Upset with Bihar’s NDA government for its decision to amend the Right to Information Act, social activists in the state are preparing to challenge the decision in Patna High Court.
Opposition RJD-LJP too is opposed to the amendments. “We are now left with no option other than challenging the arbitrary amendment to the Act in Bihar,” senior RTP (Right to People) activist, Praveen Amanullah said on Saturday.
“We will also launch a campaign against the amendment,” Amanullah said describing the move as “undemocratic and violation of human rights“.
Amanullah, who shot off a letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, alleged that the decision would serve the interests of government officials only.
The State cabinet in its meeting on Tuesday decided to amend the Act in keeping with the guidelines laid down by the Centre, under which a person cannot seek more than one bit of of information in one application and will have to pay Rs 10 for every query. Earlier, several queries could be put through in one petition by paying the same amount.
RJD-LJP described the amendment as “anti-poor and undemocratic” and called for withdrawing the changes with immediate effect.
“The state government has brought the amendment to shield its officials... we will oppose the amendment with full force,” RJD spokesman, Shakeel Ahmed Khan said.
The state government has defended its decision by saying it would facilitate quick response to the information being sought by the applicants.
“The changes have been made to make RTI more effective and prevent its misuse. They are as per Central government guidelines,” State Personnel and Administrative Reforms Secretary, Dipak Kumar said.
A total of 42,000 of the 50,000 applications received under the RTI Act during 2007-08 have been disposed of.