DEVELOPING FAITH IN THE SYSTEM - Moneylife

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DEVELOPING FAITH IN THE SYSTEM

This is with regard to “Supreme Judgment on RBI Will Have Major Impact” by Sucheta Dalal. This is an excellent analysis by Sucheta Dalal. The Right to Information (RTI) Act has been a 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.
There are a couple of issues which may need further debate, for which this analysis by Sucheta Dalal can be the basis.
i) Citizen’s right to information has to be protected at any cost and this landmark verdict should remove any doubt in the minds of those who are taking shelter under the protective clauses in the RTI Act. Like fundamental rights, this right also 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’s verdict (and the court’s observations flashed in the media) about placing information, obtained by regulators and supervisors of institutions in the course of performance of their duties under law, in the public domain. In such cases, the provisions relating to secrecy should be revisited and the extent and 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 the CICs.
ii) The types of questions raised, or information sought under the RTI Act, sometimes put the government or organisations in embarrassing situations. A recent post on PMO’s website gave an indication of the nature of information sought from PMO under RTI. That is part of the evolution process of any such initiatives.
iii) Instead of celebrating the apex court’s judgement as a victory over the central bank, the verdict should be seen in the right perspective for making the working of government departments and statutory bodies more transparent and efficient. 
iv) After all, it is not absence of ‘information’ that is preventing the establishment or citizens from moving towards better and equitable distribution of resources or preventing corrupt practices across public and private sectors. It is the will that is lacking; the views of the apex court will go a long way in developing faith in the system in the mind of common man and creating the necessary will.
MG Warrier, online comment

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