New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi-led government of diluting the landmark Right to Information (RTI) Act. This comes just weeks ahead of the scheduled winter session of Parliament where the Congress could raise the issue of recent amendments to the law.
“It is no secret that the Modi Government has seen this remarkable institution as an obstacle to enforcing their majoritarian agenda without being held accountable to people. For the majority of their first term, several of the information commissioner offices remained vacant, including that of the Chief Information Commissioner (for ten months)," Gandhi said in a statement.
Terming the passage of the bill as “one of the proudest achievements" of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Gandhi said the amendments to the act passed in the monsoon session of Parliament is a “final assault to decimate" RTI.
Parliament passed The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 introduced by the ministry of personnel, grievances and pensions in the monsoon session earlier this year. The bill sought to empower the central government on deciding the terms of chief information commissioners and information commissioners at both the central and state levels, as well as have a say on the salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service.
“We have opposed these amendments in Parliament and will continue to oppose them in practice. We condemn this piecemeal destruction of our democratic institutions and will continue to fight the Modi government in these self-serving actions which are the very opposite of national interest," she added.
Gandhi has been vocal about the amendments to the Act. Soon after Lok Sabha passed the Bill, she had put out a statement saying the Act is on the brink of extinction. She headed the National Advisory Council (NAC) during the earlier UPA government and was involved in the drafting of the transparency law before it was passed by Parliament in 2005.