The powers-that-be have found loopholes in the RTI Act and are using them to deny information to applicants.
“Refusing to provide information under the garb of ‘missing documents’ has been a regular practice with public information officers from the MCD, DDA and other departments,” said MK Gupta, a member of Dwarka Forum, a group of activists that uses the RTI Act to raise civic matters.
When the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) analysed the orders passed by various information commissioners at the national and state level for its annual awards last year, the data collated was astounding.
“During 2010, information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who handles departments pertaining to Delhi, had received as many as 30 such cases and ordered filing FIRs in 28 cases,” said Neeraj Kumar of PCRF. At a national level, there were 402 such cases, of which police complaints were asked to be filed in only 345 cases.
Arvind Kejriwal, RTI activist and Magsaysay award winner said, “Information Commissioners treat ‘missing papers/file’ as a legitimate excuse for denial of information.” He further added, “Apart from directions to file police complaints, stringent steps like suspension or disciplinary action against officials concerned are necessary.”