Public Lecture on Act 21 of 2006

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SLS, Pune in collaboration with PCGT, Pune Chapter organized a public lecture cum workshop on “Act 21 of 2006: The Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act” on 27th June, 2016 at SLS, Pune.

The Chief Guest and Resource Person for the event was Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Former Chief Information Commissioner of GOI and an RTI Activist.

The programme commenced with the lighting of lamp by the dignitaries on the dais including Chief Guest, Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Mr. S.C. Nagpal, Chairman, PCGT, Pune Chapter, Mr. D.V.R. Rao, Member, PCGT, Pune Chapter, Mr. Satish Khot, Vice Chairman, PCGT, Pune Chapter, Dr. Gurpur, Dr. Bindu Ronald, Deputy Director, SLS, Pune.

Dr. Gurpur in her welcome address said that information empowers individuals. She emphasized that in democratic service, the Right to Information (RTI) Act has transformed the face of the country by leading it from being a passive society to an active society by giving rights and privileges to the common man through democratic governance. She said that public intellectualism has been in the DNA of SLS, Pune.

Mr. D.V.R. Rao said, “What we need today is Less Government and More Governance”.  He said, “ The mission of PCGT is to  address issues of public concern by creating awareness about the rights and duties of citizens, their grievances, educating people about RTI, tackling corruption and sensitizing as well as educating government employees”.

Mr. Satish Khot informed the audience that Mr. Shailesh Gandhi was a part of national RTI Movement and was involved in drafting the RTI Act. He took land mark decisions on RTI Act and resolved over 20,000 cases in record three years and nine months. He was conferred with Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties Award.

Mr. Shailesh Gandhi began by quoting Lokmanya Tilak, “ Swarajya (Self –Rule) is my birth right and I shall have it”.  He said that on 15th August, 1947 India got independence but Swaraj never came to us.  This was followed by rhetorical questions to the audience.   He said that RTI recognizes the sovereignty of individual citizens.

He focused on the empowerment of a single individual and introduced the subject of Act 21 of 2006. He called it a “confidential act” since it remains unknown to the people. He apprised the audience of Sections 2, 4, 10 and 11 of the Act.

Introducing the “Ghoos  ko Ghusa” campaign to kick out bribe started by PCGT, Mr. Gandhi spoke about the enforcement of Section 9, which talks of delegation of powers. This section states that no government servant can keep a file for more than 7 working days to deal with the issue more commonly known as “passing the paper”.  Mr. Gandhi asserted that RTI works because there are personal penalties. However, this Act talks about initiating disciplinary action for failure and not mere financial penalties.  His advice to the youth was to “Stop cribbing and start acting”.

Mr. Satish Khot then responded to several questions raised by the audience and assured their faith in the campaign.

Mr. S.C. Nagpal delivered the presidential address and concluding remarks. By narrating a mythological tale, he emphasized the importance of truth in governance. In another tale, he reflected on the superiority of capability over incapability. With these words, he encouraged the audience to pursue the matter and ensure the implementation of Act 21 of 2006.

The event concluded with the vote of thanks by Dr. Bindu Ronald followed by National Anthem.