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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Withdraw Bill to Amend RTI

[Duplicated from literature provided by the Campaign to Save the Right to Information Act]

Withdraw bill to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005

After the amendment

You will not be allowed to see...
* Who is dealing with the file?
* What is causing the delay?
* Possible objections/suggestions made by the officer
* Status of the file/officer causing delay and any other remarks regarding the process of decision making

You can see...
* Your application or proposal to the concerned authorities
* Order passed by the official

Right to Information: The Right to Information is a law which allows every citizen to access any official information (e.g., records, papers, material samples etc.) which affects public interest. These were earlier denied under the Official Secrets Act, 1923. Such access furthers understanding of the nature of governance and helps find answers to many questions such as: How and why does a government take a particular decision; how much was allocated for what, how much was spent. Such access not only forces transparency but also ensures greater accountability.

There has been official resistance to the RTI Act ever since it came into force in October 2005. Instead of complying with the provisions of the Act, the administrative machinery has shown little enthusiasm to put it into effect. Now the Union Cabinet has taken a drastic decision to scuttle it by passing a set of amendments (e.g., prohibiting disclosure of file notings) which will curtail the power and the scope of the Act significantly. These proposed amendments if passed will be like a death knell for the RTI.

What is a file noting?

A file noting is a separate (normally green) sheet on the left side of the files. While the right side of the file contains the proposal, the left-hand side gives an officer's considered comments on the issue. After expressing his/her views, the officer passes the file to his/her superior who, in turn, expresses his/her approval or disproval on this page. In short the dynamics of the decision making process is contained on this page.

Why is the file noting important for us to see?

The file noting will make the bureaucracy accountable. It will also make it easy to examine how decisions regarding policy are made and know who is responsible for them. Access to file notings can enable an understanding of official processes and policy allowing honest officers to voice their opinions fearlessly.

Why do they want to retract the people's right to access file notings?

Clearly this has been done to protect dishonest officials and continue the status-quo regarding inept and unaccountable governance in our country.

The Right to Information Act gives us a chance to know about and thereby participate in the decision making process. It allows us to move beyond representative democracy so that as citizens we can examine every government decision taken in the name of the people. Eventually in a democracy it is the people who are sovereign. To deny access to a part of the decision-making process is to deny democracy itself. We will not allow this to happen. We will fight each inch of the way to protect this crucial democratic right.

"Campaign to Save the Right to Information Act"
Supported by NCPRI, NAPM, Drive against Bribe, Parivartan, MKSS, Josh, Kabir and many other individuals and organisations
Open call to all to come and join the campaign and contribute in any way to save the RTI Act

For more details contact: (+91) 9868875898, 9818782996, 011 20507339, 011 20033988


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Previous posts on RTI amendment:
* RTI Act Amendment Protest Photos
* RTI Amended, India Blinded

2 Comments:

aquamarine said...

Very informative. Inspite of being a student of Politics, I have hardly been in touch with the subject, which is quite sad. But thanks to your blog, I seem to have regained my lost interest in the subject.
I am coming over. Will cover with protests with you. Now, I hope you won't start "protesting".
;)

dwaipayan said...

informative!!!