oppn parties Diluting Right To Information Through Undue Pressure

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
Diluting Right To Information Through Undue Pressure

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2018-12-08 15:21:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
The Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted to bring about transparency in governance. It allowed the public to seek information from government and government-controlled agencies about decisions and issues that either affected their lives or the nation in general. It established a Central Information Commission to ensure that requests seeking information were not brushed aside and the public got the information they wanted. It was meant to be a check against high-handedness and arbitrary decision-making in government.

But, as the letter written to the President of India by former CIC member Prof M Sridhar Acharyalu shows, the government is not serious about dispensing information. Prof Acharyalu has alleged that the government itself has filed more than 1700 writ petitions against orders passed by information commissioners under the RTI Act.

Why is the government prosecuting or taking action against an institution established by law and doing the work that is mandated for it by the same law? Does the government not want the public to know about certain things? Then why talk about transparency and have the RTI Act? By putting such undue pressure on the information commissioners, the government is indirectly telling them that they should not help the public. Then why appoint them in the first place?

The government can do three things. It can abolish CIC and do away with the pretence that it facilitates the public to seek information. Or it can further restrict areas where the public can demand information. Finally, if it is not serious about the act and what it stands for, then it should abolish the act altogether. But keeping the Act and the CIC and then prosecuting commissioners for doing their duty is not right. The government should desist from filing such writ petitions.