Thursday, July 22, 2010

[rti_india] Re: RTI Activist Amit Jethwa shot dead


Dear Tariq

1) Your explanation of RTI in the context of Art 19 is incomplete.
The RTI Act is to enable a practical regime for citizens to access information held by the State. There are also decisions of the SC declaring law that the Fundamental Right to freedom of Speech and Expression (to enable citizens to participate in public processes of the State) is predicate on the right to information.

2) The information obtained in RTI is to be used to participate / express in public processes - such as say, filing objections to an EPA notice allowing mining near national parks. Information obtained using RTI by a citizen cannot be disclosed to any one other than the Govt. Circulating information obtained in RTI u/s 6 process constitutes a contravention of the Official Secrets Act (as some senior members here have informed me).

3) So in the context of RTI Act, the information obtained is to be strictly used to participate in public processes. If a citizen obtains under RTI a list of all persons who have filed 2nd Appeals in CIC and then sends them cyclostyled letters requesting such persons to rate performance of ICs, contravention of OSA is clearly made out.

4) In context of the late Amit Jethwa, it is now being acknowledged that RTI was merely one of the tools he used to ferret out information for his environment related activities. So it is absolutely incorrect for the media, and other people who should know better, to project Amit as a "RTI" activist or to give his family their tainted money.

5) You are absolutely correct when you say "It is unfortunate that an RTI activist is murdered and we should be concerned."

a) YES, we should be concerned that ordinary citizens who use the RTI Act, in ways quite unlike these RTI Rambos, are being defamed by being labelled as "RTI activists"

b) YES, we should be concerned that murders of RTI Rambos show how easy it is for ordinary citizens to be similarly bumped off for filing even 1 inconvenient request, without fear of being punished.

c) YES, we should be concerned that RTI Rambos use the media to project themselves as though they are the only force on the planet, while citizens, expert in their specific domains, who are silently strengthening the system using RTI are now not being taken seriously - and find their efforts destroyed by these 'harami' (and ignorant) media darlings.

d) YES, we should be concerned that actions of the RTI Rambos usually result in (relatively) honest low level officers being made scapegoats while the 'harami' officers / politicians continue their business as usual.

e) YES, we should be concerned that Amit Jethwa was a tainted govt servant and failed politician who lost a democratically conducted election, and his family is now leveling charges of murder against the winner. Media reports say that Amit had filed well publicised cases against Salman Khan and Aamir Khan. In the process is not the RTI movement being polluted with the association of such persons who climb onto the RTI band wagon ?.

I could go on with another 20 points like this, but the point is that Amit Jethwa's Modus Operandi follows all the tell-tale patterns of NGO blackmailers who misuse RTI.


--- In, Tariq Islam <tariq43@...> wrote:
> Dear All
> I, for one, must declare I do not understand all this. Is there some
> allegation against Amit Jethwa? What is all this talk as if some procedure
> is already adopted, a trial. No! the point is that some information is
> obtained through RTI so are we to use it as a decoration piece in our
> drawing rooms. The RTI was introduced with the explicit purpose of falling
> under Article 19 of the Constitution of India where freedom of expression is
> provided. In other words, the RTI supplements the freedom of expression. The
> views expressed here is that if after obtaining information the information
> is used to express oneself somewhere the repercussions are not to be
> concerned with. The package is being severed.
> It is unfortunate that an RTI activist is murdered and we should be
> concerned.
> Tariq Islam
> General Secretary
> RTI Group
> On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM, Abhimanyu <who.will.file.rti@...>wrote:
> >
> >
> > colonel sahab is correct . RTI should not be blamed for such attacks .
> >
> > long live RTI
> >
> > On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 1:59 PM, Col NR Kurup <colnrkurup@...>wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >> Let me repeat again. Please do not mix up RTI Activism with filing
> >> writ petion and staging an one man army attack on individulas with the
> >> information gained through RTI. Anyone including you and me won't like
> >> if someone make personal attacks on us with the help of judiciary. Had
> >> he not used RTI also he would have met with the same fate for his
> >> attack on individual. Will anyone kill a person just because he sought
> >> an inconvenient information ? RTI Activism has nothing to do with
> >> the activities like blackmailing someone with the information.gained.
> >>
> >
> >
> >

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