Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 9, 2007

RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

Staff Reporter

http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/09/stories/2007010901630200.htm

 

 

THALASSERY: As secrecy strangles democracy, which requires transparency for its survival, the Right to Information (RTI) Act is an important milestone marking the shifting from the secrecy-ridden, colonial administrative system to a truly democratic system, according to the State Information Commission.

An audience comprising political activists, advocates, officials and police officers at a legal workshop on the RTI Act organised by the People’s Council for Civil Rights (PCCR) here on Monday was presented with the details of the Act and told that the enactment was intended to make citizens well informed and intelligent.

Inaugurating the workshop, Chief Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas said that the Act reminded citizens once again that they were the masters of the country.

The civil service the country had inherited from the British only reinforced the idea that everything that the Government was doing should be done in secrecy, he said adding that the Official Secrecy Act and the oath of secrecy taken by the Ministers are remnants of the British legacy.

There were enactments that ensured that information was not passed without clearance from higher officials and that no information was passed to `unauthorised’ people, he said.

All these enactments cumulatively ensured that all Government proceedings remained secret.

“Everything that is democratic should have transparency, accountability and predictability of processes,” he said adding that the RTI Act also envisaged participation of the people in the democratic processes.

Change mindset

Calling on Government officials to change their mindset to treat citizens as their masters, Mr. Mohandas said that under the Act 98 per cent of information concerning public institutions were eligible to be known to the public.

The greatest test of the strength of democracy was how much information was available to its citizens, he pointed out.

`Mother of all freedoms’

Delivering the keynote address Information Commissioner P. Fasaludheen termed the RTI Act the mother of all freedoms available to the citizens. While more countries were enacting similar legislation ensuring accessibility to information, the RTI Act here, which had been rated fifth best RTI enactment in the world, was yet to be effectively utilised by the public and the Government, he said.

`Cluster of rights’

The RTI was a cluster of rights as it encompassed a right to reliable and total information, he added.

PCCR president T. Asafali presided over the function.

Senior advocate T.A. Ramadas and District Superintendent of Police Mathew Polycarp were also present.

One Response to “RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission”

  1. mohinder singh kadian said

    In the state of Haryana even office of the chief secy is not so cautious and dedicated towards the implementation of the mandate of the RTI Act2005 as there are numbers of cases pending for disposal not to talk of the period specified inthis Act

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