Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Govt unlikely to dilute RTI in this session

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 15, 2006

Govt unlikely to dilute RTI in this session
Himanshi Dhawan
[ 15 Aug, 2006 0234hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


NEW DELHI: Buckling under pressure from the Left-Right combine, government is unlikely to introduce in the current session the legislation seeking to dilute the Right to Information Act by putting file notings outside the purview of the landmark law.

The shift in government’s stance over Right to Information Amendment Bill, 2006, barely two weeks after the cabinet cleared it, can be traced to the anti-amendment stance taken by the Left parties and the growing public support that has been mobilised for the RTI Act in recent times.

While the Left is sympathetic to the protesters, the fact that the BJP will also use this opportunity to embarrass the UPA is not lost on the ruling alliance.

While the party has officially said that it will confer with the Left parties on August 17 on the issue, sources said that a decision to defer the Bill had been made already.

The Bill has raised a furore since it was introduced with activists complaining that the amendments would restrict the legislation and leave it to the narrow representation of bureaucracy.

The Bill seeks to remove file notings except those related to social and developmental projects.

A signal that the ruling party was headed for a stormy time was obvious when CPM general secretary Prakash Karat told agitating crowds at Jantar Mantar that the Left was not consulted in the decision to amend the Act.

“In their two-year tenure, the only two good things that the UPA has done are enacting the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and the RTI Act. But I do not know why they want to undo their good work now,” Karat said.

He was accompanied by CPI general secretary A B Bardhan and other prominent leaders like D Raja and V P Singh. Social activists have launched the ‘Save the RTI’ movement since August 7 with the support of noted activists Aruna Roy and Anna Hazare.

Casting his ballot in the favour of retaining the original form of the Act, Karat said, “If the government has problems in disclosing something in a particular area, then they should specify how parting with the information will affect them


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