New Delhi /
The Congress party today accused the PM Modi led BJP government of attempting to subvert the RTI Act by seeking to tweak its rules and surreptitiously raise the bar to make access to information difficult for ordinary people.
The party also called upon all progressive forces believing in transparency to unite and oppose any dilution of the RTI structure.
“Ever since this government has taken over, there has been an attitude of acted neglect towards the RTI, not only RTI queries were not answered but even the appeal processes have been very cavalierly treated.
“There has been a non-formal attempt over the past three odd years to scuttle the RTI Act. And finally it seems that the BJP-led NDA government has decided to formalise the process of subverting the RTI,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
Alleging that the government was changing the Right to Information (RTI) norms by bringing in a word limit for applications and higher charges to make it expensive to seek information, the Congress also wondered whether the move was intended to intimidate people.
“By trying to alter the RTI rules what is the intention of the government? Right to Inform citizens or ‘Right to Intimidate’ them?,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said.
Tewari said the draft RTI rules for 2017 which have been put out in public domain look extremely innocuous “but the devil lies in the detail”.
“It is the final print which gives away the intent of the government and I will give you only five examples,” he said.
The Congress leader said this legislation was perhaps the single most empowering instrument enacted in past 70 years and for the first time ever “the opaque innards of those administration and governance were exposed to the antiseptic sunlight of public scrutiny”.