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Mooshahary appeals for united action

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, May 28 � Governor of Meghalaya, and former Chief Information Commissioner Assam, RS Mooshahary today appealed to civil society, NGOs, and other stakeholders to join hands to improve the implementation of the Right to Information Act 2005.

Speaking as the chief guest in a seminar organised by The Society for Assertion of Right to Information (RIGHT), the Governor stated, while legislation is necessary to address an issue such as disclosure of information, it is proper implementation that would make a difference at the grassroots.

Regretting that even after the commencement of the RTI Act corruption continued to be rampant, he said that graft and scams are setting new precedents for society, and the youth in particular. Young men and women now perceive corruption as a short cut to success, which was a matter of grave concern.

Citing a number of personal experiences during his tenure as the Chief Information Commissioner of Assam, he revealed that vested interests were more keen to deny information to applicants for one reason or the other. Some officials lacked a positive mindset about use of the Act, which created hurdles for those seeking information.

Moreover, the functioning of the State Information Commission was also constrained by availability of funds for which it was dependent on the State Government.

Identifying the State of Kerala as one with little corruption at the higher levels, he said that it could be attributed to the existence of a fairly good machinery to check corruption. Lessons could be learnt how that system and the personnel involved were tackling corrupt practices.

Expressing dismay over the contagion of corruption eating into the vitals of society, Mooshahary favoured naming and shaming of corrupt people, accompanied by their social boycott.

Speaking on the occasion, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma, drew applause from the audience with the comment that it was time for the Official Secrets Act of 1923 to be either repealed or amended.

Sangma was of the view that the Oath of Secrecy was not in keeping with the notion of probity in public affairs and therefore should be replaced with an �Oath of Transparency�. He added that civil society groups and government has to work together to ensure better implementation of the Act.

Former Union Minister, and senior Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar gave an overview of the Right to Information Act, and compared the past and prevailing democratic trends in India with her immediate neighbours.

He was of the view that to ensure the implementation of the RTI Act in a country like India it was imperative that it be accompanied by a Right to Rectification or Right to Redressal. One way of doing that could be by empowering the gram sabhas, which would lead more people to understand and use the Act.

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Mooshahary appeals for united action

GUWAHATI, May 28 � Governor of Meghalaya, and former Chief Information Commissioner Assam, RS Mooshahary today appealed to civil society, NGOs, and other stakeholders to join hands to improve the implementation of the Right to Information Act 2005.

Speaking as the chief guest in a seminar organised by The Society for Assertion of Right to Information (RIGHT), the Governor stated, while legislation is necessary to address an issue such as disclosure of information, it is proper implementation that would make a difference at the grassroots.

Regretting that even after the commencement of the RTI Act corruption continued to be rampant, he said that graft and scams are setting new precedents for society, and the youth in particular. Young men and women now perceive corruption as a short cut to success, which was a matter of grave concern.

Citing a number of personal experiences during his tenure as the Chief Information Commissioner of Assam, he revealed that vested interests were more keen to deny information to applicants for one reason or the other. Some officials lacked a positive mindset about use of the Act, which created hurdles for those seeking information.

Moreover, the functioning of the State Information Commission was also constrained by availability of funds for which it was dependent on the State Government.

Identifying the State of Kerala as one with little corruption at the higher levels, he said that it could be attributed to the existence of a fairly good machinery to check corruption. Lessons could be learnt how that system and the personnel involved were tackling corrupt practices.

Expressing dismay over the contagion of corruption eating into the vitals of society, Mooshahary favoured naming and shaming of corrupt people, accompanied by their social boycott.

Speaking on the occasion, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma, drew applause from the audience with the comment that it was time for the Official Secrets Act of 1923 to be either repealed or amended.

Sangma was of the view that the Oath of Secrecy was not in keeping with the notion of probity in public affairs and therefore should be replaced with an �Oath of Transparency�. He added that civil society groups and government has to work together to ensure better implementation of the Act.

Former Union Minister, and senior Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar gave an overview of the Right to Information Act, and compared the past and prevailing democratic trends in India with her immediate neighbours.

He was of the view that to ensure the implementation of the RTI Act in a country like India it was imperative that it be accompanied by a Right to Rectification or Right to Redressal. One way of doing that could be by empowering the gram sabhas, which would lead more people to understand and use the Act.