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Thread: 1 year story of RTI: Was that a faliure?

  1. 1 year story of RTI: Was that a faliure?

    ON thursday RTI will be one year old. Has it performed as was expected?

    "more of a disappointment than a weapon of mass empowerment"

    I read in Hindustan Times:

    Even members of the Central Information Commission including chief information commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah and information commissioner O.P. Kejriwal admit that it has been “partially successful”. “We may not have been able to tap the potential of the Act,” Kejriwal said.
    • The RTI Act allows appointment of 10 commissioners. Most of the 19 states in which the survey was conducted by CMS have only two information commissioners housed in temporary offices with very little fund and manpower. States like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have only one information commissioner. How can we expect the Act to work with so less Information Commissioners.
    • The survey says appointment of retired government officials as information commissioners has been the rea son behind the failure of the law. In Assam, a retired IPS officer heads the commission whereas a retired judge is at the helm in Uttar Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh is the only exception where the three commissioners are from different professions. I agree with this, there should be plural involvement.
    • There is the high processing fee charged by some states in violation of the Act, which stipulates Rs 10 for an application. States like Haryana and Tamil Nadu charge Rs 50, whereas Maharashtra and Orissa charge Rs 25 for an appeal. Andhra Pradesh scores as it charges no fee at the village level. The mandals and the district-level organizations charge a slightly higher amount. How can at a village level this high fee motivate people to ask for information.
    • Information commissioners’ reluctance to use the penalty clause against officials providing wrong or no information, is another big deterrant factor. If there is no penality, how would the Act which at one end motivating citizens to ask but at other end providing a sword will act if this is not implimented. Offcourse indiscriminate use of the clause might led to the collapse of the administrative machinery, but on deserving cases it should be used. The CMS survey had this mentioned:
      no states, barring Goa and Karnataka, have invoked the clause. In Delhi, the CIC invoked the clause in two cases and later withdrew the penalty in one case.
    Let's not the feeling prevail that Information Commissioner will protect the Government Servants rather than punish them.

    Even though I think it was really not successful, but I still am optimistic that one day it will surely catch up and do some real good to society.

  2. RTI act certainly is an important tools in hand of public which keeps govt official on toes .impact will come slowly .

    However some people are misusing the act. in one of the case one gentalmen asked the copy of all correspondence since 1990 between his company & railways including his own letters.It is just voluminous record including about 2000 pages .certainly own letters should not have come in information catagory .It was a big company but application was given by watchman

    People are asking any information & call for inspection of record for one hr free of charge resulting our office as rest room for visitors waiting for inspection of record .even if 5 visitors comes whole day is lost .There must be some charge for inspection beyand 10 minutes.

    Recently there was a news item that 1cr case are pending in courts of maharastra but no information is available to public .RTI act is not implimented in judiciary in Maharastra & a PIL is pending in high court

    Act is good but deterrant is required againt misuse for just as pass time
    Last edited by irseindia; 14-10-06 at 08:18 AM.

  3. Currently there is no fee for first hour of inspection, but after that, you have to pay Rs. 5 for every subsequent hour or fraction thereof.

    Do You mean the current time of file inspection beyong one hour should be reduced to 10 minutes?

  4. yes . free time of 1hr need to be reduced to 10 minutes .People are just turning our files for one hr whereas information can be seen in 10 minute.They use our office at churchgate just like rest room .unfortunately our office is AC .where else one get AC ROOM to relax free of charge

  5. the progress report from CMS...

    Judging from the attendance, the Act has interested primarily residents of big cities, among them mostly men. Most of those utilising it are in government, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS).

    Responding to a survey conducted by the Transparency Studies Unit of the CMS during the convention, more than half of those who attended the three-day meet felt that few government departments were implementing the Act.

    Not satisfied

    In fact, two-thirds were not satisfied with the responsiveness of the front-end implementers — the Public Information Officers (PIOs). Half of them could not recall any specific initiative taken by their respective Information Officers to promote the Act.

    As many as 160 of the participants from all parts of the country responded to the questionnaire. Nevertheless, 45 per cent of those from civil society and 70 per cent from the government sector thought that people in their respective areas were "generally satisfied" with the provisions of the Act.

    Two-thirds believed that the Act would promote good governance and bring down corruption if implemented seriously. Seventy per cent of all who responded and 90 per cent of those from civil society were convinced that access to `file notings' should be available under the Act.

    On the role of the news media, 60 per cent were of the opinion that they had not done a good job of promoting the Act.

    According to the survey, newspapers were the primary source of information about the RTI for most of the people. Television was mentioned by 40 per cent of delegates as their source. More than two-thirds wanted news media also to be brought under the Act.

    Now that RTI India is here, it will help in proper propogation in future.

  6. Re: 1 year story of RTI: Was that a faliure?

    In West Bengal, only one Chief Inf. Commissioner and no other Inf.Commisioner. So the action is not taken properly and if no penalty is there the SPIOs will not bother to response in time.--Abhijeet


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