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"All entitled to get information"

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MAKING IT CLEAR: G. Ramakrishnan, State Information Commissioner, addressing a meeting in the city on Thursday. Photo: G. MOORTHY
MAKING IT CLEAR: G. Ramakrishnan, State Information Commissioner, addressing a meeting in the city on Thursday. Photo: G. MOORTHY

Staff Reporter

"Relevance of petitioner cannot be questioned"

MADURAI: The relevance of a petitioner cannot be questioned under the provisions of Right to Information Act-2005 and every Government department is duty-bound to provide the information sought by citizens, according to G. Ramakrishnan, State Information Commissioner.

"The locus standi of the person with regard to the information sought cannot be questioned. All that is required is that the petitioner should be an Indian citizen who must make an application in a plain paper along with Rs.10 as fee," he said.

Mr. Ramakrishnan was speaking here on Thursday at a `dissemination meeting' on RTI Act, 2005, organised by the Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) along with Rotary and Lions Clubs.

He said the Act made it mandatory for Governments to appoint Public Information Officers in every Government office and it was the duty of these officers to collect information and provide it to the petitioner within 30 days.

Also, the person seeking information should not be treated badly or discourteously; in fact the Act wants the petitioner to be assisted to get the details he wanted, he said.

The RTI Act, 2005, also has provisions for imposing fine and order compensation in cases of loss occurred due to delay in providing information, Mr. Ramakrishnan said.

In urgent cases, the information must be made available within 48 hours, he said and recalled how the Sivaganga district police traced a person who was picked up by a local policeman, following a telegram sent to the Information Commission in Chennai.

According to the Act, all information available to the Parliament should be available to the citizens as well.

Stating that the public awareness of the benefits of the Act was low, he said the Act was a path breaking and revolutionary piece of legislation with progressive features aimed to benefit the common man. He said the persons in the Below Poverty Line category were exempted from paying any fee to get information.

P.T. Krishnamoorthy, President, MADITSSIA, and Manickam Rajasekaran, Rotary District Governor, were among those who spoke.

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