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Use RTI to fight corruption advises retired judge

IMPHAL, Oct: On the 2nd day of the Bharat Nirman Campaign, organized by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) at the Loyalakpa Laibung, Keinou, Thokchom Surbala, Retd District & Session Judge, Imphal East, enlightened the gathering on the Right to Information (RTI) Act. She provided a guideline to the said act by highlighting its significant aspects.
In her speech, Thokchom Surbala, informed the gathering that in the event of withholding of information or providing misleading information, the PIO is liable to a penalty of Rs 250 to 25,000.
Even though the Supreme Court and the High Court can have limited jurisdiction over the Act, the lower courts have no say in the implementation of the RTI act.
Calling the RTI act, one of the most enabling act for the citizens of this country, Thokchom Surbala called for spreading awareness about the Act and use it effectively to bring about a better society.
Taking some concrete examples, she said people generally talk about not getting the rightful wages under the NREGS and by using RTI they can find out what how and where did the money went.
Further, she said, one generally talk about contractors not executing works properly, we can find out exactly how much money has been sanctioned for a work, what is the material he is using, is it in conformity with the requisite quality under the contract etc and make him accountable.
She appealed to the general public to learn more about the Act and use it effectively to fight corruption and other misuse to make a better society to live in.
During the interaction, she was asked what could be the next step if the PIO refuse to part with the information sought, answering which she said as per the provision of the act the concerned PIO can be penalized with the fine starting from Rs 250 to Rs 25,000.
Considering there have been instances when RTI applicants have faced threats to withdraw their applications, one participant wanted to know if the identity of the applicant can be kept confidential. Thokchom Subala informed that under the RTI act it cannot be done but if the identity of those threatening is known they can be prosecuted under various sections of the IPC.



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