11-year-old RTI girl sends legal notice to PM

In response to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments on the alleged misuse of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, an 11-year old girl, who is a well-known RTI activist, has sent Singh a legal notice, asking him to either furnish documentary evidence to corroborate his remarks or face legal action.

In a notice sent to the Prime Minister on Monday, Urvashi Sharma said RTI activists across the country were deeply hurt by his remarks.

“Being a citizen of India, a social worker, a RTI activist and a person having deep faith in the ideals enshrined in the Indian Constitution, I ask you, through this letter, to kindly either put documentary evidences to support your statement or take your words back and issue a public apology,” she said.

“In case this does not happen within a period of 60 days from the day you receive this letter, I will be left with no option other than moving a suitable judicial forum for your working against the expected work culture of a prime minister, your anti-RTI stance and hurting sentiments of numerous RTI users,” the notice stated.

PM’s speech

Sharma referred to the prime minister’s speech on October 12, 2012, delivered at the Annual Convention of Information Commissioners in New Delhi, where he mentioned “some obvious areas of concerns about the way the Right to Information Act is being used presently and I had flagged a few of them when I addressed this convention last year.”

“There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information, the disclosure of which cannot possibly serve any public purpose.

Sometimes information covering a long time-span or a large number of cases is sought in an omnibus manner with the objective of discovering an inconsistency or mistake which can be criticised. Such queries, besides serving little productive social purpose, are also a drain on the resources of the public authorities, diverting precious man-hours that could be put to better use,” the prime minister had reportedly said.

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