ITANAGAR, Oct 12 - Hailing the Right to Information Act, 2005, as a �sunshine� legislation towards ensuring transparency and corruption-free governance, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Dr Joram Begi today said the RTI Act has transformed the relationship between the citizens and the State. He advised both the information seekers and the information givers (PIOs) not to misuse the Act.
�The necessity to enact the Act was to combat the numerous scams that were prevailing in the country, to bring about transparency in the system, with the objective to empower the citizens and promote transparency and accountability in the working system of the Government on day-to-day basis.
�The Act perceives the common man � whosoever be it � differently abled, illiterate, student, etc., as an active participant in the process of nation building by conferring on him the right to participate in governance through the implementation of the RTI Act,� said Dr Begi in his keynote address at an awareness programme on the RTI Act 2005 here.
It has been more than a decade since the RTI Act became operational in the State. The State Information Officers and the appellate authorities are quasi-judicial functionaries under the RTI Act with distinctive powers and duties and they constitute the cutting edge of this �practical regime of information�, as envisaged in the preamble to the Right to Information Act. Together, they can create an effective mechanism for disposal of increasing numbers of requests for information being received from the citizens of India, he noted.
The CIC also exhorted the press to shoulder the responsibility to make the State accountable and transparent. As most people are not aware of exercising their right to freedom of information in a direct and personal way, the media�s role and significance in informing the public about the legal advantages of the RTI Act as an anti-corruption weapon has become all the more important, he said.
�The RTI Act has given a greater and wider space for the media to play in empowering people and consolidating a democratic polity. By using this legislation, the media can investigate and expose issues of wider public interest. The media, as the guardian of freedom of speech, can open up closed doors to transparency and accountability by disseminating information about the RTI to secure the people�s fundamental right to know,� he added.
Dr Begi also advised teachers and students to spread information about the RTI on a larger scale and make use of the awareness programme.