Tuesday, February 03, 2009

RTI, RIP?

The Right to Information Act was a revolutionary step towards strengthening Indian democracy. There is a lot of good that has come out of it and it does carry a great deal of promise. But, I have always wondered how long the system would put up with it. Some recent developments do give cause for concern as to whether the spirit of the RTI will be observed in all instances:
  • The Supreme Court contends that information on assets provided by judges to the Chief Justice need to be made available to the public and also it need not be disclosed whether all judges have disclosed their assets to the CJI.
  • The PMO now contends that declarations by ministers are held by the PMO in a fiduciary capacity and need not be made public.
  • The CIC itself holds that information commissioners are not obliged to declare their assets- this is, perhaps, the unkindest cut of all.
RTI, RIP? Let's hope and pray.......

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the logic of some people exempted from declaring their assets? Is there an institution which is not politically impartial in India? This seems such a regressive step.

vikasgupta said...

I have a lot of experience with the RTI Act.

The fact is that if an institution does not want to reveal information it may take up to one year when it will be heard at the CIC (I hear there is a huge backlog with all the Commissions!).

Wazahat Habibullah himself had said some two years ago that we cannot penalize the erring PIOs because our nation believes in "ahimsa" (Indian Express)!

This act sometimes looks like a paper tiger or a mechanism to 'let off steam' in the same way as constitutional reforms by the British introduced in the then India!

Aruna Roy is right when she says: Only those fear who have something to hide!

If these luminaries had the slightest respect for the letter and spirit of the act they would have declared their assets and whatnot suo moto!

However, I love the act and use it profusely!

RTI:RIP epitaph may not be very valid presently but the day may not be far....

hiren said...

I think RTI is here to survive. we do not have to worry of its demise. it is the tool in the domain of people, it is the true democratic right of Indian people to find the functioning of the various authorities. Hiren ICL College, Vashi.

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divakar s natarajan said...

If RTI Rip, then ineffect it is Indian citizen RIP. RTI is your right not an indulgence. It is currently being done in by corrupt babus. Critical for caring, well informed intelligent citizens to howl at injustices and get authorities to set things right.Life aint a fit and forget deal.
Use it or Lose it.

Welcome you and your esteemed readers to http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com/2009/05/prejudiced-cic-laps-up-pmo-lies.html.You may want begin with http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html
As I always say, candour is the friendliest gift.
Do drop by.

divakar s natarajan said...

Your candid comments are very welcome. You may also email at divakarssathyagraha@gmail.com