Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

PMO defends RTI changes, as activists protest

Posted by rtiact2005 on July 26, 2006

PMO defends RTI changes, as activists protest

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NDTV Correspondent

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 (New Delhi):

The Prime Minister’s office has reacted sharply to the criticism of the amendments in the RTI act, saying, it is based on incomplete knowledge.

The PMO has said that file notings of all plans, schemes and programmes of the government that relate to development and social issues can be disclosed.

However, it claims that only a small portion of file notings will be kept confidential.

This pertains to information on security, strategic and economic interests and Personnel related matters like examination, assessment and evaluation for recruitment, and disciplinary proceedings.

The PMO also states that the changes will actually make the RTI act a more powerful tool and ensure transparency.

Meanwhile, activists backing the Right to Information Act are protesting the government’s move to weaken it.

Aruna Roy, who leads the campaign and anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare have brought the fight to Delhi. Hazare led a delegation to Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

They said the government has turned the landmark law upside down and wanted to know why the cabinet decided to keep file notings out of RTI.

Activists say, the Right to Information Act is not a witch-hunt.

Meanwhile, the government has issued a clarification regarding file notings under the RTI Act.

2 Responses to “PMO defends RTI changes, as activists protest”

  1. P.K. Aditya, Chandigarh said

    BETTER NAME CLASS OF DOCUMENTS TO BE NOT DISCLOSED.

    The Government can show its sincerity, in clarifying that only a small portion of file notings would be exempted from disclosure, such as subjects under sub-Section (1) of Section 8 of the Act and some more. These primarily would concern affairs of States. What has been of major concern is the manner in which the Department of Personnel and Training has excluded all type of notings, as a blanket, and ignored all representations, including decisions of the Chief Information Commission, from January to July 2006. In fitness of things, THE FIRST STEP which is required of the Government, to give confidence to citizens, that nothing unfair and unreasonable shall be done, would be to forthwith order removal of the obnoxious alteration made in the definition of ‘information’ under sec.2(f) of the Act, displayed on the websites: Persmin and RTI Portal.

    Let the method adopted be to not enlist some selected areas in which file notings shall be allowed to be disclosed, but areas in which file notings shall not be disclosed. Matters listed in Sec.8(1) (a) to (j) would be handy to start with, being affairs of State. Let it not be overlooked that for decades, Courts have examined documents on which the Governments claimed privilege, under sec.123 of Evidence Act and/or under Art 74(2) of the Constitution, and generally allowed the privilege, except in case of routine matters where it was either not shown, or it was not possible to show, prejudice to State if the document is disclosed. The situation should appear to improve with promulgation of the RTI Act, rather than become worse from what it was before the 2005 Act. In short: ‘BE POSITIVE’.

    P.K Aditya, Chandigarh.

  2. ramesh wasudeo said

    why should a handful of ministers decide on the issue of fundamental right to information for citizens of free and democratic india.

    what are they fearing?. let them take transparent decisions and they will have nothing to fear. it is sad that the PM is trying to defend the proposed amendment without even a iota of convincing argument.

    in democracy, people are supreme. anna hazare is the champion of RTI movement in india. he is fearless and is sure to humble the arrogant ministers and MPs.

    as per NDTV survey, 93 % of population ia aginst taking away file notings from the RTI and that is huge majority.

    rw.

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