Monday, December 14, 2009

RTI amendment only after due consultations

Dear Friends,

The following Article is a news update related to public administration. The topic covered is RTI which makes the part of Public Administration Syllabus. Consulting Civic Society Organisations is definitely a good step. But RTI is not implemented effectively across India.There are only handful of states where RTI is effective. There was never a dearth of law making but the implementation of those laws was mostly ineffective.


NEW DELHI: The government assured Rajya Sabha on Thursday that any decision on amending Right to Information (RTI) Act will be taken only after Consulting expert and civil society organisations. During Question Hour, minister of state for personnel Prithviraj Chavan said there was a proposal to strengthen RTI by suitably amending the law to provide for disclosure by government in all non-strategic areas.

The minister said the government was looking into the proposal as suggested by the second Administrative Reforms Commission to put a check on vexatious and frivolous applications, but there would be enough safeguards to ensure information was not denied on these grounds by public authorities.

"The government is also examining a proposal for incorporation of provisions in the RTI Act regarding constitution of benches of the information commission and rejection of vexatious and frivolous applications," Chavan said.

The amendment would be done with a view to expanding the scope of RTI and withdrawing exemptions given to some agencies.It would, however, not be carried out before consultations with NGOs, civil society organisations, experts and information commissioners, he said.If strengthening of RTI can be carried out without amending the law, it would be done, he said.

Asked whether the Chief Justice of India had approached the government, the minister said there were apprehensions in the Supreme Court whether RTI law would hamper its work. "We will examine this issue very carefully," he added.

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