Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Bill Intent:
  • The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018, proposes to give the Centre the power to set the tenure and salaries of State and Central Information Commissioners.
  • The current law gives Information Commissioners a tenure of five years and salaries which match those of Election Commissioners.
  • The functions being carried out by the Election Commission of India and the central and state Information Commissions are totally different.
  • While the Election Commission is a constitutional body, the Information Commissions are statutory bodies, and their differing mandates mean that their status and service conditions need to be rationalised accordingly.
  • The Bill is being opposed by several Opposition political parties and RTI activists, who warn that the amendments will dilute the RTI law and compromise the independence of the Information Commissions.
  • This is simply a way of giving the Central government a greater grip on Information Commissioners, who have been giving orders which the government finds inconvenient.
  • The Centre usurping the power to decide the tenure and salaries of State Information Commissioners raises key issues of federalism.
  • The secrecy around the amendments has prevented any meaningful debate or public engagement with the proposed changes. There has been no debate around the Bill.

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