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RTI needs more teeth

Issue Date - 10/11/2011
B&E: The PM, along with some of his colleagues, has been critical of some of the provisions of the RTI. What do you read from the PM’s remarks?

ND: The impact of RTI has begun to show now. I think the RTI, not as a law, but as a system, gives it strength. The government has also been in trouble on many occasions due to RTI and their anger is unfortunate. This is one legislation that has been passed by this very government. What the PM has said is unfortunate. I would be happy if he had talked about strengthening its implementation instead of attempting to dilute it.

B&E: The PM’s call for a critical look into the RTI Act has emboldened voices seeking dilutions to RTI. Do you see it as a threat to RTI?

ND: The threat from the political class to RTI has existed since the Act came into being. Barely six months into the formulation of the Act and the government was already on its toes to clip its wings. I remember we had a hard time keeping the RTI in its current form. However, with the kind of community support that the RTI has garnered in these 6 years, it will not be easy for any government to amend it.

B&E: What is your reaction to remarks that the RTI has inbuilt weaknesses?

ND: I feel that there are weaknesses in the Act, but in the sense that it doesn’t have sufficient teeth. There is no provision for fixing responsibilities & imposing penalties.



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