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It will also enforce accountability among officials: Commission

  • The Act will also encompass the police force
  • It will act faster than the habeas corpus procedures
  • Is being implemented vigorously; awareness spreading

    CUDDALORE: The Right to Information Act will act as an indirect check on corruption and enforce accountability among the officials, according to the State Information Commission.

    State Chief Information Commissioner S. Ramakrishnan on Tuesday held discussions with the Cuddalore and Villupuram District Collectors, Gagandeep Singh Bedi and Ashish Chatterji, on the implementation of the Act. The State Information Commissioners, G. Ramakrishnan and R. Rathina Samy, and Secretary T.R. Dandapani accompanied him. Later, addressing a press conference, the Chief Information Commissioner said since the Act would ensure transparency it would have a bearing on the official performance. For instance, when details on tenders and contracts were sought, the officials were duty bound to make the information available. Therefore, there was no room for them to indulge in malpractices.

    Quick remedy

    When asked whether the Act would apply to the police force, Mr.S. Ramakrishnan said it would certainly encompass the law enforcing authorities too.

    In case of the police department, it should make available the First Information Reports (FIRs) and other particulars regarding threat to life and property within 48 hours. Hence, the Act would act faster than the habeas corpus procedures.

    Mr. Ramakrishnan further said the Act would cover the NGOs, private managements and medical and dental councils. It was being implemented vigorously, and awareness among the people was catching up.

    So far, the State Commission had received 2,000 petitions (after they failed to get information at the district level) relating to almost all departments.

    Out of these, 200 had been disposed of immediately, 712 were sent back to the departments concerned (as these were grievance petitions), 33 were forwarded to the Centre, and in 129 cases the Commission's findings were made known.

    Since the Commission enjoyed the status of a civil court, it was empowered to impose a penalty of Rs.250 per day (after the mandatory period of 30 days), to a maximum of Rs 25,000 for the delay, and even recommend disciplinary action against the officials, and none could go on appeal against this.

    Mr. Ramakrishnan had directed the District Collectors to prominently display the boards carrying the names of the Public Information Officers and the appellate authorities for processing the petitions.

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