RTI can help govt restore legitimacy: CIC
New Delhi: The Right to Information Act can restore the legitimacy that the government has been losing over the years resulting in total disconnect between it and the people, Central Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra has said.
Speaking at a book release function here, Mishra candidly spoke about the disconnect of people with the government and the role that RTI can play in bringing the masses in the "core realm" of the decision-making process.
"There is an atmosphere of cynicism because the government does not have enough legitimacy," Mishra said.
"We are passing through a phase of modern India's history when there is so much of cynicism that it appears that ground is slipping beneath us. There is general sense of, you know, as if the centre is not holding, in a more literal sense," he said.
The CIC was speaking at a panel discussion on the release of the book "T-Junction Crossing Over for Change" by author Poonam Srivastava, consultant and entrepreneur, which chronicles the lives of people who have chosen to tread alternate paths after leaving the comforts of cushy jobs.
"Government of any kind -- democratic, dictatorial, monarchy -- all forms of governments need legitimacy to sustain. The government in India, unfortunately, has been losing legitimacy and today one can very safely say that there is total disconnect between the people and the Government," Mishra said.
He said in such a scenario, the RTI Act, which was made six years ago, has emerged as an inexpensive way for the government to get back its legitimacy by inviting people into its "core realm -- the office space which was totally out of bounds for the people." "This Act makes the people a partner of government's decision-making, a part of the government. Right now, probably it...appears that RTI has convulsed the whole government, whole governmental structure. But I feel in the years to come, people who use the RTI would feel more responsive, more possessive about the government," Mishra said.
"They (who use RTI) would not feel that government is more alien and we have to somehow find only faults with it. Similarly, people inside the government would not feel RTI information seeker is a nuisance," he said.
The CIC said the "legitimacy restoration" that the RTI Act has started will eventually bring back a more responsive government and would make people feel that government is their own.