Heads of government departments and organisations, that do not comply with the August 31 deadline to disclose the records under Right to Information Act, will face strict action. This will mean filing a confidential memo against the person in-charge.
“The idea is to streamline the system and continuously update the records and not do it as a one off. And those do not do it deliberately to keep some records from public will face action,” said Thanksy Thekkekera, principal secretary (General Administration Department).
The records could be either on the Internet, in a newspaper, kept in a library or made available with one point’s person who maintains a room of such records like Gazettes.
“It might not be possible to fit in all information into web space, so we encourage other forms of communication which is accessible to everyone. The idea is public dissemination of information and bringing in as much transparency as possible,” she added.
The 17 points mentioned in section 4 of the RTI Act make it mandatory for each department to mention particulars of the department, its duties and powers, what documents are open for public disclosure, facilities available to citizens, how public documents will be made available to people. It will also publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies and decisions that affect the general public, in whichever medium possible.
RTI activists have welcomed the move.
“It’s a great step towards the implementation of the Act. If the information is made public voluntarily there will be fewer applications for information," said RTI activist GR Vora.