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Monday, May 18, 2009

Chew on this, RTI brings lost cow home

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 11, 2009

Unhappy with the police for failing to act on your complaint? Well, the Right to Information (RTI) Act can come to your rescue.

Gobind Dubey, a resident of north Delhi’s Metro Vihar, was recently surprised to find a couple of policemen at his door. They had Dubey’s stolen cow with them.

All they wanted was for him to withdraw his RTI application.

A few months ago, Dubey had complained to the police that the cow, his only source of income, had been taken away by one Raju Tyagi, a dairy owner.

The police refused to register a case, saying Tyagi had bought the animal and had the documents to prove it.

On a friend’s advice, Dubey filed an RTI application, seeking details of the action taken on his complaint.

“About a week after I filed the application, policemen came to my house with Tyagi and returned my cow,” he said. “Tyagi apologised to me and the police requested me not to pursue the case further.”

About 50 km away in Ghaziabad in UP, Mukesh Kumar, too, has reason to thank the RTI Act.

Kumar, an electrician, had complained to the police that a man had duped him. A cheque for Rs 70,000 — that was owed to Kumar — had bounced.

When no action was taken, he filed an RTI application. Within days, the police asked Kumar to come to Ghaziabad and collect his money. “They just wanted me to give in writing that the issue had been settled,” he said.

Magsaysay award-winner Arvind Kejriwal said these two were true examples of people’s empowerment through the RTI Act. About 75 lakh RTI applications were filed last year. “The law was framed to make public servants accountable to people and it is happening to some extent,” said Kejriwal.

© Copyright 2007 Hindustan Times

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