//One can file PIL if RTI not implemented

One can file PIL if RTI not implemented

LUCKNOW: If the people feel that some provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 are not being implemented by the state government, then they can file a PIL in High Court.

This was stated by Yogendra Narain, secretary-general, Rajya Sabha, and former chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh. He said this while addressing students of Jaipuria School of Management here on the topic, ‘Right to Information- Challenges before management’. Narain pointed out that both the private and the public sector influence each other and there should be constant interaction between them.

He said that for the last eight years or so the trend has been of the government binding itself. It has realised that it should be punished for wrong doing.

But RTI Act is not the first Act in this direction. The Human Rights Commission Act, which came much earlier, says that a government official can be punished for violating Human Rights. Similarly, the Fiscal Debt Management Act has put restrictions on the government’s expenditure.

 Suggesting that independent regulators, who would be ‘cold and impartial in their dealing’, were the need of the hour in the private sector, Narain said that these regulators were already taking over the role of the government in the private sector.

The finance minister is following the ‘outlays vs outputs’ system under which the government informs the people about funds used.

The secretary-general said,"The government, which thought it was completely sovereign, now has to share information with others."

In a very lucid presentation, Yogendra Narain made various aspects of the RTI Act clear to the audience. He said that file notings, a contentious issue where the bureaucracy is unwilling to yield, would most likely be interpreted to fall under RTI.

 "What cannot be denied to an MP or MLA, cannot be denied to a citizen," he said. "The chief information commissioner has all the powers of a court," he added.

Later, when TOI informed him that RTI is almost a dead letter in this state, he said that he would request the department of personnel and training (DoPT) at the Centre to look into the matter.

He expressed surprise when told that the state had failed to appoint the state chief information commissioner (CIC). When asked whether DoPT had the power to ask the state to appoint the CIC, he replied in affirmative.

[ Saturday, January 21, 2006 01:58:25 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK]