oppn parties Diluting Right To Information Through Undue Pressure

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
  • Sabarimala case referred to a larger bench as the court says several contentious issues need deeper examination
  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
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.