RTI Act not comprehensive: judge

Staff Reporter

NIZAMABAD: Justice B. Prakash Rao of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has observed that the Information Act brought about by the Centre recently is not comprehensive and it is in no way useful to the common man unless its scope is expanded.

"Transparency is the need of the hour and all barriers in getting the information have to go so that the common man is benefited," he said, while attending as chief guest at a function organised for the foundation stone- laying for the District Consumer Forum building here on Saturday.

He said that there was a big curtain among judiciary, executive and legislature--three pedestals of any democratic set-up-- and added that the curtain had to be raised so as to cater to the needs of the common man more effectively. If the curtain was removed among them more interaction, rapport and understanding could be developed which would help deliver justice effectively and expeditiously, he felt.

He noted that many of the lawyers and even judicial officers lacked the awareness on the Consumer Protection Act and judiciary, non-governmental organisations and the Government should be roped in to disseminate information on the legislation.

Citing the statistics regarding the number of cases and their disposal in consumer courts, he said pendency was very low in them compared to that in general courts of law.

Describing the consumer courts as the temples of justice for consumers, AP State Consumer Redressal Commission president I. Venkatnarayana said the Consumer Protection Act was a unique piece of legislation. It had taken roots in the Europe and the US a long time ago, but had been enacted in India only in 1986.

In the forefront

Merla Shreesha, senior member of the commission, ZP Chairman Ganta Sadanandam, Principal District Judge Suri Appa Rao, Bar Association president of the AP High Court M. Rajender Reddy, T. Sudarshan, president, District Consumer Forum, Mayor D. Sanjay and P. Anand Reddy, president of the Nizamabad Bar Association, also spoke.