Punjab Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Ramesh Inder Singh on Saturday clarified that all such private bodies,trusts and NGOs,which had availed government aid in any kind are covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act,2005. Even those,who had availed lands at subsidized or concessional rates from the government agencies also fall under the provisions of the RTI Act,he said.
In his inaugural address after inaugurating a seminar on RTI Act at Government College in Phase VI here,the CIC expresses great concern over the increasing tendency of the Public Information Officers (PIOs) of denying the information requested under the RTI Act. Most of the officials,who find the requested information going against them,prefer to pay the fine provided under the RTI Act instead of providing the information in order to keep their wrongdoings under wraps, maintained Singh,while announcing to deal with all such PIOs with an iron hand. We will not only recommend stern department action against all such officials but will also issue them chargesheets, revealed the CIC,while vowing to ensure implementation of the RTI Act in its true letter and spirit.
Divulging the minute details of the RTI Act provisions,Singh said the detailed marks certificates of exams,proceedings of interviews and even the samples of the material used in the development works could be procured under the RTI Act and the same could be cross-checked and tested at their own level to clear any doubts or apprehensions over the official working.
CIC also revealed that any illiterate person,who intends to procure any information under the RTI Act,can approach the concerned PIO,who is bound to note down and prepare the application and do the entire paper work without charging any extra fee except the application fee of Rs 10 from such applicant.
He urged the college students and faculty members to help spread awareness about the RTI Act at the grassroots level and also use the revolutionary law provisions on their own to bring much more transparency,accountability and responsiveness in the public delivery system.
CIC also honoured a disabled steno and four disabled students of the college for their achievements in the struggle against adversities faced by them.
While college principal Dr Kumkum Kohli welcomed the chief guest,the college vice-principal Ashok Arora proposed the vote of thanks.