Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convener of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), termed the argument ridiculous as the high stature and protected tenures were meant to ensure their independence. “It was approved by Parliament when the law was passed,” Ms. Bhardwaj told
The Hindu
.

“This is simply a way of giving the Central government a greater grip on Information Commissioners, who have been giving orders which the government finds inconvenient.”

NCPRI plans to hold a protest march in the capital and nationwide agitations against the Bill on the opening day of the monsoon session. Several Opposition parties, including Congress, CPI, CPI (M), TMC and RJD, plan to join in a Jan Manch on Wednesday.

“The amendments are one more Modi nail in the RTI coffin,” Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said.

The amendments “will completely destroy the autonomy of Information Commissions…and fundamentally weaken the institution”, said a statement by NCPRI.

It added that the Centre “usurping” the power to decide the tenure and salaries of State Information Commissioners raised key issues of federalism.

The NCPRI has also protested the fact that the secrecy around the amendments has prevented any meaningful debate or public engagement with the proposed changes.

RTI requests asking about the content of the amendments over the past month went unanswered.

“It’s ironic that the process of amending a law meant to bring transparency itself lacks transparency,” said Ms. Bhardwaj.

Source: Read Full Article