RTI Amendment Bill passed in Rajya Sabha amid Opposition protests
The Rajya Sabha has cleared the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to amend the RTI Act, 2005, despite the Opposition's objections on Thursday. The Bill was passed amid protests and demands by the Opposition to send it to a Select Committee of the House for greater scrutiny. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on Monday. Here are more details.
No attempt to curtail independence autonomy of RTI: Jitendra Singh
The Opposition parties contended that the RTI (Amendment) Bill, which will make significant changes to the RTI Act, 2005, will dilute the existing transparency law. However, rejecting these contentions of the Opposition, the Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said, "There is no attempt, motivation or design to curtail the independence autonomy of Right to Information."
The Bill will now be sent for President's approval
The RTI (Amendment) Bill will now be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his approval. It amends Sections 13 and 16 of the RTI Act, 2005 and will also give greater powers to the Center to set the service conditions as well as salaries for the Information Commissioners at both central and state levels.
Congress walked out of the House during the vote
Following a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha during the voice vote on the RTI (Amendment) Bill, the Congress party had staged a walkout in protest. The Opposition party also said that the Modi government was "undermining democracy" in the Upper House.
Parliament has to scrutinize: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien
Most of the Opposition parties demanded the Bill be referred to a Select Committee of the House for scrutiny. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien questioned the amendments to the transparency law and the government's decision of not sending the Bill to the Select Committee, bypassing it. "Parliament has to scrutinize. It needs time for scrutiny. This is not a T-20 match," he said.
Center hell-bent on completely subverting historic RTI Act: Sonia Gandhi
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi strongly too objected to the amendments proposed by the Center to the 2005 RTI Act. The Congress parliamentary party leader and UPA Chairperson also stated that the Center was "hell-bent on completely subverting the historic RTI Act" and the law, which was "prepared after wide-spread consultations and passed unanimously by parliament, now stands on brink of extinction."