Tuesday, June 20, 2017

RTI on Separatists Chocked : S.K. Bhalla

The Northlines: J&K: Tuesday, June 20, 2017.
With a great elan it is being telecast repeatedly on Republic TV that information has been denied to an RTI of an Activist accessed by the channel regarding funding of the separatists. Reportedly both the State and Central Govt. have said no to the RTI query. Section 8 of J&K RTI Act 2009 makes a mention of information that is exempted from disclosure viz “information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State or lead to incitement of an offence” and “information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders”. There are a few more areas that lead no elaboration as of now. Go to a book shop spend Rs. 50/- only and get educated if you are interested in operation RTI. Many people are interested verbally in seeking information but they need another’s shoulder to fire. Thank GOD in our country we have a few genuine fiery brains.
Let me make a mention of a provision in the section 8 that reads “Notwithstanding anything of State Officials Secret Act or any of the exemptions permissible a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests”. It is on the basis of this provision that this writer succeeded in getting information about the tainted Ex-VC of Jammu University Mr. Amitabh Mattoo now somewhere lost in the corridors of power. He is getting Rs. 1/- as a token salary to inspire others except this scribe with a deadly pen that is always full.
Commenting on the matter in hand it appears that in the prevalent scenario obtaining in our State in particular and Country in general there was no harm to share at least some information as the skeletons in the cupboard of separatists are already in the public domain. But how one can force the apparent pillars of power? There is also provision for 1st Appeal and you can opt for 2nd Appeal too. Par Sabr Koun Kare!
With due respects to the applicant it can be safely written that owing to some media connections he preferred hype and his RTI matter has become a concern for worldwide debate. The particular TV channel and other channels these days have sufficient number of TV studio Warriors comprising a few Retd. Generals, bureaucrats, rejected politicians, pseudo activists and loud mouthed speakers for whom dinner is not digestible till they shout at the top of their voice to impress others and project themselves as top ranking nationalists. Tagore I don’t know why talked of internationalism along with nationalism that grows in the hearts and minds. But who bothers.
Friends do not take RTI matters casually and the hype of the media can at times boomerang. Fail to understand why only a selected few occupy cozy chairs in the TV studios while a limited coverage is given to the voice of genuinely affected commoners. Isme Bhi Koi Design Hai, bacho!
Hopefully after filing the 1st Appeal or proving with sufficient arguments the public interest the information will be disclosed and then the real test of Activist will commence. Some people file RTIs for harassing and blackmailing others. They need to be exposed and even punished by the law of the land. I shall hasten to add that even a few apparently public spirited Advocates/RTI Activists have made a hobby of filing frivolous RTIs for cheap publicity. Do you want me to name them? Wait till tomorrow.