At last, some good sense seems to have prevailed on the government (“Reprieve for RTI as bill to insulate parties is deferred,” Sept. 6). Members of civil society, RTI activists and MPs Dinesh Trivedi and Baijayant Panda, vocal opponents of the proposed amendment, deserve to be lauded for their efforts.
However there is no reason to be happy because the bill has only been referred to a standing committee which again consists of MPs. Had the government really intended to respect the public sentiment, it would not have introduced the bill at all. It has only postponed matters.
That the government has referred the proposed amendment to the RTI Act to a parliamentary standing committee is a matter of great relief. The move perhaps had less to do with public outcry than with serious doubts over the legality of the amendment. A law that is not in the “public interest” is likely to be struck down by the court.
Political parties could have appealed in the Supreme Court against the CIC ruling that they are public entities. But for major political parties to claim they are not public will be a difficult proposition, not only because they receive considerable government funds but also because they participate in ruling the country through their MLAs and MPs.