June 29, 2008
The RTI Act was supposed to provide an inexpensive way for people to get more empowered, and to be able to exercise their right to get more openness into the Government machinery. This would be a sword in the fight to expose corruption and mis-governance; and the RTI Act has brought about some changes in this regard.
There have been many cases where people have used RTI to either get more information about cases where they have fighting with babudom; or there have been cases where people (and many organizations fighting for more openness) have used the power of the RTI Act to expose corruption or other such problems that used to remain hidden earlier.
However, this is not to say that the Government bureaucracy is not fighting back. There have been all sorts of attempts made to stone-wall queries, or to question as to why people need the information that they have requested.
In some cases, these attempts to prevent disclosure of such information has lead to fines on the concerned officials. However, the method used below was something that I had not read of earlier, and seems to use normal Government channels to punish a Government employee trying to expose corruption:
DEWAS (MP): Information comes at a price, and who can know this better than a Kendriya Vidyalaya teacher who has been transferred to Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir for seeking information about alleged corruption.
"I was transferred to Kargil and was also relieved by the school administration here the day they received an order in this regard as I have exposed corruption in purchase of books, construction of playground and illegal felling of trees among others and sought information about it under RTI," Manjulal Kajodia said after beginning his protest against his transfer.
Such measures to victimize a RTI applicant need to be condemned across the board. Exposing corruption within your own department is even more risky since you can get targeted more easily (there are specific whistle-blower laws that try to protect people exposing wrong-doing within their own area.)
Ashish is a blogger who got bit by the blogging charm a few months back, and it has hit him good. He is able to express himself through his blogs. Currently working with a software manufacturing company in NCR, India.
Did a BE and then an MBA and has been working for around 9 years now. Is pretty passionate about current affairs, but did not have a vehicle to express his opinions till now.