Right to Information – Master key to good governance

“RTI Act an effort towards participatory governance”

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 20, 2006

“RTI Act an effort towards participatory governance”

Special Correspondent


Principle of democracy will be realised only if there is effective flow of information : Apex Court Judge



IN DISCUSSION: Justice A.P. Shah (Right), Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, having a word with Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court, at the lecture in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: M. Vedhan



CHENNAI: The Right to Information Act is an effort towards participatory governance, justifying the principle of democracy envisaged in the Constitution, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, Judge, Supreme Court, has said.

Delivering a lecture on the RTI Act, organised by Sri R. Venkataraman Labour Law Lecture Endowment Trust and Viswanathan & Dolia Lecture Endowment Trust here on Saturday, he said: “The principle of democracy will stand realised only if there is adequate and effective flow of information to the people to participate in the policy decisions of a nation.” This access would give an “operative right” to citizens.

Maintaining that it was too early to evaluate the RTI Act, the apex court judge said: “But looking at the experience of other nations, it will be foolish to pretend that this Act will be an unqualified failure.”

He said countries that had enacted similar legislations guaranteed their citizens the right to keep themselves adequately informed of public affairs, thereby making government authorities more accountable and their working more transparent.

“Unless these authorities are accountable to the citizens for every act of theirs, there is no incentive for them to improve, deliver on their promises, or even provide basic services at adequate levels.”

Though the right to freedom of information or the right to know was not a specified fundamental right under our Constitution, the Indian judiciary had accorded the freedom of information, the constitutional right, that too with fundamental right status.

He, however, said the necessity of secrecy in some sensitive areas could not be denied.

Earlier, Justice A.P. Shah, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, said a three-Judge committee had been constituted to compile all information relating to Judges and other staff members, besides the working of the judiciary.

This information would be available on the Internet.

The entire work would be completed in eight weeks, he said. Mr. Justice Shah also said the provisions of the RTI Act must govern non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, particularly those offering higher education, and trade unions as they too should become as transparent and accountable as Government departments.

He said the Act must cover the file notings as well, as, otherwise, the purpose of the legislation would be defeated.

A.L. Somayaji, Trustee and former Additional Advocate-General of Tamil Nadu, said former President R. Venkataraman founded the Madras Labour Law Journal in 1947, and contributed a lot to the growth and development of the genre.


One Response to ““RTI Act an effort towards participatory governance””

  1. Vasanth said

    Dmk partis

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