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Thread: It is hard to get information under RTI Act: study

  1. #1

    It is hard to get information under RTI Act: study

    It is hard to get information under RTI Act: study
    Reported By Aarti Dhar, The Hindu

    Respondents say no directories of Public Information Officers available
    60 p.c. of respondents say they were harassed or denied information
    NEW DELHI: People across the country find it difficult to get information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 from government departments and the problem is aggravated by dominance of bureaucracy in the State Information Commissions (SICs), says a survey by Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA).

    Data collected from 20 Information Commissions by PRIA from April to October 2007 suggests that the SICs are dominated by retired Indian Administrative Service officers.

    * 27 IAS retired officers

    Nearly 31 Information Commissioners are from administration and governance and 27 retired IAS officers.
    While 15 SICs are headed by retired IAS officers, one (Assam) is headed by a retired IPS officer.

    Only four SICs – Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – have non-IAS Chief Information Commissioners.
    In some States, the Information Commissioners remain sympathetic to the Public Information Officers and are willing to give them ample opportunities to correct their mistakes even when there is mala fide denial of information, says the report.

    “The manner and disposal of appeals and complaints, recommendations for penalty and disciplinary action against public information officials show that the SICs have not sent the right signals to officials for making the RTI Act work according to its letter and spirit,” the report observes.

    The survey, conducted in eight States, shows that 75 per cent of the respondents found that no directories of Public Information Officers were available in their districts and 50 per cent had not even seen notice boards of the PIOs in their offices.

    Even if they managed to trace the PIO, he refused to take the application.

    The attitude of the PIOs was extremely apathetic and hostile, the respondents said. Sixty per cent of them said they were either harassed or denied information.

    Educated sections

    The study points out that a large number of applicants are from the educated sections of society.

    It concludes that accessibility to information under the Act is restricted to the middle class, and large sections of poor and marginalised lack energy, courage and time to struggle for getting information from government institutions.

  2. #2

    Re: It is hard to get information under RTI Act: study

    The conclusion of the study is quite obvious. It would have been useful if there is some link to the full report. In Tamil Nadu it is difficult to first enter into any office dealing with the public. Agents and touts ensure that no one enters without their 'guidance'. Even if by chance someone manages to enter, he is only to be contented with the stoic attitude of the staff. No one appears to be knowing anything. Every one directs you the other person. You ultimately go in circles. To get out of it you need the 'guidance' and 'help' of the agents!!!

  3. #3

    'Ex-babus continue to dominate RTI panels'

    Here's another related article published in the Times of India
    Reported by Ashish Sinha,TNN on 1 Feb 2008

    NEW DELHI: Many states seem to have run short of ideas — or "persons of eminence" — in selecting information commissioners, who have to be statutorily appointed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A comprehensive study of state information commissions (SICs) undertaken by a Delhi-based organisation shows that 31 (or 58%) information commissioners in 20 states are from "administration and governance" background — with 27 of them being retired IAS officers.

    The study, conducted by PRIA (Society for Participatory Research in Asia) for April-October 2007, reveals that 15 SICs are even headed by former IAS officers, and one (Assam), by a retired IPS officer. Only four of these 20 commissions — Jharkhand, Bihar, UP and MP — have non-IAS chief commissioners, all from legal background. The study, incidentally, has been supported by the Union government and other organisations. Under the RTI Act, the chief minister heads the 'appointments committee' for information commissioners. The leader of opposition and one cabinet minister (nominated by the CM) are its members.

    The eligibility of state commissioners is same as central commissioners. Candidates for these positions must be "persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance." Each state is to have one chief information commissioner and up to 10 commissioners.

    Leading RTI activist Aruna Roy, who had quit the IAS to work at grassroots, said the study confirms her fears. "At the central level, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) should not have been the supervising body of RTI Act as it is the IAS' cadre controlling authority. It clearly has a vested interest," she told TOI.


  4. #4
    C J Karira
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    Re: It is hard to get information under RTI Act: study

    Interested readers can also read the following posts:


    RTI INDIA: Invoking Your Rights. We provide easy ways to request, analyze & share Government documents by use of Right to Information and by way of community support.

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