Don't delay information to RTI applicants, DC tells officers

Inaugurates two-day workshop for govt officers, SHGs on Act

Why do government officers fear to respond to applications to Right To Information Act submitted by the public, asked Deputy Commissioner D S Vishwanath.

“Working within the realm of the law should give you a sense of being shielded from unwarranted stigma or blame. Do not delay providing any kind of information,” he told government officers on Thursday.

The Deputy Commissioner addressed a group of government officers and staff members of self-help groups attending a two-day workshop, starting Friday, on the Right To Information (RTI) Act. The workshop also aimed to help improve efficiency of government departments.

“Officials play an important role in ensuring the proper implementation of government laws. Tahsildars and taluk panchayat executive officers need spend just about 10 minutes each every day in scanning the RTI applications and clearing them,” Vishwanath said.

“Give the information the same day, instead of deferring the work till the end of the three-day notice period. That will benefit citizens and also reduce a lot of pressure on the department,” he added.

Prevent fines

There have been three cases in the district where officers had to pay fine for delay in clearing applications and providing information. “This, however, does not imply outright that the officers are inefficient or incapable, but only that they did not show efficiency in clearing the applications,” said the DC, stressing on the importance of following rules  at work.

If you fail to get the information requested under RTI Act within five days, then should mention so immediately: stop waiting till the 29th day after the submission of application, S M Zulfikarullah, chief executive officer of the Zilla Panchayat told the government officers.

The CEO mocked the officers, “This is a workshop on the RTI Act for only government officers. If there had been a similar workshop for citizens, none of you could have retained your positions. Working with diligence and honestly is the only way to prevent such a situation.”

Dr Sairam Bhat, joint principal of the National Law School, and B Yoganath Singh, training coordinator of the Administrative Training Society, Mysore, which organised the workshop, shared the dais with the DC and Panchayat CEO. District Training Society principal Venkatarangan welcomed the gathering.

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