INDIA: 'Check the bona fides of RTI applicants'



More pressure put on the private sector to comply with RTI

Times of India
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

By Manoj Mitta

New Delhi --- Some of the most high profile public authorities have sought exemption from RTI's purview. The exemption sought by UPSC is specifically about information relating to "examination and recruitment/appointment cases". The nodal authority for UPSC and CBI is the personnel ministry, which is responsible for the administration of RTI as well.

Four of the other public authorities which have requested to be kept out of RTI's ambit are PSUs. While Bhel and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited have apparently given no reason, National Building Construction Corporation has cited the need for a level playing field with the private sector. NBCC suggested that RTI be extended to cover the private sector as well or, alternatively, "exemption be considered for PSUs". PEC Limited, a trading corporation under the commerce ministry, has sought a review of the "entitlement of a questioner seeking information on commercial deals or apparently irrelevant information, which will not help the public."

Bhel and DMRC suggested that in case their pleas were not accepted, Parliament consider introducing provisions to "check the bona fides of the requester and to refuse information to those who are not directly concerned with it, or might use it for promoting their own business interests or may misuse it." The SC as first reported by TOI, has sought exemption from RTI Act for any information, which, in the opinion of CJI or his nominee, may "adversely affect or interfere or tend to interfere with the independence of the judiciary or administration of justice."


Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2007