eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Petition to the President – on recent RTI’s Amendment by CABINET

Posted by egovindia on July 28, 2006

Petition to the President

Petition to the President

 

Petition to the President

We are appalled to learn that the Cabinet has approved an amendment to exempt file notings and cabinet papers from disclosure under the Right to Information Act (RTI) 2005.

In the last few years, RTI has emerged as a very effective tool in the hands of the common man to check corruption, fight injustice and make governance transparent. The proposed amendments would make RTI in-effective. This will prevent people from knowing why a particular decision was taken and who said what in that decision making process. It will prevent people from knowing why no action was taken on their applications and who the guilty officials were. In effect, the Government would end up protecting the corrupt and dishonest officials.

It is strange that at almost the same time when the cabinet was approving such retrograde amendments, the Prime Minister was making a speech on how RTI could improve governance. He stated “This Act, by promoting transparency, can be a vital instrument for cutting down corruption and ensuring that goals set for improved public service delivery can be met.”

One wonders how would transparency be promoted by exempting file notings and Cabinet papers? How would service delivery improve if you protect the identity of guilty officials?

Mr O P Kejariwal, Member Central Information Commission, recently said that “Information minus the file notings amount to taking the life out of the RTI Act”.

The Act is just 10 months old. The Government should have given at least a few years before attempting to amend it. Nine state governments have RTI Acts for the last seven years or more. File notings were being given under those Acts. No bureaucrat in any of these states felt threatened the way bureaucrats working in the Central Government seem to be feeling.

We request you not to sign the amendment bill, if it is ever sent to you. You may decide either to just sit on it indefinitely or to return it to the Government.

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Total Count: 1124 Petition to the President

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