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Right to invoke RTI Act against graft: SC

Last Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 22:51

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said
citizens have a right to invoke the Right To Information Act
to fight corruption and bring in transparency and
accountability in the administration.
"The right to information is a cherished right.
Information and right to information are intended to be
formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight
corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability.

"The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly
and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary
information under clause(b)of section 4(1) of the Act which
relates to securing transparency and accountability in the
working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption,"
the apex court said.

A bench of justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik made
the remarks while dismissing the Central Board of Secondary
Education`s (CBSE) plea that students have no right to examine
their evaluated answer scripts.

The apex court however, said that the Act should not be
misused for extracting impractical information in an
indiscriminate manner.
"Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions
under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information
(unrelated to transparency and accountability in the
functioning of public authorities and eradication of
corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely
affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the
executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of
collecting and furnishing information.

"The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused,
to become a tool to obstruct the national development and
integration or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony
among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of
oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do
their duty," Justice Raveendran, writing the judgement, said.

The apex court said the nation should not have a scenario
where 75 percent of the staff of public authorities spends 75
per cent of their time in collecting and furnishing
information to applicants instead of discharging their regular

"The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the
pressure on the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead
to employees of a public authorities prioritising ?information
furnishing at the cost of their normal and regular duties,"
the bench said.


First Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 22:51
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