Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remedy for section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act.

Beurocracy Today: Subhashchandra Agrawal: New Delhi: Sunday, Monday 28, 2017.
Even after a decade implementing the RTI Act in the country, the compliance of section 4(1)(b) of the Act regarding a suo-motto disclosure of the information on websites of public authorities is very poor. 
In one of the books authored by a Central Information Commissioner, it reveals that number of RTI applications can be down by 50 per cent if proper compliance of the section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act is ensured.
The main aspect on non-compliance of the section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act is its complicity, requiring variety of information to be put on website, which is further complicated by DoPT circulars. 
Staffs at public authorities who are assigned to put information on the website often defer the task for next day due to complexity of the task. A Central Information Commissioner while participating in Janne-ka-Haque, a weekly Doordarshan programme on RTI, has spoken on a practical remedy to solve the problem –suggesting for a gradual implementation of section 4(1)(b) of the Act by initially uploading some of the most vital information on the website. 
This can be directed to be done in a time-bound period and failing to which disciplinary actions may be initiated against the concerned staff. 
Likewise, other information may be directed to be uploaded on respective websites in phases. However, it should ensure that authorities having already complied with section 4(1)(b) of the Act shall not delete information on the website. 
Motivation for compliance of section 4(1)(b) can be done through appreciation by DoPT highlighting names of such public-authorities through newspaper advertisements.
Central Government should list agencies to assign with the task of audit for the implementation of section 4(1)(b) by fixing some reasonable audit-fees.