Workshop in Tiruchi on Right to Information Act underlines the important provisions of the Act

The provisions of Right to Information Act aim at promoting transparency and accountability in administration and not threaten any official or agency.

It wants to promote corruption-free governance at all levels, said speakers at the inaugural of a workshop on ‘Right to Information’ organised jointly by the Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, TANSSCOPE, and the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, here on Sunday.

S. Gopalakrishnan, Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, who inaugurated the workshop, said the Act sought to strengthen efficiency in administration.

He underlined the responsibility of officials in providing information and details sought by an individual under the Act.

He said that apart from individuals, even service organisations or associations could seek information under the provisions of the Act.

S.F. Akbar, State Information Commissioner, in his keynote address, said the RTI wanted to empower society with all information so that transparency could be ensured at every sphere.

No details in areas involving foreign relations, Defence, and security could be questioned, he said citing the example of a few petitions filed by prisoners.

He said that public interest should be guarded at every cost.

S. Pushpavanam, secretary, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, explained the responsibilities of the consumers and their limitations in utilising the provisions of the RTI.

He said the non-availability of the postal orders forced consumers to utilise the demand draft towards fees for seeking information from the central government departments. But the bank commission for demand draft was more than the draft value. He suggested that affixing of stamps on the petitions, on the lines of court fee stamp for State government departments.

He said the RTI should not be utilised to threaten an official but should focus on seeking information for some public welfare or interest.

The drafting of the petitions should, by itself, explain the objective of the queries.

Shailesh Kumar Yadav, Commissioner of Police, and V.P. Thandapani, Corporation Commissioner, spoke.