BENGALURU: “The Right to Information Act is the means by which the Government can communicate to the public domain.We have to accept the fact that the public needs to participate in the governance and if not, it will lead to a fall in the foundation,” said Wajahat Habibullah, India’s First Chief Information Commissioner.
An interactive session took place at the Indian Institute of Human Settlement (IIHS), after the second Air Marshal Memorial lecture on Air Marshal PK Dey, was delivered by Wajahat Habibullah on March 13, 2017.
The memorial lecture included comments by Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar and Aruna Roy, Social Activist, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). It was organised by the family members of PK Dey and the School for Democracy.
According to Aruna Roy, the reason behind why some information is hidden from the public domain and kept confidentially is because of avoiding violence or disharmony between the states and citizens of India.“The main issue is that when false dichotomies are raised, much time is lost in arguing about the many myths generated instead of the facts.As Indians, we need to access those facts, but we do not have a single platform for transparency.”
According to Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar, the national security depends on the accessibility and transparency of information, if not met; there will be a very expensive path ahead. “I am very concerned about the nuclear doctrine and its opacity as the lives of security are being put in danger and I think it needs to be stopped through transparency,” he said.
Giving various examples of political experiences and experiences of violence; the panelists agreed that the main root cause for this disharmony was because of the restriction of information from the public.
The message emphasized among the panelists and audience was that, in order for India to become truly a democratic country, the functions and advantages of the RTI must be recognized and be put into practice with the cooperation between the government and the public.