Right to Information – Master key to good governance

KIC: Babus denying info even to information panel

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 22, 2006

Babus denying info even to information panel
By Mathang Seshagiri/TNN

Bangalore: Forget the public, babus in the state are denying information even to the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC)!
   In gross violations of provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005, several departments including the chief minister’s secretariat and governor’s secretariat have not sent reports to the commission on the implementation of the Act and amount collected by each public authority under their control.

   Though state chief information commissioner K K Misra sent separate letters to 51 secretaries in various departments on June 6 to give details on the number of applications received, the amount collected from the public and particulars of disciplinary action against officers under the RTI, just two departments — planning and statistics and public grievances — furnished the necessary details.

   With the babus reluctant to disclose information, the public will never know how many state departments have implemented the Act, number of applications received by public authorities and what action has been taken against officials denying information under the Act.
   As per section 25 of the RTI Act 2005, the Karnataka Information Commission wrote letters to all departments asking them to send monthly reports. After several secretaries wrote back saying that monitoring and reporting was a time-consuming task, the commission directed the departments to send quarterly reports. But ten months after the Act has come into effect, just two departments have supplied information.

“At this rate, it would be almost impossible to come out with the annual report. It is the duty of every department to collect information from all public authorities under their jurisdiction and send us a report. Some like the co-operation department, have posed own problems saying that it was difficult for them to collate information from over one lakh cooperative societies in the state,” Misra told The Times of India. The problem is similar with the education department where every primary and secondary school is declared as public authority. Ditto with RDPR, which has to first collect the information from every gram panchayat (there are over 5,600 GPs) and then send a consolidated report to the KIC.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Civil Society has taken up the task of preparing the annual report of the Central Information Commission to be tabled in Parliament.

What public authority has to report

* Number of applications received

* Number of decisions where applicants were not entitled for information

* Number of appeals referred to the CIC or KIC 

* Details of disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of the Act

*  Amount collected from the applicants 

* Recommendations for reforms in the RTI Act


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