Centre seeks views of states, UTs on RTI implementation

The government has sought views on RTI from states and Union Territories on various matters related to implementation of the transparency law.

New Delhi: To make the RTI Act more accessible for the people, the government has sought views from states and Union Territories on various matters related to implementation of the transparency law.
Officials in the Department of Personnel and Training, which acts as a nodal ministry for the implementation of the RTI Act, said the states and UT administrations have been asked to furnish details on the basis of applications received and bottlenecks observed by them.

"It is not to amend the Act. We are seeking views of states in terms of assessing accessibility to people and how to make its usage more useful. How we reach to large number of people living in remote or tribal areas," DoPT Secretary P K Misra said.

When asked the time-frame within which the states are expected to reply, he said, "They have been asked to reply. No time limit has been given. We will try to take their views into consideration".

Earlier this month Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that citizens` right to know should be circumscribed if it encroaches on an individual`s privacy.

"There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the right to information and the right to privacy, which stems out of the fundamental right to life and liberty.

"The citizens` right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone`s personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," the Prime Minister had said.

The DoPT had recently notified new RTI rules in which it had put a limit of 500 words for filing an application under the Act.

Besides, a new format has been devised for filing an appeal to the Central Information Commission under the transparency law.

The government has also made it mandatory for an appellant or his authorised representative to appear before the CIC either in person or through video-conference, according to the rules notified on July 31.

The RTI Act, which was enacted in 2005, covers disclosure of information on almost all matters of governance.