Question: 

What are the Practical instances where Right to Information Act has increased Transparency, accountability and better performances in the working and administrative of the public authorities ?

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BeingSkilled's picture

2 Practical instances where Right to Information Act has increased Transparency, accountability and better performances in the working and administrative of the public authorities are: 

1. Copy of FIR under RTI – Jiju Lukose v/s State of Kerala 

  • A division batch of Kerala High Court comprising of Chief Justci Ashok Bhushan, Justice A.K Shafique in the court case Jiju Lukose v/s State of Kerala announched that the police authorities are obligated to provide the copy of FIR on an TI Application, unless there is a competent authority which exempts it under section 8 of the RTI Act.
  • Earlier, if one didn’t have contacts with Policemen, the records weren’t provided doesn’t matter how critical that FIR would have been for people concerned.
  • What happened? 
    • The petitioner used to live in USA, was a accused and resident of Ettumanoor who was accused of a murder. His parents were aged, were regularly called to police station which was a annoying process.
    • To prevent this further, He filed the RTI Application stating that, 
      1. Although he submitted the FIR on Dec’ 2012, he could receive the copy of FIR in 2 months time.
      2. The delay is not preferred as meanwhile the FIR can get manipulated.
    • Since there is no way of knowing the allegations put on the accused, it leads to dangerous and unfair situation.
  • Court’s understanding: 
    • The court shared that the right to defend oneself by filing application under Section 438 of Criminal Penal Code can only be fulfilled when the person receives the copy of FIR.
    • Therefore, court announced that the accused is supposed to get the copy of FIR from the concerned police station within 48 hours.
    • Since the information is also available online under the RTI act, the RTI Application can be submitted online by anyone and Police can upload the data of FIR online.
    • In rare cases, Police offers can gain the exemption for sharing the FIR copy which possibly protects interest of people involved and also safety of stakeholders is concerned.
    • State submitted in the court that the uploading of all FIRs online is still not decided and they can take a call for that.
  • Verdicts: 
    • On submission of RTI application by accused for the FIR copy, the concerned police department will share the copy within 2 days.
    • Copy can also be received from the court of magistrate
    • Copy of the FIR has to be made available when requested
      under RTI Act, 2005 – unless an exemption is requested under
      section 8.
    • State will take decision on uploading of all FIRs / specific
      category of FIRs to the official website.

f. Effects: 

  • Article 21 guarantees protection of life and personal liberty. This judgment ensure that Article 21 will upheld and the threat of police’s action can be countered by taking proper actions as required and calculated post getting all information.
  • FIR is confirmed as a public document and public officer will provide that under the Section 76 of Evidence Act.
  • This made police department responsive to the requests made by common people.
  • With strict timelines, even the court has ensured that matter is solved on priority.

Therefore Right to Information Act has made public department responsive and efficient. 

 
BeingSkilled's picture

Vaishnavi Kasturi v/s Indian Institute of Management ( a Public Authory under Right to Information Act – by Ministry of Human Resources Development ) : Link

  1. Every entrance exam in India decides the fate of Millions of students every year. A slight unfair practice can hugely impact the lives of students, delay their education from 1 year to reducing the possibility of joining their dream college due to unavailability of proper information pertaining to admissions or exams.

  2. What happened?

    1. Vaishnavi Kasturi scored one of the top scores in CAT Entrance Exams and yet she was denied admission by IIM. She filed a RTI Application to understand why she was denied admission, was it because she was visually impaired or was there any other admission criteria which she didn’t meet.

    2. Students didn’t have clear idea of how admissions happened in IIMs. As earlier thought, CAT wasn’t the only criteria for admission and in reality it was just one small criteria.

  3. Learning from the revelations:

    1. CAT Scores are used by over 200 institues and therefore IIM used to set the minimum criteria. Individual institutes had their parameters and admission criteria.

    2. Selection criteria is finalized only after seeing the pool of CAT applicants.

    3. Since there are hundreds of students with 99 percentile, Personal Interview and marks of X, XII and undergraduate course are also taken into account.

    4. Shortlisting criteria for Personal Interview was also disclosed.

  4. Impact –

a. Since the first RTI has been answered by IIM, there were more RTI sent to IIMs to institutes to gather all important information and statistics pertaining to the selections and also to key an eye on the admission process and to discover any instances where unlawful admissions are happening or not.

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  1. Responses received on the RTI were of great importance to over 300,000 applicants of CAT every year as prior to this, they didn’t have any clue of admission process and everything was happening at the mercy of IIM.

  2. Being a Public body, working directly under Central government and ministry of HRD, this is important and making them accountable is important.

  3. This instance of RTI made them proactive and answerable to public at large