Govt to fix salaries of ICs, activists call it as dilution of RTI law

Opposition and activists allege that the move is intended to weaken the institution of information commissions

GN Bureau | April 13, 2018


#DOPT   #Salaries   #Information Commissioners   #Right to Information   #RTI   #Department of Personnel and Training  
(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)
(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)

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.
 

Comments

 

Other News

Media trial a dangerous trend: Aryama Sundaram

There is a danger in media doing trials of ongoing cases and this must be stopped, says senior advocate Aryama Sundaram. He castigated media trials and said nowadays in media while a case is going on you have debates where people are discussing what is right and what is wrong, which way the

PM launches Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister said that the campaign of strengthening health faci

Want to learn the art of politics? There’s a course for it

Twenty-five youngsters with dreams of becoming political leaders – or of contributing meaningfully to governance processes – have begun their exciting journey, in a formal setting of an education institute. The Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership (IIDL), of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (

Making sense of facts – and alternative facts

The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities: How Information Warfare Shapes Your World By Shivam Shankar Singh and Anand Venkatanarayanan HarperCollins / 284 pages / Rs 599 Professor Noam Chomsky, linguist and public intellectual, has often spoken of &ls

The Manali Trance: Economics of Abandoning Caution in the Time of Coronavirus

The brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India has left a significant death toll in its wake. Health experts advise that the imminent third wave can be delayed by following simple measures like wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing. However, near the end of the second wave, we witnesse

Govt considers fixing driving hrs of commercial vehicles

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has emphasised deciding driving hours for truck drivers of commercial vehicles, similar to pilots, to reduce fatigue-induced road accidents. In a Na

Visionary Talk: Aryama Sundaram, Senior Advocate on Governance & Judiciary


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter