NEW DELHI: The government’s move to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act will render the law “useless”, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said Thursday and advocated that “every Indian” should oppose the proposed changes, which seek government control over the salaries and terms of information commissioners.
The BJP wants to hide the truth, Gandhi alleged.
The amendments, if cleared by Parliament, will give the government powers to fix tenures, salaries as well as other terms and conditions of service of information commissioners at the Central Information Commission (CIC).
“Every Indian deserves to know the truth and the BJP wants to hide the truth. The BJP believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power. The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
He added that the changes being suggested “must be opposed by every Indian”.
Gandhi tagged a letter by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, which has challenged the amendments on the ground that they undermine the independence of information commissions.
Under the RTI Act, information commissioners have a fixed tenure of five years or till they attain the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
The chief information commissioner gets a salary equivalent to the chief election commissioner while information commissioners at the CIC are at par with election commissioners.
The government yesterday said it is considering a proposal to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, to frame rules on salaries and services of the chief information commissioner and information commissioners.
A notice of intention was given to introduce ‘The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ in the Rajya Sabha for consideration and passage during the current session of Parliament, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply to Lok Sabha yesterday
Leaders of various political parties yesterday said they are committed to fight any “attempt” by the Centre to “dilute” the act and oppose any amendments to it.
The proposed amendments, circulated among Members of Parliament, seek to do away with the parity given to information commissions with the Election Commission in terms of salary, allowances and conditions of service, RTI activists have said.
The Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions were set up under the RTI Act to facilitate flow of information from government departments, ministries and agencies to the citizens wanting information under the law.