Millennium Post

Govt defers RTI Amendment Bill due to lack of consensus

Govt defers RTI Amendment Bill due to lack of consensus
As the government failed to find consensus among the political parties, the Right To Information (RTI) Amendment Bill, 2013, was referred to the standing committee of Parliament. The bill seeks to keep political parties out of the ambit of transparency law.

Justifying the government’s decision to defer the bill, minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy informed the House that in a bid to hold wider consultations, the government is recommending that the bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel. ‘A lot of input will be given by the standing committee for the purpose of enabling the government to bring the amendment into the House in the winter session of Parliament,’ said Narayanasamy.

The move comes in the wake of opposition to the proposed amendment to the RTI Act from NGOs, civil society and information activists, who claimed that it will defeat the very purpose of the transparency law. Many parties like the Biju Janata Dal, Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India objected to the bill. Leaders like the BJD’s Jay Panda, TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi and BJP’s Maneka Gandhi are among the few politicians who have come out strongly against the amendment to the RTI Bill.

The amendment bill is also aimed at negating a Central Information Commission (CIC) order which said political parties were public authorities and should come under RTI Act ambit.
The union cabinet had last month cleared a proposal to amend the RTI Act to give immunity to political parties.

The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013 seeks to insert an explanation in Section 2 of the act which states that any association or body of individuals registered or recognised as political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 will not be considered a public authority.


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