Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, on Saturday said that the manner in which important bills were passed in the Parliament has hurt federalism in the country. The statement was made in reference to the Right to Information Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Mamata Banerjee expressed her party's view on Twitter.
Today is the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Our party strongly condemned the way in which important Bills including the amendments to the Right to Information Act, was passed in #Parliament, hurting federalism— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) September 28, 2019
The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Lok Sabha in July this year. According to reports, the bill allows the Centre to prescribe the term of office, salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of chief information commissioner and the information commissioners. Earlier, under the RTI Act, 2005, the term of the office of the chief information commissioner and the information commissioners was fixed at five years. However, the new amendment act suggests that the government will not notify the term of the office at any period of time. Several activists have criticised the bill saying that it will affect the independence and neutrality.
The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference has recognised September 28 as the International Day for the Universal Access to Information or the Access to Information Day. According to reports, this is the fourth year to mark September 28 as the Access to Information Day. Further reports stated that the theme for this year has been set as 'Leaving No One Behind'. The Right to Information includes accessing information on all levels- local, national and international. The bill promotes the idea that every individual has the right to seek information, stated reports.
(With PTI inputs)