Supreme Court Forces RBI To Be More Transparent - Moneylife

Supreme Court Forces RBI To Be More Transparent - Moneylife


Excellent analysis by Sucheta Dalal.
As I have already mentioned while commenting on the previous article on the subject, RTI Act has been another significant milestone in the democratic process of governance in India, next only to the ‘Question Hour’ in legislatures and the Act has proactively helped in improving transparency in the working of government and organisations coming under its purview.
There are a couple of issues which may need further debate, for which this analysis by Sucheta Dalal can be the basis. I think:
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 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 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.
ii) The type of questions raised or information sought under RTI Act sometimes put government or organisations in embarrassing situations. The recent post at PMO’s website gave an indication of the nature of information sought from PMO under RT I. That is part of the evolution process of any such initiatives.
iii) Instead of celebrating it 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 the absence of ‘information’ that is preventing the establishment or citizens from moving towards better exploitation and equitable distribution of resources or preventing corrupt practices across public and private sectors. It is the WILL that is lacking and views like this taken by 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.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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