Can RTI win Elections 2014?

RTI win Elections 2014On the current sentiments of India at large the fundamental question arise ‘Can RTI win Elections 2014’? Take the example: Ms Anjali Damania knows no introduction. She is a doctor by profession. She was a housewife and came to know about irrigation scam. She joined Anna. She filed an RTI. And got proof that 70 thousand crores have been spent but farmers are not getting any water. She filed appeal in the Bombay High Court. On August 15, she met Nitin Gadkari, hoping that because BJP is in the opposition in Maharashtra, it will focus on this scam. His answer shocked her. He said that ‘Mr Pawar and I have a good relationship…they do work for us, we do work for them. Mr Gadkari later denied any relationship with Mr Pawar or with his party, the NCP. This was reported by NDTV on October 17, 2012 18:44 IST. Similarly, Arvind Kejriwal used RTI in the case against Sh Robert Vadra to bring in to light corruption charges.

In the wikipedia article it is reported as “Kejriwal has been using the Right to Information Act (RTI) in corruption cases in many government departments including the Income Tax Department, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Delhi Electricity Board and others.”

All these activities established them as a clear protagonist of Anti Corruption movement. NDTV report

The law has been empowering for the common person. And it has played an invaluable role in uncovering scams and scandals that would have been shut out of sight in an earlier era. From the Commonwealth Games to the 2G scam, RTI queries have been the starting point of exposure in a score of recent cases of corruption. Not surprisingly, the success of the law has been its greatest threat. -Reports The Hindu 

“The anti-corruption campaign of the Madhya Pradesh lokayukta is one of the factors that helped project a clean image for CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. MP is the only state besides Karnataka where the lokayukta has police powers of raid and arrest.From 2007 to March this year, the lokayukta registered over 1,200 cases, 508 of which trapped government officials and led to cash seizures worth Rs 55.98 lakh, sources in the lokayukta’s office said. Another Rs 257.92 crore was seized in other cases.” This was reported by Indian Express here. This was documented at our portal here.

On the contrary, Politicians are also using RTI Act against Activist too, in one of the threads posted at our forum called as “Politicians using RTI queries to spy on RTI activists

“RTI activists claim that political leaders are making their proxies use the sunshine law to know what information the activists have sought from government offices. In one such case, a person by the name of Manohar Kamble sought to know details of all the information sought by RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar so far. Kumbhar and other activists in the city claim this might be a tactic to put pressure on activists attempting to expose any illegal activities of politicians.”

In an interview given by the then CIC, Sh. Wajahat Habibullah, who is our RTI Consultant listed at Activist Directory was asked “Is there political resistance to RTI?”

In reply he informed that- “Actually I think it is the other way round. The late Andhra chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy once told me that he was convinced that RTI had played a crucial role in his reelection. Reddy believed that his government was perceived to be more transparent because of RTI.

In only seven years, the RTI law has not just penetrated the fortress that was official India, but more miraculously, acquired a resilience that its authors could not have envisaged. It is a testimony to the Act’s strong survival instinct. In times to come, what Arvind Kejriwal has shown the way, many politician shall be inclined to be associated with RTI in one form or the other. The ruling Party shall use it to project how clean and transparent they are, and opposition parties shall use to dig holes in the system to expose the Government. We see actions happening in coming election, do you?

Will RTI Play an important role in the coming General Election 2014?

Please post your views.

Posted in Opinion, RTI Act 2005
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