The State Information Commission feels that there is need for creating more awareness on the Right To Information Act as the current level of understanding about the provisions of the Act among the people, elite classes included, is found to be “woefully inadequate”.

Information Commissioner P. Vijaya Babu has lamented that the administrative machinery considered the Act as weapon that could be used for targeting them while it was, in fact, put in place to realise the goal of participatory democracy rather than voting democracy. “They (officials concerned) should realise that providing information to the appellants is part of their duty to ensure transparency in administration,” he said.

Misleading

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Mr. Vijaya Babu expressed concern that a section of people that was not aware of all the provisions under the RTI Act was misleading others by depending on the bare Act. “Dependence on the bare Act can lead to spreading of misinformation about the original Act and this will also give scope for distorted versions,” he said. Stating that he had heard over 680 cases in the six months of his appointment, Mr. Babu said about 17 cases were imposed penalties while 41 others served show cause notices. Asked about the low rate of penalties, he said imposing penalties was not the only solution and hence, he was trying to counsel officials’.

“In some notorious cases, officials collude with others in tampering pattadar passbooks and land details. Paying penalty will not be a big deal for them,” he said. It was here that the media could be more alert in highlighting such cases of irregularities.

Understanding about provisions

of the Act among people woefully inadequate: SIC