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Introducing RTI in School and College syllabi will prevent Misuse of Right to Information Act, says Goa’s Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendulkar

In the coastal state, officials from village panchayats and municipalities were more errant vis a vis dissemination of information sought by applicants under the aegis of the legislation

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Panaji, November 4, 2016: Misuse of the Right to Information Act can be prevented by introducing the RTI in school and college syllabi, Goa’s Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendulkar said on Friday.

The top official said that in the coastal state, officials from village panchayats and municipalities were more errant vis a vis dissemination of information sought by applicants under the aegis of the legislation.

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“We are targeting for the subject (RTI) to be taught in schools and colleges because they (students) will realise the importance of the rights of citizens…,” Tendulkar told IANS on the sidelines of a media event organised by the State Information Commission in Panaji.

Asked about the misuse of the RTI act, as alleged repeatedly by ruling politicians in the state, Tendulkar said: “We don’t dispute this. There is misuse to some extent. So, therefore there should be uniform awareness among youths, so that when they grow they become informed citizens of the state.”

“They should know that finally when they are going to file an application under RTI, they are going to drain the resources of the state. They should see that the person or PIO (Public Information Officer) is not there only for the purpose of imparting information. RTI should be used in a rational way,” Tendulkar added.

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The top official also announced the launch of the RTI Bharat Yatra, which will involve a specially customised vehicle, which will travel across Goa from November 5 to 18, to disseminate information about the RTI legislation and its practical uses, with the help of multi-media tools.

The vehicle has already travelled through the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. PIOs in the state will also be trained as part of the RTI-on-wheels programme.

Tendulkar said that sometimes PIOs who are officially tasked with dissemination of information under the RTI act, withhold information on purpose. The commission should be given more powers to rein in such errant officials.

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“Whether you are pressurised or not, it is the PIO who is responsible for this. If any penalty is imposed, it is imposed on you (PIO) and not on the person who is pressurising you… Sometimes PIOs are doing this purposely too. In these cases, they deserve punishment,” Tendulkar said.

“(Government) departments which are prone for this (withholding of information) are village panchayats and sometimes municipalities,” Tendulkar said. (IANS)

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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


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