Amendments bills to the RTI Act not likely to be placed before the parliament
The List of Government sponsored legislation that may be taken up for consideration and passing during the session of Parliament starting tomorrow does not include both Bills that seek to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). The Government had earlier introduced two Bills to amend the RTI Act in the Lok Sabha.
1. The first was the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill which sought to amend the RTI Act by including a new exemption under Section 8(1) and also insulate the as yet uncreated nuclear safety authorities that may be established in future for national interest and defence purposes.
2. The second was the RTI (Amendment) Bill which sought to keep all political parties out of the purview of the RTI Act and nullify the June 2013 order of the Central Information Commission that declared six national political parties as public authorities under the RTI Act.
The RTI activists have expressed relief at the omission of the two Bills to amend the RTI Act form the list of government Bills, however, they have expressed apprehension that the bills may be brought in at the last moment. The activists have maintained vigil and shall watch the developments and report back to you during the course of the current session.
The List of Government Bills includes the Grievance Redress Bill which is pending in the Lok Sabha. The National Identification Authority of India Bill which will replace the Unique Identification Authority of India with a statutory body is also slated for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha. Other important Bills related to corruption and accountability that are mentioned on the list of Government Bills are the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill and the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials Bill and the Public Procurement Bill. Bills introduced and pending in Parliament will not lapse upon the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
The List of Government Bills includes the Whistleblowers Protection Bill . This bill a companion law to both the RTI Act and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act which was passed during the last session of Parliament. If neither of these Bills are brought before parliament, they will lapse upon the dissolution of the Lok Sabha after the Parliamentary elections to be held in April-May, 2014.