The Right To Information (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 22nd July. There's a lot that happened before, during and right after it happened. Here's all you need to know about the RTI Amendment...
The amendment will bring changes concerned with the salaries and tenures of Information Commissioners in the States and at the Centre. The amendment removes the provisions of the salary of the CIC and IC being equivalent to those of the CEC and election commissioners at central and state level along with the election commissioners and the chief secretary at the state level. According to it, these will now be determined by the government. One other change that has been made in opposition to the RTI Act of 2005 is that the Centre will notify the terms of both the CIC and the IC the which was earlier fixed for a period of five years.
The Opposition's motion to send the legislation to a Select Committee was overthrown with 75 votes against 117 in favour of the government. it isn't a common occurrence in the Rajya Sabha for The Opposition motion to be defeated and this didn't happen in the most civil way either.
The commotion erupted when a member of The Opposition accused BJP MP and C.M. Ramesh (had recently switched to the BJP from the TDP) of interfering. He was called out for collecting the ballot papers from others, instead of letting the Marshals do it. In fact, The Opposition even staged a walkout during the process. It was in the absence of the Opposition that Mr. Harivansh announced the result of the ballot and the Bill was passed by a voice vote.
Congress MP and Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma spoke to The Hindu and said,
“What happened today is the ultimate insult to the dignity of the Rajya Sabha. The government has acted with the blatant disregard of the traditions and through this undermined the very sanctity of the vote. They may have managed the number but it’s a moral defeat.”
Here's how Twitterati reacted to it:
You don't want to be in a position where you are caught sleeping over the biggest plundering of your rights. People had to die to give it to you that in the first place. #RTIAmendment #AskQuestions #India #RTIBachao #RTIAmendmentBill2019— Pratik Patnaik (@ChiefDissenter) July 26, 2019
25 July will go down as a dark day for the Right to Information (RTI) movement.— Soumyadipta Roy ?? (@soumodiptoroyy) July 26, 2019
A people's movement that brought about accountability & transparency has been severely weakened. Shame on BJD, TRS & YSR Cong for aiding the BJP despite their majority in Rajya Sabha.#RTIAmendment
Why #Modi Govt's #RTIAmendment must be opposed— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) July 26, 2019
Once the Information Commission -- at the Centre and States -- becomes vulnerable to Govt control and manipulation, so does the spirit of #RTIAct .
Good article by Yamini Aiyar, President @CPR_India https://t.co/IMaM2WTNJR
Something is seriously wrong going on,RTI is for the Common Problem If RTI Amendment act enacted it will become right by the gov. but not for the Commons. i have been a BJP supporter but this have given me a serious reality check.#RTIAmendment— Saurabh Raj (@raj_saurabh445) July 26, 2019
I am against this Amendment pic.twitter.com/A7vkAbx7li