Manoranjan Panda narrates the tale of a law student from Odisha who’d used the Right To Information Act to fight corruption and help the underprivileged
Since 2005, the Right to Information (RTI) Act has built an impressive trajectory. In an era of global youth rebellion, it seems to be opening up new space for India’s young to demand people’s right to know. Taking a cue from this new trend of students diggin up dirt, with the help of RTI, Rohit Kumar, a 24-year-old law student of KIIT University in Bhubaneswar, who tenaciously used RTI to fight corruption, has been preparing himself to provide justice to poor and underprivileged people. Rohit, who has been using the RTI Act since 2012, is the youngest face in a growing brigade of information warriors. The young crusader takes on the system for everything from inedible hostel food to corruption in ration shops – looking for truth and ensuring justice.
Currently pursuing internship at the chamber of Prashant Bhushan in New Delhi, Rohit has so far submitted more than 200 RTI applications and 125 first appeals to both the State and Central Government offices including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Rohit had also asked Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office for details of individuals who made official requests for appointment and those who had been granted an appointment. Responding to the application, the CMO said no records or list of appointments were maintained and so could not be revealed. Earlier, Rohit had sought similar information from PMO.
The information was denied on the ground that it may threaten the security and sovereignty of India. “This is ridiculous. I have challenged the PMO’s decision with the central information commission (CIC),” he said. A 2011 CIC order had ruled that PMO should make public the list of the visitors coming to meet the PM excluding only the sensitive meetings. To the young crusaders, the charm of RTI far outstrips the dangers. It allows them to break the monotony of everyday life and dream of leaving behind a legacy.
Reach out: www.rtionline.gov.in