Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Beware, Danger to democracy is lurking, Keep vigil and be ready to fight second War of Freedom:: Anna Hazare

Posted by rtiact2005 on September 28, 2006

From : Anna Hazare.

Beware, Danger to democracy is lurking, Keep vigil and be ready to 
fight second War of Freedom;

Britishers enacted, “The Official Secrets Act 1923” to systematically 
loot India. This law of Secrecy became major enemy of democracy and 
while snatching away freedom from people, it became a weapon in handful 
officials with power to inflict atrocities on citizens.  This Act should 
have been scrapped or drastically pruned on 26th January 1950, the day, 
we celebrated free India’s first Republic Day but unfortunately even 
after 59 years of Independence this Act is very much in full force. In 
the state of Maharashtra, .Several activists had to struggle hard to 
protect citizens from social injustice by forcing government to enact new 
laws of right to information, enhanced powers for Gram-Sabha, removal of 
administrative delays and laws regulating transfers of Government 
servants 

Right to Information Act did not remain limited only to the state of 
Maharashtra, but it became Law for the entire Nation and citizens started 
experiencing new found freedom by reaping benefit of this law. However 
this new law started pinching few people in government and under the 
garb of improving the law, they plotted to take away freedom of people. 
Fortunately the calamity has been temporarily averted, but the situation 
calls for alertness on the part of citizens, as the danger of sabotage 
is still lurking.  

Dangerous changes that were projected in the Act;

The Central Government contends that the Act of 2005 was enacted 
without provision for making the file notings available to citizens and that 
the government now intends for the first time to incorporate the same 
in the Act.  

Factual position;

Information has been defined in Sec 2 (f) of the Right to Information 
Act 2005 and it includes “Records” besides other Information listed 
therein. Sec 2 (i) defines “record” to 

include any document, manuscript or “File”. When considered to gather, 
above provisions clearly include file in the definition of 
“Information”. Notings being integral part of “file”, notings can not be excluded.  
When we talk of a “file” we mean complete file with notings made in the 
file, which can not be separated. There is a clear provision in the 
present law that the notings in the file are available to the people. 
There is no justification what so ever to amend the Act for making 
available the file notings related only to social and development work as 
envisaged. Few bureaucrats and politicians having ulterior motives, who have 
taken wrong and unjustifiable decisions during the past and have fear 
that they will get exposed, have started creating impression that such 
rights are not  in the basic Act and are therefore pressing for the 
amendment to deprive people of their rights. If such amendment is 
implemented it will mean we have accepted the amendment which provides file 
notings in respect of social and developmental work only and the 
bureaucrats and the government will deny information about other file notings to 
people on important matters. It is therefore essential that the 
proposed amendment should be resisted at each level and a mass upsurge from 
the citizens is required to block the ulterior motives of vested 
interests. It is therefore necessary to form committees in each village to 
protect Right to Information Act.

More over it is planned to increase the number of exclusions under sec 
8 (1). Presently there are 10 existing exclusion clauses in the 
original act, which the government plans to increase by three more, thereby 
diluting the Act and limiting the right of Information to the people. 
e.g. (1). the current Act clause 8 (1) (i) permits publications of 
decisions taken by the Council of Ministers and the material on which the 
decisions are based. However, after proposed amendment, such information 
may not be available to the people.

In fact the RTI 2005 Act provides that any information that is bound to 
be supplied to the Lok Sabha and Raj Sabha, cannot be denied to the 
people. That is why the proposed amendments are unjust and incorrect. If 
these amendments are passed, the Council of Ministers may take decisions 
at will and not be answerable to the people. e.g. if a particular 
agricultural land is sought for industrial use and the council of ministers 
decide to acquire the land for conversion in spite of resistance by the 
concerned farmers and adverse file notings by the district authorities, 
the fact of case will never be known since file notings will not be 
disclosed.  

(2) The government also intends to conceal details of opinion, legal 
advice and recommendations of experts or group of people who have 
examined a project/program related to social or development work, outside the 
preview of section 8. 

Such amendment is unfair and unjust since there should be no harm in 
providing information, if an individual or a group of people who have 
worked sincerely and have given their professional / legal opinion keeping 
in mind public interest. If proposed amendment is allowed to be passed, 
people will have to accept public losses based on dishonest 
recommendations.  

(3), u/s 8 (1) the government also plans to exclude information about 
examinations conducted by the public authorities for appointment / 
promotion of candidates to various posts in the government. Similarly 
information will also be denied about admission criteria to be applied for 
various educational courses.  

This amendment too is unjust. It may not be objectionable to deny 
information about deciding eligibility of the candidate in various 
competitive tests conducted by various bodies, but once results are declared 
there should not be any objection for a candidate to see answer books of 
candidate, who have scored higher marks.

This will help bring uniformity in marking system in the written 
examinations and prevent malpractice in allotment of marks to improve the 
standard of examining answer books. It is also necessary to know the basis 
of granting promotions because there usually are many complaints of 
corruption and dishonest means used in this process. It is essential to 
maintain transparency in such matters.  

It is astonishing that the government wishes to keep the admission 
process to various education institutes out side the purview of information 
Act. It Is known fact that millions of rupees are collected by the 
educational institutions for granting admission to management, medical and 
technical faculties. In such situation, keeping the information outside 
preview of RTI will encourage corruption. It is therefore necessary to 
oppose this amendment with full force. If this amendment is permitted, 
auction system will prevail in the education system in the private 
educational institutions that will make education a profitable business.

(4) Exception in section 8 (1) is also planned to prohibit supply of  
information regarding notings, extracts, hand written notes, files and 
legal opinion until final decision is taken in the matter and the issue 
is complete and over.  

If these amendments are passed, the RTI will loose its soul. Deliberate 
attempt will then be made to take away all the rights given to people 
by the original Act. It has been experienced that decisions in 
government offices are invariably delayed and their implementations are also 
deliberately delayed. Once this amendment is passed, the Ministers and 
bureaucrats will further delay their decision – some times indefinitely 
and take shelter under “the matter is under consideration”, for not 
supplying information. Possibility decision taking process will continue 
indefinitely. Therefore it is necessary to resist these amendments, in 
order to protect the Act and effectively check corruption.

(5) In order make impression that additional powers are to be granted 
to the Information Commissions, government propose to add two 
sub-sections in section 18. According to proposed sub section 18 (5), the 
commissions will be given more powers and responsibilities to make the Act 
more effective. However, actually the proposed sub section 18 (6) takes 
away most rights of the commission. The original Act provides authority 
to receive application if PIO or AA refuses to accept the same. The ICs 
in such cases can take cognizance of the complaints and impose fine 
where necessary, after enquiring in to the complaint. But due to the 
proposed amendment the rights of the commissions to take decisions on 
appeals and complaints will be taken away and mere recommendatory powers will 
be vested in the ICs. Final decision shall rest with the government 
making the Act tooth less.  

(6). Some PIOs have started misusing provision of sec 8 (1)j, to deny 
information on pretext that giving information concerning you also is 
not in public interest. 

Right to Information Act is vital for healthy democracy. Similarly the 
Acts like additional powers to Gram Sabha, delays in official matters 
and government officer’s transfer laws are also important.  If members 
of public are educated and awareness created about this Act, 75 to 80% 
corruption will go away and people will enjoy true democracy.  Youth is 
real power for nation and if every youth participates in national 
cause, the whole picture of nation will change within no time.

Embolden yourself to fight Second war for Freedom.

( I am already touring remote rural areas of Maharashtra to create 
awareness about the Right to Information Act 2005 from 14th September 2006  
to 9th November 2006. Please help me in my endeavor and kindly 
circulate this message widely) 

From:"ramesh wasudeo" <rameshw@rediffmail.com>
Date: 27 Sep 2006 15:30:49 -0000

mumbai tel : 022-2636 6251
           : 022-6693 8776 faxfon
roaming    : 98690 12351

3 Responses to “Beware, Danger to democracy is lurking, Keep vigil and be ready to fight second War of Freedom:: Anna Hazare”

  1. Apart from this legal battle, major impediment is the non-implementation of RTI Act by the public authorities. Within the existing legal framework ” Audit of imlementation of RTi Act by Citizen’s” should be initiated by:

    (i) RTI applications to public authorities at District ?Block/ Village level regarding measures taken by them to implement RTI Act.

    (ii) Formal complaint regarding non-implementation to Central ?State Information Commissioners, to pressurise varius Ministries and departments to implement RTI Act.

    In my opinion,RTI Act may never be implemented in letter and spirit, without sustained pressure from the citizens. I have placed draft RTI aplication and other useful material at the yahoo group “rti4ngo”.

    Dhirendra Krishna IA&AS (Retired)

  2. […] Dhirendra Krishna Says: September 30th, 2006 at 10:14 am eApart from this legal battle, major impediment is the non-implementation of RTI Act by the public authorities. Within the existing legal framework ” Audit of imlementation of RTi Act by Citizen’s” should be initiated by: […]

  3. 1)application dated 19/6/2007
    2)information not given
    3)1st appeal
    4)information not given
    5)2nd appeal
    6)information not given
    7)commissioner given intarim decision
    8)after strong decision information officer had given information in 15 days.
    9)i once again given application to commissioner to give penalty to information officer because he had taken 18 months and delay my time and concern department time allso so he have to be penalty.

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