Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Right to Information Bachao Andolan

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 15, 2006

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: bibhav kumar <kumarbibhav@yahoo.co.in>
Date: Aug 14, 2006 6:52 AM
Subject: [AntiBriberyCampaign] Right to Information Bachao Andolan
To: antibriberycampaign@yahoogroups.com

Right to Information Bachao Andolan
PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi, August 14, 2006: In a tremendous show of commitment to
keeping the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 untouched, former
Prime Minister V.P Singh along with senior leaders of the Left Parties
closed ranks here today to reiterate their strong and firm opposition
to the proposed amendments of the RTI Act, both inside and outside
Parliament.

Speaking at a press conference at Jantar Mantar on the 7th day of the
dharna by the Campaign to Save the Right to Information here today,
Shri V.P Singh said that having made this law with such great
difficulty, it was a matter of regret that those who wanted to hide
their wrongdoings behind a purdah had conspired to take a step back.
“We extend strong support to the Campaign and oppose the amendments,”
he declared. He also suggested that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
should speak to all; not only to those in Parliament but also to those
who were in the Campaign.

Prakash Karat, General Secretary, CPI(M) explained that the Left
parties had demanded to know why the government wanted to bring in
these amendments, and if there was any specific area or issue within
the RTI Act which was a source of problem. “We have not got any proper
answers till date. We know this (the amendments) will not get passed
in this session. In fact, we have told them not to introduce the Bill
at all. If there is no agreement in the coalition then it will not
come up even in the next session,” he categorically stated.

“We do not feel there is any need to amend the Act. So we have given
the vote in your support,” articulated Comrade A.B Bardhan, General
Secretary, CPI, recognizing that the weapon of file notings being open
to public scrutiny was very important and would ensure that
bureaucrats thought carefully about the decisions they took and
politicians, about the pressures they put. If they have any problems,
they must come out and talk openly, he added.

“I am not banking on any change of heart by Manmohan Singh. I know
that they cannot pass this without our support, so rest assured,” he
reiterated. D Raja, National Secretary, CPI stressed that his party
“would not tolerate any dilution in the RTI Act” and would oppose the
amendments wholeheartedly.

Expressing his support, Abni Roy of the RSP said that the government
wanted to make RTI into NTI (NO to Information). “we will oppose this
move both inside and outside the Parliament.” This view was also
echoed by Devarajan (Forward Block), who acknowledged the importance
of keeping file notings accessible to people, to catch cases of
corruption.

Thanking Shri V.P Singh, the Left parties and other political parties
opposing the amendments, it was said on behalf of the Campaign to Save
the Right to Information that as long as political parties kept a
vigil on the RTI Act, no government could tamper with the law. Yet,
since the amendments themselves were brought in through the backdoor
and there was no certainty as to what could happen next, the dharna
outside Jantar Mantar would go on full swing. The campaign’s
day-and-night vigil over the Parliament will thus continue till the
end of the session, unless the amendments are withdrawn.

On the news of the firm stance by the Left, and conceding to the
demand of his friends and activists in the Campaign, noted social
activist Sandeep Pandey, who has been on a hunger strike for the last
7 days broke his fast today. He will, however, continue the struggle
in Delhi as well as other states. Aam Sabhas are being planned on the
18th August in Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and Gorakhpur, where the
people’s referendum will also be taken.

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