Rights

Centre Asked LS Speaker, RS Chairman Not to Refer RTI Amendment Bill to Standing Committee

Activist Anjali Bhardwaj also said the government sought relaxation of rules before introducing the Bill.

New Delhi: The government had written to the Rajya Sabha chairman and Lok Sabha speaker to not refer the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to a department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee, an activist who inspected the files under the RTI Act said Monday.

Activist Anjali Bhardwaj had sought details of files related to the passing of the Right to Information (Amendment) Act which made drastic changes in the tenure and the salary structure of adjudicators of RTI matters, the information commissioners, triggering allegations of cutting down their autonomy.

She was allowed to inspect the files related to the Bill.

Also read: The Year in RTI Activism and Transparency

In her statement, Bhardwaj said minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh had written to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu seeking relaxation of the provisions requiring prior notice to be given for introducing a Bill and circulation of Bills to members before it is introduced.

She also said that the minister wrote to the speaker and the chairman requesting that the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, not be referred to a department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee.

“The amendment, and the subsequent rules promulgated by the government in October 2019, destroy the insulation provided to information commissions in the original Act to enable them to function independently,” she said.