Towards transparency

RTI gives you a right to ask questions

Naveed Bukhtiyar
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 22 2017 11:20PM | Updated Date: Nov 22 2017 11:20PM
Towards transparency

RTI (Right to Information) is a part of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. In 1976, the Supreme Court said in the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. Therefore, right to information is embedded in Article 19. In the same case, Supreme Court further said that India is a democracy. People are the masters. Therefore, the masters have a right to know how the governments, meant to serve them, are functioning. Further, every citizen pays taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays tax (in the form of sales tax, excise duty etc) when he buys a piece of soap from the market. The citizens therefore, have a right to know how their money was being spent. These three principals were laid down by the Supreme Court while saying that RTI is a part of our fundamental rights.

RTI is a tool given to citizens by government to make public Authorities accountable and make them deliver their work in transparent manner. Although there are many success stories by RTI and huge Rise in RTI Activist from diverse professions but Student Community has neither produced much success stories nor they have put forward the Student Activist.

Onus lies on the Civil Societies and NGO’s working on RTI to hold an awareness programs in school, colleges and Universities to aware them about their rights. There is also responsibility on universities and colleges to introduce this as a mandatory subject and produce army of vigilant students every year, which can help themselves and others.

Activists are warrior in today’s time they are fighting the war with the corrupt officers without gun and sharp weapons but not without giving lives. It is a well-known fact that around 65 RTI activist have lost their lives in India while bringing accountability and transparency in system.Beside deaths, activists have to face the mental torture and harassment by corrupt officer. 

It is a government who keeps check on citizens of their wrong doings but who keeps the eye on the wrong doing, atrocities of government. It’s an activist, someone who questions the authorities. Activist is nothing more than a well-informed citizen. Solider protects the country from the outside threat while activists try to take the curtains from the face of the peoples who are ruining country internally bit by bit like a termite.

The objective of this article is to raise and build  the confidence in students to ask questions to the school, college and university authorties. They can ask them why there is delay in result, where the money of mid-meal has been utilized, why there is no good infrastructure, qualifications of teachers, are they competent to teach, why student union is banned, why clerks in office misbehave, why clerks in office doesn’t show politeness, why he make us wait for hours, why we have to go office to office without any genuine reason, why don’t senior officer take any action when the complaint is made, why only selected students are sent for student exchange programs without any advertisement and notification, why only selected students are sent for debates and other programs, why all other student are ignorant to such notification and advertisement and all the stupid question you can think, stupid because all the genuine questions are stupid in their eyes. We are the victim of this education system and only you can bring the change by asking a question. RTI is not the end, it is the basic step to the change. Be activist and bring a change.

 

(The author is the student of Law at University of Kashmir)