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RTI Act turns one, activists slam govt bid to blunt law

YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW
RTI Act turns one, activists slam govt bid to blunt law
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

New Delhi: Social activists, NGOs and retired government and judicial
officials came out in support of the Right to Information Act (RTI) on
Saturday but were unanimous that it needed more publicity and support of the
government for the sake of good governance.

    At a conference to mark one year of the RTI Act, former Maharashtra
governor P C Alexander called the government's move to amend the Act to
prevent access to file notings as "shocking''. Noted activist Anna Hazare
linked it to Indian freedom fighters' dream of "Purna Swaraj'.

    The proposed amendment to RTI Act to remove file notings from its ambit
was a "shocking development'', Hazare said. "If this amendment (to deny
access to file notings) takes place, then this would mark the beginning of
the end of the Central Information Commission,'' he said at the conference
organised by the CIC.

    Hazare said, "In a representative democracy like India, governments are
run with the money people pay in taxes. People have the right to know how
the money is being used.'' According to him, martyrs like Bhagat Singh
dreamed of "Purna Swaraj" and RTI was a step in the direction of realising
that dream.

    Karnataka state chief information commissioner K K Mishra said the RTI
Act should be used as a tool for grievance redressal and the period allowed
for disposal of applications should be brought down from the present 30
days. He said the 30-day period was justified only if the information was
not readily available. In all other cases, it should be only one day, he
added.

    Replying to a question on the CIC's power of enforcement, Mishra said so
far, only Public Information Officers (PIO) of various departments and
organisations were subject to the CIC's authority.

    V M Bansal, principal commissioner and secretary of Delhi Development
Authority, said in the last one year, the DDA received 5,740 applications
under the Act, out of which 5,192 were disposed of and only five remained
pending for over 30 days.
Publication:Times Of India Mumbai; Date:Oct 15, 2006; Section:Times Nation;
Page Number:7

URL :
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