The "Right to Hide" Act

Cabinet’s proposal to amend the RTI (Right to Information) Act to make file notings – comments of officer in charge written on a separate green sheet on the left side of files – inaccessible to the public. Under the original RTI Act, these notes could have been accessed by common man except for those on defense, security, personal information and commercial information. The amendments propose to block these notes from public scrutiny with the exception of those on "social and developmental" projects.

The Government argues that this change would allow bureaucrats to work fearlessly. On the contrary, why and whom should honest bureaucrats fear if they are doing the right thing. Besides, this new amendment would deter an honest public servant from voicing his opinion fearing reprisal from his corrupt bosses.

The RTI act was created to empower citizens and cleanse the system of corruption. Under this Act, the citizen has the right to know the status of their file together with names of officials responsible for the delay. This power would be taken away from citizen if the RTI Act is amended giving corrupt officials a free hand at what they do best.

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