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Letters to the Editor: 04 March, 2020

letters to the editor, afternoon voice,

Kudos to Air India

The recent efforts yet again by Air India to rescue stranded Indians affected by the corona virus onboard Japanese ship is highly appreciated. As also India’s efforts to provide relief materials and medical supplies owing to the outbreak arranged through special IAF plane comes at a crucial time to help our neighbour in China. It must be noted that India was at the forefront to rescue Indians stranded in countries during the geopolitical crises and provided relief to neighbouring countries by burying strategical differences. Some of the nations that have received aid from India include Maldives, Nepal, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Kuwait in the past apart from assisting China and Japan in the current coronavirus outbreak.

India’s generous stand should be taken note by international organizations such as the United Nations, Ramon Magsaysay Foundation and WHO- that insist nations to seek peace through a fair governance approach aimed towards a healthy society. The powerful nations should otherwise come forward in rescue and relief efforts by burying strategical differences by taking a cue from India’s humble approach towards rendering humanitarian aid. We as proud Indians highly appreciate this rescue effort yet again by the Indian government.

Varun Dambal

CIC approaches SC to club cases filed against CIC verdicts

According to reports, Central Information Commission (CIC) has approached Supreme Court to club all cases filed against CIC-verdicts by bodies declared pubic-authorities by CIC at High Courts. There are bodies declared as public-authorities by CIC which take stay-orders on CIC-verdicts from High Courts and keep on deferring court-matters through regularly seeking adjournments. At times, RTI applicants are not capable to contest such court-cases. But with CIC-approach, problem of RTI applicants forced to contest court-cases will be over.

Supreme Court verdicts declaring DAV College Trust Management Society and office of Chief Justice of India as public-authorities are also positive approach in this direction. Central government has already desired that Mother Dairy may be public-authority under RTI Act. The then Central Chief Information Commission RK Mathur in a CIC-verdict noted that Institute of Banking Personnel Selection IBPS is not a public-authority under RTI Act even though four million candidates appear every year for examinations conducted by it. For future, an undertaking should be taken from all bodies being given land or government-accommodations at subsidised rates or substantial government-funding that these will be under purview of RTI Act.

Co-operative giant IFFCO through which annual fertiliser-subsidy of rupees thousands of crores is routed gifted prime-properties worth rupees hundreds of crores in New Delhi to its office-bearers with even Comptroller and Auditor General report pointing out massive irregularities in functioning of IFFCO. Remedy is that central government by notification may declare all public-private-partnerships, sports-bodies, cooperative-societies and other such bodies, public-authorities under RTI Act. Land and Building Departments of central and state governments should study all cases of allotment of land or government-accommodations at subsidised rates or lease, and declare all these as public-authorities under RTI Act.

BCCI challenged CIC-verdict ordering it as public-authority under RTI Act at Madras High Court despite Union Ministry of Sports supporting CIC-verdict in this respect. It is noteworthy that even Law Commission on being approached by central government subsequent to Supreme Court directions, opined in favour of BCCI to be under purview of RTI Act.

Madhu Agrawal

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)


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