Indian media: Passions high over access to information

Screenshot of Hindustan Times
Image caption Most of India's top political parties have reservations over the transparency watchdog's latest ruling

Media in India have expressed mixed but passionately-held opinions on political parties' reluctance to come under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

The RTI law allows Indians access to information held by the government and on Monday, its ambit was extended to six national parties, including the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP and the Communist Party of India have largely accepted the Central Information Commission's (CIC) "landmark ruling" but other parties have raised their objections, reports say.

The Hindu says the RTI has been used for "unearthing scams" but now the government is "debunking a law that is its own creation".

The Times of India, in an editorial, says the transparency watchdog (CIC) deserves "three cheers" for its ruling.

The Tribune says a living democracy like India "should not shy away from experiments". The Pioneer too welcomes the ruling but feels that poll reforms are also needed to bring transparency in India's electoral system.

Prominent Hindi newspapers Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala and Jansatta find the opposition to the ruling "baffling" and feel the CIC's move will bring transparency in the way political parties are run in the country.

However, the Deccan Herald, The Indian Express and the Asian Age hold contrary views and feel the ruling has "no sound logic".

'Locked up'

Most newspapers, including the DNA and the New Indian Express, are reporting the dramatic rescue of a woman who was allegedly locked up for several years in her house in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

"She was found naked and unable to use her limbs," the New Indian Express quoted a police official as saying.

The woman's parents have denied allegations that their daughter had been illegally confined, saying she was merely restrained as "she is mentally unstable", the paper adds.

Moving on to sports news, India's national hockey team coach Michael Nobbs feels confident of putting up a good show at the 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament in Rotterdam, to be held between 13 and 23 June, the NDTV website reports.

Staying with hockey, The Indian Express reports that the team which represented the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the ongoing national hockey championship in Pune had no local players.

The team set up by a Bangalore-based business group does not have a single player and support staff from the archipelago, the paper said.

Lucas Robert, director of sports in the Andaman and Nicobar government, said: "It's fraud. We have no information about this team."

Meanwhile, The Hindu tells an inspiring story of a sports academy set up in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to make disabled children interested in games like cricket and hockey.

"His reverence for sports made Siddharth Upadhyay, the academy's founder, leave his white-collar job in Delhi and start an organisation for underprivileged children whose talent in any game could be recognised and honed in order to play big competitions and win scholarships," the paper says.

And in another inspiring story, the India Today reports how a former murder convict is helping "poor people navigate the long and expensive corridors of judiciary in Calcutta".

Gobinda Mohan Ghosh was given a 14-year jail term in 1988 over a murder case, though he had pleaded not guilty.

"It was the helplessness he felt trying to defend himself before the judiciary, Ghosh explains, that inspired him to become a lawyer," the report adds.

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