Blow The Whistle But At Your Own Peril

What is RTI?

Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to provide a– RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens for quick search of information on the details of first Appellate Authorities,PIOs etc. amongst others, besides access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments. (1)

Public Authority is any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted under or made by constitution, Parliament, state legislature or government.

The main objective of RTI is to promote transparency and accountability to contain corruption and increase participation of citizens in the working of the government, to make democracy work in the real sense. Informed and well aware citizens are better equipped to keep in check the government. It acts as a gateway between citizens and the government.

The RTI act was enacted by permission and authority of President of India. It was enacted by the Parliament on 15 June, 2005 and notified in the Gazette of India on 21 June, 2005. It extends to whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Though RTI act puts the power in the hands of the people, it also puts their life on the line. The centre has suggested that proceedings in RTI query should immediately stop if the applicant dies while the appeal continues to be pending before the Central Information Commission. This proposal weakens the RTI act, killing the fight for that particular query and also puts in danger the life of the applicant. True transparency and accountability through RTI or only illusions to trick the citizens? Shouldn’t the government protect people who seek truth? Closing the query upon death of the applicant puts a lot of lives in danger.

Of the 56 deaths of RTI activists, there had been 51 murders and and five suicides. Also, there were 130 cases of attack or of RTI activists since the law came in. ( Financial Express)

Whistleblower Protection Law gives the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) the task of receiving complaints, assessing public disclosure requests, and safeguarding complainants. The original Whistleblowers Protection Act, although passed in 2011, is not yet operational because its rules have not been regularised and the amendments proposed recently ( if passed) deter people rather than encouraging them to expose corruption and abuse of power.

Dhananjay Dubey – whose brother Satyendra Dubey was murdered in 2003 for exposing corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highways projects – is keen to see any kind of law for whistleblower protection implemented. ( FE)

What we need is better laws and awareness of these laws among the people. The government should take initiative to spread awareness about its various acts so that the people are better equipped to curb corruption and misuse of power. The draft bill should be open for debates and discussion so that it can be pondered over by the people and improved.

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Do your bit, sign the petition – Regressive RTI

for more information visit these sites.

(1) RTI official website

http://www.ijtr.nic.in/webjournal/12.htm  discussion on provisions by S.S. Upadhyay

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/centre-proposes-to-stop-rti-proceedings-if-applicant-dies/614126/

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