INDIA: SC, CBI, UPSC want immunity from RTI



First annual Right to Information report reveals public authorities are averting transparency

Times of India
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

By Manoj Mitta

New Delhi --- For all the popular acclaim received by the RTI Act and the transparency it promises, some of the most high-profile public authorities -- including the Supreme Court, UPSC, CBI and Delhi Metro -- have sought exemption from its purview.

This came to light in the first annual report of the RTI regulator, Central Information Commission, due to be presented shortly to the government. CIC's report is based on the returns filed by 837 public authorities on the working of RTI in 2005-06.

The plea to be exempted wholly or substantially from the ambit of the RTI Act has been made by eight of those public authorities, ironically, while offering their "recommendations for reform". Each cites a different reason for wanting out.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has sought a "general exemption" on the ground that it has undertaken a "time-bound exercise" of laying an extensive network in the Capital ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

CBI's pretext of seeking an amendment to the RTI Act is that it wants to be treated on a par with the 18 intelligence and security organisations which are statutorily exempted from disclosing any information other than information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations.


Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2007