‘It aims at bringing transparency in administration'
Regretting that a few people were under the impression that the Right to Information (RTI) Act had been framed only to harass officials, J.S. Virupakshaiah, State Information Commissioner, said on Saturday that the intention behind the Act was to protect honest officials.
“No official need fear that legal or disciplinary action will be initiated against him or her if they discharged their duties honestly. Such officials will not hesitate to provide details of their department,” he said.
Chairing a workshop on the RTI Act for district- and taluk-level officials here, Mr. Virupakshaiah said that several officials had developed an allergy to the Act, which had been introduced only to bring transparency in the administration.
Although the Right to Information was not a fundamental right, it was a tool to realise the fundamental rights, he said.
The government decided to introduce such a law owing to a constant demand from various social activists, who wanted a law to enable people to know what the government was doing.
“Moreover, the Supreme Court too has observed that the Right to Freedom of Expression cannot meet its real objective if people are unable to extract information they want about a department,” Mr. Virupakshaiah said.
Referring to a provision in the Act that makes it mandatory for officials to display the names and contact number of the department's information officers, he regretted that many officials were still not following it.
Mr. Virupakshaiah urged Deputy Commissioner Vipul Bansal to tell all the departments that they should display the names of their information officers or else face legal action under the Act.
Mr. Virupakshaiah said that the State had introduced the Karnataka State Public Record Keeping Act to ensure that all the departments kept their records in order.
A provision had been made in the Act to punish officials for the loss of any official file or document.
“If proved guilty, such officials can be sentenced to simple imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to Rs. 25,000, or both,” Mr. Virupakshaiah said.
‘Some officials have developed an allergy to the Act' Government departments told to keep records in order
‘Some officials have developed an allergy
to the Act'
Government departments told to keep records