Opposition and activists allege that the move is intended to weaken the institution of information commissions
GN Bureau | April 13, 2018
The department of personnel and training (DOPT) is preparing a draft amendment to the RTI Act, 2005, to empower central and state governments to decided salary of information commissioners at the central and state commissions. Opposition parties and civil rights activists allege that the move is intended to weaken the institution of information commissions, terming it as “totally regressive”. As per the law, the salary of chief information commissioner equals to the salary of the chief election commissioner and the salary of the information commissioner equals to the election commissioner.
According to the NDTV, the DOPT believes that it may not be a good practice to link salary of information commissions with election commission, as the former is merely a statutory body and the latter a constitutional body.
"We will oppose this amendment tooth and nail," the report quoted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala as saying.
“The high status accorded to commissioners under the RTI Act is to empower them to carry out their functions in an independent manner and direct even the highest officials to comply with the RTI law. By seeking to empower the central government and state governments to decide salaries of information commissioners, the BJP government is trying to undermine the independence of commissioners and diminish their stature,” said Anjali Bharadwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan.
It is shocking that instead of addressing the problems related to implementation of the RTI Act like large backlogs of appeals/complaints resulting from non-appointment of information commissioners, the government is attempting to weaken the RTI Act through the proposed amendments, Bharadwaj said.
A nationwide report on the performance of information commissions, by Satark Nagrik Sangathan and the Centre for Equity Studies, highlighted that currently there are four vacancies in the Central Information Commission and four more vacancies are due to arise in 2018. The central government has failed to make appointments, despite repeated representations by civil society. Even in states, the situation is extremely concerning.
The report highlighted that at the present rate of disposal and the number of pending appeals/complaints, an RTI appeal filed in West Bengal Commission would take 43 years to be disposed, while in Kerala, an appeal filed would be disposed 6.5 years later.
Fire on the Ganges: Life among the Dead in Banaras By Radhika Iyengar 4th Estate / HarperCollins, 348 pages, 599
Calling for reforms in the Engineering Department of BMC, Mumbai Vikas Samiti, a not-for-profit organisation has said that less than optimum performance of Engineering Function has added to the woes of citizens and deterioration in the quality of life in the metro. In its recently released r
Hailing the Maharashtra government for introducing a bill to amend the Insecticide Act, 1968, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India has called the amendments ‘very focussed’ and urged the state to expand their scope to address other challenges. The bill, introduced in the a
`Garba of Gujarat` has been inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity by UNESCO, under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of t
Since its inception, Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System has witnessed more than 12.77 lakh complaints registered (till November 15, 2023), and has saved more than Rs. 930 crore in more than 3.80 lakh complaints. This was stated by minister of state for home affair
Impacts and implications of Climate Change Vulnerability in the Himalayan Region and ways of creating ‘Climate Resilient Development in Indian Himalayan Region by making mountain communities green and resilient were discussed the side event hosted at the India pavilion at the UN Climate Conference CO