Sunday, December 6, 2009

No amendments to RTI now: CIC

No amendments to RTI now: CIC

New Delhi: Dec 5, DH News Service

Information Commissioner lauds judiciary for sharing information

Allaying fears of activists like Aruna Roy, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah on Saturday said there was no urgency to bring amendments to the Right to Information Act.

While the UPA government was keen to amend the much-debated act, activists had been apprehensive that these changes might ultimately lead to the dilution of its provisions. "It is too early to bring in amendments as adequate time should be given for its full evolution. Dilution of this law should not be accepted," Habibullah told a group of women journalists here.

He also informed that the government was not averse to disclose file notings of the Cabinet after a decision was reached on a particular issue.

Commending the role of the judiciary in the evolution of the RTI Act, Habibullah said high courts like the Delhi High Court were helping the Commission to widen the contours of the act through a number of path-breaking judgements.

Rejecting allegations that the judiciary was not doing enough to bring in transparency in issues like the appointment of judges, he said there would always be issues where the limitations of the act would be put to test. "Judiciary is also forthcoming, they are not holding back information," Habibullah said.

When asked about the Supreme Court stay on an order passed by the CIC directing its registry to furnish information about a Union Minister who allegedly approached Justice R Raghupathy of the Madras High Court to influence his decision in a case, Habibullah said: "No one contests it as the Supreme Court is supreme."

Habibullah, who will take over shortly as the Chief Information Commissioner in Jammu and Kashmir, said the assassination attempt on Hurriyat Conference leader Fazal Haq Qureshi would not be a setback to the peace talks.

The senior bureaucrat, who had spent a major part of his career in the 90's in Kashmir, said the prospects of bring about an enduring peace in the valley through dialogue was very bright.

"My motto there will be to give information to the people down in the villages, which is their due, and from which they have been deprived," Habibullah said.


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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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Dinamani - RTI News