President Pranab Mukherjee at the 8th Annual Convention of Central Information Commission in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo
Lauding the role of Right to Information Act in promoting transparency, President Pranab Mukherjee today stressed on adequate safeguards to protect the "inviolable rights to privacy" of a citizen.
The President also said government must do everything possible to create "an informed citizenry which is vital for the functioning of our democracy".
"Our enthusiasm about transparency and democracy should not make us ignore, even for a moment, the fact that the citizen, who is at the heart of all these arrangements is also an individual with certain inviolable rights to privacy," Mukherjee said in his speech.
Inaugurating the annual convention of the Central Information Commission, the President said there are provisions in the RTI Act which deal with the issue of privacy but there are still certain areas which need further clarity.
"There is a wafer thin difference between what is public and what is private...There is perhaps a need to create an arrangement that will provide protection to individuals in case their privacy is breached through unlawful means," the President said.
He also emphasised on the need for effectively using information communication technologies for data-keeping which is also mandatory under section four of the RTI Act.
"With the improvement in data management practices and by computerization of records and work flow, citizens should be able to locate on their own the status of their requests in the work flow artery of public authorities," he said.
The President said governance in a democracy is all about fiduciary and trust between a citizen and the government.
"The RTI Act must not be seen as a zero sum game between the citizen and Public Authorities. Governance in a democracy is all about fiduciary and trust and the level of a trust between the citizen and the government is one of the best indicators of mature democracy ," he said.