Moves to limit word length, subject matter in applications as well as refusal to fill vacancies will backfire, writes Gajanan Khergamker
There seems to be a distinct bias in the ‘Sunshine’ Act…the Right to Information, particularly in Maharashtra and not without reason.
For starters, in what was construed as a stark “breach of trust and public confidence”, the state went ahead almost on tippy toes and notified an amendment to Maharashtra RTI Rules on 16th January 2012.
Changes aimed to defeat the law
That most members of the public irked by a public authority’s excess or inept attitude or behavior, making an RTI application to obtain information aren’t familiar with drafting, is a given. And, the process of educating the public about sticking to queries instead of providing background information and history is an ongoing, tedious one.
So, capitalising on this very snag, the state appears to have placed the 150-word caveat which will almost singularly defeat the very purpose of the RTI Act.
Applicants unfamiliar with the law, will continue to write and ramble on and on about the issues in question and wait for the stipulated period for official response which should be as dodgy as expected and dismissive owing to the applicant’s inability to restrict the application to the required 150 word limit.
Providing the perfect foil for issues which need to be resolved with urgency, the amendment is bad in law and needs to be reviewed.
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