Activists Oppose Cabinet's Decision to Amend RTI Act

New Delhi
Activists Oppose Cabinet's Decision to Amend RTI Act

Right to Information (RTI) activists today opposed the Union Cabinet's decision to keep political parties out of the ambit of the Right To Information Act by amending the transparency law.

"The decision was made in a great haste. Amending the RTI Act by keeping political parties out of its ambit will lead to corruption which is detrimental to democracy," said social activist Aruna Roy who spearheaded the Right to Information Act movement through National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI).

On June 3, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had passed an order to bring six national political parties under the RTI Act ambit.

She welcomed the stand of Trinamool Congress and Raghuvansh Prasad of RJD that they do not support any amendment to the RTI Act.

Roy held that political parties need to be empowered for a functional democracy but empowerment does not mean that they are non-transparent and unaccountable.

"The CIC made a very interesting observation. Political parties are like any other public authorities. If political parties were happy, they should have gone through a legal course. This polarisation is a mockery of transparency," said social activist Harsh Mander.

In a press meet organized by NCPRI, the organisation demanded wide range of consultations and discussions with the civil society before amending the RTI Act.

RTI activists have also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the proposed amendments to the RTI Act. The letter has been signed by 287 activists and more than 6,000 people. 

The letter said the cabinet's decision to amend the RTI act is a 'sharp' reaction to the CIC order.

"Section 8 of the The Right to Information Act, 2005 lays down clauses of exemption in RTI Act. Instead of pushing for amendment, political parties must take into account exemptions laid down to address their concerns," said Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convener, NCPRI.

Led by Aruna Roy, NCPRI will organise a 'Jan Manch' at Jantar Mantar tomorrow. The activists have invited political parties to voice their problems in public.

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