RTI Amendment Bill likely to come up in Lok Sabha today

New Delhi, Sep 2 (ANI): A bill seeking to amend the RTI Act to shield political parties from providing information under the transparency law is likely to come up for discussion in Lok Sabha today.

The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2013 was introduced on August 12 in the Lower House by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy.

The RTI amendment bill could not be discussed on earlier occasions on August 23, 24, 26 and 29.

The Union Cabinet had on August 1 cleared a proposal to amend the RTI Act to give immunity to political parties.

The proposed amendment would mean that educational institution and hospitals, amongst several others who acquire land at subsidised rates and funding less than 51 percent may go out of the purview of the RTI Act.

Meanwhile, political parties have maintained that the Representation of the People Act and the Income Tax Act provide sufficient transparency regarding financial aspects of political parties.

In June, the Central Information Commission, which ensures the RTI Act is implemented and public queries are answered by government departments, ruled that the six major national parties, including the Congress and BJP are public authorities and must respond to RTI applications. The parties were given six weeks to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) to handle RTI requests.

The decision from transparency watchdog evoked sharp reactions from political parties, especially Congress which has been credited with bringing in the transparency law but is opposed to the CIC's directive.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which acts as nodal department for the implementation of the RTI Act, in consultation with Law Ministry had earlier decided to amend the law. (ANI)

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