Indian Parliamentary Panel to Review RTI Amendment

27 August 2013

A committee of the Indian Parliament will review proposed amendments to exempt political parties from the Right to Information Act.

Getting committee consideration was a key demand of opponents of the bill, which is supported by all the major parties.

“I have written to Speaker Lok Sabha (Meira Kumar) to refer the RTI Bill to a committee,” minister for personnel V Narayanasamy told the Hindustan Times.

The paper said the bill to nullify the Central Information Commission order bringing six parties under the transparency law is slated for discussion next week.

A delegation of National Campaign For People’s Right To Information (NCPRI) recently met with top government officials to demand review by a parliamentary committee. Also see a Times of India report.

The Hindustan Times also reported:

Sources within the government said that there was pressure from the Congress to accept the demand of RTI activists as decision to amend the transparency law had not gone down well with people.

“We are at a receiving end on the RTI issue,” a senior Congress leader admitted.

The paper also said:

Some political parties such as Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal have opposed the RTI amendments. As many as 20 BJP MPs have told information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that they did not agree with the amendments but will have to toy the party line.

The government’s decision shows the growing impact of social media, where a vigorous campaign was launched. Over one lakh people signed an online petition being anchored by young Indians in London and America. There was a dedicated campaign on other social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

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