For a very long time now, our country is plagued by a system that is extremely slow and skeptical of change. Things do not happen the way it ideally should. The system needs immediate reforms and therefore, we the people should step up and do our bit for the democracy we so cherish.
I work as an independent journalist and transparency activist. I focus on the Right to Information Act and make use of this very effective tool to ensure transparency and accountability from our Governments. The RTI Act has been a boon for the people of India.
But in the recent past, the RTI Act has been diluted and the working of the RTI body has been throttled. It needs immediate reforms and the only way of doing this now, is through continuous and effective litigation. This fundraiser is to fight this fight.
The amount that will be collected through this fundraiser will be used towards litigation for a wide range of issues, mostly to do with transparency and the RTI regime.
For the immediate future, the amount collected through this fundraiser will be used to fight these 2 court cases-
1. The Personal Data Protection Bill- This Bill, which will drastically affect the privacy rights of all Indians, is undergoing scrutiny in the Parliament of India but people have been denied the right to scrutinise the present bill in its present form. This needs immediate scrutiny and since the system is unwilling to help, it requires litigation.
2. The Aarogya Setu App and National Digital Health ID- My investigative story published in the English news website- The Quint, revealed a series of privacy risks and violations committed while handling the data of millions of Indians. This requires thorough public scrutiny and therefore, requires judicial intervention. The Digital Health ID also requires transparency, which currently is illegally shutdown.
After these present cases are filed, more systemic issues will be required to be dealt with and for which I'll be collaborating with other expert organisations.
Each Court case requires around 7000-8000 rupees for filing, depending on the number of prayers and the type of case and also provided the advocate takes the case pro-bono.
The court work includes, but not limited to-
- All other procedural work including filing RTIs and paying fees for additional documents under RTI at Rs. 2/page.
Accordingly, it will cost Rs. 7000-8000 for the court case.
Further a fee of minimum Rs. 5000 is to be paid to any lawyer who represents a party for Writ petitions, including PILs. This is as per the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority circular dated 17.10.2016. You may please refer to point XII (1) (a) of this circular attached in the documents section below. Depending on the type of lawyer one engages, such rates will increase. Therefore, the total minimum cost of Rs. 11,000 is incurred for fighting each PIL/Writ Petition.
Further, in a situation where any case is challenged in the Supreme Court, the costs will further increase. So the rest of the collected amount will be stored as an emergency fund to make up for the cost of any unforeseen circumstances. The payment gateway charges will also be borne from this.
Every bit of your contribution will help create a better, more transparent and accountable system. With this, I request you to pitch in with whatever you can. Thank you for taking the time out to read this.