No ‘right’ to exploit law’s power
Any law that exists can be used and misused. This phenomenon is not limited to RTI act It is not the inherent flaw of the act, but that of an individual who misuses it for his /her personal vendetta.
It has been observed that some misuse this tool for blackmailing wrongdoers. Others file RTI just for the sake of troubling the government mechanism.
Supriya Bendkhale, a counselor with Karve Institute of Social Service (KINSS) too had bad experiences with RTI.
Being into the field of family counseling, KINSS gets cases from family court in Pune. Sometimes, the opposition counsels file RTI seeking information about the counseling sessions that are held in order to fight their cases. “This becomes our greatest challenge while helping our clients. These people should understand that any counseling session that we have is confidential in nature and divulging details of the same is against the client counselor relationship which is based on good faith,” said Supriya Bendkhale.
Sometimes, government officials and bureaucrats too complain of being troubled by the appellants under the pretext of obtaining information. Every year, Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) holds a competition in which it invites entries narrating the experience of the RTI users. One of the winning entries the 2012 competition was that relating to misuse of RTI.
A CPIO had narrated an instance of an appellant who filed a RTI seeking some information to be delivered personally. However, even after constant reminders to collect the information, the appellant paid no heed. Later, he filed an appeal stating that he did not receive information he had sought on time. In this case, the appellant’s aim was clearly to trouble these bureaucrats.
Furthermore, there also have been instances of competitors in business and elsewhere filing an application in order to extract information and blackmail the other party.
Such applications not only slow down the speed of processing other applications, but also creates undue pressure on the RTI mechanism. It kills the efficacy of the act.
However, inspite of this one cannot put this blame on the act.Citing the example of right to drive a vehicle, RTI activist and freelance journalist Krishnaraj Rao says, “A person can misuse his/her right to drive by running someone over. However that does not mean that the right to drive should be revoked. It is the right, but a person who is at fault.”