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Monday | 1500 hours IST Jul 26, 2010

RTI activism and protection

Last week, RTI activist Amit Jethwa was shot dead near the Gujarat High Court. Jethwa was campaigning against alleged illegal mining, allegedly carried out at the behest of some politicians, in the Gir Sanctuary areas in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Is there any protection available for RTI activists? What are the checks and balances that can be used by the government to ensure that people fighting to expose corruption cases are safe? Chat with Magsaysay winner Arvind Kejriwal to find out why being an RTI activist in india is not easy.
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30 questions answered | 3 questions pending
  • LAST. IF THE CIC TOO, DOES NOT GIVE YOUR RIGHT ANSWER THEN? Asked by: Alok Tomar
  • Arvind Kejriwal You will have to go to High Court
  • most of the info sought under RTI shd be available to the public online eg. ownership of land details,building plans,any encumbrance etc.Volutary disclosure by all Govt agencies must be made mandatory so that the number of RTI applications are reduced & running around to differant depts is avoided.What is done for this? Asked by: shobana
  • Arvind Kejriwal I agree with you. Most info should be made available suo moto. Sec 4 of RTI Act sayd this is the duty of the govt to do it. If any govt agency is not doing it, take them to the court
  • Where can find more info an RTI and other details?? Asked by: Eldho
  • Arvind Kejriwal pl call national helpline 09718100180
  • thanks sir, but these former executives always support their creed. THEY ALSO REJECT APPLICATIONS FOR THE NOT VALID REASON. WHAT TO DO. Asked by: Alok Tomar
  • Arvind Kejriwal We will have to fight it out. Protest against them. Highlight it in media. Take them to the court. It is our unity which will be important
  • you think there are any demerits of RTI? Asked by: alice
  • Arvind Kejriwal RTI is about truth coming out in public domain. RTI does not create any information. I can't think of any "demerits" of RTI
  • What are you and other activists planning to do in the light of spate of killings of RTI activists? Asked by: Abhay
  • Arvind Kejriwal We are organizing a rally today. Also we are sending a team of RTI activists to Gujarat to pursue the cases which were being pursued by Amit. But what are you doing? ALl of us need to do our bit.
  • IS the RTI information admissible as evidence in the court? Asked by: Alok Tomar
  • How can one be assured to have accurate data under RTI n whats the procedure Asked by: Vikas Gupta
  • Arvind Kejriwal Pl use our national RTI helpline 09718100180 for any information about how to use RTI
  • Sir as you have said politicians and bureaucrats have always been trying to hinder the functioning of RTI, as an example take those amendments which politicians are proposing. I constantly go through major news channels but never there were any kind of updates regarding the RTI act made. Media comes into play only when something new pops up or any RTI activist gets killed. I guess media also should take measures to try and publicize the acts by Govt of India.And sir cant we question the changes made in RTI act by approaching Hon'ble SupreCourt of India after it has been passed by Parliament? Asked by: ananthraghav
  • Arvind Kejriwal The amendments to RTI Act have not been made. I think strong people's resistance has prevented govt from doing it.
  • When RTI was introduced it seemed like a helpful tool for the aam aadmi, but murders of these activists have created a sense of fear... hwat steps shud the center take to provide safety to these whistle blowers? Asked by: Anu
  • Arvind Kejriwal Govt should set up an effective and independent Lokpal to receive, enquire and act on complaints of corruption and to provide protection to whistleblowers.
  • Sir, The death of RTI activist Amit Jethwa is very unfortunate.RTI is the greatest weapon we have today.Having used RTI myself ,I can say it is the biggest hope when nothing works.MY question to you sir is,whether I can use this act for getting response on my pending application with TMC since feb 10 in which I have sought the permission for school visit in thane to understand students problems which is part of my campaign?Thanks Asked by: farhat Bakhsh
  • Arvind Kejriwal Of course u can use RTI for that
  • Sir,Deparments give excuse that they have not trainedstaff to deal with RTI. Is any specilized training is must. Should there be RTI expert in avocates? Asked by: Alok Tomar
  • Arvind Kejriwal Untrained staff is merely an excuse.
  • sir i seen many a times that the RTI officers rejects application on the basis of using how and why??? they said u get information that r wriiten in our laws... Asked by: Saif
  • Arvind Kejriwal They are wrong. This is incorrect interpretation
  • do we have to pay for the photostat copy done by the concern authority to give the documents to us? Asked by: Dersin Daimari
  • Why there is a lack of Unity among the RTI activists.. i feel all the activists are in different directions with no comon goals. do you agree ? Asked by: Eldho
  • Arvind Kejriwal I do not agree with this. I think, compared to other movements, RTI movement is quite united
  • What changes should incorporated in the RTI rules according to you? Asked by: Anuroop
  • Arvind Kejriwal There are far too many. You can separately correspond with me on this
  • should bureaucratizes/ ex officers be part of RTI system? Asked by: Alok Tomar
  • Arvind Kejriwal No. We should have information commissioners from outside the system
  • Most radicals believe that RTI instead of strengthening democracy is infact a tool to create further illussions of existence of democracy in what is really an oligarchy or a kleptocracy...what do you think? Asked by: Vishnu
  • Arvind Kejriwal RTI is necessary but not sufficient for good democracy. I agree that Indian democracy has turned into oligarchy. Vote once every five years and then plead before the same people who you voted to power. We need some kind of direct people's participation in these five years.
  • Recently, another RTI activist was murdered and that has got these things back in light again, But do you think that media support is a boost to such cases? or is there any other way as well to magnify these problems? Asked by: tania
  • Arvind Kejriwal Media is doing a great job. But where are the people? Without active participation from people, our democracy will not work. Go to your MP and tell him that you will not vote for him next time if he does not force his party to put appropriate anti-corruption systems in place.
  • Do you feel RTI is more often misused than used.. specially the students? Asked by: yamini
  • Arvind Kejriwal I do not agree that RTI is more misused. We recently did a survey and most of the commissioners in the country believe that misuse would be less than 5%
  • Do you think RTI should have further more elaborate regulations? Asked by: Anuroop
  • Arvind Kejriwal You are correct. RTI rules are too inadequate. You need detailed rules to deal with issues like functioning of RTI commissioners, registers to be maintained by PIOs etc
  • hi, My question to you is that how keep eye on miss use of RTI act, by an activist against governmental agencies? Asked by: pranav
  • Arvind Kejriwal I agree that misuse is there. But it could be less than 5%. And it happens in those cases where the government officer has done something wrong and he is blackmailed by some RTI applicant. The government servant should go to the nearest police station and file an FIR against blackmail.
  • Dear Sir It has been observed that naxalism is more prevalent in areas where illegal mining is more present. Can you comment on the link between naxalism and corruption in the Indian Governance system? Asked by: Pratyush Prabhakar
  • Arvind Kejriwal Corruption at common man's level pushes him to the wall. I agree that corruption is one of the major reasons
  • Five RTI Activists Exposed Corruption In “Indian Rupee Symbol” Design Competition.. Whats your take on this? Asked by: infomaster
  • Arvind Kejriwal Good that they did it
  • Sir, I am a student of BITS Pilani, though I have been reading about you since recently, my interest in RTI Act and its power has been properly portrayed only from your articles sir. Your articles have inspired me to study about RTI and also spread awareness about it sir. My question is regarding the status of the amendments which you told were likely to be introduced in Parliament session, regarding RTI 2005. I have read your interview in a weekly where you said that you were much more apprehensive about these amendmends, if found a place in the constituion may act as a hindrance to RTI act. And these kind of amendments in the pipeline I guess there might be many more Amit Jethwas' as the information will be delayed by quite a larger extent. How would you think we will be able to succeed in stopping these crooked acts by Govt. of India sir ? Asked by: ananthraghav
  • Arvind Kejriwal The politicians, bureaucrats, criminals, industrialists and police have ganged up together to loot the nation. There is just one way - a strong people's movement
  • hey Sir being RTI activist in India is not easy because here in our country law&order is not strict we r still having the laws which were made by British ruler for us still we not able to make some strong laws against corruption,everyday we r hearing about different corrupt people including doctors lawyer,politicians but no one dare to punish them because of their power Asked by: sadaf nizami Nepal
  • Arvind Kejriwal I agree but then the people will have to strongly demand effective anti-corruption laws. Our laws are too inadequate
  • Sir I am a big supporter of yours , its really irony that a man who was fighthing to expose corruption got shot, we have seen similar cases around us in last couple of months , why we see very subdued response from goverment when it comes to exposing truth , why there is unfortunate unity across all the political parties when it comes to support the corruption , implementation of RTI is just a start how are we going to ensure that activist get more teeth and protection ? Asked by: Vikas Nahar
  • Arvind Kejriwal Obviously they are all together in their corruption. Why are the people not protesting? eight RTI activists killed in last seven months. there should be lakhs of people on the roads
  • Sir it takes lot of time to file RTI and then wait for response, if not satisfied then go to upper department. Can a person doing 7 hrs job do all this ? Asked by: suneet_grt
  • Arvind Kejriwal Yes, of course you can do it. So many people are finding time while doing their daily job. India is a democracy. It will not work without active participation from people. You HAVE to find time and participate
  • Sir i have Read RTI rules from Internet but the language is too tough to understand unless one is a law student or give it maximum time. how can i know more about it's rules in less time.I am in Allahabad Asked by: suneet_grt
  • Arvind Kejriwal Pl call national helpline no 09718100180 for any help
  • is there not any legal provision to provide protection to such people, who are fighting against corruption.and there is a any responsibilty our parliament towards such type of activity. Asked by: k m yadav
  • Arvind Kejriwal Yes, you have IPC and CrPC. But police is supposed to provide protection. It is futile to expect any protection from the police, which is directly controlled by political executive. It is also futile to expect any action from anti-corruption agencies because they also report directly to political executive. Through their inaction and apathy, state government and police cold-bloodedly leave the citizen-activist standing in the line of fire for months and years, alone, undefended and crying out for justice. He is an orphan, an easy target. The police and anti-corruption agencies, on the contrary, are often seen to collude with the corrupt. So, you need an independent and effective anti-corruption and whistleblower protection agency

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Arvind Kejriwal
RTI activist