Lucrative Business - Eastern Mirror
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Lucrative Business

By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 22, 2016 12:38 am

According to one of our elected representatives currently sitting in the state cabinet, checking corruption has become the most lucrative business in Nagaland. At a school function in Mokokchung, the legislator was reported as saying that a dangerous trend of abusing anti-graft tools by some people “to suit their whims and desires” on the pretext of checking corruption has taken root in Nagaland. In all fairness, the legislator is neither alone nor the first one to give expression to this sentiment in public.

Members of the anti-graft movement, Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation has went on record stating that there are many people in Nagaland who use RTI tool simply to extract money or favours from those in positions of power. It is altogether another matter that such kind of information is gulped down by the public without batting an eye. Again, according to the legislator, such transgression was happening in Nagaland because of the absence of “real truth within oneself”. The intent of this column is not to contest this assertion by the legislator.

Right to Information (RTI) is simply a tool for public information. It seeks to empower citizens through information, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government. An informed citizen, naturally, is better equipped at keeping vigil on the government authorities and makes the government more accountable to the governed. By doing so, it contains corruption and helps to render our democracy work for the people.

Any attempt to use the RTI tool for personal gain or any form of vendetta should be exposed. The Supreme Court is clear on this. “The (Right to Information) Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquillity and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty,” the apex court has ruled.

On the other hand, why is it a lucrative business? Who is the payer here? It is for certain that for any business to be a lucrative, some form of transaction must be involved. Or else, how could it be lucrative, no? What fears have forced those in power and authority to buy the silence of those who are armed with information? Why is that they do not want certain information to be made public? If they are clean, then what is there to be afraid of? Rather, expose those who are blackmailing them. It is that simple.

As a cognizable offence, blackmail (or attempt to blackmail) is a non-bailable crime. If someone is using RTI to extract money or personal favour, charge them with attempt to blackmail. Only then, we will not have a lucrative business out of a tool for public information.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 22, 2016 12:38:21 am
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