Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Right to Information – SOS

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 15, 2006


The Right to information is our Fundamental Right as granted by the Constitution of India under article 19(1)(a). the Constitution puts certain restrictions upon such rights as per the article 19(2). thus the Governments step in amending the RTI Act 2005 by keeping certain things like file notings, opinions and advices etc.. out of purview of the RTIA 2005 would mean doing something unconstitutional.  as the Article 19(2) of the constitution allows the access to all such things if article 19(1) (a) includes the Right to Know as interpreted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

In a statement, Mr. Justice Verma, former Chief Justice of India; Mr. Justice Krishna Iyer and Mr. Justice Sawant, former Supreme Court judges, said: “There is no justification for such amendments which unreasonably and unconstitutionally seek to restrict the people’s right to know what their public servants are doing on their behalf.”

The statement referred to the recent Cabinet decision approving far-reaching amendments, which “seek to restrict access to `file notings’ and allow access to only substantial notings relating to social and developmental issues.”

It said: “File notings are the recording of the views and reasons by various officials for or against any proposed decision. It is settled that the `right to information,’ implicit under Art. 19 (1) (a), is [an] untrammeled constitutional guarantee, subject only to the `reasonable restrictions’ validly imposed by legislation under Article 19 (2).”

The scheme under Article 19 (2) did not permit an omnibus restriction.

The jurists said all government decisions must be based on a discernible principle and cogent reasons. A reasoned order/decision was the assurance against nepotism, arbitrariness and corruption. Reasons provided an internal check against arbitrariness in the decision-making process. Mere information of the decision without disclosure of the reasons for it and the decision-making process was not enough to permit scrutiny of the decision made, which even otherwise might become known.

“The very purpose of the `right to information’ would be frustrated without the knowledge of the `reasons’ for the decision, emerging from the `file notings.’ Except for information, which can, or needs to be withheld in the interests of the specified heads under Art. 19(2), there is no reason or authority to permit exclusion of the remaining information in the form of `file notings’ or otherwise.”

The stated apprehension that disclosure of all `file notings’ would deter honest persons involved in the process from expressing their candid opinion was misconceived. “The fact is the opposite.” *”The assurance of public scrutiny or transparency in government business would motivate the honest to be frank in the _expression of their views in writing” (Emphasis given)*

The Battle for saving the RTIA is on. make sure to communicate to your member of Parliament to see that he/she does not vote in favor of the Amendment.

Protests organized in Ahmedabad on 13.08.2006 at the Lawgarden from 04.00 to 10.00 PM. IST. Join us and make it a success.

Following is the Agenda of the Protest.
~ Signature Campaign on Representation to the Speaker, PM and Leader
of Opposition]

Do remain present there if you seriously believe in strengthening the Citizens right to Information.

Punit B. Juneja

Punit B. Juneja
B.Com, B.I.T, LL.B


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