The two amendments proposed to the RTI Act would be detrimental to it, Central Information Commissioner Dr M Sridhar Acharyulu said at an event in Pune on Saturday. The amendments propose to control the term as well as salaries of information commissioners, which amounted to challenging the independence of the commissionerates, the CIC said.
“These amendments propose to lower the status of the Information Commissioner,” said Acharyulu and urged people to oppose the amendments.
At the event, organised by the RTI Center of Moneylife Foundation, Acharyulu said an RTI application was like a “Rs 10 Public Interest Litigation (PIL)” as it allowed citizens to fight for their rights. “Article 226 of the Indian Constitution allows any citizen to approach the courts to file a PIL if their fundamental rights are violated. However, this option is out of reach for many, which is why RTI comes into play,” he said.
An RTI application does the same work as a PIL, as it makes the system respond to its lacunas, said the CIC. He said giving information was a sign of good governance and asking questions was a sign of good citizenry. But, he admitted, the large number of vacancies in in various government departments was a serious impediment to good governance.