Manmohan Singh
Manmohan SinghReuters/B Mathur

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concerns over Right to Information Act (RTI) possibly turning into a Frankenstein's monster by violating other fundamental rights of the constitution.

Speaking at the Annual Convention of Information Commissioners on Friday, the prime minster said that that RTI powers should be limited if they pose a threat to the right to privacy. "There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the RTI and the right to privacy, which stems out of the Fundamental Rights," said the Prime Minister.

"The citizens' right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someone's personal privacy. But where to draw the line is a complicated question," he added.

Manmohan also said that there are attempts to seek information, which hardly serve in the interests of public, to create unnecessary troubles. He also advocated for the effective utilization of the information act, instead of using it to run down public authorities.

"There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information which cannot possibly serve any public purpose," Manmohan added. "This important legislation should not be only about criticizing, ridiculing, and running down public authorities."

He also added that RTI can be utilized further for the benefit of the country and its people. "RTI should be more about promoting transparency and accountability, spreading information and awareness and empowering the citizen," Manmohan said. "Citizens feel empowered because of the Right to Information Act - 95.5% applications are cleared at the first stage."

The prime minister suggested that government officials should not consider the RTI Act as a thorn in their path. "Public Authorities should not view it as an irritant but something that is good for all of us collectively," he said.