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Thread: RTI Act only on paper: Survey

  1. #1
    C J Karira
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    RTI Act only on paper: Survey

    As reported by Tribune News Service on 6th January 2008 on :
    The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories

    RTI Act only on paper: Survey

    Chandigarh, January 5
    Not a single public authority in Chandigarh has displayed in its office the 17 proactive disclosures which are a must under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    Required to be physically displayed at all offices within 120 days of the passing of RTI Act on October 12, 2005, the disclosures under Section 4 I (b) are yet to happen. The situation is such that even the office of the UT administrator doesn’t have these disclosures or even a formal system of receipt of RTI applications.

    That’s what came out of a three-week-long field inspection of the RTI implementation status in 70 offices of the UT administration and the Central Government in Chandigarh. Conducted by 14 law students from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, the assessment reflected a miserable state of RTI in the city.

    In over 76 per cent cases, even the RTI application was not accepted. In more than half of the cases, public information officers (PIO) were not accessible. Average time for which an applicant had to wait in a public office to submit the application and ask basic questions about PIOs and proactive disclosures was over 34 minutes - 120 minutes in the office of the UT administrator and Punjab Raj Bhavan put together. In 90 per cent cases, employees either did not know who the PIO was or said he was on leave.

    Part of “Mission Zero Tolerance,” a citizens’ initiative for corruption-free society launched today by the Burning Brain Society, the survey documents the field inspection procedure students followed, and makes a case for improvement of the RTI in Chandigarh.

    The petitioners have already posted to chief information commissioners, Central Information Commission, some 55 applications against the erring public officers of Chandigarh. Sent under Section 18 of the RTI Act, these list the public offices where RTI applications were not even received.
    For the researchers, the strangest experience was the one at UT administrator’s office, which directed them to Punjab Raj Bhawan. At Raj Bhawan, they were not shown Section 4 information; their RTI applications were not accepted; when they insisted they were told the application would be treated as a “private” letter.

    The Burning Brain Society, which did quantitative and qualitative analysis of RTI disclosures of 70 government departments of Chandigarh, further found that except for one department, the others had incomplete or irrelevant disclosures. Not just this, information under section 4(1) of the RTI Act available on offices’ websites was outdated, often as old as two years. Most of this information has not been updated since the RTI’s inception in 2005.

    In their RTI applications, the researchers asked questions about whether the public authorities were following the Public Records Act and the Central Secretariat Manual of Official Procedures which require proper maintenance of records (written and electronic) and even destruction of it. Even the sent and received e-mails have to recorded. Hemant Goswami, chairperson, Burning Brain Society, said the initiative sought to end the unaccounted discretion exercised at various levels of bureaucracy in the city.

  2. #2

    Re: RTI Act only on paper: Survey

    Only some isolated public servant may only base of popularisation RTI.

  3. #3

    Re: RTI Act only on paper: Survey

    To better manage the requirements under RTI Act,I think we need sustained efforts to make authorities realise the importance of Proactive disclosures. In spite of many reports in the press the administration has failed to up date the official website. The proactive disclosures are still not up dated bet\yond 31.7.2008(Salary part of employees) as only a cosmetic surgery has been done. A visit to any office of secretariat will disclose that there is no display of names, addresses both officials and residential, telephone numbers both official and residential. Even the letters for payments received from CPIO do not quote the address of cashier to whom the cash is to be deposited. Just to quote one example, A phone no.2740290 registered, as per official website, in the name of a CPIO was actually picked up by a lady Under Secretary. Of course she was very polite and helping and took my message for the concerned CPIO and CPIO also responded. Though my purpose of calling of CPIO was fulfilled but I am not happy wasting time of Under Secretary for a job not meant for her. This just one example from the can of worms.

    R K Garg

  4. Re: RTI Act only on paper: Survey


    It is true, it is only on papers. If any good citizen want to utilize for curbbing corruption, he will be targetted by many of the Power Full Corrupt heads.

    It is most unfortunate of our system.

  5. #5

    Re: RTI Act only on paper: Survey

    let us raise the voice by making it a compagian as indidual efforts are not sufficient to convey the right message to right quarters

    R K Garg


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