Standing Committee of Parliament to scrutinise RTI amendment bill
The Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliament on Departments of Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik, has said that the committee will scrutunise and examine the Right to Information (RTI) (Amendment) Bill, 2013 thoroughly.
The Right to Information (RTI) (Amendment) Bill, 2013 seeks to nullify the recent order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) vide which the Commission had ruled that the political parties are covered under the ambit of “public authority” as defined under section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; of the RTI Act.
The venue of the meetings of the committee is Chennai, Jaipur, Mumbai etc. At the meeting at Chennai, the committee heard the views of Tamil Nadu Government, Chennai Port Trust, Indian Bank, Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd., NGOs and others.
The Committee is examining:-
Ø the scope of the definition of public authority in the Act as passed by Parliament,
Ø whether the Commission has expanded the definition, which has resulted in Parliament introducing the bill as a corrective measure,
Ø whether the applicants can seek exhaustive information about political parties under the amendment, if so:
§ the scope of such information and
§ the consequences of such disclosure on the functioning of National and State parties in India.
Ø whether proceedings of various confidential meetings of political parties held for the short listing and/or finalising candidates will be required to be disclosed if the the bill does not become a law.
The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 is also being examined by the same Committee. The scope of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 is being examined in the background of the existing system, which
Ø neither gives an exclusive jurisdiction to the executive to make judicial appointments
Ø nor does it propose to continue the present system where the judiciary alone has a say in the matter of judicial appointments.