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Sunday, September 25, 2011

I pick what I like : DoPT

The central govt touts itself to be transparency and information friendly. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a detailed and lengthy recent judgement had upheld the right to access answer sheets. The judgement was rendered in 54 pages.

Though the judgement was landmark in every sense of the term, it is interesting to note what the DoPT - the nodal department concerning RTI, has found from within the judgement.

This latest circular issued by the DoPT, rather than conveying the spirit of the judgment which of course goes against the grain of current official policy, has picked up something which it intends to flog for its own use. It was one paragraph in the judgment that the DoPT found extremely useful and has floated to all ministries and departments and not the entire judgement. Meaning thereby, that rather than bringing the judgment to the notice of all concerned or asking public authorities to follow the judgment and its spirit, the DoPT wants them to only implement one paragraph which says that only that information is to be provided which actually exists and that only those opinions or advices can be provided which actually exist on paper. Actually, this is nothing new and is already well understood and has even been discussed on this blog way back in September 2009.

Anyway, the underlying attitudinal currents of the officers who handle the RTI wing in DoPT become very clear and lucid by way of their latest circular.

Whither transparency !


Synapse said...

Although the RTI Act exists and the related appointments too have been made, culturally the concept of transparency continues to be scoffed at by public servants. A Govt Employee has always considered himself ‘In Power’- KING (bloated with attitude and ego) rather than “providing a service” - PUBLIC SERVANT (Humble and respectful to democracy and its people).

A request by a citizen for some information under RTI is seen as a Challenge to the authority to the King(s). So all ‘Kings’ get together and make sure the RTI application is failed and thus the RTI act. This is how it’s done:-

• If the applicant is within the organisation (traitor) – put him on ‘surveillance’. Soon he shall be sorted out by institutionalized mechanisms.

• As regards the reply – send any typed piece of paper as long as it does not answer the information sought. (that too qualifies as a reply-does’nt it?)

• Applicant will appeal. Send another piece of garbage.

• Applicant will appeal to CIC. Mislead the CIC by telling anything. CIC is a good man – He trusts what you say is the truth, since you don’t have to prove. He is so good that he never imposes any penalty or initiates discipline action. In worst case, CIC will direct the information to be provided.

• Send another piece of Garbage.

• By now the entire hierarchy of Kings would have turned over. Most likely the requirement of information may no longer be there. The applicant has been sorted out anyway and either way!

• Kings shall always have the first and the last laugh.

Recall what Anna Hazare has rightly said – Citizens are supreme in Democracy. It is just a matter of time!

M.Bhatta said...

1. Can the RTI act be invoked w.r.t unit matters ?
2. Does it have to be addressed to the CPIO in Delhi http://indianarmy.nic.in/Site/FormTemplete/frmTempSimpleWithTwoPara.aspx?MnId=sZYxcndBzpU=&ParentID=RsbhRsc9uvM= ?

An address for the GSO-1 is not provided!

Olive Greens Panchkula Chandigarh said...

I agree with what Synapse has said above. The entire problem is of attitute and instead of being a public servant the Govt employee considers himself to be a public master!
Also there must be a time limit for the appeals pending with CIC. My application of May has not even been given a file number despite passage of four months!!
I am however optimistic that with time and the dents that every strike makes this attitudinal problem will crumble. Reminds me of Kabir..."रसरी आवत जात ते, सिल पर परत निसान"

VNatarajan, President, Pensioners' Forum, Chennai said...

After a marathon exercise thru RTI wrt to the injustice meted out to vital segments of Civil and Military pensioners ADOPTING a variety of "MANIPULATIVE" and "CONTROVERSIAL" implementation orders by the authorities of DOPPW/ DOE/DOPT/DOLa etc , I as a crusader of Pensioners has no hesitation in branding the RTI-CPIO system / Appellate System/ and even the apex IC system upto the highest level as totally and heavily pro-BUREAUCRATIC and the CITIZENS have no chance to get their rightful access to information which only can help them to derive justice!



Anonymous said...

The spectre of corruption, power politics, beareaucracy and plain old dishonesty looms so large over this country that it makes me wonder if any solution is a solution.
It is indeed shameful to see the common man thwarted in his attempt to live a life of dignity by cartels of businessmen, packs of dalals, hordes of cops and a set of baboos.
The farmer gets a raw deal from the middlemen, the weather and his inherited loans; the labourer gets shortchanged by the contractors; the aam aadmi is every predator's food and the honest man is faced with a sheer wall of hopelessness.

This is the Kalyug: lets face it. This is the time for the wicked to revel, be it politicians, babus, cops, tarnished brass and their ilk.
If we hope, in this morass that the simple fauji will be excused, then we are missing the plot.

Veteran Major P M Ravindran said...

I am an activist in the area of judicial reforms and RTI. I consider the RTI Act a success even in its failure because what ever information I have got, and more importantly failed to get, proves without an iota of doubt that the majority of public servants are either idiots of the highest order or outright traitors!

You may like to go through my blogs at http://raviforjustice.blogspot.com