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RTI should not affect deliberative government process: PM

Calling for a critical look at the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said the law should not adversely affect the deliberative processes in the government.

Addressing the Sixth Annual convention of Information Commissioners here, the prime minister said there have been concerns that RTI could end up discouraging honest, well meaning public servants from giving full expression to their views.

I think we need to remember here that a point of view brought under public scrutiny and discussion in an isolated manner may sometimes present a distorted or incomplete picture of what really happened in the processes of making the final decisions.

“The Right to Information should not adversely affect the deliberative processes in the government. We must also take a critical look at the exemption clauses in the Right to Information Act to determine whether they serve the larger good and whether a change is needed in them, the prime minister said.

He said a situation was not desirable in which a public authority was flooded with requests for information having no bearing on public interest.

We must, therefore, pool all our wisdom, our knowledge, and our experience to come to a conclusion on how to deal with vexatious demands for information, without at the same time hindering the flow of information to those whose demands genuinely serve public interest, he said.

He also called for a balance between the need for disclosure of information and limited time and resources available with public authorities.

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