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Put draft rules of RTI amendment Act in public domain for discussion: PM told

By Our Representative
A civil rights network, the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sought his immediate intervention on the Centre’s "failure" to prescribe rules regarding the salary, tenure and terms of service of information commissioners, after the enactment of the Right to Information Amendment Act, 2019.
It regrets, while the draft rules have been prepared by the Government of India's Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), "these are not available in the public domain."
These rules should be "in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy of 2014, which requires all draft rules to be placed in the public domain for comments/suggestions of people", the letter -- signed among others by senior RTI activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, Venkatesh Nayak, Pankti Jog, Pradip Pradhan, Rakesh Dubbudu and Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool -- urges.
The letter recalls that the amendments to the RTI law were made "despite public protests across the country", pointing out, "There were no public consultations on the amendments and the bill was not referred to any parliamentary deliberative committee." As a result, it adds, "The RTI amendment Act seriously weakened the law by undermining the autonomy of information commissions."
It complains, "It has been nearly three months since the amendments received the President’s assent. However, till date, the central government has not prescribed requisite rules. As a result, vacancies in information commissions persist, leading to huge backlogs and concomitant long delays in the disposal of appeals and complaints of people. This is hindering the effective functioning of the RTI Act."

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