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Why is RTI Amendment Bill So Controversial?

Avik Chakravorty
The controversy in regard to RTI Amendment Bill has been throughly discussed along with special mention of the amendments.

Although the Lok Sabha has passed and ratified The Right to Information Amendment Bill 2019 the Opposition is dead against it. Invectives like ‘dangerous’ and ‘dark day for democracy’ have been hurled against the bill. Changes have been suggested in regard to the terms and conditions of appointment of information commissioners at the center and state levels. The three provisions of the RTI amendment bill have been challenged by the members of Opposition in Parliament and by protesters in the field.

Nonetheless, prior to going forward, the basic things that the RTI Act of 2005 does is based on the existing law which says that the public authorities are required to disclose on

·        their organization, functions, and structure

·        rights and duties of its officers and employees

·        financial data

If the public authorities do not provide the required information of their own volition, then, in that case, its citizen’s right to demand it from them based on the RTI Act. "Public authorities" refer to ministers and government servants among others.

The head of the central information commission is the chief information commissioner and other information commissioners appointed by none other than the President representing the Central Government for a fixed term of five years with the salary of the chief election commissioner’s, as well as the election commissioner's salary respectively. The intent and purpose of this initiative were granting autonomous powers to the central information commission as well as provide protection from government surveillance.

The amendments

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The RTI amendment bill of 2019, excludes the five years tenure of the chief information commissioners and the information commissioners. The payouts on account of salary have been revised. Separate notifications will be sent by the government to both.

Politically, what this means is that the government can and will pose a threat or entice the chief information commissioner and information commissioners with random removal or extension and curtailment or increase in salary depending upon their suitability for the ruling dispensation.

Call 7604047601 for consultation with a registered expert right to information lawyer on Vidhikarya.


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