It’s a powerful tool in their hands. And people are opposing tooth and nail, attempts being made to blunt it.
RTI activists and citizens’ groups had an interactive meeting with Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi in Churchgate on Tuesday.
They asserted that amendments proposed to the Right To Information Act 2005 by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on October 15 were futile and stricter implementation of RTI was vital.
As a part of their protest plan, RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao has come up with an innovative way of registering a protest. All that citizens need to do is dial 1585 from any landline number in any city.
They then have to dictate their message: ‘Don’t amend RTI, implement it’.
Thereafter, the caller has to dictate the addresses of DoPT Minister Prithviraj Chauhan, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Rao has appealed to citizens to lodge their protests in this manner.
Gandhi appealed to citizens to hold weekly meetings across the country, seek support from political parties and to make the elected representatives more accountable and thus use the political process more actively as apart of the protest mechanism.
“If we fail to defend the Act now, we don’t deserve the independence we have got” said Gandhi.
Last week, the nodal authority for RTI had mooted a proposal to have two commissioners hearing appeals.
Activists said it would reduce output by half. They said financial autonomy should instead be granted to commissioners so as to mitigate their dependence on the government for financial needs.
Activists added that the amendment of ‘vexatious and frivolous requests to be disqualified’ would hinder proper implementation of the RTI Act.
“It’s is a backdoor way of nullifying the Act which is not acceptable”, said RTI activist G.R. Vora.