Right to Information – Master key to good governance

‘Corruption has spread to even relief work’

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 20, 2006

‘Corruption has spread to even relief work’


New Delhi, Aug. 20 (PTI): Expressing concern at the spread of corruption in the country, Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma on Saturday said even relief and rehabilitation programmes undertaken in the wake of natural disasters were not free from the menace.

Addressing the gathering at a seminar on ‘Right to Justice and Judicial Reforms’ at the Jamia Milia University, Verma said lack of accountability within the government was the main reason for many public functionaries accepting corruption as a “normal procedure”.

He held the government accountable for the recent suicides by farmers crippled by debts in various states, including Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, as it was the constitutional duty of the state to provide adequate means of livelihood for its citizens.

Taking steps to help ryots gain financial self-sufficiency should not be considered as “charity” on the part of the state but as a positive action to empower them, he said.

The former CJI hailed the Right To Information Act (RTI) as a powerful weapon in the hands of the public to improve the quality of governance in the country by “introducing” a sense of accountability within bureaucratic circles.

He condemned the recent proposal to amend the Act by not allowing access to file notings on government files as a deliberate ploy to curtail the freedom of the public to make informed choices.

Verma’s relief in the government’s “reluctance” to table the proposal in the Parliament during this session was echoed by noted RTI activist Aruna Roy, who said she would be meeting Congress Party President to brief her on how the proposed amendments, if introduced, would rob the Act of its purpose.


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