Activists boycott opening of RTI convention
New Delhi, Oct 15: Leading RTI activists including Aruna Roy will boycott the opening of annual CIC convention, celebrating 10th anniversary of the transparency law, to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The activists including Lokesh Batra, Venkatesh Nayak, Anjali Bhardwaj and Nikhil Dey, who were invited for the convention, announced their boycott plans after the authorities restricted the invitations to some activists citing security reasons. In an unusual action, the Central Information Commission has expressed inability to invite a larger number of activists and even its own staff.
The activists have in the past being an integral part of the annual convention organised by the CIC where the Prime Minister or the President used to attend the opening or valedictory session. Only one year, none of the two top dignitaries were able to attend following which Law Minister Veerappa Moily had addressed the gathering.
"We have resolved that the members of the NCPRI who have received invitations (and have not as yet been uninvited) will not attend the inaugural session. "We will use the RTI to probe the sequence of events and will fight to establish the independence and pro-people democratic mandate of the CIC," National Campaign for the People's Right to Information (NCPRI) said in a resolution passed today.
Besides inaugural and valedictory sessions, the conventions are known for technical sessions ensuring a free dialogue process between activists, RTI users and legal experts. About two months back, in a meeting of Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions, it was decided that this year SICs will be asked to send the activists for the convention. But this changed, after Modi gave a last minute nod to attend the inaugural session.
The activists who were assured of invitation were told that they cannot be invited because of security reasons. "Due to security reasons we are not in a position to issue the Cards to two of you,"S P Beck, Joint Secretary in the Commission, wrote to two activists in Andhra Pradesh.