Help RTI applicants, officials told

Legal awareness workshop held for GP members and officials

He was delivering a keynote address at a legal awareness workshop organised by the Dakshina Kannada Zillla Panchayat and District Legal Services Authority for officials and gram panchayat members at the Town Hall here on Saturday.

“Change the post independence mentality of bureaucracy and discard the misconception that officials are ruling the people. All files in government offices or in any institution, which is funded by the government, are public documents and people have the right to see and obtain the copies of the same under the RTI Act,” he said.

 He informed that files of only two departments in the State, that is State Intelligence and the District Intelligence do not come under the purview of the Act.

“Officials should guide RTI applicants and if the person is an illiterate, then the official himself should fill the application for him or her,” he said adding that there is no specific format for RTI application and the applicant need not mention the reason as to why he or she needs information.

Citizens can obtain information even regarding the Prime Minister’s medical expenses or any other issues through the Deputy Commissioners of their respective districts.

 The district administration should forward the applications to the departments concerned within five days, Krishna explained.

He lamented that majority of the people in rural areas are still unaware of the provisions of the RTI Act. A total of 15,000 RTI applications were received in the State in the first year after the Act was passed. The number has increased to 2 lakh during previous year, he said adding that majority of the applicants are from urban areas.

Delivering the inaugural address, State High Court Judge Justice H N Nagamohandas said that information is of great significance in the process of development.

Government funds cannot be utilised properly, if the officials and people’s representatives do not have proper information on schemes and problems of the people.
The RTI Act will bring transparency in administration and make officials more responsible in the days to come, he added.

Comments (+)