Corruption Makes RTI Meaningless

Appointment of Information Commissioners who uphold the RTI Act is not done transparently in Tamil Nadu.

Mani, our Community Correspondent in Tamil Nadu, tells us in today’s video that the corruption involved in the appointment of the Information Commissioner – the person responsible for implementing the Right to Information Act – makes him very angry. When Madhav, a fellow RTI activist who Mani knows was arrested for protesting the most recent non-procedural appointment, Mani decided to make a video about this. Mani has realised the importance that the Right to Information Act holds for people like him, underprivileged people who depend on this act in order to make difficult government officials work on their behalf.

The RTI Act came into force five years ago, and essentially aims at getting people’s work done with less bureaucratic hassle. So far there have been lots of success stories across the country; people have used it to get sewer drains and streetlights, others have done campaigns against illegal hoardings and got ration cards approved. Mani himself uses RTI: one of Mani’s friends once requested information about a scholarship which he had not been given. Mani helped him file a complaint at the Information Commission and was successful.

“The people who are responsible for the appointment get themselves or their friends appointed. They don’t follow any procedure,” Mani tells us. The most recent appointment of KS Sripathi was done in a similarly illegitimate manner, and Madhav filed a petition at the Madras High Court. The latter has issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government challenging the appointment of Sripathi. In his video, Mani asks Madhav to explain the situation, so that people are aware of the significance of the Information Commissioner post and the corruption behind it. Mani hopes that his video will make people acknowledge what is happening, and spur them to fight against this corruption and the harassment of his friend.

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