Adv. Aires Rodrigues has accused Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of trying to kill the Right to Information Act in Goa by attempting to high-handedly exempt government departments from coming under the purview of the Act.
Adv. Rodrigues has warned that this move masterminded by the Chief Minister, would in public interest be opposed tooth and nail as it would weaken and frustrate the implementation of the RTI Act in the State.
Stating that the Chief Minister’s move to exempt departments from the RTI Act was a gross abuse of power which had to be strongly opposed, Adv. Rodrigues has alleged that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in conjunction with Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni were working overtime to manipulate and weaken the RTI Act in the State.
Accusing the Chief Minister of maneuvering to gradually phasing out all government departments from coming under the Right to Information Act, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that the Chief Minister was planning to initiate his tirade against the RTI Act by first exempting the Directorate of Vigilance.
Stating that the Chief Minister was trying to justify this unwarranted move under the guise of a similar exemption done in Mizoram and Tamil Nadu, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that the situation in Goa does not warrant any weakening of the RTI Act and that in fact everything possible should be done to strengthen it.
Reiterating that the RTI Act was enacted to ensure transparency and accountability in public life, Adv. Rodrigues has alleged that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was doing everything possible to scuttle the RTI act as various acts of omission and commission of this government were now being exposed through information obtained under the Act.
Recalling that while as Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar had regularly used the RTI Act to unearth information, Adv. Rodrigues has lamented that now that he was in power Manohar Parrikar was going all out in sabotaging the implementation of the Act in the State.
Also pointing out to the circular issued on May 30 by the Director of Information to all Public Information Officers in every government department, Adv. Rodrigues stated that through that circular the Chief Minister had sought to know the names and address of every RTI applicant over the last one year along with the nature of the information sought by them.
Condemning Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for trying to scare and target people seeking information, Adv Rodrigues has stated that as per Sec 25 of the RTI the monitoring of the implementation of the Act was the prerogative of the State Information Commission and that the Chief Minister’s high-handed interference was uncalled for.