India - RTI- Powers To The Governed Versus Alleged Intention To dilute It By Government.
Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - India - Regulatory & Compliance
10 December, 2019
Recently, the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed by both the houses Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha which seeks to amend Sections 13, 16 and 27 of Right to Information Act, 2005, which received huge hue and cry both in the houses as well as from the general public. The amendments propose that the central government will prescribe the term of office, and the salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of information commissioners (both central and state). This amendment is being seen as regressive in nature as it would lead to unaccountable power to the government because the amendments will undermine the independence of information commissioners which will ultimately reduce to an agency of the government rather than an independent organization. In a country where arbitrary use of power by government has become order of the day, the legislation like RTI Act, 2005 has been instrumental in empowering public to control the arbitrariness of the Government. On the other hand, the recent judgment of SC in D.A.V. College Trust And Managing … vs Director Of Public Instructions has provided more power to the people by holding that the non-governmental organisations which were substantially financed by the appropriate government fall within the ambit of ‘public authority’ under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Public Authority and its extension to the political parties
The D.A.V. judgment (supra) will have wider implication in connection with the ambit and scope of the RTI, Act to the political parties. Section 2(h) of the Act describes that there are 4 types of public authorities, namely the authorities set up:
(a) under the Constitution,
(b) by an Act of Parliament,
(c) by any law made by State Legislature, or
(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government and must be controlled or substantially financed by the appropriate government.
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Manisha Singh, Partner, LexOrbis