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    RTI as part of University Curriculum

    Ludhiana, December 29: In its quest to create awareness on Right To Information (RTI) Act and churn out professionals on the act, the Information Commission has collaborated with the Panjab University to integrate RTI in the curriculum.

    As per the plan, the act will be taught as a part of curriculum to the law students. “The law students, future advocates, urgently need to be equipped with the nitty-gritty of RTI. Also keeping in mind the need to teach other students too — to make an intellectual group — we have proposed to the varsity to add RTI Act as an extra-paper or start diploma or degree courses on it,” said the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Punjab Rajan Kashyap today.

    Kashyap was here to preside over a seminar held on the RTI Act by the department of higher education, Punjab, at the SCD Government College for Boys.

    He said a special committee has been formed at the university level, which will be chaired by the vice-chancellor. Kashyap is one of the members of committee.

    The commission, he said, has so far got 1,200 applications under RTI, out of which 350 have been resolved. “Sixty per cent of our applications are personal complaints, 40 per cent comprise public woes. But with time, we are sure to get more applications public woes, which proves instrumental in improving the system,” he said.

    Kashyap said when an act similar to RTI was to be launched in the US, the government gave five years’ time (2000 to 2005) to the departments to upload their websites with all requisite information. “This resulted in better functioning and better implementation of the Act. However, in India we were given just five months — June 2005 to October 2005 — and hence there are a lot of problem in implementing it successfully. But with time, we will manage each and everything,” he added. Impressed with the divisional-level benches of commission set by the Maharashtra government, Punjab too may go in for divisional benches in order to make the act’s privileges accessible to each and everyone, he said.

    Venkesh Nayak, the project co-ordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, said the act is also being misued to settle personal scores and grudges. “But the beauty of this act is that it does not provide any kind of personal information of an individual, which is not in public interest and neither does it enable divulging any information, which may prove threat to security of nation,” he added. The seminar was an informative lecture for government colleges’ principals, meant to familiarise them with the RTI Act. The Commission is of the view that educational institutes play pivotal role in making masses aware of the act.

    Quest for RTI awareness: Act may be part of university curriculum

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    Its good to teach RTI to law students. They can contribute towards strengthing RTI by educating others.

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