Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab in collaboration with Punjab State Information Commission organized a National Seminar on “Right to Information: A Tool for Transparency and Accountability.” Prof. (Dr.) Nishtha Jaswal, Department of Law, Punjab University was the Chief-Guest. Professor (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor, RGNUL and Professor (Dr.) G.I.S. Sandhu, Registrar, RGNUL were also present on the occasion.
Professor (Dr.) Paramjit S. Jaswal, in his address, focused upon the significant developments related to Right to Information. He alluded to different provisions for seeking information and pointed out that these took long time and provided insufficient information. “The introduction of Right to Information in the 21st century,” Prof. Jaswal remarked, “brought good governance, accountability and transparency in Indian Democracy.” He observed that the RTI was mired with controversies because of those who used it as a weapon of threat. Professor (Dr.) Jaswal drew the attention of the delegates to the issue of manufacturing information. He said that this tool must be applied with restrain for the smooth functioning of an office.
Professor (Dr.) Nishtha Jaswal, in her keynote address, dwelled upon the origin, objectives, misuse and judicious use of Right to Information. She also discussed the various components of RTI and the dynamics of the Act over the years. Dr. Nishtha Jaswal quoted verses from the Bhagvad Gita to emphasize on the significance of gaining knowledge about action as well as inaction. She elaborated upon the basic objectives of RTI – to empower citizens, to promote transparency and accountability. She said “Well – informed citizen are better equipped to keep a vigil on the proper function of various departments.”
Dr. Nishtha Jaswal cited numerous cases to elucidate the emerging issues related to RTI. She emphasized on the fact that the arbitrariness of various departments could be checked with the judicious use of RTI. “Every department must endeavor to provide correct information in the prescribed time duration,” said Dr. Nishtha Jaswal. She observed that it was the responsibility of the departments to maintain an honest record and not to concoct information or to provide vague information. Quoting Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, she concluded that RTI was needed for good governance.
Out of 120 papers, 40 presentations were made over nine technical sessions. Under RGNUL Book Series by CASCL, “Cases and Material on Criminal Procedure in India,” edited by Professor (Dr.) G.I.S. Sandhu, Registrar, RGNUL and Dr. Sharanjit Kaur, Associate Professor of Law, RGNUL was also released during the inaugural session. Dr. Kamaljit, Associate Professor of Law, extended a vote-of-thanks on the occasion. Dr. Geetika Walia, Assistant Professor of Law, coordinated the seminar.