RTI Amendment Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha, Opposition Walks Out
GUWAHATI: With the support of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the YSR Congress the Union government succeeded to get the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on July 25.
It is to be mentioned that despite BJP being a minority in the house and amidst heavy criticism by the Opposition, the Rajya Sabha approved an amendment to the RTI Act that gave the government powers to decide salary and service terms of the statutory body head and its members.
What is the RTI amendment bill 2019
The RTI Act, which was passed by Parliament on June 15, 2005, and came into force on October 13, 2005, sets out a regime that allows citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
This Act allowed the chief information commissioners (CIC) and information commissioners a five-year term or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The amendment proposes that the appointment will be for such term as may be prescribed by the central government.
In the original Act, the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) was paid as much as the Chief Election Commissioner and the Information Commissioners were paid as much as Election Commissioners. The amendment provides for salaries to be prescribed by the Centre.
These amendments, critics said, have wide-ranging ramifications as instead of fixing salaries and tenure by law, bureaucrats will decide on a case-by-case basis. This dilutes job security and makes information commissioners vulnerable to whims and fancies of the ruling establishment, they feel.
(With inputs from PTI)