CENTRAL INFORMATION commissioner O P Kejriwal said that so far none of the petitioners exercising their rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had made enquiries about the departments known for high rate of corruption prevailing there.
Kejariwal, who had come to participate at a panel discussion at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-K) on the occasion of Antaragni-06 here on Friday, told newsmen that most of the petitions filed were related to delay in departmental promotions or denying the right of promotion to the employees.
The petitioners wanted to know the reason for the delay or denying the promotion, he said.
He said the petitioners did not prefer to make enquiries about the corrupt practices prevailing in a particular department. People appeared to be more concerned about their personal well being rather than the well being of the society as a whole.
To a question he said that during the first year the RTI Act could not be implemented in a very effective manner but now its teeth were strengthened and the officials were under pressure to keep the documents ready to answer the enquiries of the citizens. He said it was wrong to allege that the commission had been very liberal towards the government officials and extended them certain privileges as compared to the petitioners. He said several guilty officials were fined and in many cases stern warnings were issued to the officials who failed to maintain transparency or to give satisfactory reply to the petitioners.
Kejariwal said that since October 5 about 1,500 applications were received and notices to about 25 officials were given who failed to satisfy the petitioners and out of them notices to three officials were issued by him.
He, however, said that as the awareness about the RTI would grow the number of applications would go down. Officials would become alert and ensure transparency in the records. He said though the bureaucrats and politicians were not very happy with the passing of the RTI, it seemed that under the public pressure government would not dare to make any amendment in the Act to make it ineffective.
He admitted that poor infrastructure like scarcity of staff, inadequate office premises, lack of qualified personnel and proper awareness about the Act had slowed down the implementation of the Act.