By AIRES RODRIGUES
Have yesterday filed an appeal against the order of the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the Goa Legislature Secretariat declining to furnish information sought under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The appeal will be heard by Secretary Legislature Namrata Ulman who is the designated First Appellate Authority under the Act.
On June 28th had sought a copy of the file notings and correspondence pertaining to the two day training workshop for MLAs held on 27th and 28th June at the Taj Vivanta and also complete details of the expenditure incurred on the event.
Mr. Mohan Gaonkar, the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the Legislature Secretariat informed that the disclosure of the information would cause breach of Privilege of State Legislature and would be also against the Rules of Conduct of Business of Goa Legislative Assembly.
In the appeal, while stating that the RTI Act 2005 was intended to furnish information and not to deny it, have also stated that it was clear that the Parliament enacted the Act keeping in mind the rights of an informed citizenry in which transparency of information was vital in curbing corruption and making the Government and its instrumentalities accountable.
Pointing out that the Act was meant to harmonise the conflicting interests of the Government to preserve the confidentiality of sensitive information with the right of citizens to know the functioning of the governmental process in such a way as to preserve the paramountcy of democratic ideals, have in the appeal stated that the denial of the information by the PIO at the Legislature Secretariat was contrary to the very objectives and mandate of the RTI Act 2005.
The action of the PIO to deny information was illegal, untenable and with suspect motives. The action on the part of PIO also construes deliberate denial of information with an intention to keep the veil of privacy on the affairs while defeating the very purpose of the enactment of RTI Act 2005.