PANAJI: Secretary of Goa Legislature Secretariat Namrata Ulman, also the designated First Appellate Authority under the Right to Information Act (RTI), will, on Friday, August 19th, hear the appeal filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues, against the order of the Public Information Officer (PIO) at the Legislature Secretariat Mohan Gaonkar, declined to furnish the information sought by him.
Adv. Rodrigues, on June 28th, had sought a copy of the file notings and correspondence pertaining to that two-day training workshop for MLAs held on 27th and 28th June at the Taj Vivanta and also complete details of the expenditure incurred on the event.
PIO Mohan Gaonkar, in his reply, informed Adv. Rodrigues that the disclosure of the information would cause a breach of Privilege of State Legislature and would also be against the Rules of Conduct of Business of Goa Legislative Assembly.
In his appeal, while stating that the RTI Act was intended to furnish information and not to deny it, Adv. Rodrigues contended that it was clear that Parliament enacted the Act keeping in mind the rights of an informed citizenry in which information transparency was vital in curbing corruption and making the Government and its instrumentalities accountable.
Pointing out that the Act was meant to harmonise the conflicting interests of the Government to preserve the confidentiality of sensitive information with the right of citizens to know the functioning of the governmental process in such a way as to preserve the paramountcy of democratic ideals, Adv. Rodrigues, in his appeal, stated that the denial of the information by the PIO at the Legislature Secretariat was contrary to the very objectives and mandate of the RTI Act.
Stating that the action of the PIO to deny information was illegal, untenable and with suspect motives, Adv. Rodrigues also stated that the action on the part of the PIO construed deliberate denial of information with an intention to keep the veil of privacy on the affairs while defeating the very purpose of the Transparency Law.
Adv. Rodrigues has today stated that he would demand the dismissal from the service of PIO Mohan Gaonkar for his sheer and utter ignorance of even the basic rules and regulations governing the very functioning of the Goa Legislative Assembly.