New Delhi, July 22: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 amid uproar by the opposition. A total of 218 members voted in favour of the bill, while 79 voted against it. The bill now will be presented in Rajya Sabha. The opposition accused the Narendra Modi government of diluting the RTI Act and termed the bill as “RTI Elimination Bill”. RTI Amendment Bill Will End Freedom of Information Commissions, Says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
The bill was introduced in the lower house on Friday. The changes proposed in the RTI Act empowers the government to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners. While introducing the bill in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh described the ACT as “clumsy”. He said that the bill will lead to swift implementation of the RTI act. Changes in RTI Act Will Make It Useless, All Indians Must Oppose Move, Says Rahul Gandhi.
However, the opposition opposed the amendment saying the bill is a threat to independence" of Central Information Commissioner. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor called the bill as “RTI elimination bill” claiming that it will remove the organisation's institutional independence.
At present salaries of information commissioners are kept at par with the Election Commissioners. According to the bill, the salaries of information commissioners will be decided by the government. The bill also gives power to the government to decide the tenure of information commissioners.