#Replug: NCPRI’s Anjali Bhardwaj Explains BJP Govt’s Attempts To Dilute The RTI Act
"If the BJP were serious about fighting corruption, it would have strengthened the RTI Act. Instead, what we have seen are their repeated attempts to throttle this right."
Three days after it was introduced, the Lok Sabha on July 22 passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 with 218 “yes” votes as against 79 “no” votes. Reportedly being termed as the “RTI Elimination Bill” by MPs opposing it, the Bill seeks to amend the landmark transparency law and bring in changes involving the salaries and tenures of Information Commissioners (ICs) at the States and Centre. Many have claimed that this Bill is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to dilute the effectiveness of the law
Per the amendment, ICs (who currently have five-year tenures) will have “terms as may be prescribed by the central government”. Their salaries, instead of being on par with that of Election Commission officials, will be decided by the Central government.
In December 2018, NewsCentral24x7 spoke to social activist Anjali Bhardwaj, the co-convenor of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) and a founding member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan. Bhardwaj, in the interview, had illustrated then, how the Narendra Modi-led Centre was attempting to weaken the RTI Act.
She had said, “If the BJP were serious about fighting corruption, it would have strengthened the RTI Act. Instead, what we have seen are their repeated attempts to throttle this right.”
Jumping quickly to the “why” of her accusation, Bhardwaj had said, “The fountainhead of corruption in our country is political funding. Unfortunately in 2017, under the pretext of being transparent, the BJP brought in Electoral Bonds. The source of political finance, today, is entirely opaque. That’s very problematic.”
She had further added that while the BJP was behind people when they demanded Lokpal — and the law was passed on Jan 1, 2014 — till date, not a single Lokpal had been appointed. “It speaks volumes of BJP’s commitment towards setting up an independent anti-corruption body,” she had remarked.
Watch the complete interview:
How the Narendra Modi government is weakening the RTI Act. In conversation with Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convenor of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information.
Posted by NewsCentral24x7 on Friday, December 14, 2018