NEW DELHI: On completing ten years of the RTI Act, the NCPRI (National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information) organized a public hearing. The event was organized in Gandhi Peace Foundation situated at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, New Delhi, and witnessed eminent personalities working as RTI activists in the program. People from different parts of the country participated.
Various RTI activists from different states were present during the event and discussed their experiences as activists over the past 10 years. Apart from this, the committee said that there was supposed to be a meeting of various RTI activists on 16 October 2015 with the country’s Prime Minister. Insights from all over the country were necessary. Still, they introduced a change, and only 7 people were allowed to meet with the PM due to security issues. They condemned this step and said they would not attend the meeting.
Pankti, an activist from Gujarat, shared a story that a blind man named Roop Chand filed an RTI with her help, asking questions regarding the construction of the roads in his village, which seemed to progress for quite an extended period. He got to know that the answer was three times the government had approved the construction fund for the road, but it was all on paper, whereas they could see no results in reality. Due to this RTI, the authorities took cognizance, and roads were constructed in his village steadily. He filed an RTI because, being a blind man, he got hurt several times due to the damaged roads.
Another activist called Mr. Sheikh from Jammu and Kashmir said that in his state, the army detains many individuals for “security reasons,” as AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is enacted in his state. By filing RTIs, he got to know a few detained people’s details, but others are still missing. Those who once get detained rarely come back home, and no one is answerable to this question.
Joy Kumar, an activist from Manipur, shared how people in Manipur get humiliated by the local MLAs and their hooligans for filing RTIs concerning local issues. Apart from such challenges, they use this activity and get their due rights.
Mr. Habibullah, the first appointed CIC, and Mrs. Sandhu, the first women CIC, were also present during this event, and they also shared their views regarding this act. Renowned RTI activists Aruna Roy and Anjali Bhardwaj were also present at this event.
During this important event, some ordinary people were also present and shared their humiliating experiences with public servants in ration shops, BDO Offices, etc. They used RTI as a tool for their and society’s benefit.
Finally, a drama was organized by CGNet Swara, which expressed the grief of North-East tribal people and how they suffer due to the lack of education, water, and other living resources. This act also reflected the irresponsibility of the government body towards them. This event brought out the problems in the system’s working and how changes were brought slowly and steadily and hence, turned out to be a success!
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