Kerala government to seek high court’s view on RTI query

Thiruvananthapuram, July 19 (IANS) The Kerala government will approach the high court to understand the implications of the RTI Act vis-a-vis the Cabinet’s decisions, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister informed the assembly that his government had no intention to hide Cabinet decisions and will seek the court’s opinion on the issue. The move comes in the wake of the CIC seeking details of Cabinet decisions as asked for through an RTI query.

Since assuming office, the Vijayan government has not held the customary media briefings after the weekly Cabinet meetings.

While the Congress charged the Vijayan government with keeping the public in the dark about Cabinet decisions, the Chief Minister refuted the allegation saying that it was not his business to carry out a public relations exercise unlike his predecessors.

Reacting to the Chief Minister’s statement, Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan on Tuesday said it was surprising that the Chief Minister considers media briefings as a public relations exercise.

“It was surprising to hear that a Chief Minister need not carry out public relations and hence the customary media briefing after the Cabinet meetings has been done away with,” said Satheesan. “The government takes major decisions but the people are kept in the dark,” he charged.

“While in Opposition, you (Vijayan) had advised the previous Oommen Chandy government on transparency, but as Chief Minister you are not adhering to the same principle,” Satheesan said.

Responding to Satheesan, the Chief Ministger said: “We have no intention to keep things under wraps. A Cabinet sub-committee is looking into the decisions taken by the Chandy government from January 1 to March 31, and once it is over, we will be putting everything in the public domain. We also wish to get some clarification on the RTI Act. Once we get it, everything will be available for the public.”

He also asked whether any of the Congress Prime Ministers met media persons to brief them about Cabinet decisions of the central government.

However, despite Vijayan’s response, the Congress members decided to walk out of the assembly.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said: “The Chief Secretary must ensure that all Cabinet decisions are put out as orders within 48 hours. But now we need an RTI query to find out about the Cabinet decisions. It is clear that this LDF government is hiding the Cabinet decisions.”

–IANS

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