Today's Paper

‘Govt. transparency eliminating need to file RTI’

Home Minister Amit Shah greeted by Chief InformationCommissioner Sudhir Bhargava in New Delhi on Saturday.PTI

Home Minister Amit Shah greeted by Chief InformationCommissioner Sudhir Bhargava in New Delhi on Saturday.PTI  

The Modi government is so transparent that it is eliminating the need to file Right to Information (RTI) requests, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday, speaking on the 14th anniversary of the RTI Act.

“A large number of RTI applications does not indicate the success of a government. We want to introduce a system where people do not feel the need to file an RTI request in order to get information, because the government has already pro-actively put the information in the public domain,” said Mr. Shah, who was the chief guest at the 14th annual convention of the Central Information Commission (CIC), the highest appeal body under the RTI Act.

Over the last 14 years, the RTI Act has acted as a bridge between the government and the people, to build the public’s trust in the system, said the Home Minister.

His statement comes at a time when the Home Ministry has responded to a recent RTI request on the shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, stating that it has no information on orders issued to detain political leaders or to curb telecom, internet and transport networks in the State.

No appointments

In his speech, Mr. Shah made no mention of this year’s biggest change to the RTI law. In July, the Centre pushed the RTI Amendments Act through both houses of Parliament, giving itself the power to set the tenure and salaries of State and Central information commissioners, thus potentially threatening their autonomy.

Despite widespread vacancies, no new commissioners have been appointed since then. “The government has not yet framed the rules after amending the Act, so no commissioners can be appointed anywhere in the country until it does that. This is simply a way of stifling the commissions and the implementation of the Act,” said Ms. Bhardwaj.

She has approached the Supreme Court again, seeking its intervention to ensure implementation of its February 2019 order directing the Centre and states to immediately fill the vacancies in the commissions.

Recommended for you