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RTI Act: Excessive transparency a threat to democracy?
The ruling of Central Information Commission (CIC) to bring the major six political parties under RTI Act has raised another big question about the survival of democratic system in India.

Now the questions are: Will the CIC ruling harm the democratic institutions? Does a citizen’s duty in a democracy begin and end with the casting of his or her vote once in five years or whenever elections are held? How can a democracy function with such excessive transparency?

As a matter of fact, if only this whole RTI nonsense had been nipped in the bud, the Adarsh scam may never have become public, or the Commonwealth Games scam or the 2G scam nor the scores of other scams that barely merit a media mention because the amounts involved are not comparable with the mega-scams.

Perhaps, this Act being the first of its kind in the nation, authorizing even the common man to have right to information, may affect the democratic set-up. Prior to this, there was Official Secret Act, 1923, which was formed keeping in view the interests of the British, under which it was not obligatory or right to provide any information to the public.

However, in 2002, Right to Freedom Act was introduced but the same was not according to the changed requirements of the country. In 2005, Right to Information (RTI) Act was formed, with powers to the public, to have any information with regard to the official working, and it was expected that the country will get some relief from the corruption going on since decades.

There is no doubt and denying the fact that with the introduction of RTI Act the public is very much benefited but now it is felt that under the influence of this Act, there is a conspiracy going on secretly, to keep away the public from the public system.

The use of RTI Act was alright to the extent of knowing the progress of government works, to get rid of bureaucratic system in the government offices and to expose the corruption going on unabated.  But in case the RTI Act is made a tool to overpower the democracy and parliamentary affairs, then there is a need to study the danger in the misuse of the Act, especially when the political parties have been brought under section 2(h) of RTI Act.  

The Commission has said that the benefits being extended to the political parties under Income Tax Act, free air time on All India Radio and Doordarshan at the time of elections are the financial assistance from the government.

Some say that the law is misused by the RTI activists, and RTI Act is hampering institutional efficacy and efficiency. According to the industrialists, the RTI Act would stop the growth of the country. The government should make a provision so that complaints against the Information Commissioners can also be looked into.

Frankly speaking, those who oppose the RTI’s scrutiny in the functioning of different political parties are not interested in rooting out corruption. Corruption, as it has been rightly said, starts from the top. All political parties must go in for the implementation of the CIC order, and prove that they love their motherland, and have a political will to eliminate corruption.

The largest and most vicious threat of all, which unfortunately most people are not aware of, is the Information Commission itself. There are over 20,000 appeals and complaints pending with the central commission, which means an average backlog of over 10 months. If it continues like this, in the next three years, we might see a backlog of two to three years. If things continue this way for the next five years, the Information Commission will become more like our judicial system.

In case departments like defense are also brought under RTI Act to provide any information to any seeker, then engagement beyond a certain limit is a threat to democracy. Thus, we should be overly sensitive to the evolving nature of RTI, as it is important to keep a practical control of RTI objectives because it cannot be allowed to run riot.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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