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इंडियन आवाज़     21 May 2024 09:25:26      انڈین آواز

Amending RTI; a dangerous move

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If it is accepted, it would further endanger the lives of the petitioners including RTI activists who are already facing all sorts of attacks, including attempts to murder.

The move is highly dangerous and self-defeating as the persons against the move argue that in case of death or murder of the information seeker under this act the information officers should display the sought information in public.

Even in the present Act, there is a lacuna regarding this. The act needs name and address of the person seeking information. When the petitioner dies it becomes impossible to give the required information to the deceased. There are some information officers who make such information in public, but the act is silent. Most of the information officers avoid dissemination of the required information in public. This is why there are attempts to murder RTI activists all over the country in a bid to prevent information coming out in public.

How serious is our government on proper implementation of the RTI Act is self-explanatory. In the centre, there is a provision of one Chief Information Commissioner and 10 Information Commissioners. However, there are only 5 Information Commissioners at present. This situation has been continuing since September 2010, when three of the Information Commissioners were retired. Even before that there were two vacancies. There are also vacancies of other staff and lack of funds to smoothly run the Commission.

It has resulted in thousands of pending cases. Even in 2006, when there were all 11 commissioners, the number of pending cases were 2018. It rose to 5313 in 2007, 9593 in 2008, 11469 in 2009 and 15469 in 2010. If apathy of the government continues, pending cases many rise to 72968 by 2015.

The beauty of the RTI Act is that the information sought should be given in a particular time-frame. However, the pendency of the cases prove that the objective is defeated.

The adverse impact of the situation is clear even from the records. In 2007, there was 100 per cent increase in receipts of complaints and appeals, which declined to 42 per cent in 2008, and 29 per cent in 2010. If this rate continues it would come down to 20 percent in 2011 and 15 percent in 2012.

Are people increasingly disinterested in seeking information? The question must be asked to find out real reasons behind this fall, if we want to make the RTI more meaningful.

writer is editor of anypursuit.com

 

Please email us if you have any comment.

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