The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday 22 July amidst protests from the Opposition. The Centre is expected to move the bill for passing in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday 24 July.
The bill seeks to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005. Through the amendment, the government will be able to change the term of Information Commissioners, and determine and carry out deductions in their salaries.
The move is opposed by many, who say the amendment will kill the Act and is a huge blow to transparency. Critics claim that since the government will control the salaries of Information Commissioners, they could be threatened into blocking uncomfortable RTI queries.
Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal said that by crippling independence of Information Commissions, Centre is finishing the Right to Information Act in India.
“Killing RTI is killing the law which made governed equal to those governing them, gave a commoner power to question the mighty! Will be most regressive step in years,” she tweeted.
Journalist Meghnad said the RTI is about to become a ‘Regret To Inform’ you Act.
Cartoons depicting the future of the Bill also made rounds on Twitter.
‘Govt Has A Lot to Hide’
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan said the government wants to kill RTI because they have a lot of information to hide.
Another Twitter user said it is the slow poisoning of our democracy.
‘Must Be Sent For Deliberation’
One Twitter user said the bill must be sent for deliberation to a select committee.
Another Twitter user added that he has little hope that the BJP will allow any consultation. “Their arguments are hollow, but their determination to dilute the RTI law is transparently obvious,” he tweeted.