Centre defers RTI Bill
Posted by rtiact2005 on August 20, 2006
Centre defers RTI Bill
NEW DELHI, AUG 19 (UNI) — Bowing to the intense public pressure against diluting the Right to Information Act, the government today assured rights activists that the Bill for amending the Act would not be introduced in the current session of Parliament.
The assurance led to noted social activist Anna Hazare breaking his 11-day fast-unto-death at Pune this evening against the proposed controversial amendments.
Minister of State in Prime Minister’s office Prithviraj Chavan assured Hazare that the government would seek the opinion of all concerned stake holders before introducing the Bill.
The proposed amendments would have taken file notings out of the purview of the Act.
Magasaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal has described the government change of mind as ‘’a great victory for the people’’.
‘’It will be politically suicidal for the government if it tries to dilute such a historical Act, now it remains to be seen whether the government merely postpones introducing the Bill for which we will have to remain alert,’’ Kejriwal said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri said here that the prime minister would like to give more thought to the matter in view of widespread apprehensions expressed over the issue.
Parliament session was concluding on August 25, whereas Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi had decided to give more time to the issue and discuss it with stakeholders first, so it would not be possible to bring in the Bill in the current session, he said.
He said the two leaders had received several representations against diluting the Act in any form.
Meanwhile, scores of activists sitting on dharna against the proposed amendment to the Right to Information Act here decided to wind up their agitation today after the government said it will not bring the bill in the current session of Parliament.
‘’It is a conditional victory because the government has not said that it will not move the amendment. We shall wind up the dharna, but will continue to mobilise public opinion and carry on our campaign until there is a complete roll back of the decision,’’ Magasaysay award winning rights campaigner Aruna Roy said from the dharna site at Jantar Mantar here.
According to the “Campaign to save RTI Act’ leader, Ms Sonia Gandhi today assured a delegation of rights activists led by her that she would immediately speak to the government to issue a statement on the status of the RTI amendments.
Earlier a delegation led by her had met Ms Gandhi and sought categorical assurance from her and the UPA on the withdrawal of amendments.