POINT-TO-PONDER: Saving RTI also means appointing right people to SIC
Posted by rtiact2005 on September 9, 2006
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “parivartan india” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 8 Sep 2006 17:36:22 -0000
Subject: [AntiBriberyCampaign] POINT-TO-PONDER: Saving RTI also means appointing right people to SIC
I fully agree with what u are saying. In fact, I have been insisting with all RTI activists that we need to focus on Info commissioners. These commissioners have silently amended (or ruined) the RTI Act. Whereas the entire country fought agsint amendments, none is paying attention to this critical question.
But the bigger question is “what do we do?” In Delhi, we are organizing a public hearing on 24th Sept, in which the info comm will come and their orders will be publicly discussed. We hope to build public pressure on them to change.
But what else should we do? Please suggest.
On Fri, 08 Sep 2006 asha wrote :
>POINT-TO-PONDER: Saving RTI also means appointing right people to SIC
> Mr Naveen Tiwari
> Comment: Mr Naveen Tiwari has rightly highlighted critical damages
> impeding RTI movement which will become all the more vital in the
> long run. While the entire thrust was to save RTI Act, Governments
> have been making adhoc appointments of people not-necessarily apt for
> the job, to Information Commission. If we dont stop ignoring this, we
> might land up with another ineffective institution to deal with. In an
> open letter to Magsaysay Awardee and RTI Activist Arvind Kejriwal,
> Naveen Tiwari has definitely thrown the spotlight on a vital missing
> link – THERE IS NO WELL LAID OUT POLICY TO APPOINT RIGHTEOUS AND APT
> PEOPLE TO SIC. Read more…
> … E X C E R P T S ..
> STATE GOVERNMENT MAY RENDER THE WHOLE ACT INEFFECTIVE BY APPOINTING
> THE WRONG PEOPLE AS INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS
> TURNING AN AQUARIUM INTO FISH SOUP IS SIMPLE. TURNING THE FISH SOUP
> BACK INTO AN AQUARIUM IS NOT. FOR THE EX- COMMUNIST COUNTRIES,
> STABILIZING ECONOMIES AND INTRODUCING MARKET MECHANISMS HAS PROVED
> THE EASY BIT. REMAKING PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS, AND MAKING THEM CLEAN AND
> EFFICIENT, IS MUCH HARDER TO DO AND MEASURE – (The Economist)
> Dear Arvindji,
> I congratulate you on getting the Magsaysay. Belated greetings though.
> I don’t know if you remember my last email regarding the state of RTI
> Movement in Uttar Pradesh and the way state government may render the
> Act ineffective by appointing the wrong people as information
> Although you did acknowledge my mail and appreciate the point I made
> in my letter we could not take the issue further. I realize how busy
> you must be and understand your preoccupation but my own role in the
> whole movement is now at a point where I have to take a decisive step
> as to which course I should take; the one in which I am a part of the
> group led by sandeep and guided by you and arunaji or go alone in my
> own small way and do what I feel is more crucial need of the hour.
> Let me explain myself once again:
> Although it is very important to jointly fight against the proposed
> amendment of RTI
> I think it is equally important, if not more, that we see to it that
> by the time this fight is over with some success, the governments of
> the states do not damage the institution of SIC.
> I don’t know about the success stories in delhi and other states,
> even Lucknow will have some to boast about but these are exceptions.
> Look at the simple scenario: if the 1st application for information
> doesn’t get the right response and the appeal also ends up at the
> dead end then a person has the only recourse of going to SIC with
> final appeal. Imagine the SIC is just like another bigger version of
> Lokayukta having a bunch of ineffective incompetent and callous
> appointees drawing fat salaries and almost static for five years.
> That would mean that people aggrieved by the decision of the SIC will
> have the only option of going to the High court? How many ordinary
> citizens can do that? And why people like me who can afford to go to
> the high court will waste five months time running between a dead
> pillar and a dead post?
> The huge number of frustrated applicants will end up disillusioning
> people about the effectiveness of your weapon -RTI.
> Although the act was drafted by intelligent people who thought that
> if the chief minister
> And his colleague cabinet minister tries to bungle with the
> appointment of information commissioners at least the leader of
> opposition will foil that attempt and public interest will be
> protected. But look at the situation in Uttar Pradesh! Both Mulayam
> Singh Yadav and Lalji Tandon have no qualms about appointing buffoons
> for the job of CIC and IC. And even the Governor is giving his
> consent to this open abuse of the norms and propriety as well as the
> spirit of the act.
> Let me again draw a simple parallel example. The best of laws can
> not get a person Justice if the judge is corrupt or incompetent or
> both. I hope I have been able to bring the point home? This is the
> reason why I have been crying my heart out right from the beginning
> during the meetings at lucknow but somehow I get the feeling that the
> social activist also gets carried away with activism of a popular
> kind. If it is a war it has to be fought on many levels. You cant
> win a war by defeating the enemy in the air and getting defeated on
> the field because the infantry was in the barracks.
> I came across a very interesting passage in The Economist which I
> “Turning an aquarium into fish soup is simple. Turning the fish soup
> back into an aquarium is not. For the ex- communist countries,
> stabilizing economies and introducing market mechanisms has proved
> the easy bit. Remaking public institutions, and making them clean and
> efficient, is much harder to do and measure.”
> If we let the politicians corrupt the institution of SIC it will be
> irreversible and the whole movement of RTI will fail. As the Russian
> proverb says, a fish tends to rot from the head.(I quote from the
> same article in economist).
> Please let us give it urgent attention that it requires lest mulayam
> singh will appoint all his stooges as Information commissioners and
> strangulate the newborn. Its same story of kansa hounding the avtar
> Krishna or king herrod hunting for the child jesus who would be the
> Naveen Tiwari
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