Avoid ‘RTI for RTI sake’: Dr Jitendra
NEW DELHI, Oct 12: President of India, Ramnath Kovind has emphasized on the fine balance between the Right to Information (RTI) and the Right to Privacy.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 13th Annual Convention of Central Information Commission (CIC) here today, in the presence of Union Minister In-charge of Information Commission, Dr Jitendra Singh and Chief Information Commissioner R.K. Mathur, Kovind commended the CIC for upholding the RTI’s basic charter with some exceptions for subjects such as national security and observed that the private records of individual citizens are protected from intrusive third-party curiosity.
President said that RTI is not a stand alone but a part of the larger narrative of strengthening Indian democracy, of ensuring transparency and of building capacities of common citizen to enable them take informed decisions. Above all, he said, it is about nurturing the social contract of trust between the citizen and the State.
President Kovind also cautioned against fringe cases that try to use the RTI mechanism to settle personal scores.
Dr Jitendra Singh, who was guest of honor on the occasion, made a fervent but humble appeal to avoid, what he described as “avoidable RTIs” and said, the final benchmark for anyone filing an RTI, should be to ask one’s inner conscience, whether the RTI being filed is not merely an “RTI for RTI sake”.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, many of the RTI Activists are well read and there is no intention to advise them, but, at the same time, could they think of ways to reduce the number of RTIs by avoiding at least those subjects on which the information is already available in public domain or for which an RTI reply has already been furnished in the recent weeks or months.
In the last four years, during the Modi Government, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the procedure of RTI has been made much simpler and it is now available on mobile app which enables any citizen to file an RTI from any part of the world and during any part of the day or night. He also referred to the new building complex for CIC constructed at a cost of Rs. 56.83 crore and inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dr Jitendra Singh also claimed credit for huge reduction in the pendency of the filed RTIs and at the same time, huge increase in the disposal rate of RTIs. He said, the Modi Government is committed to carry forward its resolve to ensure absolute transparency in governance.
Information Commissioners Yashovardhan Azad and Prof. M.S. Acharyulu, besides former Information Commissioners, senior officers from Government of India and representatives of various NGOs were also present on the occasion.