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RTI: Use and Misuse

There is no denying the fact that the (RTI) Act passed in 2005 has brought about revolutionary changes


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  29 Jan 2023 5:08 AM GMT

There is no denying the fact that the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed in 2005 has brought about revolutionary changes in the areas of transparency and accountability and has contributed in a big way towards checking corruption in government departments and agencies. By doing so, increased use of the Act by the citizens has triggered off a kind of empowerment among the masses, and has thus contributed towards strengthening democracy. After all, as more people are empowered and as more people exercise their right to information, democracy becomes more vibrant. What is even more important is that the RTI Act has contributed in a very significant manner in making the citizens active participants in the process of nation-building and national development. These aspects have been very aptly highlighted by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the speech he delivered after inaugurating a new permanent office building the Assam Information Commission in Guwahati. It is also pertinent to note that the Chief Minister has flagged the issue of certain elements trying to misuse the RTI Act. It is well-known that there is always a section which tries to find loopholes in different laws and thus misuse them for vested interest. The same had happened with the RTI Act too, and this was reported from various parts of the country. But, taking a close look at the functioning of the Central Information Commission as well as the different State Information Commissions, one can find that most such elements have been brought under control. It is common knowledge that some people have been trying to use the RTI Act to blackmail government officers and even extort money. But, while it is for the government officers and departments to check such elements, the Information Commissions too have to play a pivotal role in identifying such elements and nipping them in the bud. As far as the Assam Information Commission is concerned, it is good to see that it has earned a name for itself by way of fast disposal of appeals. It has been reported that in some states of the country the waiting period for hearing an appeal takes even a few years. In Assam, as has been pointed out by the Chief Minister, the average waiting period of appeals is one of the shortest in the entire country.

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