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RIGHT TO INFORMATION AND ROLE OF STUDENTS

Azeem Khalid
STUDENTS are the future of any society. They are energetic and youthful. All what will
happen to any state or society is totally dependent on the youth. Right to informations powerful
tool empowers citizens to head towards a progressed and corruption free welfare state where the
future is safer and healthier. Where the prosperity reflects from happy faces of all, where no
money is plundered, where tax is used with care, where all are under a check to perform well and
where there is no secrecy of information. Students role entails many a things. With respect to
right to information act the student community is the key to implementation. And in practices
ranging from awareness creation to successful application of the law resulting in a prosperous
society the role of students is undeniable.
To understand the role of students with respect to Right to Information law first we
should have a grip on the meanings and concepts like Rights, Information, Human Rights and
Basic Human rights.
1. RIGHTS
In a society or state everyone has certain rights and duties. Rights are all those normative
rules which allow a person to get, to give and to acquire those entire things, feelings and
expressions which are owed to him. In short Right can be it can be defined as
A persons right is the fundamental normative
rule about what is allowed of him or owed to him.
While establishing the understanding about rights one should always keep in mind that if he has
some things to get and some rights to acquire then he has many duties to do. Ones right is others
duty. For example, a child has right to get good education. It means that his parents and his
family have a duty to provide him with the feasible environment and facilities to get admission.
It also implies that the state is having a duty to facilitate all children good institutions like
schools, colleges, universities and libraries where children can learn and acquire knowledge. In

short a right of one unit is duty of one or more than one units. Socially and ethically it is binding
on all human beings to respect and give others their rights. Immanuel Kant, a philosopher of note
said advocating the respect of others rights, In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights
of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. Same is for all those who do not
want their rights to be violated. They should perform their duties well, that is directly fulfilling
others rights. Rights that do not flow from duty well performed are not worth having.

2. HUMAN RIGHTS
Human rights are those unalienable and undeniable rights of human beings to which
humans are inherently entitled to get, simply because of being humans. These rights are must and
can never be snatched or taken away from humans at any cost. Hence these rights are applicable
everywhere and are same for all that is egalitarian. The one who snatches or try to snatch these
rights from human beings are considered as enemy of all.
3. IDENTIFYING FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS
Fundamental human rights are legal protections which are due to citizens of any state.
Usually these rights are endorsed by the states in one form or other. Many states have made the
provision of fundamental human rights part of their constitutions. Such rights thus belong
without presupposition or cost of privilege to all human beings under. The concept of human
rights has been promoted as a legal and constitutional concept in large part owing to the idea that
human beings have such "fundamental" rights, such that transcend all jurisdiction, but are
typically reinforced in different ways and with different emphasis within different legal systems.
Some universally recognized rights as fundamental, i.e., contained in the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, or the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, include the following:

Right to self-determination

Right to liberty

Right to due process of law

Right to freedom of movement

Right to freedom of thought

Right to freedom of religion

Right to information

Right to freedom of expression

Right to peaceably assemble

Right to freedom of association

Right to marry

These are some of the basic and fundamental human rights. The list is long as there are many
rights possessed by human beings. Civilized societies always make sure the provision of all basic
rights to all citizens without any discrimination or bias.
The focus of essay is towards freedom to Information. This is a well-established fact that
information shall be available to all the citizens of any state. In Pakistan, this thought was there
but the realization of the fact came later. Some international organizations (IGOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worked tirelessly and made people and government ready to
acknowledge the Right to information.

4. RIGHT TO INFORMATION:
As all other fundamental human rights Right to information (Commonly known as RTI) is an
important part of fundamental human rights. WE HAVE RIGHT TO KNOW is one important
slogan. As explained earlier the relationship of rights and duties here in this case the right is of
all citizens of a state and at the other end of duties id Government. It is a duty of all citizens of a
state to pay taxes, and in return state will secure and provide all rights to the citizens. Getting
Information is right of all citizens and it is duty of government to make suitable arrangements to
perform this duty.
WHY WE NEED TO KNOW?
Human beings are curious and inquisitive living beings. It is in the nature of humans to
search answers for their benefits and maximization of interests. We acquire information and use

it with the agenda of getting most out of it. Information is used in many ways. While being the
citizens of a state which is being run by citizens money it is right of taxpayer to know where its
money is being spent and if it is being used in right ways and directions. None of the worlds
Seven millions of people want his money to be used by any corrupt person. Right to information
law enables citizens to be the part of accountability process and to be in picture of the matters in
which his money is being poured.
Citizens access to Information is must for transparent and good governance. It also is
accordance with transparency and fight against corruption. This right of information is a
powerful tool, if applied well by the people. It can help overcome many governance deficits and
make institutions work for citizens.
5. RTI LAW AND ITS IMPORTANCE:
According to Article 19-A of the 1973 Constitution, every citizen has the right to get
information from any state-owned body if it is in the public interest. The Freedom of Information
Ordinance was passed in 2002. After this, it was changed into the Right to Information (RTI) Act
under the Eighteenth Amendment.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments have taken the good step to pass the
RTI law. In Punjabs case, the RTI law is being openly debated in public.
The law has given the constitutionally granted basic right to people to know what the
government and its functionaries do. Earlier everything of the government was a secret. Now
except for real secrets, everything else is open to public scrutiny.

ROLE OF STUDENTS:
Many questions have been raised in the minds of the people regarding this law; for
instance, how will this law be imposed? Will this law be of benefit to the public? Will the
relevant organizations give information to the common man when petitioned? What is also
important is that people not only talk about wanting good governance, they should also be taking
sound steps in order to make this happen. For this the role of students can be vital.

Every law passes through some phases from its making to successful implementation and
from implementation to a contributor to benefits for the people. Students can play important role
at every step. Following are the major and broader areas where students can be effective.
1. As an agency of motivation and inspiration:
Students are mostly at the age where they are young and energetic. They have capabilities
and potentials to prove them and demonstrate their moral, virtuous and upright deeds to the
people of their society, enabling them to be a source of motivation and inspiration for others.
RTI is for the benefit of all. Students on higher moral grounds can use this fruitful law for the
good of other human beings. If one does this practice, he will be a source of inspiration at
first and secondly a motivational force for others to practice this law. Result will ultimately
be in reduction of corruption and transparent governance.
2. Awareness creation in society and their educational institutions:
Pakistan is a developing state where literacy rate is low and standards of education are
somewhat pathetic. In such a society it gets very hard for the governments and other
organizations to create awareness. Students belong from all strata of society. They are present
within the society and closely linked with the public. A candle lits other candle and this
process goes on. A student can educate other fellow students in his school, college or
university about RTI law and convince him about its utility and worth.
Hence they are at apposition where they can educate people about RTI law, its importance, its
implementation, its process, its benefits and all. Once this awareness is induced in the society
no hurdle would be able to hinder Pakistan to progress towards a corruption free state.
3. Implementation helpers:
Implementation of a law is the soul of law. If a law is not implemented it would not be a real
law. A law is simply implemented if it is practiced. Students should work to use this law. Ask

for the information from officers, convince their friends, family and colleagues to use this
law to get information.
RTI is very helpful for students as it helps in information collection which is backbone of all
the study and research. Getting information from the government official for research
purpose was a hell difficult task but after the RTI it is easier and safer to ask for the
information and get it for the research purpose and use it for the well-being of the society and
state. Indirectly this will help in implementing the law and pour life and positive activity in
the body of RTIs written draft.
4. Train on how to use the law:
Students should learn the tools and procedures to use RTI law. Firstly it will enable them to
acquire information and knowledge and secondly energetic young students will be equipped
with the tools to help and safeguard the interests of them. Khalil Gibran Said, Safeguarding
the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful.
5. Helping citizens through the processes:
Once the tools and techniques are learned the doors to be a part of noble group of crusaders
for the corruption free and transparent society. A student can help other citizens throughout
the whole process. Things like writing applications, going to information office, getting and
collecting information and dealing with small glitches may be hurdles for the person who
wants to get info. These things may push him away from the process. Students should always
be there for him to help him out at any stage so he could get to required information easily.
6. Taking suitable actions if information is not delivered or wrong:
There may be instances where wrong or misleading information is giving out from the
officer. Then the student should really charge in to work for the rights of the person who is
denied from his right. He should be a helping and motivating hand for the proper procedural
following and getting the right to the deserving.

7. Taking suitable actions after information is received:


If the information is received and there is some problems are identified in the case for which
the information was taken then at this step as a good and responsible citizen students should
guide the proper way to him about how to deal with it and what should be next to deal in the
given situation.
8. Maintaining a good relationship with organizations working on RTI and
implementation:
Some Non-Governmental organizations are working tirelessly for the for the noble cause of
delivery of RTIs basic human right. Students actively participate in the campaigns and be a
helping hand so their efforts can bore maximum fruit.
In short students can be of pivotal importance if they are willing to work for the honorable
cause of implementing RTI in its true sense. Their contributions are important and no one
else is at this position to help and pave a way for the progress and prosperity.
6. CONCLUSION
Four million people in India made use of the countrys Right to Information law in 201112. Out of all these cases, not a single Indian citizen was reported to have misused the law. By
expressing concern about the RTI law, public sector officials often forget that even they are
citizens of the state and can make use of this law. It is the need of the hour for a public awareness
campaign to be launched about this law so that the people know their rights and once the law is
enacted, make use of it. The media and civil society can play a vital role in this regard.
I am hopeful that we will be able to learn from the Indian example and be able to set high levels
of prosperity where no one can breach others fundamental human rights.
May CPDI and Pakistan be blessed with prosperity.

________THE END_________

Sir Zahid Abdullah 0333-5214748