As a part of an initiative on good governance, a group of RTI activists and civil societies in the city came up with RTI Clinics for citizens of Bangalore. The Clinic is a joint initiative of RTI activists groups, community-based organizations and grassroots social justice campaigners.
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The idea behind coming up with RTI Clinic is to create awareness on the Act, provide procedural guidance and assistance to obtain information from government bodies. (Social justice campaigners are people who campaign for the fundamental rights or grievance redressal of the marginalized such as domestic workers, child labourers and internally displaced riot victims, independently or through support networks.)
Some of the main aims of the RTI Clinic are to create a platform to share success stories and encourage citizens to use RTI. Launched on 30 May 2009 , the second session was organised at the same time and venue, on 27 June 2009. Around 30 people including students, applicants awaiting information, interested individuals and people who have filed and received RTI applications attented the session.
The meeting began with an introduction about the clinic and an overview of RTI history and its scope. After which the attendees were provided with relevant details on application availability, filing procedure including fees, stipulated response time, follow up process, and so on.
They discussed several cases and got guidance from the RTI activists. Among the participants was an employee named Mala, of a government hospital, who observed unaccounted deductions in her monthly salary around three years ago. She filed an RTI application immediately. However, her correct salary was restored and arrears disbursed only recently but without an explanation for the anomaly. Anand of Anti-Corruption Forum suggested that she not only seek a justification for the lapse but also interest on her dues.
Also, Anand announced that the Mahiti Hakku Adhiyan Kendra (MHAK) housed in the Chartered Accountants Association office opposite Dasappa hospital near Town Hall has been conducting an RTI Act awareness and assistance session every first and third Saturday between 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM since August 2007. Everybody is invited to these sessions to know more about RTI Act and its implications.
For all those who might miss the meetings, watch this space because there is more to come.
Some people’s names, age and occupation were changed to protect identity.