New Delhi, April 3: Criticising the central government for its recent proposal to set a new draft for alternating processing of Right to Information applications, complaints and appeals, Congress on Monday briefed a press conference and slammed Modi government for “formalising the process of subverting RTI.”
The NDA government has proposed the changes in the present RTI Act, 2012 brought in by UPA government and have sought suggestions from the public by 15 April.
Congress leader Manish Tiwari told media person that, “There’ve been non-formal attempts over 3yrs (by Modi government) to scuttle Right To Information Act (RTI). Finally it seems NDA has formalized the process of subverting RTI,” he said.
He said, “RTI Act created an upheaval, not only in the echelons of Govt but had wide ramifications which reached out to every village.”
Hailing UPA government for not allowing any “dilution to take place in the RTI paradigm,” Tiwari said, “However, ever since this government (NDA) has taken office there has been an attitude of active neglect toward the RTI.”
Tiwari further cited how RTI queries are not being answered in the current regime, while adding that “the appeals processes have been very shoddily treated.”
He highlighted the RTI Modalities being suggested in the new draft. He said: Very surreptitiously the bar is being raised to make the RTI paradigm difficult for ordinary people to access.
He questioned government for adding cost to the process and limiting length of RTI to 500 wordsm besides questioning the clause that say it can be rejected if the words limit cross.
Further he criticized government for a draft that says RTI can be rejected if it is an handwritten appeal, not neatly typed in double space. He said you are imposing a cost on the poor.
As for provision that allows public authority or the 1st appellate authority to file counter appeals, he said, “This essentially means whole process of seeking information will now become a judicial proceeding.”
Earlier in the Day Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had said, “By trying to alter the RTI rules what is the intention of the government? Right to Inform citizens or Right to Intimidate them?”