Sunday, December 20, 2009

Right to Information Act a sham by the government – MPs

Speaking at the debate on right to information act, Mohamed Thariq, MP for Manadhoo has said that the bill is important to make the government accountable, no matter which government it is. Generally all the MPs who spoke during the debate highlighted the importance of the bill in a transparent and democratic society. Speaking further Thariq, an MP of ruling MDP, also said because of the absence of such a bill, public has found it difficult to get information on corruption within the government and some of the related documents had even disappeared. Such a bill is important to make the governments accountable, even if it is previous government, current government of future government, he noted. He even said that since media is the fourth power of the state, such a bill is important for the media as well.
Complete Article

It is not the RTI Act but its implementation which is a sham. Regarding the matter of accountability, the Act provides enough past records/information as well as current policies/decisions, regularly updated, to be hosted on internet websites, to apprise the public all facts about public authorities. If this had happened, the public would know if and when, under what policy was any unfair decision being taken. There would not be so many scams. What the government functionaries have done to avoid complying with Sec.4 of the Act, is to completely ignore it. As shown on the website, out of four clauses of sub-section (1):(a), (b), (c) and (d), of Sec 4, the public authorities are only providing a face-saving information under (b), that too inadequate and not latest. Other sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) stand ignored. Over a dozen Ministries at the Centre are still displaying 2005-06, 2006-07 information, presently in the year 2009, which is not only meaningless but callous. Other records of the past, as well as present policies and decisions under clauses (c) and (d) are most vital to promote transparency and accountability. In spite of Government’s Nodal Agency, the Appropriate Govts, the Information Commissions and the Surveys, such as recent by PwC, costing millions, have kept said facts under cover. A Complaint Petition has been filed last week by the said website, requesting fair consideration of the issues raised, and ensure that steps are taken to comply with provisions of the Act. If the authorities are serious, to suppress corruption and show accountability it will have to yield to envisaged provisions.
Prem Dec.22.2009  
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