Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Bureaucracy opposes RTI amendments

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 7, 2006

Bureaucracy opposes RTI amendments

Aradhana Sharma/Imtiaz Jaleel

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Watch story Bureaucracy opposes RTI amendments

Monday, August 7, 2006 (New Delhi):

At every stage of the Right to Information movement, the biggest hurdles have been created by the bureaucracy. However, it now speaks out against the amendments that would curtail its reach.

The Right to Information is a powerful tool that can be used to make governments accountable and fight corruption.

However, the government now plans to make amendments to this Act, changes that activists say will take the teeth out of the Act.

Rao disappointed

K J Rao has been credited with free and fair elections in Bihar. Thanks to him, lakhs could exercise their right to vote.

But today, he is disappointed that the right to know is being subverted by the very government that gave people the Right to Information Act.

Rao, former adviser to the Election Commissioner, is now writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, advising him against the move to disallow notings on government files to be made public.

He feels that the notings are the heart of the matter and give teeth to the Act.

“Through file notings, the common man will know where the corruption has taken place. That’s why they don’t want to open them,” said Rao.

Fighting for RTI

Several retired bureaucrats are unhappy with the government’s move.

Some like former CAGs V K Shunglu and CG Somaiah and former Union Home Secretary Madhav Godbole have also written to the Prime Minister, as have 270 officers of the Steel Authority of India.

All of them disagree with the government’s argument that making the file notings public would deter bureaucrats from being frank.

In fact, they say this would help those who suffer in the system.

“Honest people suffer because all types of inquiries are started against them to discipline them and to suppress them,” said Arun Bhatia, Former Municipal Commissioner, Pune.

“An honest officer will never be afraid of notings. One way it is good, as people will come to know who the best officer is,” added Rao.

The views of these officers clearly show that the reasoning given by the government is not on firm ground.

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