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Another blow to transparency- Govt restricts access to secretariat information: RTI by NCPRI


Sajib Nandi

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Sajib Nandi

In Another Blow to Transparency, Government Restricts Access to Secretariat Information

 

According to Anjali Bhardwaj of the NCPRI, they were surprised to learn that a crucial para in the CSMOP – which prescribes procedures for secretariat work – had been amended. “In previous years, we would refer to the office of manual procedures and ask whether a reply had been sent under para 66(1) of the manual. However, this time when we checked the latest edition (14th edition) of the manual, we found that “member of public” has been replaced by ‘VIP’.”

 

Bhardwaj said the 13th edition of the manual, which was issued in 2010, stated in para 66(1) that “each communication received from a Member of Parliament, member of the public, recognised association or a public body will be acknowledged within 15 days, followed by a reply within the next 15 days of acknowledgement sent.”

 

The 14th edition had been revised to state in para 37(vi) that “each communication received from a Member of Parliament/VIP, shall be acknowledged within 15 days, followed by a reply within the next 15 days of acknowledgement sent.” As such, “member of public” had been surreptitiously replaced with “MP/VIP” to deny information to ordinary citizens.

 

Through this sleight, all the ordinary citizens were in a way debarred from accessing information, that too by a ministry and department that is supposed to uphold the Right to Information Act.

 

Read more at: In Another Blow to Transparency, Government Restricts Access to Secretariat Information - The Wire

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