The Right to Information (RTI) Act is usually invoked by private citizens to uncover possible corruption by government officials and service providers. But in a curious case, the Mayor of Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh’s second city, used the services of the RTI to access the files of her predecessor. Why can’t corporation officials simply give them to her? That’s because Vani Rao belongs to the Congress, the main Opposition party to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state. The previous regime in the Bilaspur Municipal Corporation was headed by the BJP, and officials, apprehensive of what might be found in the files, are reluctant to annoy the ruling party.
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