Centre accused of ‘illegally’ denying details on RTI Act

An activist has accused the government of “illegally” withholding information about amendments proposed to the Right to Information Act, 2005, after her plea seeking details about the procedure followed was turned down.

RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj wrote to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) last month demanding to know when were the amendments to the Act proposed and forwarded to the Union Cabinet. She sought details about the consultative process followed by the government before bringing the amendments and wanted to know whether the government had placed the draft of the revised legislation in the public domain. She demanded a copy of the draft law.

In response, the DoPT refused to provide any details. “The matter regarding amendments in the RTI Act, 2005 is under consideration and has not reached finality. As per section 8(i)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005, information requested by you cannot be supplied at this stage,” the DoPT wrote to Ms. Bharadwaj last week.

The clause cited exempts the government from giving information about Cabinet papers, including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.

“The government has confirmed that it is planning to amend the RTI Act but has illegally refused to share details of the amendment Bill,” said Ms. Bharadwaj.

She objected to the government declining to share details of the consultation process as it was not an exercise restricted to the Cabinet or government officials but involved the wider community and was not exempt under the section of the RTI Act cited by the DoPT.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 12:58:46 PM |

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