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Manmohan Singh cautions 'RTI should not be used just to ridicule public authorities'

Source : ANI
Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 08:00 hrs

Hailing RTI's extensive use, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday said this important legislation should not be only about criticizing, ridiculing, and running down public authorities.

Addressing the 7th annual conference of State and Central Information Commissioners here, Dr. Singh said: "I believe that all of us share a responsibility to promote more constructive and productive use of the Right to Information Act. This important legislation should not be only about criticizing, ridiculing, and running down public authorities."

"It should be more about promoting transparency and accountability, spreading information and awareness and empowering our citizen. I think that there is need for all of us to work towards building an environment where citizens see the government as a partner and not as an adversary," he added.

He further called for striking a balance between RTI and right to privacy.

"There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the RTI and the right to privacy, which stems out of the Fundamental Rights. The citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," he said

Expressing concerns about the invasion of privacy, Dr. Singh said: "The potential for good, constructive use of the Right to Information is perhaps far greater than what its current status would indicate."

"Notwithstanding its successes, I believe that the Right to Information is still evolving in our country. The potential for good, constructive use of this Right is perhaps far greater than what its current status would indicate. But this potential cannot be realized automatically. It would require concerted efforts towards removing the impediments that at present reduce its efficacy," he added.

Dr Singh also said that the government would appeal against a recent Supreme Court verdict that calls for retired judges to lead information commissions across the country.

"I know that there has been some confusion about the implications of the recent Supreme Court order regarding the composition of the Central and State Information Commissions. As you might be aware, the government has decided to go in review before the Supreme Court in this matter," he added. (ANI)




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