Amendment will weaken RTI Act-The Shillong Times, aug 17, 2006
Posted by rtiact2005 on August 18, 2006
Amendment will weaken RTI Act By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Right to Information Movement (MRIM), in tune with the All India Right to Information Movement, will continue its protest against the proposed move by the UPA government to amend the Right to Information Act. The Left parties are also backing the Movement in their opposition to the amendment.
Addressing a press conference after attending the a protest rally in New Delhi in protest against the RTI amendment move on Thursday, MRIM member, Tarun Bharatiya said though the Cabinet had passed a resolution in favour of RTI amendment, no Bill had yet been tabled in the Parliament in this regard. The protest will continue until September 24.
He also wondered as to why the same government, under which tenure the Act was passed in 2005, was trying to amend the Act. “In the past, an Act passed under any government’s term was amended only after a change in power; but in this case, the same government wanted to amend the Act,” he said.
The clause mentioning “file notings”, which the UPA government wanted to exempt from the Act except in some social development issues, is against the people’s interest and it would weaken the Act, he warned. “File notings” are the list of facts based on which any particular decision is made by an office or a department.
“If an RTI mover is denied information on the ‘file notings’ then he would be in dark about the background of any official decision,” Mr Bharatiya said adding that by going through the “file notings” corruption by an official could be unearthed.
Giving an example as what may happen if “file notings” is exempted from the RTI Act, he said in case of the amendment, an examinee applying for a recheck of the copies of either academic or competitive examinations would be denied access to the answer scripts.
Besides, the proposed amendment would dilute the power of the Central and State Information Commission, he said. “Decision of the government will be final to impose fine upon any officer failing to provide information sought by an individual and neither the Central nor the State Information Commission would have any say on the matter,” he said.
Alleging that corrupt bureaucrats exposed through use of the Act are behind the proposal for amendment, he said, “Honest bureaucrats, on the other hand, do not want the amendment as they can defend themselves through the ‘file notings'”.
Mr. Bharatiya also urged the MPs of the region not to support the amendment move.