Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has slammed the RTI amendment bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Attacking the BJP, she has vehemently criticised the changes to the 2005 RTI Act.
She said it was a matter of 'utmost concern' that the Centre was 'hell bent on subverting' the Act and said it stands on the brink of extinction. She added that the BJP-led Centre sees the Act as 'nuisance and wants to destroy the Central Information Commission (CIC). She said that the Centre would end up disempowering Indian citizens by using its majority in the House. The Congress' Twitter account posted her letter on Tuesday.
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the bill amending the Right To Information Act, amid objections by the Opposition which alleged that it was an attempt to undermine the law and make the transparency panel a "toothless tiger".
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, takes away the stature of information commissioners from the equivalent of election commissioners, with their salaries and service conditions to be specified by the government.
Rejecting the opposition's charge that the Bill will weaken the RTI Act, the government said it was fully committed to transparency and autonomy of the institution. Replying to a debate on the Bill, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the bill aims at institutionalisation, streamlining and ease of delivery ofI services.
Several members of opposition including from the BSP and the TMC opposed consideration and passage of the Bill and called for a division of votes. But they were defeated by 218 -79 votes. After this, the leader of principal opposition party Congress, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, sought a clarification which was disallowed by the Speaker.
Unhappy with this, members of the opposition parties staged a walk out. The Bill was later passed by voice vote.
(With PTI inputs)