The Government does not exist for its own sake, but it exists to serve the citizens. Therefore the business of the Government must be transparent to the citizens. Citizens have right to know what the Government is doing. The Government can also make no law that seizes the right of the citizens to criticize the Government if it is diverging from its mandate to serve the people and serve the constitution. In the garb of secrecy, many laws are passed and some laws are passed without any discussion on the floor of the Indian parliament, amendments in the Right to Information Act is one such case.
Right to Information Act is One of the Most Important Acts in India but BJP/RSS Government is Murdering it.
The Indian parliament is becoming a pastime for the public representatives and this will surely pave a way to doomed autocratic governance that serves the private interest instead of public interest. As such, the creation of public is the essence of the Governance in which the scattered mass of human beings is set on the combined and collective will of common good and common welfare and that is why the information must be accessible to all the citizens.
The Right to Information Act is aimed at making the Government accountable to the public and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Act is aimed at making the Corporate accountable to the citizens.
These two important legislations are the outcome findings of “Information Economics”, now a well-respected branch of Economics in which pioneering work is done by stalwarts like Joseph Stiglitz. The essence of the information economics is captured in the simple fact that information asymmetry creates an asymmetrical market and asymmetrical society. The asymmetrical market and society are the cause of inequity and hence social suffering. Therefore symmetry in the information is important for the wellbeing of all citizens.
In the country like India where the information is skewed at one end of the caste, ladder creates socially graded inequality. The graded information is one of the reasons that perpetuate the caste system. The Government can also hold a lot of information to serve the partisan interests and it can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the public. The Right to Information Act should make easy for the citizens to access whatever information they want to seek. So much is buried under the stockpile of the files. The RTI can be used to seek vital information on various policies to get a clear picture. It is an important tool to make the Government accountable. Any tampering or unreasonable amendments will make this useful act redundant.
Similarly, the CSR ACT does not just mean that the corporate world should allocate some money for charity. This act is deeper than meets the eyes. The corporate world must make public its financial documents and the configuration of the board and the minutes of the board meetings. Stressed often is the charity aspect of this act, but it goes much deeper than mere charity. It is about making the Corporate accountable not only to the shareholders but also to the public.
All those who believe in equality and having information freely available for everyone must come forward and oppose changes in the Right to Information Act.
Author – Mangesh Dhaiwale, Human Rights Activist