Amendments Made To The Right To Information Act:
The Supreme Court has criticized the Union government for having not filed a reply to a petition by parliamentarian Jairam Ramesh challenging the amendments made to the Right to Information Act for over a year.
- The petitioner argues that the amendments gave the Centre unparalleled powers to dictate the tenure, salaries and service conditions of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners as per its “whims and fancies”.
- The petitioner contended that the RTI Amendment Act of 2019 and its Rules cripple the objectivity and independence of the Central Information Commission (CIC) by bringing under the yoke of the government.
- The Centre shall have the powers to set the salaries and service conditions of Information Commissioners at central as well as state levels.
- Term of the central Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners: appointment will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.
- While the original Act prescribes salaries, allowances, and other terms of service of the state Chief Information Commissioner as “the same as that of an Election Commissioner”, and the salaries and other terms of service of the State Information Commissioners as “the same as that of the Chief Secretary to the State Government”, the amendment proposes that these “shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.