12 Sep : State Chief Information Commissioner, P.Talitemjen Ao today said that RTI Act has to be understood in the spirit in which it was created. He was addressing participants at the Valedictory function of the three day training programme on Right to Information at the Administrative Training Institute, Kohima.
He was accompanied by State Information Commissioners Dr. Kuhoi Zhimomi and Rev. Dr. Pongsing. The training was held under the Capacity Building for Access to Information Project and included about 80 participants, mostly Appellate Authorities, PIOs and APIOs from several government departments.
P. Talitemjen Ao, sharing his observations from the Commission members’ tours and hearings, stressed on the need for departmental trainings on RTI to sensitize officials and all levels of staff about the importance of the Act and its implications. Stating that while it appears that PIOs bear the brunt of the implementation of the Act, he said that not only the PIO but the whole office has to be sensitized and made aware of the Act. He said that states such as Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are doing well as far as the implementation of the Act is concerned.
Highlighting that the role of the information commission is that of ‘monitoring’ and not ‘implementing’ , P. Talitemjen Ao said that the Act is being implemented by the government. He said that the Act envisages healthy interaction, and not confrontation, between the citizens and the Public Authorities.
Commissioner & Secretary and Director, ATI, F.P. Solo, chairing the valedictory function expressed confidence that the training has allayed the doubts and apprehensions of the participants. He said that many people are as yet not aware of the Act.
Sharing experiences on behalf of the participants, Joint Diredtor and PIO, Directorate of Information & Public Relations, Chipeni Merry said that the three day training has been very useful. She appreciated the faculty members for explaining about the Act with clarity and further clearing doubts of the participants. She also urged the participants to carry out respective duties with responsibility.
Conservator of Forests (WL), Dimapur and PIO, K. Hocto Sema, IFS gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the participants. He observed that although the Act is only three years old, it occupies a very important position, compared with many other Acts.
Certificates were handed out to the participants by the Chief Information Commissioner. It may be mentioned that apart from salient features of the Act, role of PIOs and APIOs, obligations of Public Authorities, fee structure and time limits etc, the training included group activities on about 30 case studies to equip participants with practical implementations of the Act.