CHENNAI: RTI activist V Gopalakrishnan does not pick up calls quickly. If you call him, someone else picks up the call and ascertains the identity before giving it to him.
The change has come over the years. The activist who had exposed several scams, including the misuse of discretionary quota in the allotment of 1,016 multi-storey building flats under ‘Own Your Housing Scheme’ for All India Services officers, is suspicious of everyone nowadays.
According to Gopalakrishnan, “Some of the people who have been affected by my RTIs are now filing false RTIs in my name. These people file an RTI seeking details about history-sheeters, thus putting me into trouble. Even in the High Court, I was threatened by an advocate after I filed RTIs against the judges,” he said. Gopalakrishnan, who was in the forefront when the city-based RTI activists protested against the appointment of then chief secretary K S Sripathy as chief information commissioner during the DMK regime, said he himself was targeted when he exposed how the temples were encroaching upon the roads.
To a query on how the RTI activism is faring in the country, Gopalakrishnan said it was dying a slow death. “Even the courts have failed to uphold the letter and spirit of the RTI Act and officials deny information on any pretext,” he said.