How we fail our RTI heroes

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Babu Ram Chauhan showing RTI documents in 2012.

Babu Ram Chauhan always knew what was coming but he could not afford drop what he was doing. Belonging to Ramgarh village located near to India’s border with Pakistan in west Rajasthan, Chauhan exposed encroachment on more than 17,000 hectares prime irrigated land in the area. On July 11, he was kidnapped while returning home after teaching at a school 30 km away from his village. The kidnappers beat him up badly, shaved his head and forced urine down his throat. They would have thrown him in the Indira Gandhi canal but for a few passersby who raised an alarm. 

The RTI story in graphs

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
RTI's implementation has not improved much over the years.

The Right To Information Act has been the only law which allows Indians power to question the government through a simple process. But over the years, several bottlenecks have cropped up.Lack of proactive disclosures, indifferent first appellate and long delays at the information commissions are some of the issues plaguing the transparency law. On the other hand, record keeping has improved and very few frivolous applications are being filed. RaaG’s study from 2011-13 tells us how and whys of the RTI regime.

Immune to accountability II

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Second part of the series done for The Hoot analyses CIC's decisions on serious issues including mercy petitions, phone tapping and bank details: Since the inception of the RTI Act in 2005, the role of Central Information Commission (CIC) has been exemplary. Barring some instances, the commission has been appreciated for ensuring that public authorities are accountable to the people. Along the way, it has dealt successfully with various serious issues like disclosure of information related to mercy petitions, phone tapping and bank details to name a few. However, since the commission has...

Immune to accountability-I

Monday, June 4, 2012

Public officers have been wrongly invoking exemptions under national interest to deny information under the RTI Act. A two-part series done for The Hoot tracks denials and the CIC's approach.

The Right to Information (RTI) Act, which came into force on 12 October 2005, marked the evolution of India’s parliamentary democracy. The enactment of the legislation was the result of a persistent civil society movement which started in rural India to ensure right to work and livelihood to citizens through transparency in public works. The Official Secrets Act, which labelled everything out-...

Getting informed and surviving the skirmish

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In 2010, 28 attacks on RTI activists were reported from across the country which included 10 murders. And while all this goes on, authorities perform lip service promising strong action against the guilty and better security to whistle blowers. Needless to say the going is getting tougher for those fighting to make official information public.

The reactionary barrage

Many a times, even prior knowledge of a danger does not help because police fail to gauge the threat perception. Satish Shetty was hacked to death in Pune on January 13 last year even though he...

Five years of the sunshine Act

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Right to information movement we are currently witness to owes its existence to farmers and labourers in small villages of Rajasthan who in the late 90s demanded that official records regarding government funds be made public and the corrupt brought to book. Continued pressure by non-government groups and activists for transparency in governance led to enactment of the RTI Act in 2005. GOI Monitor accessed and assessed the data related to its performance at the central level through first five years of its existence. Here are the highs and lows.

The most heartening fact...

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