Different versions of public authority on govt portals on RTI

Different versions of public authority on govt portals on RTI

New Delhi: The Right To Information (RTI) Act has a different interpretation on the definition of ‘public authority´ when it comes to its Hindi version on government portals.

While the English version of the RTI Act defines public authority as any authority or body or institution that comes under the Central and state governments, the Hindi version considers it as a body owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Centre only.

Even after seven months when the error was reportedly brought to the notice of the Prime Minister’s Office and Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah by an RTI activist, it continues to appear on the website of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

“The definition of public authority in the Hindi version of the RTI Act has the potential to let such authorities that come under the state government go scot free," complainant Commodore Lokesh Batra said.

On 10 April, he sent an e-mail to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh bringing to his notice the mistake and requesting for early rectification.

“When I did not get a response, I filed an RTI on 13 May. In response to my RTI, the PMO intimated that my original mail was not traceable but the copy of the e-mail enclosed with my RTI had now been sent to DoPT," Batra said.

“Thank you for bringing it to my notice. I will look into the matter," was Habibullah’s reply seven months ago when the matter was first brought to his notice again.