Monday, October 13, 2008

Panel moots changes in RTI Act

Panel moots changes in RTI Act

By Express News Service

13 Oct 2008 03:52:00 AM IST

KOCHI: In an attempt that may thwart the very purpose of the Right To Information Act, the Lok Sabha Committee of Privileges submitted a report before the Lok Sabha Speaker, recommending for amendments, including that the decision taken by the House/Speaker may not be open to review by the Chief Information Commissioner.

The report on `Requests from Courts of Law and investigating agencies, for documents pertaining to proceedings of House, Parliamentary Committees or which are in the custody of the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha, for production in Courts of Law and for investigation purposes’ was laid on the table on April 30, 2008. The 97-page report was submitted by the Committee chaired by V Kishore Chandra S Deo after studying the procedures followed in 35 countries.

The Committee suggests four major amendments. They are - it may be made the incumbent upon an applicant requesting for information/document which come under the jurisdiction of the House to state the reasons for which the information/ documents are required.

If in the opinion of the Speaker the information sought for have the potential to call in question the proceedings of the House or of any committee of the House, in any court he may be empowered to refer such a request to the Committee of Privileges for examination and report.

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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