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RTI must not be amended: Left
August 14, 2006 18:10 IST
With its main ally, the Left Front, supporting the campaign against the proposed move to amend the Right to Information law, the United Progressive Alliance government could find itself in a tight spot over exemption of file notings from the purview of the Act.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India general secretary A B Bardhan and other prominent Left Front leaders extended their support on Monday to the 'Save RTI' movement. They also flayed the Centre for bringing 'drastic' amendments to the Act, therby rendering it useless.
"In their two-year tenure, the only two good things that the UPA has done are enacting the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Right to Information Bills. But I do not know why they want to undo their good work now," Karat said, addressing several groups supporting the movement.
"I can't figure out why the Centre wants to bring these amendments. During one meeting, we even asked them about it, but they did not tell us anything. But we have told them clearly that Left will not allow it to pass in Parliament," he said.
Casting his ballot in the favour of retaining the original form of the Act, Karat said, "If the government has problems in disclosing something in a particular area, then they should specify how parting with the information will affect them."
Calling RTI as a weapon in the hands of people, Bardhan said file notings were an important aspect of the Act, as it enabled the public to examine how decisions regarding policy are taken and will make bureaucracy accountable.
CPI leader D Raja assured the activists that Left would not allow the Centre to 'weaken' this Act by enforcing the amendments.
"The integrity and credibilty of UPA is at stake. The Centre is trying to dilute the RTI Act and we stand opposed to it. We will fight inside as well as outside Parliament to ensure our struggle a success," Raja said.
Forward Bloc leader Devrajan and Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abani Roy, too, reiterated their support to withdraw the bill to make any amendments to the Act and urged activists like Aruna Roy and Sandeep Pandey to educate people on the repercussions if the changes came into force.
Earlier, former prime minister V P Singh, too, joined the campaign and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to review his government's decision to amend such a 'progressive' Act.
Singh said he had written a letter to the prime minister, in which he suggested a public debate on the problems, if any, that the government is facing in implementing this Act.
"I cannot agree with you when you say that the amendments will 'expand the scope of the Act' and 'promote even greater transparency and accountability in our decision making'. I fear you have been wrongly informed in this regard," V P Singh said in his letter.
Singh said he hoped that given the countrywide agitation and the scale of protests against the amendments, the cabinet would refrain from going ahead with the move.