The Right To Information Act, passed in 2005, is one of the most powerful tools in the hands of the public. Not only does it help keep corruption in check, it also provides those within civil society with a way to hold the government accountable. Its foremost importance is in providing transparency among government institutions. After all, can you really be an informed citizen and freely voice your opinions if information is withheld?
Over the last few years, the RTI Act has been used several times to hold those in power accountable. For instance, in 2007, Assam-based organisation, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti filed RTI applications to bring to light how food meant to be distributed to people living below the poverty line was not really reaching them. It led to the firing of several government officials
Again, in 2008, RTI activists filed applications to bring to light the ‘Adarsh Society Scam‘. A 31-storey building meant for housing war veterans and war widows had somehow gone into the hands of politicians and their relatives. The fiasco led to the resignation of the then-chief minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan.
The RTI Act has ensured on several occasions that justice was within the reach of ordinary people. However, if you value the RTI Act, you should be very wary of the new set of rules proposed by the government to process RTI cases.
In this video, RTI activists Anjali Bhardwaj and Venkatesh Nayak explain how the new rules attack and dilute the RTI Act and what you can do to safeguard your right to information.