Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Cabinet approves amendments to RTI Act

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 21, 2006

Cabinet approves amendments to RTI Act

Staff Correspondent


Decision follows UPSC stand that file notings cannot be disseminated

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for the introduction of a Bill amending the Right to Information Act, 2005, to exclude file notings in a few areas, in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The proposed amendments would “remove ambiguities and make the provisions of the Act effective and progressive,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said.

The decision follows objections from government organisations such as the Union Public Service Commission that detailed file notings at the Undersecretary and Joint Secretary level cannot be disseminated.

“Such exemptions have been granted in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia,” Mr. Dasmunsi said.

Civil society organisations, which have been crucial in the enactment of the RTI Act, have reacted sharply to the decision.

According to Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathan, “Section 8 [exemption clause] is an overarching section. If there is a problem with file notings related to the UPSC, why doesn’t the Government put it under that schedule? This is a deliberate attempt to cover up for acts of corruption. There is fear among bureaucrats that the widespread use of the RTI legislation will end the arbitrary use of power. I really think this move will weaken the Act and the UPA’s promises of a free and accountable government.”


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