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  1. #1
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    RTI Act--Need to use power judiciously, says CIC


    Chandigarh, September 13
    “The RTI Act will not give you any wonderful secret documents. The reputation of every politician and bureaucrat is known.”

    “But(what has changed ) is that the citizen is now the master and he has every right to know how the government is functioning,” said Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, Rajan Kashyap, during his keynote address at the inauguration of a two-day national seminar on ‘Right to Information Act 2005: Problems and Challenges’ organised by ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre at Panjab University.

    He elaborated that the objectives of the Act were transparency, accountability and empowerment of the public and recounted an incident where an NGO had once asked that if people could take accounts from the sabziwala and doodhwala then why not the government?

    Speaking of the challenges, he said there had been a reversal of roles. “While bureaucrats were referred to as public servants, they actually behaved like the masters, but the power, of information, is now back in the hands of the people,” he said.

    He discussed at length the impact on the stakeholders, especially the bureaucracy, political executive, media, corporate sector, commissions and the public. “The inefficiencies of the government are so great that you need systematic reform to get information,” he added.

    In fact, he spoke at length about the urgent need for systematisation in order to access information and emphasised on the four paradoxes that had arisen from the Act.

    “While Indian grown IT has helped upgrade systems abroad, e-governance is yet to take root at home. Secondly, on paper RTI empowers the common man but he is not informed about his power so education is essential. Mindsets too need to be changed and not just of those who give the information but also of those who ask for it. Finally, RTI is the product of the reform process, but RTI itself is an instrument for accelerating reform. So a ‘virtuous’ circle of reforms can be initiated by RTI.

    Delivering the presidential address right after, PU Fellow, Justice S.K Jain (retd) referred to the RTI Act as a mirror with respect to transparency, accountability and efficient working of the government.However, he highlighted the need to simplify the system of filing applications and said the Act was a double-edged sword because it needed political will to be successful.
    He said this Act was one of a kind in the entire world it could become ineffective in the absence of proper enforcement methodology. He also spoke of streamlining systems laid down to make it effective by saying that while PIOs were targeted, higher ups got away.

    Inaugurating the seminar, Vice-Chancellor Prof R.C Sobti focused on the significance of the RTI Act as important tool for empowering the citizens and ensuring citizen participation in reducing inefficiency and corruption at all levels. “But with power comes responsibility and information should be handled with care”, he cautioned.

    The seminar was followed by three technical sessions chaired by Dr K.K Khandelwal (IAS), Prof P.K Vasudeva and Prof Veer Singh, respectively.

    The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories


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    Re: RTI Act--Need to use power judiciously, says CIC


    The most painful fact is not the non-performance of SICs or making a mockery of the RTI Act, but spreading disinformation that its performanceis and implementation is perfect. In Jails there is a system of appointing the senior and most obedient long term prisoners as a sort of wardens withouting altering their prisoner status. They will be the stooges of the Jail Administration living with the prisoners. Of course such wardens will be benefitted by their past and present loyalty. I think that the same is happening to RTI Act also. Unless the government change their policy of appointing the wardens from the prisoners WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA has no choice but to continue to suffer the atrocities and live with the placebo generated out of the disinformations on RTI

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    Re: RTI Act--Need to use power judiciously, says CIC


    Mr.Rajan Kasyap is absolutely wrong when he state that " RTI will not give you any wonderful Secret dpcccument" Let me prove this by one of my experiences. The Taluk Land Board, Mananthaway,Wayanad had dismissed a land ceiling case where the appellant claimed existance of his title to a particular land in Survey No.37. The reason given by the Taluk Land Board was that the Tahsildar had reported that Mr.X does not have any title to any part of land in TS-37" Nothing could be done at that time. But on enactment of the RTI Act Mr.X has asked he SPIO of Wayanad Collectorate for a copy of the ibid Tahsildar's Report. It was promptly given duly signed by the ADM,Wayanad Collectorate. It was a typed copy. This gave rise to suspecion as there is no reason for typing out the letter when they have photostat machine. On further persuation a photostat copy of the ibid letter could be obtained. On comparrison it is found that two sentences viz., "The main claim of M.X is that he has land in TS-30 and TS-37. On verification it is found that Mr.x has title to land in TS-30 and TS-37 as per Revenue Settlement Register"is MISSING. This information is more wonderful and more secret which he could not have obtained but for the RTI Act. Of course the issue was taken up and the case is under investigation by the Vigilance and Anticorruption Bureau of the Government. What do you say Mr.Rajan Kashyap ?
    Last edited by colnrkurup; 15-09-07 at 03:35 PM.

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    Re: RTI Act--Need to use power judiciously, says CIC



    That is an excellent success story of RTI thanks to the perseverance of the applicant. Colonel Sir, I am sure you would have taken note of the other points raised by Mr Rajan Kashyap as well, as reported in the news item. Unfortunately we have no way of getting the full text of Mr Kashyap's keynote address. Can any of our members from Punjab help us on this?

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