Sunday 25 October 2020

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Issues | Right to Info

RTI activists condemn 'citizenship' circular

 

Right to Information (RTI) activists and Goa RTI Forum on Tuesday slammed the State government over its circular according to which a seeker of information under the Right to Information Act should produce an affidavit from a notary stating s/he is a citizen of India before submitting a request for information under the RTI.

“Goa RTI Forum strongly condemns and opposes this action of the government of issuing such a circular,” Secretary of Goa RTI Forum Srikant Barve told The Hindu on Tuesday.

He said, “The Director of Information and Publicity Swapnil Naik says there are only two options if a Public Information Officer (PIO) asks for proof of citizenship, namely, Passport or an Affidavit. We strongly oppose this move,” he said.

“This act of Goa government is meant to suppress and dissuade common people from filing RTI applications,” he said and added the members of the Forum would discuss this issue at the first Annual General Meeting on Saturday evening. The meeting also would decide about future course of action on this matter, Mr. Barve said.

‘No powers’

Digamber alias Ganesh Naik of Madkai Vichar Manch, an affiliate of Goa RTI Forum, told The Hinduon Tuesday that he had sent their response and protest over the circular on citizenship on July 18 to Mr. Swapnil Naik. He said the circular dated May 7 was obnoxious, improper and entirely unwarranted.

Mr. Naik said the Goa government or Competent Authority like State Directorate of Information had no powers to issue such a circular under Section 3 (Citizenship of an RTI applicant) of the RTI Act. In its capacity as a nodal agency of the State to implement RTI Act, the Directorate of Information and Publicity of Goa government is empowered to make rules or issue circular/notification only under Section 4(4), 6(1) and 7(1) of the RTI Act.

 

Affidavit, Aadhaar card, Voter Identity Card are not valid citizenship documents under the Citizenship Act and he felt the government was exceeding its jurisdiction to dissuade the seekers of information under RTI by using wrongful means.

‘Time-consuming’

Advocate Satish Sonak of Goa People’s Forum pointed out that under the RTI Act, 2005, argued that an affidavit was a time-consuming, costly affair for common citizens seeking information under RTI Act.

“If any PIO was under any doubt about citizenship of any applicant, he can seek verification of his\her citizenship in a case-to-case basis and such cases would be exceptional. Why does the government want to burden common people for such exceptional cases?” the social activist asked.

He pointed out that there were provisions under Section 8 of the RTI Act where PIOs could reject sensitive information which he felt could reach a non-citizen.

Advocate Sonak also objected to the government resorting to executive circulars instead of conducting due process of rule making given under Section 27 of the Act by making rules and getting them passed through the Legislative Assembly where the Members could deliberate on the necessity, efficacy and legality of such rules.


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Seems like Mr Parrikar is suffering from Chronic case of paranoia.

Since the Mining fiasco and his corrupt appointments of Government Officers like CIC, SIC etc he has taken a dislike to the RTI.

Every personal & nepotistic Public appointments of his has run into difficulties & been challenged in Courts.

It has made him look like a thoroughbred fool.

He has been trying his luck to get his henchmen/women /yes men appointed,too often and has got both beaten /bitten badly.

Has he not realised all his appointments have been failures.?

As long as The State of Goa is not in danger, he should not supress the truth.

Any CM that wishes to hide the TRUTH is not a good & trustable Chief Minister. He has a hidden & dirty agenda.

 
N.Fernandes , UK

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