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?No pressure to implement RTI Act?

STATE CHIEF Information Commissioner T N Shrivastav denied that Right to Information Act, 2005 has been enforced in the country under international pressure.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 12:27 IST

STATE CHIEF Information Commissioner T N Shrivastav denied that Right to Information Act, 2005 has been enforced in the country under international pressure.

“There is no such pressure. The Act we see today is the result of an evolved process,” Shrivastav said while responding to a query at Meet the Press programme held at Indore Press Club today.

Explaining his point of view, he said that Supreme Court had been interpreting the freedom of speech and expression ingrained in Indian Constitution in its various judgements for past 30 years, whether it was Rajnarayan or S P Bhatia’s case.

There were apex court judgements to this effect in certain election petitions as well. Then states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh introduced similar Acts.

The Government felt the need to have a consolidated Act, which led to formation of Freedom of Information Act, 2002 and finally this new act, Chief Commissioner remarked. He added, “Aside from Sweden, most Western democracies adopted such an Act in 1980s. So we are not too late.”

Responding to a query, he said that Madhya Pradesh has never had a tradition to hide information. He maintained that even before Citizen’s Charter was introduced in the State, the Governments and officials were always willing to part with information though there could have been delays.

When asked what steps were being taken to propagate the Act, Shrivastav said the responsibility rests with the State Government and added that non government organisations and media have a very effective role to play in publicising the new law so that more and more people could benefit without getting disheartened.

The Chief Commissioner, however, confessed that the number of appeals his Commission has received show that people lack knowledge about its provisions and the procedure.

Answering a query about talks he held with administrative officials at Indore, he said that District Collector Vivek Aggarwal informed him that 85 per cent of applications received under the Act have been disposed of while there is still time to respond to 15 per cent of the pending applications.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 12:27 IST