Criticising the proposed amendment to the RTI Bill that will render it “useless”, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed the BJP for believing only in keeping the truth hidden.
“Every Indian has the right to know the truth. The BJP believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power. The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act,” Gandhi tweeted.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s move to pass ‘The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ “must be opposed by every Indian” he added. The Centre on Wednesday had said it was considering a proposal to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The proposed amendments to the RTI Act seek to empower the central government to decide the tenure, salary and allowances of information commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions through rules. The information commissions are the final authorities to adjudicate on claims of access to information which is a deemed fundamental right under the Constitution.
The status conferred on commissioners under the RTI Act is to empower them to carry out their functions autonomously and require even the highest offices to comply with the provisions of the law.
As the RTI Act stands today, the salaries, allowances and other terms of service of the chief of the Central Information Commission are the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
Those of the Central Information Commissioners and State Chief Information Commissioners are at par with Election Commissioners.
The CEC and other Election Commissioners are paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Supreme Court, which is decided by Parliament.
Further, the RTI Act provides for a fixed tenure of five years for information commissioners (subject to the age limit of 65 years).