Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Protests against RTI grow louder

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 4, 2006

Protests against RTI grow louder

Divya Iyer

CNN-IBN

Posted Thursday , August 03, 2006 at 22:00Updated Thursday , August 03, 2006 at 22:57

New Delhi: The Cabinet decision to amend the Right to Information Act has met with some vociferous protest from information activists.

Even as Parliament is getting ready to pass the Bill seeking amendments to the Right to Information Act, voices of protest are growing louder.

While NGOs and citizens’ groups have raised a vociferous protest, even former bureaucrats have come out openly against the ban on file notings being made public.

“There’s no right to information. It’s a huge assault on our democracy,” founder of Parivartan, Arvind Kejriwal, alleges.

“It is very worrying. We are all being taken for a massive ride,” Aruna Roy, former member of the NAC, adds.

Among citizens’ initiatives, there are signature campaigns and online petitions against the Cabinet decision to amend the RTI.

Several bureaucrats have also joined the anti-amendment campaign, writing to the President, the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and other political leaders, asking them not to dilute the Act.

File notings are essentially the green page on the left-hand side of every file, which gives details like which officer was handling a particular file, what comments did he make and how he arrived at a particular decision.

Experts say the proposed amendment could mean a death blow to the Act. For, it exludes file notings, except for those relating to development and social issues.

This means though the decisions of the government would be known, the basis on which they have been taken will not be given.

The amendment will also deny access to any material based on which the council of ministers took decisions. Here too, transparency is going to be a big casualty.

The proposed amendment will also deny any access to identities of those who have recorded notings. In other words, there will be no accountability, so civil servants will continue to work arbitarily secure in the knowledge that their names are protected.

It will also exempt all information related to the process of examination, which means that one can’t get a corrected exam sheets. It will deny any access to information on suitability of a person for appointment or promotion.

And most importantly, there will be no access to information on decisions in process. This means nobody would be able to question delays in any sector.

What is left? The worst is it undermines the Central Information Commission,” Kejriwal points out.

Moreover, the success of RTI is evident in the fact that seven years after nine states implemented the Act, without the exemption of file notings, not a single officer has raised any complaint.

 

The power of RTI

  • Right to access govt documents
  • Right to inspect govt work
  • Fixes direct accountability on officials

Right To Information

  • You can file applications in Hindi/ official language of the area
  • Forms are not compulsory. Plain paper applications will be accepted
  • An application must be in writing on paper or by email
  • Lists of govt PIOs available are at
  • Questions should be precise and directed to a specific public office
  • Application incomplete without fee, unless BPL identity proof is given
  • If there is no response, you can appeal with appellate authority, or complain with concerned Info Commission
  • Information officer can be penalised for silence
  • Proposed RTI Amendments

    • Exclude file notings, except those relating to development and social issues
    • No access to material based on which council of ministers took decisions
    • No access to identities of those who have recorded notings
    • Exempt all information related to the process of examination
    • No access to information on suitability of a person for appointment or promotion
    • No access to information on decisions in process

    5 Responses to “Protests against RTI grow louder”

    1. rtiact2005 said

      sharat sharma
      This Horrible amendment to RTI is a step into Darkness.
      It clearly proves the nexus between politicians and bureaucrats to save each others skin through Information Hiding.
      Do We really need this amendment at all?
      ( Posted: Friday , August 04, 2006 at 11:19 )

    2. rtiact2005 said

      Muralisk

      This clearly proves that politicians are never clean. They always had, have and will have malicoius intentions and ulterior motives. And these are the primary reasons they are trying to amend RTI. ( Posted: Friday , August 04, 2006 at 09:40 )

    3. rtiact2005 said

      AnanthaRama Krishna

      The people of the states should threaten thier respective MPs that if they oted for the ammendment the will not vote for thier party again..For eg: CPI , DMK…With out them they will not be able to ammend the RTI act… ( Posted: Friday , August 04, 2006 at 09:22 )

    4. rtiact2005 said

      Krishnan

      The Right to Information would imply Right to get access to any information other than any thing to do with the Nation’s Security concern including Defence related matters ,that may have direct or indirect bearing on the personal interests of the information seeker so that the concerned person or entity can fight for protecting the interests involved .

      As regards file notings any person holding a position as Secretary or Joint Secretary & so on ,can not afford to make irresponsible notings & getaway easily under the pretext of Secrecy clause.

      Genuine errors of judgement are understandable,but lack of knowledge or awareness on the part of the person concerned & still notings being made for decision process,such lapses can never get condoned for incompetence can be highly injurous to all those who would get impacted by the incompetent action /judgement on the part of the Bureaucrat concerned.For God’s sake don’t make a Mockery of RTI Act thro’senseless amendments. ( Posted: Friday , August 04, 2006 at 07:35 )

    5. rtiact2005 said

      Rohit
      The intentions of the Govt are patently clear.When the Act was moved by the Govt the spin doctors of the Cong wnt tomtomming abt the merits of the Act.But now they r seeling to convert the same into a toothless & insignificant piece of legislation.

      And as Mr. TSR Subramanium pointed out the process was started before this Govt moved the legislation.However the reasons for diluting the Act are not difficult to fathom considering the hypocrisy,lies & corruption that the Cong is synonomous with. ( Posted: Friday , August 04, 2006 at 00:48 )

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