Cat is out of the bag, PM will amend RTI against Sonia's advice

But assures Sonia he won't dilute the original provisions or purpose of the law. Small mercy.

danish

Danish Raza | April 9, 2010


File photo of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh
File photo of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh

While UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi warned against any enfeebling amendments in RTI Act, prime minister Manmohan Singh favoured amendements in regard to disclosures about higher judiciary and Cabinet papers and discussions, reveals the correspondence between the two.

“In my opinion, there is no need for changes and amendments. The only exceptions permitted, such as national security, are already well taken care of in the legislation,” Sonia Gandhi wrote on November 10th, 2009, to Manmohan Singh, as revealed to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal in copies of letters exchanged between the two.

“…There are some issues that cannot be dealt with, except by amending the Act,” replied Singh to Gandhi on December 24th, 2009.
“Just to cite a few….. the chief justice of India has pointed out that the independence of the higher judiciary needs to be safeguarded in the implementation of the Act. There are some issues relating to disclosure of Cabinet papers and internal discussions,” Singh added.

Singh also cited as possible areas of amendments the fact that the Act did not provide for the constitution of benches of central information commission and alternate arrangements in the event of sudden vacancy in the office of chief information commissioner.

Singh, however, assured Gandhi in last para of his letter that “any amendments to the RTI Act would be considered only after completing consultation with all the stakeholders and without diluting the spirit of the Act.”
 

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