Police department slowest in responding to RTI applications

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New Delhi, Nov 9 (UNI) The police department has been found to be slowest in responding to applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The fact came to light in a survey, done both in urban and rural areas on the working of the Act. The study was sponsored by the Central Information Commission.

The preliminary report of the study relating to the urban areas said that, besides being the slowest, the police department also rejected the largest number of applications for information.

Most of these rejections were from the Delhi police. The revenue department and the women and child department came a close second to the police.

Overall, the survey found that the Central government responded more quickly and shared much more information than state governments.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Railway stand out for speediest response on a large number of applications.

At the state-level, Meghalaya stood as the quickest, the most compliant and also the most polite among all the states who were surveyed, with the largest percentage of responses.

Overall district departments appear to be much slower and much less efficient in responding to RTI applications than the states.

However, districts in Meghalaya and Karnataka were quickest in responses, the survey found.

Nearly three fourth of the filed applications received responses, though they were slow in coming. Only in a third of the cases, responses were received within the stipulated period of 30 days, according to the survey.

The survey was carried out jointly by RTI Assessment and Analysis Group and National Campaign for People's Right to Information in collaboration with various research institutes.

The RTI Act was enacted in 2005 after a long movement that originated from the grassroot level. A mass-based organisation called the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan(MKSS) took an initiative in the early 1990s to lead people in a very backward region of Rajasthan--Bhim Tehsil- to assert their right to information.

They asked for copies of bills and vouchers and names of persons who have been shown in muster rolls on the construction of schools, dispensaries, small dams and community centres as having been paid wages.

The NGO finally succeded in exposing the misappropriation of funds after it obtained photocopies of certain relevant documents.

The Rajasthan experience echoed in other states, and the movement for the right to information began to gather momentum culminating in the enactment of the RTI Act.

UNI NAZ KK GC1008

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