Make RTI process easy, a tool to bring transparency: activists

Make RTI process easy, a tool to bring transparency: activists

Make RTI process easy, a tool to bring transparency: activists

With over 1.98 lakh RTI petitions remain pending in state commissions in last seven year, activists have stressed on the need to make the process to seek information under the Act easy and use it as a tool to bring transparency in development process.

Leading RTI activist Aruna Roy, on the occasion of RTI day today, said that people are unable to gauge the effect and extent of RTI act.

The RTI Act was enacted on October 12 in 2005.

"It is being seen as a tool to highlight corruption only. But in fact, it should be seen as an alternative politics for bringing in change in the democracy and solve problems of Indian democracy," Roy told PTI Bhasha.

In the end, it is a tool to frame policies, its effective implementation and to ensure people's participation, she added.

Former Delhi Minister Manish Sisodia, who actively participated in RTI movement, said the process to get information under the transparency act and mentality of the concerned officer in providing information as the hindrance in effective implementation of the Act.

"The officials dilly dally in providing the required information under this Act as they feel that the people who don't have courage to stand before them were now questioning them," he said.

Noted RTI activist Laxmi Narayan Modi said the government has given the RTI Act to the people and made provision to penalise those who violate the law.

Modi alleged that now the government itself was trying to make the law it "blunt and ineffective".

He further said that there had been cases where the information officer tried to mislead by not giving the right information, also cases of RTI activists being threatened and killed have come to fore.

Meanwhile, there is a section of people who feels that RTI was being used by some as a tool to threaten the officials.

According to information received from the CIC under RTI Act, a total of 1,47,924 appeals and complaints were registered with the Commission in between 2006-07 and 2013-14, of which 1,16,333 appeals and complaints were addressed and 31,591 petitions were still pending.

Till December 2013, Uttar Pradesh had the most number (48,442) of pending cases, followed by Maharashtra with 32,390 and CIC, which has 26,115 pending cases.
Also, CIC had received over one lakh complaints over telephone but most of the files have been destroyed after the record retention schedule was over, the Commission said.

The RTI reply said Commission don't keep the records of action taken against the public information officers, but added that till January 2014, in 987 cases the monetary penalty were imposed.

The Commission also said that it has received a total of 4,42,393 complaints in past seven years.