ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Death by Neglect

The RTI is virtually being strangled to death by deliberate delays in appointments.

If you find a law uncomfortable, even one that you supported and passed, what should you do? Repealing it would not be politically smart; amending or diluting it will give ammunition to your critics. So the best strategy is to strangulate it, softly and steadily, until it is rendered lifeless and ineffectual. Something like this is happening to the Right to Information (RTI) Act under the current government.

Passed with much fanfare in 2005, the RTI Act was path-breaking and considered a major step forward in encouraging transparency in governance. It was exceptional also because it came about as a response to demands from the ground, from civil society groups that had demonstrated the importance of such a law in a democracy. The law was premised on the belief that citizens have the right to know how governments and their agencies function, to access data on government programmes and to know how or why decisions are taken, or not taken. The response to legitimate queries from the public had to come within a time frame, as unnecessary delays would undermine faith in such a law.

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