oppn parties Diluting Right To Information Through Undue Pressure

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Diluting Right To Information Through Undue Pressure

By Linus Garg

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.