TODAY -

The Journey of - "Right To Information(RTI)" In India

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh *

 Minister Biswajit inaugurates Right to Information Week Celebration on October 05 2018
Minister Biswajit inaugurates Right to Information Week Celebration on October 05 2018 :: Pix - IT News / DIPR



In Manipur the root causes of chaos, unrest, mistrust, tussle & challenges among us in all possible sphere in our day- to-days life is due to communication gap among us.

Irregularities, malpractices, open corruption in most of Government offices (established for the welfare of Public) in Manipur is due to not giving out the necessary information for the welfare schemes taken or to be taken for the common people, instead few government servants in conspiracy with few other people does behind the screen in black & white for name sake's only.

Social crimes, violence, malpractices occurring every now and then in Manipur are due to the shameless hands of few hooligans who think this is an honored and respectable practice. If our people know that we all have the rights to know any information from any Government offices about our development and welfare schemes and use this right fully the irregularities and malpractices by these group of people can be easily stopped and prevented.

Our development will be progressive only when Bureaucrat officers and Heads of the respective departments exercise their duties sincerely, honestly and diligently. Our people can also obtain all our rights which are being taken away by those mischiefs. These will be possible only when we all know the provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 .This Act provides directly or indirectly to all the citizens to get to know all the information from any Government Departments or offices. Government Dept. or offices should also provide any information pertinent to the respective Depts. or offices to the general public. However except few people, most of us are ignorant of what to do to get the right information.

Intent to know and try to know is the inborn character of we human being. It may be due to this that the right to information is taken as one of the fundamental right. After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations General Assembly in 1948 , different groups of People, Social Activist, Human right defenders Philanthropist, Media persons etc have been constantly demanding to include the Right to Information in the Constitution of India.

One of the supportive means to get the Right to information was the verdict of Supreme Court of India in 1975. In a land mark judgment of Justice Mediu in a case between Uttar Pradesh Government and Rajnarayan, said ;" In a responsible Government like ours whatever all its agent does should be done with highest responsibility and transparency ".Whatever the Government employee does for the welfare of the state, our people has the rights to know it.

A judgment given by Supreme Court in 1981 in another case between S.P Gupta and Union of India again gave a big impetus in the movement of RTI. But one barricade in the RTI movement was the report submitted in 1982 by Mathew Commission to look after the amendment of Official Secrets Act of 1923.Later on when Prime Minister VP Singh Government came to power in1989, he announced RTI will be a fundamental right of our citizens during 20th meeting of Ministers of Information & Cinematography in 1990.

Gradually RTI movement became peoples Movement. The role of Mazdur Kishan Sakti Sanganthan (an NGO) of Rajasthan in this Movement is incredible.

In 1995, PCI (Press Council of India) framed first blue print of the Freedom of Information. In the blue print, it was mentioned that whatever information that a Parliamentarian and state Legislature obtain should also be obtainable to the general public.

As a result Government of India had taken a resolution to frame an Act of the Freedom of Information in 1997.Due to the escalation of people's movement, more aware by law courts about RTI, keen interest taken by Legislature in this regards and the assurance given by the subsequent Government, Freedom of Information Bill 2000 was introduced in the Parliament in July 2000.

The Bill was passed in 2002 and enacted. After UPA Government came to power the Right to Information Bill (amendment bill) Version of Freedom of Information Act) 2004 was introduced in December 2004.The Bill was Passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively on 11th and 12th May 2005 .

The President of India consented this Act on 15th Jun 2005 and implemented. This Act was fully enacted all over the Country from 12th October 2005 with local adjustment of the respective States.

In Manipur also this Act was fully implemented as per Manipur Government Gazette extra ordinary No99 of 20th July 2005 with a notification by the Department of Secretariat, Law and Legislative Affairs on 12th July 2005 .

Enacting & implementing Right to Information (RTI) Act in the largest democratic country like India is a right step to achieve the real objective of Democracy. However every citizens of India should remember that Freedom of Expression and Right to Information has its own respective limitations. All rights are associated with a responsible (duty).

All rights under this Act should be used with full responsible for a peaceful and progressive Society. Though a sharp weapon to obtain all possible information from authority is provided by constitution, our RTI activist are facing many dare consequences.

Some activist even have been killed by state or non-state actors for seeking relevant information from authority for the wrong doing under RTI Act. If this the case, what is the use of RTI Act? This is the questions from general public and which provision and Act of Indian constitution will protect our RTI activist from such threats is the quest with no answer as of now.


* Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer may be contacted at Sjugeshwor7(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 22 2019.



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