The RTI Act of 2005 is being scoffed at by officials sitting on high seats of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. www.indianpsu.com after repeatedly asking the GMR Group about illegal cutting over one thousand full grown trees, did not get an answer to its queries.
In response to an RTI application sent to the Ministry of Civil Aviation by Vivek Avasthi, the Editor-in-Chief of www.indianpsu.com, the reply sent by the Ministry said “the information sought is not available/maintalned in Airport Development Section of this Ministry and may be available with Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) which is separate authority. Hence the RTI application is hereby transferred to the CPIOs of the above-mentioned organization under Section 6(3) of RTI Act, 2005 with the request to provide requisite information to the applicant directly under intimation to this Ministry.”
Passing the buck could be the correct phrase to define this move of the officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. As it would be, the GMR Group, very conveniently replied “This is in reference to MoCA letter No. AV-34010/268/2020-AD dated 16 Sept., 2020 regarding above subject. In view of the fact that Delhi International Airport Limited (“DIAL”) is not a ‘Public Authority’ as defined under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”), DIAL does not fall under the purview of the said Act. Hence, DIAL is not bound to provide any information under the RTI Act.”
Do senior officials sitting in the Ministry of Civil Aviation not know that Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is not covered under the RTI Act? Is this not open connivance between government officials and GMR Group? There are many serious questions that seek reply which will surely not come anyway.
Another RTI sent to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in this regard said that this Ministry had no information about this and transferred the application to Department of Forests and Wildlife of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. The latter replied “Since the requested information / part of information under3 the RTI does not pertain to this office and is closely connected to your office, the said application is transferred u/s 6 (3) of RTI Act, 2005 to provide requested information, if available directly to applicant”
This brings it back to square one. It is indeed strange that neither the Ministry of Civil Aviation nor the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, know anything about a thousand plus trees being felled near the Delhi International Airport.
Here, it would not be wrong to say that India’s right to information law is as good as defunct. After all, GMR Group’s affluence and influence within strong ministries of the central government, do prevail to stop free flow of information to cover their wrong doings.
To be continued …….