    DEAR SIR

    THE RTI IS A VERY SHARP TOOL AVAILABLE TO A CITIZEN TO FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION . I THINK THAT ONLY RTI IS THE SINGLE TOOL AVAILABLE IN INDIA WHICH CAN REMOVE RED TAPEISM FROM INDIAN BUREAUCRACY THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT IS NOT TOLERABLE. STRONG PROTEST IS REQUIRE BY CIVIL SOCIETY
    .I APPEAL MEDIA TO CREATE MORE AWARENESS ON THIS ISSUE.AND TRY TO JOINT PEOPLE FOR THE STRONG PROTEST AGAINST THIS AMENDMENT. THE AMENDMENT IS THE REFLECTION OF THE GOVT INTENTION .THE ELECTED GOVT IS NOT SUPPOSE TO SURRENDER IT SELF IN FRONT OF BUREAUCRACY FOR ITS PETTY INTERESTS .WHO FEEL THAT RTI IS LIKE A SNAKE ON THEIR NECK. I THINK THIS AMENDMENT IS DIWALI GIFT TO CORRUPT BUREAUCRACY FROM THEIR DARLING GOVT.WHO IS ELECTED BY GENERAL PEOPLE TO TAKE CARE OF THE INTEREST OF THE CORRUPT BUREAUCRACY . JAI HIND MERA BHARAT MAHAAN
    FROM AJAY KUMAR MAKKAR

  5. R.B.L.Nigam said

    Till date we the people are unable to know that why the government wastes its time in amending the law once it comes into force. Why the government want to amend RTI act? It is observed that by amending this Act government is playing hide and seek game with the public and nothing else more.

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