NEW DELHI: On the occasion of completion of ten years of RTI act, the NCPRI (National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information) organised a public hearing in which people from different parts of the country participated. The event was organised in Gandhi Peace Foundation situated at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg, New Delhi and witnessed some eminent personalities, namely working as RTI activists in the programme.
Various RTI activists from different states were present during the event and discussed their experiences as activists of the past 10 years. Apart from this the committee told stated that there was supposed to be a meeting of various RTI activists on 16 October, 2015 with the Prime Minister of the country in which activists from all over the country would participate but a change was introduced and only 7 people were allowed to meet to 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 there was a blind man named Roop Chand who filed an RTI with her help asking questions regarding the construction of the roads in his particular village which seemed to be in progress for quite a long period of time. What he got to know as the answer was that three times the government had approved the construction fund for the road but it’s all on paper whereas no results could be seen in reality. Due to this RTI, the authorities took the cognizance and roads were constructed in his village steadily. The reason why he filed an RTI was that being a blind man, he got hurt several times due to the damaged roads.
Another activist called Mr. Sheikh from Jammu and Kashmir told that in his state, the army detains many individuals in the name of “security reasons”, as AFSPA (Armed Force Special Powers Act) is enacted in his state. Those who once get detained, rarely come back home and no one is answerable to this question. Through filing RTIs, he got to know the details of a few detained people but others are still missing.
Along with them, Joy Kumar, an activist from Manipur shared that how people in Manipur get humiliated by the local MLA’s and their hooligans for filing RTI’s concerning local issues. Apart from such challenges they are using this act and getting their due rights.
Mr. Habibullah, the first appointed CIC, along with Mrs. Sandhu, the first women CIC, were also present during this event and he also shared their views regarding this act. Renowned RTI activist, Aruna Roy and Anjali Bhardwaj were also present in this event.
Some common people were also present during this important event and shared there humiliating experiences by public servants in ration shops, BDO Offices, etc. and how they used RTI as a tool for their and the society’s benefit.
At last, a drama was organised by a group called 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 government body towards them. All in all, this event brought out the problems in the working of the system and how changes were brought slowly and steadily and hence, turned out to be a success!