RTI activists slam move to dilute Act's provisions

RTI activists on Saturday slammed the Centre's move to amend the RTI Act, saying its dilution would have consequences for democracy.

By S.M. Shahbaz in Patna
  • Published 5.08.18
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Patna: RTI activists on Saturday slammed the Centre's move to amend the RTI Act, saying its dilution would have consequences for democracy.

"The central government's move seeking control over the tenure and salary of information commissioners would erode the statutory body's autonomy and weaken citizen's basic right to seek crucial information from the government," RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj said. She was speaking at a programme on pressing issues with regard to implementation of Right to Information Act, 2005, and its performance in Bihar. Over a hundred RTI activists participated in Jan Samvad, the discussion organised by National Alliance of People's Movements in association with Digital Empowerment Foundation and Video Volunteers at the A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies.

"The Centre's control over tenure and salary of information commissioners would build political pressure on them and diminish the body's capacity to provide information disliked by the government and encourage 'Yesmanship' in the commissions at the central and state level," Anjali said.

The Right to Information Amendment Bill, 2018, seeks to amend the RTI Act, 2005. The proposed bill states that pay, tenure and conditions of service of chief information commissioners and other information commissioners shall be prescribed by the Centre. At the moment, these are in the Parliament's hand.

Anjali told The Telegraph that killings of RTI activists remains a big concern in Bihar apart from lack of sufficient number of information commissioners in the state. The participants paid tributes to slain RTI activists Rajendra Kumar and Valmiki Yadav, who were killed in East Champran and Jamui districts on June 19 and July 1 respectively.