Shrey Sahai, 2nd Year Law Student, Christ Lavasa University
“The only thing necessary for a triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’’–Edmund Burke
Democracy is the order of the day when all citizens should be participants with only the elected government representing the citizens. As the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, stated, “a government of the people, by the people, will not perish on Earth,” true democracy must not fail. Undoubtedly, at the moment, the oligarchy is one of the most stubborn elements of modern democracy in which a small group of people try to control the government, even in democracy and in policy-making. Interestingly, that group is not made up of ordinary citizens, most of whom, such as in India, are uneducated and poor but are made up of people who control production methods and therefore have sufficient resources to control and distort democratic processes. They have always been interested in establishing imperial leadership, even under the proclamation of democracy. It was necessary to take democracy out of the hands of such people and their paws, who lived in public offices. Our ability as human beings to acquire, use, and store information is essential for survival. While the information itself is important, our ability to understand how important the level of reliability of the information is important in the use of resources or in exposing fraud. The details of the level of facts form the basis for order in our lives, communities, and knowledge.
Information as a word is derived from the Latin words ‘form’ which means to give the structure of something, and to form a pattern in sequence ,adds something new to awareness. Information is needed for people to see their full social, political and economic power. It covers a wide range of information on a variety of issues and involves a variety of stakeholders from markets to government. It is the key that helps us make decisions. And it is a public service collected and maintained by the government to trust the people.
The right to information has another great significance. Everyone who knows politics wants to participate in the administration of society. The culture of personalisation, political consciousness and the spirit of society is the foundation of the success of democracy. Adjustment of access to information is based on individual self-fulfilment interests
The preamble to the Indian Constitution lists two basic and important objectives of free India namely JUSTICE, social, economic and political and other equity and opportunity. These two goals, set out in the preface, can only be achieved if the citizens of India are educated and well-informed. The concealment of information, of course, contradicts the very concept of democracy itself. For a long time, however, India’s democracy was run in a sovereign and authoritarian manner. The rule of law, as inherited from the British-Indian government before 15 August 1947, has continued to do so. Even the political party was associated with the management club, which made the situation worse.
Excess of everything is bad and often comes back, soon. With the increase in the number of educated people in India, people began to inquire about working and working in public offices. Even though recently the questioning of the government’s performance in its top categories has been gaining momentum. Finally, the government recognised the concerns of the people and their desire to participate in the democratic process and that lead to the enactment of the RTI Act, 2005
The first issue of rights under the RTI Act arose from politicians as they were completely disloyal to their actions and were held to the fact that the law could be used by political opponents. Another objection was that the law could be misused by the Civil Society which has so far been considered unconstitutional in a democratic process. The final report prepared by the research team shows that “Community Organisations and community activists are improving access to and awareness of RTI among the people’’. It is with the support of civil society activists and civil society organisations that a person in a village can use the RTI Act to secure his or her basic rights.With the centre of The Right to Information Act, another era of many laws were introduced. The Right to Information Act has changed the general public within its mandate but there are still a number of problems and difficulties that seem to be highlighted by the RTI itself but will require investment. Prior to its inauguration the people were treated unfairly, disillusioned on every side, demolitions were found everywhere, open experts were run as if they were rulers and ordinary citizens were their employees. Political rallies once formed rulers, at that time they had never gone to ordinary citizens to meet and reflect on their circumstances. In any case, due to the increase in skilled people are currently taking care of the procedures ordered by their superiors, now using a bird’s eye on each development made by the legislature. All of this has been considered in light of our knowledge opportunity that empowers us to take a strong partnership in making ways from the community directly or indirectly influencing the arrangements. Democracy is currently being practiced at every level of society and RTI is slowly showing its true nature now, pressuring government officials and officials who do not care to pass information to the general public, now hiding information is all over. An indigenous person will now be able to request each expense record, legislative and external arrangements made directly or indirectly associated with management. RTI helps in a variety of ways and it contributes greatly to the fight against the corrupt framework. For example -In the event that anyone who needs a BPL card (below the poverty line) needs to pay 2000-5000 rupees to the authorities to get the card, now this does not happen after the RTI because people can ask for the way to get a BPL card. After that even though the RTI does not help in issuing a BPL person card but instead of course it will tell us the strategy so that people will not be charged too much by the authorities. Likewise, in case a person needs a home power organisation but does not know the strategy, then the RTI causes him or her to become aware of the system, this is very helpful in finding a way to provide management.
Various cases have been in the news about the killings of various RTI activists, and this is a serious threat to the many legal systems, the right to human life intervened due to the politics of the RTI. It created a kind of fear in the human brain and from now on there was a demand for such a legal system under the RTI law itself so that RTI activists could live without fear of losing their lives and could help make the soul majority rule of the government. In 2012, an RTI activist named Shehla Masood was brutally murdered in Bhopal (M.P) on the grounds that she stood out among other RTI activists in the MP and had great power as a human rights activist. So far the CBI has not found a real reason why she was killed.
HOW RTI HELPS IN KILLING CORRUPTION FROM IT’S ROOTS
Availability: Prior to the establishment of the RTI ,only members of Parliament have the right to request any information from the government. RTI empowered ordinary people to seek information from the government. RTI contains provisions that make it easier to obtain information from people. No Public Officer can deny for any reason other than those prohibited under section 8 or question the reason for any requester seeking information under this act. Any person requiring any information under this Act may give his or her request in writing or in electronic form in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the requester is making the request . If any requester is unable to make the request in writing or through any other electronic means because of illiteracy or mental or physical disability, the Public Information Officer is obliged to provide assistance to the requester so that he or she can give in the same manner in writing. No Public Officer may question anything that is not required in the process of obtaining information or that is prohibited by this act or by any law applicable till date. In case of Vishwas Bhamburkar v. PIO ,Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd .The two main centric issues in this case were that what should be the word limit in RTI application and the denial of information on lack of producing identity proof by requester .
Transparency: RTI imposes obligations on public officials that they must keep all records in a manner that will facilitate timely access by making and saving it in a computer and providing it online when required . All required information about government officials must be published within 120 days .All information that serves the public should be disseminated widely and in a way that is easily accessible to the public such as newspapers, media broadcasts, the internet, etc.
Awareness leads to responsiveness: RTI action is very helpful in promoting awareness that promotes government responsiveness. A problem-solving tool that solves personal, social, and social problems. Personal issues such as Return of Pending Income Tax, Delayed Passport, Property Documents such as Residence Certificate / Completion Certificate, Aadhar Card Delay, FIR Status, Scholarship Delays, Reproduction Spreadsheets, etc. Social problems such as poor road conditions . To conduct a social audit of government projects, how our Parliament / MP used the allocated fund, know about the implementation, management and budget allocation of a government project or program, etc. If the public is aware of their role and the importance of their involvement in the democratic process and are curious about the nature and ideas of government operations they make the best use of RTI . It was found to be helpful in detecting many scams and the misconduct of one of them, the Adarsh Society Scam, when a six-story building of war widows of Kargil turned into a 30-story building and served as a vicarage for politicians, military commanders, and military officials. The nexus was revealed by RTI activists Simpreet Singh and Yogacharya Anandji. It was pointed out that the piece of land did not belong to the State Government but to the Department of Defence.
Other major attack was demonetisation which wasannounced without the RBI giving nod: On November 8, 2016, a major decision was made by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announced in the country after a less than three-hour meeting, the Prime Minister did not even wait for the official RBI to authorise the demonetisation . After filing the RTI by activist Venkatesh Nayak, it was revealed that the RBI was not in agreement with the Center when demonetisation happened .
Commonwealth Games scam: A non-profit organisation filed an RTI alleging that the Delhi government had diverted Rs. 744 crore from Dalit Funds for the Commonwealth Games. The Housing and Land Rights Network, a non-profit organisation, also found that the money was spent on paperwork to showcase, which encouraged the continued corruption and money laundering.
From the above information, the Right to Information Act, 2005 has the power to abolish corruption and tackle it. We know that it is not easy to eradicate corruption but we can try through the RTI Act. There is only the problem of ignorance that makes things very difficult which is at a point easy. A spark can ignite a fire where it touches, RTI is that framework.
The right to information is the most important form of good governance. In the end I would like to quote –
“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER .INFORMATION IS POWER .THE SECRETING OR HOARDING OF KNOWLEDGE OR INFORMATION MAY BE AN ACT OF TYRANNY CAMOUFLAGED AS HUMILITY’’