- Apr 18 2009
Edited proceedings of a seminar orgnaised by ORF during the visit of Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner.
Five years into the 21 Century, the Government of India enacted a legislation, however belatedly, that could be considered a kind of miracle for the country's democratic system of governance. By passing the Right To Information Act, Parliament empowered the billion plus Indians to gain knowledge and information about everything that influenced their daily lives, as also about issues of national importance. The philosophy behind the Act is simple. In a democracy, people rule themselves through
their elected representatives. So, it is essential for the people to know, in detail and to the full extent, what their representatives, in the form of the government, are doing to fulfill the mandate to serve the people. That is to say, simply, that people need to be informed. An enlightened populace is the best guarantee for the healthy working of democracy.
It is close to four years since the act was enacted. To what extent has it been a success? What-being, as it is, in its infancy-are the problems it is facing? We at the Observer Research Foundation are keen to do our mite for the spread and growth of the RTI, the purpose of which is the betterment of the life of the common man. With this in mind, ORF requested the Chief Information Commissioner, Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, who has nourished the growth of the RTI since its birth, to come and
enlighten us on the enabling Act and its situation today. He kindly accepted our invitation. Mr. Surendra Singh, Former Cabinet Secretary and president of ORF's Centre for Politics and Governance, initiated the proceedings by introducing Mr. Habibullah.