Right2Information

Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Govt withdraws RTI act amendments

Posted by rtiact2005 on August 19, 2006

Govt withdraws RTI act amendments

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Govt withdraws RTI act amendmentsSandeep Phukan

Saturday, August 19, 2006 (New Delhi):

Under immense pressure from around the country, the Government has agreed to withdraw the amendments to the Right to Information Act.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri said that following a decision taken by PM Manmohan Singh, the amendment bill was not likely to be introduced in the current session of Parliament, which concludes on August 25.

He said that there have been considerable apprehensions about the proposed changes and clarifications in the RTI Act.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the PM have received several representations in this regard, and it has been decided that the issue should be first discussed with all stakeholders, he said.

Left parties, who provide crucial support to the UPA led government, were also opposed to the amendments.

This means that the government has also decided to drop file notings exemption, and that file notings can be accessed.

In the wake of the announcement, Parivartan founder member and this year’s Magsaysay winner Arvind Kejriwal has insisted that no political party could have gone through with the amendments.

“When people start using the RTI, they will be interested in this powerful tool. Once people understand the power of this tool, it will be politically suicidal for any party to even try to change it,” said Kejriwal.

Hazare breaks fast

Meanwhile, activist Anna Hazare, who initially said that he was not convinced with a mere announcement, has now ended his indefinite hunger strike after a visit by Union Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan.

Hazare had initially said that, “When the law was first made in Maharashtra, it took me eight years and two Chief Ministers to give me a written assurance. They still haven’t kept up their promise.”

“This is why I have lost faith in politicians. Which is why I have asked for a written assurance. Let the people also know. In future, if they change their statement, we’ll have written proof.”

However, Chavan assured Hazare that the Prime Minister would not go ahead with the RTI amendments.

Convinced by the assurances, Hazare proclaimed that the decision was a victory for the people of the country and stated that he was assured that the government would not go ahead with the amendments.

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