Right to Information – Master key to good governance


Posted by rtiact2005 on August 21, 2006

FROM: dhirendrakrishna@yahoo.co.uk 

C-4, Usha Niketan, Safderjung Development Area, New Delhi-110016


21st. August 2006



The Central Public Information Officer

Department of Personnel and Training

Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pension.

Government of India, New Delhi 1100011




Dear Sir,


1.      Information is defined as under in the web site of the Department of Personnel and Training: –



What does information mean?

  1. Aforesaid definition is contrary to the definition of  “information” in Section 2 (f) of the Right To Information Act 2005, reproduced below:


“Information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, log books, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data, material held in electronic form, and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.”


3.      Definition of “information” in the RTI Act is very comprehensive and  “File Notings” are not excluded.  Notings in files are the public records of opinion and advise rendered by various officers; therefore it is covered by aforesaid definition of “information.” Entire files including the notings are    subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and many audit issues emerge from the notings in the file.  CVC / CBI / Vigilance Departments also looks into file notings to pinpoint the responsibility of officers for various decisions.  RTI Act enables the citizens to access public records, to preserve the “ paramountcy of democratic ideal.”



4.      Factually incorrect and legally untenable definition of “Information” has been depicted in the website of Department of Personnel and Training. This seems to be a deliberate error to abridge the scope of Right To Information Act 2005, without any legal authority.


5.      Only the Parliament has authority of modify the RTI Act.  Government is considering amendment to RTI Act, which would remove “File Notings” from the ambit of RTI Act.  This has resulted in countrywide protests and ultimately proposed amendment had to be deferred.  It is doubtful whether Parliament would approve the changes, in view of public protests.  Unless and until such an amendment to RTI Act is approved by the competent authority, Government has no option but to follow the law. Aforesaid mistake in the web site of the Department of Personnel and Training amounts to breach of privilege of the Parliament. Government has abridged the scope of RTI Act, without any authority,




6.      I am empowered by the Right To Information Act 2005 to look into the public records that have led to distorted interpretation of Right To Information Act by the Department of Personnel and Training: I will like to inspect following records and collect photocopy of selected documents. I intend to use this information in training programs for dissemination of information regarding RTI Act:


a)     File regarding the interpretation of RTI Act, including legal opinions which led to exclusion of file notings from the definition of “Information”, given in the web site


b)     File regarding actions taken by the Department of Personnel and Training on the representations expressing protest against changes in RTI Act.


c)     File regarding drafting of the web site, which may pinpoint the responsibility on the concerned officer, for the distortions in definition of information in the web site.


d)     In case the Department of Personnel and Training has received complaints/ suggestions from other Government Departments or State Government regarding practical problems faced by them arising from the disclosure of file notings, I will like to review the files.


e)     Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code envisages action against officers furnishing false information. Mistake in the web site shows that some officer has deliberately furnished false and misleading information, to obstruct the implementation of the RTI Act. If the responsibility for mistake has been fixed on any officer, I will like to see the records.


f)       I will like to examine the review mechanism established by the Government, to ensure the implementation of RTI Act. I will like to see the files regarding progress reports obtained from the public authorities regarding implementation of RTI Act. In particular, I will like to see the files regarding implementation of following provisions of the RTI Act:


Ø      Implementation of Section 4(1)(a) regarding changes in record keeping to meet the requirement of RTI Act, including the budget provision made for facilitating access to records by public.

Ø      Instructions issued by the Government of India regarding implementation of Section 4(2) and feed-back obtained from the public authorities regarding suo-moto disclosure of information needed by the public, over and above the mandatory disclosure under Section 4(1)(b).

Ø      File regarding actions on Section 26 of the RTI Act, regarding preparing educational programmes to advance the understanding of RTI Act amongst the Public.


7.      Disclosure of aforesaid information is in public interest, as it would enable me to initiate informed public debate regarding the implementation of RTI Act 2005.  Postal Order of Rs. 10 is enclosed. You are requested to kindly intimate the date, time and place for the inspection of aforesaid records.


                                                                                                 Yours faithfully,



         Dhirendra Krishna IA&AS (Retired)



  1. The style of writing is very familiar . Have you written guest posts for other blogs?

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