KATHMANDU, August 7
Constituent Assembly members and stakeholders have expressed concern about the ‘Right to Privacy’ provisioned in the preliminary draft of the new constitution and said it would act as a hurdle to the implementation of Right to Information.
They urged the Constituent Assembly and political parties to revise the proposed constitutional provision and make an amendment to the Right to Information Act to make the people’s right to information more effective.
Speaking at two-day Second National Conference on Right to Information organised by Freedom Forum Nepal that kicked off on Friday in the capital, Constitution Assembly member Rabindra Adhikari suggested that ‘Right to Privacy’ should not overpower Right to Information. “Wrong information prevails over factual information if we cannot make the culture of preparing, protecting and exchanging information more effective and systematic,” he said.
Adhikari also urged the political parties to develop a culture of providing information to the people on demand. Mohna Ansari, a member of the National Human Rights Commission said RIT was not only a tool of good governance but a mechanism that restored civic and political rights within the sector of human rights. Krishna Hari Baskota, Chief Commissioner at the National Information Commission, laid emphasis on the need to make a provision of ‘right to disseminate information’ in the constitution. “It is not only a matter of give and take but also a right to disseminate information. The provision of privacy has had adverse impacts on Right to Information. It should be amended,” he suggested.
Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said Right to Privacy should not be misused in a manner to curtail Right to Information. “Though Right to Information and Right to Privacy are interconnected, one should never affect the other,” he stressed.
Rijal said the provision of taking an oath of office and secrecy by the government officials was often criticised by people. “But it is possible to replace the term ‘secrecy’ with ‘promise to protect constitutional provisions’. Adequate discussion on the issue is needed,” he said. The two-day convention is chaired by Taranath Dahal, RTI campaigner and chairperson of Freedom Forum Nepal.
A version of this article appears in print on August 08, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.