Eminent people like Arvind Kejriwal and so many others have sacrificed their time and lives to successfully pass the Right to Information Act 2005 in the Indian parliament.
“Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days”
But their efforts and sacrifices are going in vain.
One such instance is a local branch of State Bank Of India which we approached for the payment of the prescribed fees for filing an RTI application. We were shocked since none of the officers in the bank were able to handle our request as none of them knew about the procedure. They asked us to consult with the Bank Manager, but it turned out that he too was completely unaware of the procedure. Even after we showed them printouts of the information about the procedure to be undertaken, mentioned in their own website, the manager blatantly refused to take any action and sent us away.
To avoid any such other future RTI applications being turned down by the sheer lack of awareness, we filed an RTI enquiring the details like whether the RTI information has been properly circulated among all branches of SBI and when was it done. We even registered a complaint with the superior officers of SBI about the ignorance of the Branch Manager.
The same ignorant manager after being questioned by higher authorities as a result of our Complaint, called us and we were greeted with a completely different tone: “Sir. I am sorry for my ignorance. You are right. We have provisions to pay RTI fee. Shall I come to your home to discuss more”.
We told them that there was no need for that and we visited the bank. The manager kept apologizing to us and pleaded to take back the complaint. We were forced to take back the complaint looking at his sorry state.
Such is the state of our country.
Please note that this is not a complaint. We are just trying to highlight the areas that need to be improved in our country.