Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court Jasti Chelameswar today underlined the significance of the Right to Information (RTI) Act by describing it as an instrument that could help bring transparency and accountability in administration, which in turn would create the basis for a more just and fair society. Inaugurating a seminar organized by the Kamrup District Administration in collaboration with Jagriti Mancha, the Chief Justice spoke on the philosophical basis of the Act that came into effect in October 2005, and mentioned that attempts at bringing probity into public affairs had preceded the Act.
Referring to a case, he quoted Jeremy Bentham and said, “…Where there is publicity there is justice!”
He was of the view that in modern society people’s lives were regulated by innumerable laws and agencies, and people did not know about the decision making process. The RTI Act by making information available would help make decision makers accountable.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Information Commissioner of Assam RS Mooshahary emphasized the need to make people aware about the provisions of the Act. He deemed it essential that unless diffusion of information reached the grassroots, the Act would fail to help people.
Mooshahary regretted that no proper monitoring of the Act’s implementation was currently on in the State and his office did not have the power and authority to take action against non-implementing agencies.
Alluding to PIOs and APIOs of various Government offices he noted that it was not enough that they were designated as such but they made their status known to the common person so that the officials could become more accessible.
Addressing the gathering, LC Singhi, joint secretary and additional secretary, Central Information Commission highlighted some of the key features of the RTI. He said that the RTI has given a regime for the people to know. He also mentioned that the RTI could only proffer data that was available with the authorities concerned. In such a context, it was a vital necessity that all files and documents were stored in a systematic and methodical manner.
Earlier the DC Kamrup RC Jain delivered the welcome address. Several other legal luminaries, including Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justice IA Ansari also attended the seminar.