Opposition slams govt over RTI Amendment bill, says govt planning to make transparency panel a 'toothless tiger'

'The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is a deliberate attempt to undermine the RTI Act and make it toothless tiger like National Human Rights Commission (NHRC),' Congress leader Shashi Tharoor alleged

Press Trust of India July 22, 2019 18:16:46 IST
Opposition slams govt over RTI Amendment bill, says govt planning to make transparency panel a 'toothless tiger'
  • Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that under the proposed changes the government can hire and fire independent information commissioners

  • 'Why is the government desperate to rush through the Bill? Is it because the CIC delivered an order on the Prime Minister's educational detail,' Tharoor asked

  • MoS Jitendra Singh said that the opposition is 'misguiding' the people by saying that the government wants to weaken the RTI Act by bringing the Bill

  • A Raja (DMK) said due to the proposed amendments, the Information Commissioner is going to be a 'housemaid' (of the government)

  • The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to give the government powers to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners

New Delhi: The opposition on Friday slammed the government in Lok Sabha over the provisions of a bill to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, alleging it has been brought to undermine the law and make the transparency panel a "toothless tiger" like the National Human Rights Commission.

Rejecting the criticism that the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is intended to weaken the Act, the government said the opposition is misguiding the people as the proposed changes are only aimed at streamlining functioning.

Opposition slams govt over RTI Amendment bill says govt planning to make transparency panel a toothless tiger

File image of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. PTI

Leading the opposition charge during the debate on the Bill, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that under the proposed changes the government can hire and fire independent information commissioners.

"It is not RTI Amendment bill but RTI elimination bill," he said.

The RTI Act was a monumental achievement for the country's democracy and it challenged the vested interests of the government, the former Union minister said.

He questioned why the Bill has been brought "without any public consultation".

"Why is the government desperate to rush through the Bill? Is it because the Central Information Commission (CIC) delivered an order on the Prime Minister's educational detail," Tharoor asked.

He noted the four posts of information commissioners are lying vacant in CIC.

"The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is a deliberate attempt to undermine the RTI Act and make it toothless tiger like National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)," Tharoor alleged.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said that the opposition is "misguiding" the people by saying that the government wants to weaken the RTI Act by bringing the Bill.

"From the beginning of its first term in 2014, the Modi government has brought transparency in governance for greater public participation," Singh said.

"I urge the opposition to support the amendment to RTI Act so that we can streamline the functioning of RTI Act and remove anomalies," he added.

A Raja (DMK) said due to the proposed amendments, the Information Commissioner is going to be a "housemaid" (of the government).

Jagdambika Pal (BJP) said that the government wants to make the RTI Act more effective.

The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to give the government powers to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners.

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