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  ISLAMABAD: In the hope of learning progressive lessons from neighbours, an exclusive discussion with former Central Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, currently chairman of India’s Commission for Minorities, was held at the Jinnah Institute on Thursday. Habibullah was speaking about the impact and lessons of the Right To Information (RTI) Act in India. As Indo-Pak Track II series continues, Habibullah, a civil servant and author on Kashmir and human rights issues spoke extensively about the law and its implementation in India. He said the value of the RTI Act was increasing as more people were learning about it with the passage of time. He said that 40 per cent of Indians have been assisted by the access to information law and the figure keeps increasing due to th
Friday, 26 July 2013 11:54

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    The media, being the fourth state organ, shoulders the responsibility to make the state accountable and transparent. As things stand now, when most people are not aware of exercising their right to freedom of information in a direct and personal way, the media’s role and significance of empowering the public about legal advantages of Right to Information (RTI) as an anti-corruption weapon has become all the more important.  The RTI law has given a greater and wider space for the media to play in empowering people and consolidating a democratic polity. By using this legislation, the media can investigate and expose issues of wider public interest. The media, as the guardian of freedom of speech, can open up “closed doors” to transparency and accountability by disseminating i
  The Indian government has signalled its intention to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005, in order to ensure that political parties do not fall under its purview. Earlier reports had suggested that the government may seek to promulgate an ordinance amending Section 8 of the Act (exemptions) in order to counter the Central Information Commission’s 3rd June order which stated that as they are “substantially financed” by the central government, political parties are public authorities under Section 2(h) of the Act. Others had expected the government to challenge the order by filing a writ petition in the High Court. Sources have stated however that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal agency responsible for the implementation of the Act at the central le
PESHAWAR: The Right to Information Ordinance (RTI) is yet to encourage a sense of optimism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The RTI’s legislation was devised in April 2010 under the 18th Amendment and was recently approved by the K-P cabinet in a meeting on July 10, 2013. However, as the provincial assembly is not in session, the bill was promulgated as an ordinance following the K-P governor’s approval. While the Awami National Party (ANP) was unable to pass an act in this regard during its tenure, the new Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government was swift to implement the legislation as an ordinance. However, the latter has been criticised for ignoring thorough discussions on the matter. “There was no state of emergency that requires it (the RTI) to be implemented as an ordina
In a significant order with far-reaching consequences, the Madras High Court has brought aided private educational institutions under the ambit of the RTI (Right To Information Act). In the case pertaining to the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, the Court held that it is indeed a “public authority” as defined in the RTI Act and hence could not deny information with regards to its functioning to those who seek it. Given that Tamil Nadu has a number of such aided private institutions, not just in engineering but also in other areas, whose functioning have time and again been questioned by educationists, the order clearly provides an opportunity to usher in greater transparency. Thiagarajar College of Engineering receives aid from the State Government for payment of salary