Shailesh Gandhi, a man who likes to call himself a citizen empowered by RTI, is one of the country's foremost voices for RTI. Though being a first-generation successful entrepreneur in plastic packaging, he sold his company to become an RTI activist. He was the convener of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information Act. In fact, he is the only RTI activist to be chosen as a Central Information Commissioner (CIC).
As a CIC, he closed the highest number of RTI appeals - 20,000 cases in 3 years 9 months - a record unlikely to be broken, and ensured that most cases were decided in less than 90 days. In 2010, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the most prestigious Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award for his exemplary dedication in spreading communal harmony and leading the right to information campaign.
"The essence of democracy is a concept where each individual citizen is a sovereign in her own right, who gives up part of her sovereignty to the State, in return for which she gets the rule of law."
Mr. Shailesh Gandhi completed his B.Tech. in Civil Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1969. In 1980, he established the Clear Plastics Limited that grew to a significant size employing 500 people and used only indigenous machinery. However, in 2003, he sold the business and started focusing on the Right to Information. Since then, he has evangelized it with zeal and vigour. He is one of the prime movers behind the establishment of Right to Information Act. He has used RTI and conducted 1000s of workshops training citizens and government officials to use it. He gave many landmark decisions on RTI, apart from organizing the first digital paper-less office in the Commission. He is passionately pursuing the cause of evolving ways for a time bound justice delivery system, and improving governance systems. In 2007, IIT Bombay conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus award. Amongst many other awards, he is also the recipient of the Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties award and the MR Pai award.
He has also authored a book RTI Act- Authentic Interpretation of the Statute and a paper critiquing Supreme Court judgments on RTI. He continues to be a crusader for transparency and integrity in all public matters..