DoPT minister in CIC convention on misuse of RTI Act: Corrective ways needed but not as advocated by the minister
It refers to Union Minister for Personnel and Training (DoPT) in annual CIC-convention held on 06.12.2017 at Vigyan Bhawan (New Delhi) talking aggressively on misuse of RTI Act in an which was unfitting for the occasion. The minister was not even aware of present vacancies at post of Commissioners at Central Information Commission and delaying appointment of a Chief Information Commissioner for months while criticising the earlier government for the same. According to the minister even such unusual delay was not fit for an RTI application to grill the government, even linking god as subject-matter of some future RTI application. His argument for filing RTI applications only for self-interest could perhaps not unseated earlier government with RTI Act being instrumental in exposing so many scams like CWG, 2-G, coal-block etc.
Nobody should deny massive misuse of RTI Act, for which practical corrective measures like making Identity-proof compulsory with every RTI application as also directed by Punjab and Haryana High Court in its verdict dated 02.11.2012 in the matter ‘Fruit & Merchant Union vs Unknown’ (CWP No. 4787 of 2011), and having a uniform RTI-fees of rupees 50 inclusive of copying charges for first 20 copied pages can be instrumental.
Arguments against such measures are baseless since requiring ID proof will just authenticate identity already provided in RTI applications through name and address apart from fixing at least some responsibility on applicant. With every government-fees increased manifolds in last 12 years, inclusion of copying charges of first 20 copied pages in basic RTI fees will practically not affect applicants especially when persons of BPL category are exempted from any RTI fees.