During his address at the inauguration of the RTI week celebrations, organised by the Tamil Nadu Information Commission at Raj Bhavan, he said even before the Freedom of Information Act was passed by Parliament, several states had enacted their own legislation on Freedom of Right to Information. “Tamil Nadu was the first State to introduce Right to Information Act in April 1996,” he pointed out.
“It is also seen that information seekers use the RTI Act not just to access information, but also to address their grievances,” he said adding, “Of late, the RTI Act is getting transformed as an enabling tool for redressal of grievances.” Stating that the National Advisory Council set up by the government of India in 2004 recommended important changes to the Freedom of Information Act, Purohit said, “Hence, the Freedom of Information Act was repealed and a new legislation, the Right to Information Act, 2005, was enacted and it came into effect on October 12, 2005.
He said the enactment was a historic moment in the annals of democracy in India. “Information is power and now every citizen has a right to access information ‘held by or under the control of’ public authorities,” he added. “It is the duty of all public authorities to provide information sought by citizens,” Purohit said and pointed out that the RTI Act seeks to establish that “transparency is the norm and secrecy is an exception” in the working of every public authority.
“It is no doubt this is one of the most empowering and progressive legislations in independent India,” Purohit said.