//`Communal Violence Bill, Information Act connected

`Communal Violence Bill, Information Act connected

THALASSERY: High Court Judge Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan has said that the Right to Information Act and the Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) Bill 2005 are intrinsically connected at a time when there is increased demand for transparency.

Inaugurating a seminar on the Bill and a workshop on the Act organised by the People’s Council for Civil Rights (PCCR), Mr. Radhakrishnan said that secularism and socialism were necessary concomitants of democracy and sovereignty.

Unless secularism and socialism prevailed, the republic would not survive, he said. Right to life was inherent in the concept of socialism, he said adding that the Constitution provides everybody equal opportunity.

In a complex system of democracy, each citizen had to know what was happening in his or her institution, he said emphasising that the ordinary people were the repository of democracy. Unless there was access to information, people could not develop at all, Mr. Radhakrishnan said. The concept of secularism, he said, was as a matter of fact in-built in a socialist democracy.

In a secular socialist democracy, there could not be an appeased group or community, the judge said.

Secular democracy could not entertain a concerted effort to make a particular group of people get together on a declared policy relating to that particular community, he added.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the Right to Information Act should ensure that reports of inquiry `commissions’ on communal violence should be made public.

Delivering the keynote address, the former Advocate General M.K. Damodaran said that a major drawback of the Bill was that it was silent about State-activated communal violence that Gujarat had experienced.