PM urged not to amend RTI Act

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Activists and citizens Wednesday urged the prime minister not to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

    The petition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, signed by around 300 people, came after a Central Information Commission order that declared six political parties to be public authorities.

    “It is reported that the government is considering the introduction of a bill in parliament to amend the RTI law. Such a move to amend the act will reinforce and confirm the suspicions of many that the political establishment intends to cover acts of corruption and arbitrary use of power. We, as citizens of India, empowered by the RTI Act, demand that it not be amended,” the petition said.

    The signatories include former NAC members Aruna Roy, Harsh Mander and Jean Dreze, former information commissioner Sahilesh Gandhi and many retired personnel from the armed forces.

    The monsoon session of parliament starts Aug 5.

    Stating that any amendment to the RTI Act would undermine and weaken the process of realising various constitutional promises, the petition said that in 2009, when amendments were being proposed to the RTI Act, the concerned minister of the government had assured parliament that “non-governmental organisations and social activists would be consulted on the proposed amendments”.

    The petition added: “India’s governance is going through a credibility crisis as never before, in which all sectors of governance and social formations have been suspect. The political establishment has come in for most severe criticism, just and unjust.”

    “The series of attempts to amend the Act, which have arisen periodically, have since 2006 been nullified to a large extent by public pressure as well as the political will of a part of the establishment and government,” said the activists.