RTI activist RK Jain succumbs to Covid-19, other ailments: Family

Founder of the Centax Publications and editor of the Excise Law Times, Jain had complained against all the national parties
Last Updated 17 November 2020, 16:48 IST

Noted activist RK Jain, who led a battle to penalise the political parties not responding to RTI queries, has succumbed to Covid-19 and other ailments, his family members said on Tuesday.

Founder of the Centax Publications and editor of the Excise Law Times, Jain had complained against all the national parties that were not abiding by an order of the full bench of the Central Information Commission (CIC), which had brought them under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

"First it was Covid-19, then non-COVID complications, which resulted in multiple organ failure on Monday evening," Jain's son Navneet told PTI.

A full bench of the commission had brought six national parties -- Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI, CPI(M) and BSP -- under the ambit of the RTI Act on June 3, 2013 on the plea of another activist, Subhash Agrawal.

But these parties did not adhere to the commission's directives and respond to RTI applications filed by Jain and Agrawal.

Jain (70) had filed a complaint against these parties with the CIC.

Not getting a hearing, he had approached the Delhi High Court, which had directed the CIC to complete the hearing within six months, but the matter is still pending.

Jain had also filed a number of RTI applications related to the excise and customs departments and contested these cases in the CIC.

Agrawal and another activist, Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd), expressed grief over Jain's sudden demise.

Batra said it is a big casualty to the RTI community. Agrawal expressed shock and disbelief over the news.

Former information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said it is a big loss to the transparency advocates' community.

"He was one of the few serious experts of the RTI Act. He had developed his own software to keep a track of his applications, appeals and complaints. Jain was an important contributor to information jurisprudence with some very important cases brought by him and in a number of others, he appeared," he said.

Jain was a strong supporter of bringing political parties under the ambit of the RTI Act but unfortunately, that case could not reach culmination, Acharyulu said.

"Very sad to hear about his sad demise. A great fighter. Very outspoken and upfront without being abrasive or hurtful. We fought so many appeals and complaints together in the CIC and secured some important orders. Hearings used to be always followed by a meal at a dhaba in Bhikaji Cama Place. Will miss him as a great friend and advisor," Hyderabad-based activist CJ Karira said.

(Published 17 November 2020, 16:48 IST)

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