New Delhi, Jul 23, 2019 : UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has slammed the Modi government on the amendment of the RTI Act and said that the government is pushing the historic law towards extinction, Yahoo reported.
Sonia Gandhi issued a statement on Tuesday and said, "It is a matter of utmost concern that the Central Government is hell-bent on completely subverting the historic Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. This law, prepared after wide-spread consultations and passed unanimously by Parliament, now stands on the brink of extinction."
Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill amending the Right to Information Act, amid strong protests by the Opposition which alleged that it was an attempt to undermine the law and make the transparency panel a "toothless tiger".
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, aims to give the government powers to decide salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners in various government bodies.
Criticising the government’s move to amend the RTI Act that was milestone of the UPA government, Sonia Gandhi said, "Over the past decade and more 6o lakh of our countrymen and women have used RTI and helped usher in a new culture of transparency and accountability administration at all levels. The foundations of our democracy have, as a result, been strengthened immeasurably. The weaker sections of society have benefitted greatly by the proactive use of RTI by activists and others."
She added, "It is clear that the present Central Government sees the RTI Act as a nuisance and wants to destroy the status and independence of the Central Information Commission which was put on par with the Central Election Commission and Central Vigilance Commission. The Central Government may use its legislative majority to achieve its aims but in the process it would be disempowering each and every citizen of our country."
The Centre on Monday, however, rejected the Opposition’s claims and said that the government was fully committed to transparency and autonomy of the institution.
Not just Congress, other parties such as Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too raised protests against the bill on Monday.
However, the objections were crushed in a voting that was defeated by 218-79 votes in support of the bill.