Off day doesn't figure in Modi's lexicon | Business Standard News

Off day doesn't figure in Modi's lexicon | Business Standard News


19, 2015
belittle RTI
This refers to the report
“Off day doesn’t figure in Modi’s lexicon” (BS, December 19). The approach of PMO
to the questions raised under RTI Act, listed in the report, deserves appreciation.
RTI Act has been another significant milestone in the democratic process of
governance in India. Next only to the ‘Question Hour’ in legislatures, the Act
has proactively helped in improving transparency in the working of government
and organisations coming under its purview.
But, last week’s Supreme
Court verdict affecting RBI and some banks and this report which gives an idea
about the kind of questions being raised using the RTI as a pretext, makes one
feel that there is no clarity in the minds of people who use the ‘powers’
emanating from RTI Act. There are a couple of issues which may need further
debate. These are:
While citizen’s right to information has
to be protected at any cost, this right cannot override existing laws which
were enacted after due deliberations at various points of time, before and
after independence. I am referring to the impression being created after the
Apex Court verdict (and court’s observations flashed in the media) about making
public information obtained by regulators and supervisors of institutions in
the course of performance of duties under law. In such cases, the provisions
relating to secrecy in statutes should be revisited and the extent to which and
the manner in which such information should be shared and with whom, should be
clarified. This should not be mixed up with provisions of RTI Act or powers of
Central Information Commissioner.
Though this may look not material, the
type of questions PMO had to field gives an idea as to the extent citizens go,
bordering abuse of the provisions of RTI Act. To save the situation from
aggravating, CIC could consider allowing government departments and statutory
bodies transfer questions which prima
are of probing nature and having no direct relevance to their
working, to CIC. CIC may screen such questions in a time-bound manner and send
back the questions which need to be answered.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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