Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[rti_india] Dhirubhai Ambani got us the Right to Information


During the Emergency days I was living in Bombay. In the Cuffe Parade apartment just below me (owned by Indian Express) stayed Jayprakash Narayan for prolonged periods between jail and dialysis and we had hordes of Ambassador cars with thickset cops who used to while away
their time playing cricket and gilli-danda with us kids /teenagers. Farookh Engineer lived next door and occasionally coached us to take on Dilip Sardesai's team who stayed on the other side of the road.

Throughout the Emergency, only the Indian Express (and to a much lesser extent The Statesman) dared take on the mighty Congress establishment.

In 1989 the landmark Supreme Court Judgement in Reliance Petroleum versus Proprietors of Indian Express Newspapers" actually gave us modern RTI (taking off from S.P.Gupta's case).

"The Right to Know is an integral part of the Right to Life
and unless one has the Right to Information the Right to Life
cannot be exercised."

This would be later expanded /throttled in "Dinesh Trivedi MP versus UoI" in 1997 which was a decision substantially diluting the Right to Informatio0n, insofar as the supporting documents of Vohra Committee Report was not found to be disclosable.

So, the next time we file an RTI please remember Dhirubhai Ambani and RamNath Goenka's battles got us this law in no mean degree.


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