Being active in the Consumer awareness aspects these past ten years, it was welcome news of the introduction of the RTI Act. However the functionaries that are required to give answers are meshed in their own quagmire and need to be extracted from it. The Insurance companies do not respond and the Chief Commission has to be complained to. The responses are not forthcoming from either. I wonder whether others are having the same experience!
RTI is being misused by some making it difficult for genuine people to report matters. My experience shows that many complainants or those seeking information are unaware of their real requirements in terms of utility. The system is bogged down due to the clogging up. Further the Commission itself takes a great deal of time receiving and taking action on mail. It takes a month approximately to reach the designated authority.
Coming to the question of seeking information, it needs to be sent down to the lowest body or districy headquarters in a script they understand-- say hindustani-- not shuddh hindi. People at grass roots level are unaware of this boon granted to them.
I recently took up a case for a very poor labourer, who had got himself insured for medical issues (Mediclaim) and had to suffer because the Insurance company refused to honour their commitment probably because he was too poor to take up the issue. I first sought the grounds of disallowing the claim through RTI and the company refused to give the information intimating to me that I was a third party. I complained to the CIC and the information immediately materialised. However they continued to hold out on the claim. What they withheld was the fact that similar cases claimed by others were in the region of Rs 60,000/- whereas this mans claim was only Rs 27000/-.
Using the material received, I lodged a complaint with the Public Grievance Cell, Cabinet secretariat, sardar Patel Bhawan, Parliament Street, New Delhi requesting them to intervene. This was possible as I had not proceeded to any court. The matter, based on the material received, was sorted out within a month and the poor labourer received his claim amount.
Another case lodged is of an 82 years old lady that is awaiting her pension for the past 35 years after completing 33 years in the service of the Northern railway and retired as Chief Ticket Collector. I am convinced it will be successful.