RTI Amendment - Violation of Fundamental Rights
- An Appeal to H.E.President of India & Honourable Chief Justice of India
The Cabinet (Government of India) has approved the proposed amendment in the Right to Information Act, 2005 to exclude political parties from the ambit of RTI Act and in the name of ambiguity in the law and to put the 'File Notings' and 'How a decisions were arrived' out of the preview of the RTI Act, in spite of the fact that law in clear terms defined the exemptions from disclosures which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders, endanger the life or physical safety or any person or would identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes, to balance the rights of liberty as against the duty to protect the security of State, public order, decency or morality or incitement to an offence which are protected under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.
Hon'ble Chief Justice of India Mr. Y. K. Sabharwal pointed out that "the 'Public Accountability' is a facet of administrative efficiency. Publicity of information serves as an instrument for the oversight of citizens. By the same token it suggests that law could become a means for fighting corruption. Therefore, a Government which produces a trustworthy flow of information creates greater certainty and transparency. This is especially appreciated by those who intend to invest in the Country. International experience shows that countries that allow citizens access to public information have seen a reduction
in indicators of corruption and, consequently, substantial increases in
administrative efficiency. 'Public Accountability' is a part of governance. It is the Government that is accountable to the public for delivering a broad set of outcomes but more importantly it is the public service consisting of public servants that constitutes the delivery mechanism. Therefore, the accountability and governance arrangements between Government which acts as the principal and the public service which is its agent, impact on the Government's ability to deliver and on its accountability to the public. The challenge lies in ensuring that the public service is geared to meet the expectations of the Government of the day and that public service is neutral,
whichever party is in power. When a Government department translates a
Government's policy into programmes, the success of that translation
is very much dependent on a clear understanding of and commitment to
the outcomes that are sought. It is not surprising that the history of
accountability and governance within the public service has shifted
from measuring "inputs" to measuring "outputs", to matching outputs, and identify outcomes. The key which weakens accountability or the effectiveness of the Government or the public sector is the lack of information."
Government should admit that the 'File Notings' and 'How a decisions were arrived' are important part of the Information which need to be disclosed to the governed.
The decision of the Government to amend the law is result of strong
lobbying from the Politicians and Bureaucrats, who feels uneasiness
under fear for the disclosure of their way of working at the cost of
larger public Interests and to weaken the accountability or the
effectiveness of the Government or the public sector. The decision is
dead against the fundamental right flowing from Art. 19(1)(a) of the
Constitution to know about Administrative Efficiency, Public
Accountability and Constitutional Governance in democratic India which
requires an informed citizenry and transparence in information which
are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold
governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed.
Therefore, this is humble request to His Excellency to sent a message
to the Government to withdraw its aforesaid decision in favour of
amendment in RTI Act, 2005. The decision of the Government to amend
the RTI Act, 2005 is undemocratic and unconstitutional. Therefore Your
Excellency the Guardian of the Constitution as well as the Fundamental
Rights of the Citizens should act promptly to restrain the Government
from any further move to curtail the fundamental rights of the
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
While drafting our constitution of india , drafting members - freedom fighters themselves assumed that in future also the persons who will occupy constituional positions will be sincere & of high impeccable integrity. However they were proved wrong. Late Prime Minister of Great Britain Mr.Winston Churchill has been proved right.
"Power will go to the hands of rascals,rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and will be lost in political squabbles . A day would come when even air & water will be taxed." Sir Winston made this statement in the House of Commons just before the independence of India & Pakistan.
Nowadays , criminals have entered into public service , working as police , magistrates , etc. Criminals have become MPs , MLAs and are also working as Cabinet Ministers . Criminals have become judges , some of them have become supreme court judges.
End result CRIMINALS POLICING THE OTHER CRIMINALS , CRIMINALS DRAFTING LAWS , CRIMINALS JUDGING OTHERS. Even there are cases of irregularities , illegaliteies by Prime Minister of India and Irregularities , illegalities committed by supreme court of india judges . Example : JMM MPs bribery case , CWG Scam , 2G Scam , Bofors Scandal , etc and Bhopal Gas Tragedy Judgement fixing by then chief justice of india by way of alteration of charges , financial irregularities , illegal dealings by supreme court judges , etc.
In this backdrop , continuing with legal immunity to Prime minister of india , supreme court judges or any constitutional persons is nothing but blanket clearance to those VVIPs to committ more crimes , more anti-national acts wthout the fear of Law or Legal Prosecution. THIS LEGAL IMMUNITY IS & WILL BE AGAINST THE BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL LETTER & SPIRIT OF EQUALITY & EQUITABLE JUSTICE.
Are not some of the cabinet minsiters , so called constitutional experts , great advoctaes aware of this fundamental violation of constitution of india. Ofcourse , these advocates rightly fight for , take the cases of poor , commonman , they usually take cases of MNCs , Big time criminals , etc. Let these constitutional experts show us a single government hospital without corruption . Let the light of our constitution shine on our learned friends in the parliament belonging to all political parties. Corruption is there in every political party , in the same way there are very few honest persons in all political parties , judiciary , police & public service. Why you are afraid of accountability to people , while you are enjoying 5-star luxurious lifestyles at tax payer’s expense ?
Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister,
India’s governance is going through a credibility crisis as never before, in which all sectors of governance and social formations have been suspect. The political establishment has come in for most severe criticism, just and unjust.
Perhaps the only real argument for the credibility of the government continues to be the enactment and implementation of the RTI Act. It has been an entitlement which has kept the intent of a free and open system of governance afloat. The multiple uses of the Act to improve government functioning are so many that they defy enumeration. The use of the RTI is therefore seen as the one stated intent of the government to lay itself open to scrutiny, and therefore accountability.
The series of attempts to amend the Act, which have arisen periodically, have since 2006 been nullified to a large extent by public pressure as well as the political will of a part of the establishment and government.
It is reported that the Government is considering the introduction of a bill in Parliament to amend the RTI law, as a sharp reaction to the recent Central Information Commission order, which declared six political parties to be public authorities under the RTI Act. Such a move to amend the Act will reinforce and confirm the suspicions of many that the political establishment intends to cover acts of corruption and arbitrary use of power.
We, as citizens of India, empowered by the RTI Act, demand that it not be amended. The Act has enabled the making of informed choices and strengthened participatory democracy; by enabling the citizens of India to monitor and access services throughout the country. Any amendment to the RTI Act would undermine and weaken the process of realizing various constitutional promises. In 2009, when amendments were being proposed to the RTI Act, the concerned minister of the government had assured Parliament, in response to a question, that “Non- Governmental Organisations and Social activists will be consulted on the proposed amendments.” We would, therefore, expect the government to hold wide ranging public discussions before they think of amending the law in any way.
We are confident that the government will recognise the force of our demand and not take steps to amend and thereby dilute the Right to Information law, which has been acknowledged in India and abroad, as an affirmation of the right of Indian citizens to participate in, and monitor, democratic governance.
AMENDMENTS TO RTI ACT VIOLATION OF CITIZEN'S DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
By An Indian Citizen
The cabinet has reportedly approved far-reaching amendments to the
Right to Information Act, 2005, which among other things seeks to
restrict access to "file notings" and allow access to only "substantial
notings relating to social and developmental issues".
File notings are recordings of the views and reasons given by various
officials for or against any proposed decision. Access to 'file
notings' under the RTI Act has to be viewed in the context of the
constitutional guarantee of the 'right to know' or the 'right to
information' available under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of
It is settled that the 'right to information', implicit under Article
19(1) (a) is an untrammelled constitutional guarantee, subject only to
the 'reasonable restrictions' validly imposed by legislation under
Article 19(2), which allows on the right in the interest of "the
sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state,
relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or
relation to contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an
Any restriction imposed on the people's 'right to information' by the
RTI Act must fall within the ambit of Article 19(2). Section 8 of the
RTI Act already allows restriction of the right to information in the
interest of all the factors mentioned in Article 19(2).
As held by the Supreme Court, unreasonableness of the restriction
imposed on this right is to be determined by the courts. RTI Act is
intended to operationalise this existing right and to impose only the
permissible 'reasonable restrictions' under Article 19(2).
The proposed amendment must be tested in this jurisprudential context.
The scheme in Article 19(2) is clear. It specifies the heads in the
interests of which alone 'reasonable restriction' can be imposed by
It does not permit an omnibus restriction permitting the right to
information only under a few specified heads. It is the permissible
exclusion, and not permission which needs valid legislation.
Permission or the right is guaranteed unless restricted by a valid
This is the first infirmity in the proposed amendment. There is a
greater infirmity in the restriction proposed on disclosure of file
It is well settled that all state actions must conform to the rule of
non-arbitrariness to satisfy the requirement of Article 14. All
decisions must be based on a discernible principle, and cogent
A reasoned order or decision is assurance against nepotism,
arbitrariness and corruption. Reasons provide an internal check
arbitrariness in decision-making.
Mere information of the decision without disclosure of the reasons for
it and the decision-making process is not enough to permit scrutiny of
the decision made.
The very purpose of the 'right to information' would be frustrated
without the knowledge of the 'reasons' for the decision, emerging from
the file notings.
Except for information which can, or needs to be withheld in the
interests of the specified heads under Article 19(2), there is no
authority to permit exclusion of the remaining information in the form
of 'file notings' or otherwise.
The stated apprehension that disclosure of all file notings would
honest persons involved in the process from expressing their candid
opinion is misconceived. The fact is the opposite.
Assurance of public scrutiny or transparency in government business
will motivate the honest to be candid in the expression of their views
in writing, and it will deter others from not acting honestly for fear
Transparency or openness is an accepted principle of democracy and
governance. American judge Louis Brandeis had said: "Sunlight is the
best disinfectant, and electricity is the best policeman".
The 'Seven Principles of Public Life' indicated in the Lord Nolan
Committee's Report on Standards in Public Life, include objectivity,
accountability and openness which have been set out in the following
terms: Objectivity: In carrying out public business, including making
public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals
for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices
Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable for their
decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to
whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible about
all their decisions and actions. They should give reasons for their
decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest
clearly demands the same.
After all, public power is derived from 'We the People of India...'
exercise must be subject to legitimate scrutiny by the people, who are
the source of that power.
The people have a participatory role in a republican democracy as they
are "the keepers of the Constitution" (to borrow the expression from
Joseph Storey's exhortation to the American people).
The only reasonable restrictions on the people's plenary power of
to information can be those imposed by a valid law relating to the
limited heads specified in Article 19(2).
Omnibus exclusion of file notings relating to all heads except
'development and social issues' is impermissible under the
Failure of RTI Act in India
- In the clutches of corrupt public servants mafia
In the courts of law , every statement to be valid must be supported
by evidences. That too, the statements of public servants / government
officials & their reports in government records are considered as
sacrosanct , the ultimate gospel truth by courts of law.
The corruption has spread it's tentacles far & wide in the public
service. The bribe booty is shared by lower to higher officials. If an
official is complained against , his higher official conducts a formal
investigation & reports in the record that lower official is not
The vigilance authorities / Karnataka lokayukta has recently raided on
police , tax officials & seized illegal wealth amounting to crores of
rupees. Take the recent case where in senior IPS officer ,
superintendent of police chamarajanagar , mr.srikantappa was arrested
by Karnataka lokayukta. The victims spoke to media that he used to
threaten them with false cases. In this way , how many victims /
innocents were arrested & tortured by his arrest warrants ? how many
innocents suffered in false cases ? how many rich criminals got scot
free , by srikantappa's filing of B reports leading to closure of
In the past how many suffered by srikantappa's actions ? has the court
subjected to review all the previous actions of srikantappa throught
his corrupt career ? if not , why ?
The courts of law has taken the official reports , records of
mr.srikantappa as gospel truth & indirectly aided rich criminals &
harmed innocents. It is the same case with respect to reports of all
government officials ï¿½ police , labour , tax , etc. the rich
criminals buy out government officials & make them write favourable
report about themselves. Whereas the poor , innocents suffer from
adverse reports & injustices. The courts of law takes the government
records at it's face value & meat out injustices to the poor ,
innocents while aiding the rich criminals.
When a commoner requests for information as per RTI Act , the
government officials either give incomplete information , false
information or decline to give information under one pretext or the
other. The officials are damn sure that the truthful information will
be detrimental to themselves & will be taken as evidence against
themselves in the courts of law. So information , truth is not given.
Even information commissions are failing here. Thereby, the public are
denied to seek justice in the courts of law , by lack of evidences.
The courts of law before accepting the records of government
officials , must subject it to a "test of truth". When a government
report is contested against , a fact finding team comprising members
of public , complainant , respondent & the court , must check it out
at the ground level. Orelse when a complainant says that the report of
a government official ï¿½ police , labour , tax , etc as false that
government official must be subjected to lie detector test , narco-
analysis, ertc by court of law. The questionnaire ie the questions to
be asked during the scientific test are to be prepared with feedback
from both complainant & respondent's side. In that way , impartially
truth can be found out. After all , the objective of courts of law is
"Quest for Truth", not just giving out judgements based on reports of
Nowadays , we are even seeing reports of corruption among the
judiciary itself. If a complaint against a judge is made out that a
level ground is not provided to put up one's case in the court or
cross examination of one party is not allowed or lie detector test /
narco analysis of one party is not allowed ( in turn taking the lies
of that party as truth ), the judge making a varied interpretation of
law, the judge not safe guarding the health & life of the complainant
in the custody of police leading to 3rd degree torture of complainant
by police , etc, in all such cases the supreme court of India must
change the presiding judge of such cases , the cases must be
thoroughly reviewed & the guilty judge must be subjected to narco-
analysis , lie detector test , etc & legally prosecuted. In this back
drop , accountability of police & judges to the public ie citizens of
India ï¿½ kings of democracy , is a must. After all , the kings of
democracy / citizens of India / taxpayers are the paymasters of all
We at e ï¿½ voice of human rights of watch have utmost respect for the
judiciary & all government institutions. It is the corrupt few in
those institutions who are themselves bringing disgrace to the august
institutions they occupy , by their corrupt deeds. The saving grace is
that still honest few are left in public service & it is an appeal to
them , to legally prosecute their corrupt colleagues.
In India , the private enterprises are the wealth creators of our
economy. However , some private enterprises are violating labour
laws , tax laws , human rights & fundamental rights of people. In turn
harming the public , looting the tax dues. This is creating black
money causing various social evils in the society. These huge private
enterprises take loans from public sector banks ie take public's money
as loans , collect money from public in the form of shares ,
debentures , sell their product to the public. Still , they are not
covered by RTI Act, they don't give truthful information to the public
nor allow public inspection of their sites , why ? they buy out
concerned government officials & gets them to write favourable report
about themselves. There are wide differences between the ground
reality & these government reports. If the aggrieved person , victim
of injustices meated out by these private enterprises , tries to
legally seek justice, these criminal private enterprises buy out
police , concerned officials & fixes up the victim in false cases. The
police in total disregard to law violates the human rights &
fundamental rights of the victim in custody , subjects the victim to
3rd degree torture in custody. The presiding judge of the case doesn't
safe guard the rights , health , life of victims in custody. The judge
doesn't check out the truthfulness of government reports & passes on
judgement making varied interpretation of just remember the case of
"local citizens vs coca cola company" in plachimada , kerala.
Is it not right & just in such cases , to subject the presiding
judge , police , concerned government officialds & most importantly
key officials of that criminal private enterprise to lie detector ,
narco- analysis tests , to know the truth ? is it not right to conduct
the inspection of alleged site , review of all company's records , by
a team comprising of members from public , court , complainant &
Some of these criminal enterprises threaten to finish off the poor
victims . as these company's have money power they can buy out
rowdies , police & capable of doing anything. In such cases , if
anything untoward happens to the victim or his family , are not the
officials of such criminal enterprise liable to pay compensation to
the victims's family or survivors ?
In India , do we truly have democracy & freedom ? is this corrupt
India what our freedom fighters dreamt of & fought for ?