RTI Amendment Bill concerning: NC, CPI (M)

National Conference and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Saturday expressed concerns over the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill.

NC’s Member of Parliament from Anantnag, Hasnain Masood, while participating in the discussion in Lok Sabha, said, “The proposed amendment is a lethal blow to RTI movement and would denude the institution of its autonomy.”

Highlighting the importance of RTI in a democratic system, Masoodi stated, “RTI Act 2005 was an important milestone in history next only to the Constitution, as it gave even poorest the right to have access to information and a role in governance.”

The NC leader pointed out that statutorily provided terms and conditions of CIC and Information Commissioners insulate the Commission against pressure and guarantee institutional autonomy. “Once terms and conditions are left to the government and not statutorily fixed, the government would be free to accomplish indirectly what it cannot achieve directly.”

Meanwhile, CPI (M) leader, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, claimed that the RTI Amendment Bill is an attack on the transparency movement.

“The amendment is an attack to democratic right to information. It (RTI Amendment Bill) seeks to empower the central government to make rules to decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions,” Tarigami said.

He added, “This will fundamentally weaken the institution of the information commissions as it will adversely impact their ability to function in an independent manner.”