Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Archive for the ‘Kerala RTI’ Category

`RTI Act will help alleviate poverty’

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 13, 2007

`RTI Act will help alleviate poverty’

Staff Reporter


It will end corruption: Commissioner




KOLLAM: P. Fazaluddin, State Information Commissioner, has said that the revolution evolving through the Right to Information Act will help towards poverty alleviation. He was addressing an awareness workshop on the Right to Information Act organised by the State Information Commission and the District Literacy Mission here on Friday.

Mr. Fazaluddin said that the freedom to ask and the right to know form the basis of any democracy. Until the enactment of the Right to Information Act, the media performed that duty. When the people’s money reached the exchequer, they also have a right to know how it was being utilised, he said.

Transparency in fund utilisation will end corruption and work towards poverty alleviation, he said.

The workshop was inaugurated by District Panchayat president K. Devaki.

Director of the State Literacy Mission M. Jayadevan delivered the keynote address. He said that the Literacy Mission can play a big role in spreading awareness on the Right to Information Act.

District Coordinator of the Literacy Mission S.P. Hariharan Unnithan also addressed the function.

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Awareness campaign on RTI Act to cover 31 lakh people by November

Posted by rtiact2005 on January 9, 2007

Awareness campaign on RTI Act to cover 31 lakh people by November

Staff Reporter


Pilot project in Kannur, Palakkad and Kollam districts



  • 8,000 Preraks under State Literacy Mission to be involved in the project
  • Bureaucracy yet to be sensitised to the importance of the Act: Palat Mohandas


    KANNUR: The State Information Commission, in association with the State Literacy Mission, will launch a pilot project to spread awareness of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    Chief State Information Commissioner Palat Mohandas said here on Monday that 8,000 Preraks under the Literacy Mission would be involved in the project to be launched in Kannur, Palakkad and Kollam districts. They would contact 31 lakh people by November, he said.

    Stating that the campaign mechanism would be made a permanent entity, Mr. Mohandas said the project envisaged involvement of the Preraks as resource persons who would be able to help the people draft applications for information from public authorities. The Commission would also hold periodical sittings in different districts to let the public know more about the Commission’s proceedings.

    The Chief Information Commissioner said that though the State Government had been bound to train officials in the RTI Act in one year after it was enacted, the bureaucracy in the State was yet to be sensitised to the importance of the Act. The public awareness of the Act was also not satisfactory, he observed.

    Terming the Act as people-centred, Mr. Mohandas said the State Syllabus Committee was examining the proposal for including the contents in the Act in the school syllabus.

    State Information Commissioners P. Fasaludheen, V.V. Giri and P.N. Vijayakumar were also present at the press conference.

    The Commission informed the mediapersons that a total 471 applications had been received as on December 31, 2006 seeking information under the Act and 120 of them had been disposed of. As many as 226 applications had come up before the appellate authority of which 126 were pending. Mr. Mohandas said 60 per cent of the applications for information were individual-based.

    He said the Commission would not intervene in administrative matters to get information sought. The Act could be invoked to get information as available with the public authority.

    Officer found guilty

    The Chief Information Commission said that an officer was found guilty under Section 20 of the RTI Act at the sitting here in the morning. The Commission imposed a fine of Rs.3,500 on Public Information Officer of the District Industries Centre in Kozhikode P.K. Narayanan for delaying the provision of information sought by an applicant. He said that two officers had been punished under the Act earlier.

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    RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

    Posted by rtiact2005 on January 9, 2007

    RTI Act a milestone: State Information Commission

    Staff Reporter




    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.

    Posted in Kerala RTI | 1 Comment »

    Bid to sabotage RTI Act alleged

    Posted by rtiact2005 on August 9, 2006

    Bid to sabotage RTI Act alleged

    Special Correspondent



  • Government hopes to suppress crucial information, says Govinda Pillai
  • `Voluntary organisations, media to play a key role’


    Thiruvananthapuram: Marxist leader and litterateur P. Govinda Pillai has accused the Central Government of trying to sabotage the Right To Information (RTI) Act. He was inaugurating a State-level seminar on `The RTI Act and citizens’ participation in governance’ organised by the Sahayi Centre for Collective Learning and Action here on Monday in connection with the silver jubilee of the society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA).

    Mr. Govinda Pillai said the proposed amendment to the Act was part of a deep-seated conspiracy, involving the bureaucracy and the ruling class, to conceal administrative matters from the public. “By not divulging the notings made by officers on official documents, the Government hopes to suppress crucial information. This is a terrible conspiracy. Participatory democracy becomes impossible if the public is kept in the dark,” he said.

    Mr. Govinda Pillai called for laws to enable local bodies to handle all the basic responsibilities of the Government at the local level. Pointing out that the literacy rate in Kerala had come down because of the absence of follow- up action, he said local self-government institutions could handle the literacy drive better.

    Delivering the keynote address, PRIA president Rajesh Tandon observed that the right to learn, know and question formed the foundation of democracy. “Without these three rights, democracy is meaningless and irrelevant,” he added. Mr. Tandon said people’s participation was crucial to the success of local governance.

    In his presentation, Principal Secretary, Local Self-Government, S.M. Vijayanand said the RTI Act was rarely invoked in Kerala, the first State to incorporate the right to information in the Panchayati Raj Act. “Seven years after the amendment was introduced, only 10 people have invoked the Act, most of them contractors,” he said.

    “In a State that has won acclaim for its achievements in education, literacy and political consciousness, it is surprising that NGOs, social workers and the media have fought shy of utilising the RTI Act to elicit information,” Mr. Vijayanand said.

    “It is not enough to provide information, it has to be delivered in the common man’s language. That is where voluntary organisations and the media can play a prominent role,” he added. State Information Commissioner V.V. Giri said the proposed amendment aimed at suppressing crucial information in official documents would dilute the essence of the RTI Act. He decried the tendency of officials to devise new means to keep information from the public. Chairman of the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies N. Radhakrishnan and director of the State Resource Centre M.A. Karim were among those who spoke.

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    Citizens slow in using RTI in KERALA

    Posted by rtiact2005 on July 11, 2006

    Citizens slow in using RTI in KERALA


    Posted online: Monday, July 10, 2006 at 0000 hours IST


    Despite the extra eye of high literacy, the Keralite public has been painfully slow in reading the civic rights opportunities in the Right to Information Act (RIA) ensemble. Resistance from officials and politicians have not helped in utilising the legislation to its full hilt.The latest instance was when access to a report of the commission on the Marad riots was denied. (The gory killings in the beach village, with complex communal overtones, had rocked the socio-economic psyche of the state, which takes pride in its secular fabric). The government turned down the request of Gokul Prasad, representing a Palakkad-based outfit, ‘People’s Liberation Forum,’ for a copy of the report. The Kerala State Information Commission had, in response to a complaint, instructed the state government on June 21 to provide a copy, says Commission secretary Aravindakshan. But the home minister declined and did not hesitate to say so in the assembly.

    Officials had been vying with one another to get their department exempted from the ambit of the Act. Even after the Commission was in place, the immediate reflex has been to resist sharing of information under some pretext or other. The revenue department has been the main culprit in lack of transparency, says Col KK Kurup, in Tellicherry, who has tried using the new right and is facing various obstacles.

    Surprisingly, South Kerala is nearly absent in the data on information interaction complied by Commission. In the six months of the Commission’s existance, it has attended about 140 complaints and 50 appeals. Most active in follow-ups has been the North Kerala public, with the bulk of the requests on clearing red tape on basic civic issues. Few state departments have been pro-active on disclosure. The Act says all departments will publish their working details on websites within 100 days of enactment. State PSUs and autonomous bodies under the state government still carry obsolete information on their websites.

    The State Information Commission also notes a small momentum in the growth of complaints and appeals. Complaints are up from six per week to eight per week. Appeals have nearly doubled to eight per week in six months, says an official.

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    Kerala SIC –

    Posted by rtiact2005 on June 12, 2006

     Mr Palat Mohanadhas

    IAS (Retd.)
     Phone : 0471 – 2320920
    Fax : 0471 ? 2330920

    Off: +91-471 – 2333147
     The Secretary
    Kerala State Info.Commission
    Punnen Road
    Thiruvananthapuram – 695039
    Kerala, India



    Government Orders

    G.O.(P) No.367/2005/GAD by kerala — last modified 2005-10-20 14:52
    General Administration (Co-ordination) Department – Establishment – Kerala State Information Commission – Constitution of – Orders Issued

    Posted in Kerala RTI | 4 Comments »