Your access to information will get a tad easier with the state planning to bring in a law for proper maintenance of all public records. Based on a recommendation by the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC), the state will rope in Karnataka Public Records Act to make public information more accessible to the 'aam aadmi'.
Disclosing this at an event organised here to mark five years of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, former state chief information commissioner K K Mishra said the draft of the proposed bill was ready and will be tabled in the assembly for approval.
Stating that improper maintenance of records was coming in the way of implementation of the RTI Act, Mishra said the commission, in a number of cases, had recommended digitisation of all major public documents. "The Administrative Training Institute in Mysore has prepared a model format for suo motu disclosure under Section 4(1)(b) of the Act. This could be used by all deputy commissioners, tahsildars and assistant commissioners to uniformly disclose information about their offices," he said.
On the ever-rising number of appeals and complaints before the KIC, the former chief secretary said that the "scenario was very pessimistic as the Act is being used for purposes other than for what it was drafted". "Today, our own analysis at the Commission shows that around 60-70 per cent applications are for grievance redressal and not for seeking information," he said.
Information commissioner K A Thippeswamy urged the civil society and non-government organisations to launch a dedicated website and a helpline for RTI. Bangalore-based Mahithi Hakku Adhyayana Kendra and Active Citizens Network released a guide book on effective use of the Act.
For the full report in the TOI, click here
My appeals before the KIC are all kind of linked, and in specific pertain to
1) Right to response in English (detailed here)
2) the contention of the Traffic Police that it's not their job to enforce the M V Act in respect of the number plates (made out only in Kannada), but the job of the Transport Dept (detailed here);
3) the Registrar of Societies contention that they have the mandate to carry out all their proceedings in Kannada, and Kannada alone (detailed here).
All three of them I would classify as deliberate distortion of facts on the part of the officials concerned, perhaps out of fear of chauvinistic pursuits of a section of the polity - untenable, whatever. I expect these also fall into the 'grievance redressal' classification that Mr Mishra has made.
The IC's request to the civil society and NGO's to launch a dedicated website and a helpline for RTI, is interesting. Perhaps PRAJA can play a role?