The Right to Information (RTI) Act will be amended to avoid frivolous or vexatious requests and prevent the Centre from disclosing information relating to the Cabinet papers so as to ensure the smooth functioning of the government.
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions gave this information to RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal, who wanted to know whether there was a proposal to introduce amendments in the Act.
The government also said that the office of the Chief Justice of India would be protected in view of the sensitivity involved. It must be noted that the former CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Act might be amended so that certain personal information regarding judges need not be disclosed under the RTI application.
The amendment proposals are: to Section 2 of the RTI Act so as to remove difficulty in ascertaining whether a particular NGO should be treated as a public authority or not; to Section 4 so as to enlarge the scope of suo motu disclosure; to Section 7 to avoid frivolous or vexatious requests; to Section 8 to slightly modify the provision about disclosure of Cabinet papers to ensure smooth functioning of the government and to take care of the sensitivity of the office of the CJI; to Sections 12 and 15 to make a provision about giving current change of the post of Chief Information Commissioner to any Commissioner; to Section 13 and 16 to bring the provisions on a par with similar provisions in other Acts; to Section 19 to incorporate a provision for constitution of Benches of the Commission; to Section 24 to incorporate a provision about partial exemption of organisations possessing sensitive information; and to incorporate a new Section 29A empowering the Commissions to make regulations.
The government, however, made it clear that these amendments would be introduced only after consultations with the stakeholders.