We arenít schoolkids, wonít accept demeaning RTI awards: Wajahat

Calling it "demeaning," Central Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has said that information commissioners will not accept "RTI awards" to be announced by Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) founded by Magsaysay Award winner and activist Arvind Kejriwal.

Kejriwal, incidentally, is also behind the campaign to push for Kiran Bedi as Habibullah's replacement.

"We have called a weekly meeting of information commissioners and decided not to accept awards. We have already told the organizers. Information Commissioners are not in competition with each other. Giving awards to information commissioners is shamely de-meaning us, we are not schoolchildren. The Information Commissions work as a unified whole," Habibullah said. Habibullah has resigned to take up his new assignment in J&K.

The current seniormost Central Information Commissioner M M Ansari ó a likely contender for the top job ó has questioned the activists' credentials to evaluate the work of information commissioners in an award ceremony called the 'National RTI Awards 2009.'

Ansari claims that the exercise ó it will name the "best five" and the "worst five" ó is nothing more than "eyewash...deliberately promoting some at the cost of others."

When contacted, Kejriwal said: "This is an attempt to bring the functioning of authorites under public scrutiny. People have the right to assess the performance of public authorities. We, as citizens, are performing our duties as envisaged in a democracy and celebrating the performance of some."

The jury will announce the rankings on November 27. The awards ceremony is on December 1. N R Narayana Murthy and the Tata Trust have sponsored the research and the awards ceremony is sponsored by NDTV and ONGC, said Kejriwal.

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