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Involvement of more citizens in gaining information through the Right to Information (RTI) Act will pressurise authorities to disclose information voluntarily, RTI activist Ashok Ravat said here Saturday.

Speaking at a workshop on RTI here, Ravat said: ‘More citizens should get involved with the RTI movement, and the goal must be to pressurise the authorities to disclose information voluntarily.’

Ravat, who is also the honorary secretary of All India Bank Depositors Association, also shared his experiences about how he used the RTI Act in his fight for customer protection, environment and civic issues.

He discussed ways to formulate specific queries and the correct format for application.

‘RTI Act and grievance redressal go hand in hand. So, all activists should be aware of redressal mechanisms, so that they can force authorities to rectify these irregularities,’ he said.

Noting that barring certain exceptions, the act can be used to get information about decisions taken by public authorities, details of public expenditure, status of projects and many other administrative issues, he said: ‘As an effective tool to prevent corruption, it is essential that citizens use this act regularly to keep a check on public authorities.’

He also advised RTI Act users to keep their queries crisp, specific, and limited to one particular aspect, which falls under the domain of that particular public information officer (PIO).

‘If you ask questions which fall under more than one information officer, things will get complicated and the information may be delayed,’ he said.

He urged RTI activists to use the act responsibly and to understand that seeking information is not equivalent to complaining.

‘Some people keep on posting irrelevant and endless queries, which is unacceptable. We must understand that a government officer’s time is valuable and he should rather devote it to his duty than for somebody’s amusement,’ he said.

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