Let me start this blog with some ‘serious’ jokes – 1) In a democratic nation the most ‘Powerful’ person is the Common Man. 2) The Right To Information (RTI), Act 2005, endows the citizens of India the right to secure access to the information under the control of public authorities. Yes, seriously, both of them are jokes, “in practicality”. Nevertheless, if anyone still thinks that these are not jokes rather believe them to be facts, then sorry to say but they are miles away from reality.
The hard-core reality is that a lot of Public Servants treat and consider the common man as the weakest soul alive. Just because these Public Servants are holding a post in a government department they consider themselves akin to the Almighty. On paper, they might be ‘Public’ servants but in reality, they are busy serving and fulfilling the agenda of anyone, but public.
Now, talking about the RTI Act 2005, which in spirit, was meant to empower the common man with the right to seek information from the public authorities, but in absence of proper monitoring, has failed drastically to achieve the objectives for which it came into existence. Although, the Act is powerful (still there is more room for strengthening the controls) but some of the Public Servants leave no chance to make it powerless.
Mind it; I am not making any baseless or loose comment. The fact is that there are many cases where the common man has been denied information, even under the RTI Act; still, the respective Information Commission has not taken any action against the concerned Public Authorities. Further, the graph of RTI Activists getting killed is growing significantly year-on-year. Isn’t all this enough to open our eyes or do we still believe that the so-called ‘Powerful’ Common Man has the Right To Information in our country?
On the other hand, I do know that there are cases wherein frauds have been unearthed after seeking information under the RTI, Act. And, as a matter of fact, all this happened only on account of the rare breed of public servants who perform their duty diligently and honestly. No doubt, it is because of officers like them that the common man’s faith in democracy is still intact. Hats off to all those dedicated Public Servants, who in reality serve the public.
However, the count of identified frauds is comparatively very less as compared to what it would have been had the RTI, Act been implemented in its true spirit. At the same time, the count of diligent and honest Public Servants, among the crowd of arrogant and corrupt officials is meagre in number. Those who dare to work honestly are either transferred from one place to another or harassed in some way or the other.
The facts are in front of us and it is a high time, we citizens realize that neither the government nor the corrupt public servants have a keen interest in implementing any law which brings their own actions and activities under the public scanner. Hence, we the citizens have to unite together and raise our voice in order to strengthen the acts like RTI, as well as, ensure to get them implemented in the right spirit. Only then we will be able to say that Right To Information, Act isn’t a joke with the ‘Powerful’ common man, and not otherwise.
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