Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) President Shah Faesal expressed concern at the RTI Amendment Bill, 2019, arguing that the proposed amendments would weaken the Right to Information Act.
In a statement, Faesal said that through the RTI Amendment Bill, the Centre seeks to control the salaries and tenures of the Information Commissioners in both the central and state information commissions. He alleged that the amendment was an attempt to undermine the autonomy and authority of the information commissions adding that the amendment Bill will kill the original RTI law.
Faesal said that RTI (amendment) Bill, 2019, will dilute the Act by downgrading Information Commissioners’ status, salary and autonomy, besides impacting the federal structure since it curtails their powers to decide on the degree of Independence for Information commissioners in their own jurisdiction.
While lauding the efforts of various chief information commissioners like Wajahat Habibullah and Shailesh Gandhi, for strengthening the institution of RTI alleged that instead of strengthening the Information Commissions the Central government looks hell bent upon undermining their status and powers.
“The argument that status of information commissioners at par with supreme court judges is bad in law because appeals against their judgments go to High Courts does not hold ground because never in past has the status of CIC hindered the appeals against their decisions being heard by the Courts of Law,” Shah Faesal argued.
Shah Faesal suggested that the Bill should have been examined by a select committee of the Parliament and there should be public debate over the proposed amendments.