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RTI Reveals Centre Didn’t Consult CIC Before Amending RTI Act

Central public information officer replies to RTI query saying, “No record for the information is available.”

Published
India
2 min read
An RTI query revealed that the Centre did not consult the CIC before amending the RTI Act.
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An RTI query has revealed that the Centre did not consult the Central Information Commission before amending the Right to Information Act, 2019. In an RTI query, activist Anjali Bharadwaj sought a copy of the letter or note through which comments of the CIC were sought on the amendments. The central public information officer, however, replied saying “no record for the information is available”, reported The Wire.

Among the amendments brought in by the Centre to the RTI Act in July 2019, the tenure of Information Commissioners was curtailed to three years. Apart from this, amendments to sections 13, 16 and 27 of the Act, has also enabled the Central government to decide the salaries and allowances of the Information Commissioners of the CIC and SICs.

Speaking to The Wire, Anjani Bharadwaj said, “The surreptitious manner in which the amendments were brought, and the rules promulgated, constitutes a violation of the Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy of 2014 which requires all draft rules to be placed in the public domain for comments/suggestions of people. Further, Section 4(1)(c) of the RTI Act puts an obligation on the government to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect the public.”

Bharadwaj also told the publication that the rules were not put through any process of public consultation. Replying to her query, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) had reportedly said that there was no record available and the application was transferred to Consultant SO and CPIO Admin, C Vinod Babu.

Babu replied on 18 November stating that, ‘No comments were sought and provided by CIC’, reported The Wire.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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