FURTHER INFORMATION REQUIRED FROM PRIME MINISTERS OFFICE, UNDER THE RTI ACT
Posted by rtiact2005 on August 21, 2006
C-4, Usha Niketan, Safderjung Development Area, New Delhi-110016.
21st. August 2006
Shri Kamal Dayani
Central Public Information Officer
Prime Minister’s Office,
South Block, New Delhi – 110011
1. It has been reported that Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Prime Minister of India has made following comments in his letter to Shri Anna Hazare on July 27, 2006, to dissuade him from launching mass protest against the proposed changes in the Right To Information Act 2005:
“File notings were never covered in the definition of ‘information’ in the RTI Act passed by Parliament. In fact, the amendments being currently proposed expand the scope of the Act to specifically include file notings relating to development and social issues. The overall effort is to promote even greater transparency and accountability in our decision making process.”
- Definition of “information” is according to Section 2 (f) of the Right To Information Act 2005, reproduced below for ready reference:
“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. Aforesaid definition is very comprehensive and does not exclude “file notings”. Notings in files are also public records, of opinion and advise rendered in decision-making process. These are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and also available to CVC / CBI / Vigilance Departments. Prime Minister has committed a grave impropriety by communicating incorrect legal position in the aforesaid letter, to dissuade Shri Anna Hazare from protesting against the decision reportedly taken by the Cabinet.
4. Distorted interpretation of the Right To Information Act 2005 by the Prime Minister of India is a totally unacceptable I will like to invoke the Right To Information Act 2005, to peruse following public records from the Prime Ministers office and take copy of papers, according to the prescribed procedure:
a) Public records, which has led to aforesaid distortion of the legal position in the official communication, signed by the Prime Minister of India.
b) File regarding representations received by the Prime Minister against the proposed changes in the Right To Information Act and the notings in the file regarding internal scrutiny of these representations.
c) Department of Personnel and Training has misrepresented the legal position in their web site: file notings have been excluded from the definition of “information”, even without the approval of amendment to RTI Act by the Parliament. In my humble opinion, DOPT is not doing enough to ensure the implementation of RTI Act. I am requesting the Department of Personnel and Training, for further information under the Right To Information Act; copy enclosed. In this context, I will like to review following records:
Ø If this error in the official web site of the Government of India has been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister, I will like to peruse the official records.
Ø In case there has been reviews of implementation of RTI Act at the level of Prime Minister, I would like to see the agenda and minutes of the review meetings.
5. Disclosure of aforesaid information is in public interest, as it would enable necessary corrections. You are requested to kindly intimate the date, time and place for the perusal of aforesaid records. Postal Order of Rs. 10 is enclosed.
Dhirendra Krishna IA&AS (Retired)