Make voluntary disclosure of info: Ex-CIC to govts

Patna: The country`s first Chief Information Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah, today urged governments to make voluntary disclosure of information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Under section 4(1)(B) of the Act, the governments can make voluntary disclosure of important decisions to make the decision making process more participatory, he said while addressing an international conference on RTI here.

Such disclosure would be in public interest and keep the people interested in the decision making process, but the section 4(1)(B) has not been put to good use, Habibullah said.

The former CIC said the tools of E-Governance should also be used in a better way to upload information for the perusal of the public. He said the media and the civil society should also be involved in the decision making process to make governance more effective, transparent and accountable, he said.

Habibullah, who is now the National Minorities Commission Chairman, said the RTI has been a success in spreading awareness among the people about their rights and delivery of services. He also stressed on dissemination of information under the RTI through video conferencing as was the case in the states like Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir.

The incumbent CIC Satyanand Mishra said since its implementation six years ago, the RTI has helped check arbitrariness and discrimination in the decision making process by the government.

Nowadays, the governments were adopting wider consultation and keeping larger public interest in mind before taking a decision, he said.

It has been due to the impact of the RTI that the civil institutions have compelled the governments to implement the right to education and the employee guarantee schemes, the CIC said.