RTI amendment bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee
The government has decided to refer the Bill to amend the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act, 2005 to a Parliament committee to examine. The Minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy has written to Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar, to refer the Bill to a Parliamentary standing committee committee. Earlier, a bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the RTI Act with retrospective effect in order to nullify the Central Information Commission order bringing the political parties under its purview.
The government has been at the receiving end of criticism for the bill which seeks to exempt the political parties from the ambit of the transparency law. Commentators have said that the step is an attempt to shift the condemnation from the civil society from the UPA to the rest of the political parties. Almost all the political parties, barring the Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal, have unequivocally supported the move to amend the RTI Act while the government alone has been at the receiving end of the disapproval from the critics.
Over one lakh people signed an online petition on social media seeking an end to the attempted amendment to the RTI Act. Amongst those who signed the petition are Bharat Wakhlu, director at Tata Group; Vishal Dadlani Bollywood music director; Nepal Sarkar, former secretary of Bangladesh information commission; Julio Ribeiro former Punjab’s director general of police and Theodore Bhaskaran, famous Tamil writer. The former chief election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy has also joined the list of dignitaries who have criticised the move to amend the Right to Information Act.