Saturday, June 19, 2010

Depts stave off queries claiming immunity

The Right to Information Act is meant to make all government departments accountable but some have found a way to get around it claiming that the government stake in their outfit is far too less for them to field RTI queries. However, a close analysis of these organisations reveals that they actually enjoy a substantial funding from the government and yet prefer to call themselves RTI-proof. Take for instance, GVK Emergency Medicine and Research Institute (EMRI), which enjoys 100 per cent government stake but has to date not appointed any information officer. "We do not know whether we come under the Act and we do not have a public information officer to deal with queries,'' said Venkat Chengavalli, CEO, GVK EMRI. So, in February this year, when a citizen filed an application with GVK EMRI, seeking information on a patient who was taken to hospital in a `108' ambulance, he was denied the same. He filed a second appeal at the A P Information Commission recently. However, the commission turned down
the application on grounds of it being technically inadmissible.

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