RTI Amendment bill controversy
RTI Amendment bill controversy

RTI Amendment bill controversy

RTI act, 2005 is an act of Parliament of India which enables public to get information from any Government agency. It is powerful tool which has helped in bringing more accountablity and transparency in the functioning of Government. Due to RTI we got to know about Commonwealth scams, 2G scams etc. It was RTI due to which we got to know how much currency came back into bank post demonetisation. We can see that RTI has proved to be one of the most successful and powerful acts in curbing corruption.

Now there has been a proposal for making some amendments in the acts and these amendments have become a matter of concern for many RTI activists. These amendments will make change in the service condition of the Chairman and members of Chief Information Commission. However, RTI activists fear that the amendments will take away the independence of the Commission which may not be in good faith of the RTI act.

RTI Amendment bill controversy

To know whether there is any substance in the fear of activists first let us understand how RTI works. A person can seek information under RTI act either through sending physical letter or thorugh online RTI portal www.rtionline.gov.in . The online portal is currently applicable for Central govt. or its agencies only. For seeking information for State govt. or its bodies you have to opt for physical mode only. For furnishing the information sought under RTI act there is a Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). If the CPIO does not furnish the information or the information furnished is not satisfactory, the applicant may file an appeal to the Appellate authority of that Department. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision of the Appellate authority also then he may move to CIC. CIC after hearing the case, if finds that the information sought by applicant should have been furnished to the applicant then it may direct the concerned Department to furnish the requisite information.  

RTI Amendment bill controversy

Thus we can see how CIC plays an important role in successful implementation of the RTI act. The commssion needs to be an indpendent body so that it can deliver its duty without any political pressure. To ensure independence the chaiman and member of the Information Commission have a fixed salary and fixed tenure of 5 years. However, the amendments that are proposed states that the salary, allowances and tenure of chairman and members of the Commission will be decided by the Government. This decision will surely undermine the power of the Commission. Also it is feared by some RTI activists that these amendments will render the commission work on whims and fancies of the Government and hence the Commission will fail to fulfill the purpose for which it is meant for. If it becomes true, then it would make Commission a toothless tiger.

A strong and independent Commission is must to ensure transparency in governance and keep hopes alive among people.

vishal.hembram1990
vishal.hembram1990@gmail.com

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