23 August 2006


Thus goes a story of a government official who used to mark files that came without the 'mithai' as "not approved" and add an 'e' to make it "note approved" once the 'due requirements' were fulfilled. Yes, I am coming to the Right To Information Act.
Enacted in the year 2005, the RTI empowered the common man to have easy access to information related to various documents, applications, papers moving across the tables in a typical government office. Prior to the enactment of the Act, the beauracracy was all powerful in terms of the wish and will to approve or reject an application. Apart from empowering the public to question such things, the Act acted as a corruption deterrant (well, did it?).
Apparently, vested interests did not like it. Hence, came the proposal to amend the Act curtailing the power of the public, which would now not be able to get hold of the file notings for documents apart from those related to social and development activities. Democracy took a direct hit.
It is understandable that restrictions are still needed under the domains related to national security, judiciary that might otherwise affect the general public. But curtailing the people empowerment even in other domains makes little sense.
Good sense seems to have finally prevailed and the Government, presumably afraid of the retrograde effects such an amendment could have, has decided not to table the Bill in the current parliamentary session.

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