The Right to Information (RTI) Amendment Bill 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha today despite strong protest by the opposition. The proposed law was passed on Monday in the Lok Sabha where the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) enjoys a majority.
The bill changes the fixed tenure of information commissioners and makes their salary and service conditions subject to the executive rules to be made by the government. At present, the information commissioners and chief information commissioners have a fixed tenure of five years. The amendment allows the central government to decide on the tenure and pay of chief information commissioners and information commissioners.
Section 27 of the Act is amended to give rulemaking power to the central government to make changes to the pay, tenures and service conditions of information commissioners.
Opposition parties, which have termed the amendment the "RTI Elimination Bill", argue that even honest officials will stop disclosing the information if their job and salaries are at stake.
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 passed by Rajya Sabha. pic.twitter.com/OW0oF3gqQ0— ANI (@ANI) July 25, 2019
Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh tabled the RTI (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha on July 19 and the bill was passed on Monday after 218 members voted in favour of the RTI (Amendment) Bill and 79 went against the bill.
The centre was supposed to introduce the RTI Amendment Bill 2018 last year during the monsoon session of the parliament but it deferred after facing a strong protest from RTI activists and political parties.