RTI Act Current Affairs - 2019
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Draft amendments to the Right To Information Act (RTI) have been approved by the Union Cabinet in order to nullify an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing the 6 national political parties under the ambit of the Act. There is a consensus among almost all major political parties to the proposed amendments as they feel that the CIC has exceeded its jurisdiction by passing such an order.
What was the order passed by CIC regarding RTI Act?
- Responding to the petitions by several RTI activists, the CIC had ruled that the national parties have to share details with RTI petitioners on issues related to their funding and the criteria on which they have selected candidates for fighting elections.
Why there is opposition to the CIC order?
As per the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the CIC order which also echoes the sentiments of most of the parties on this issue, to apply the Right to Information Act and demand access to the internal deliberations of the party whether it be on policy matters, organisational decisions or selection of candidates will constitute a serious infringement of inner-party functioning, confidentiality of discussions and undermine the political party system itself. On the concerns of transparency of the funding and finances of political parties, laws already exists under which all political parties are required to submit their accounts to the Income Tax department and the Election Commission. Already under the RTI, the statement of accounts and the finances of the parties are accessible to anyone from the Election Commission.
Expanding the reach of Right to Information (RTI) in order to bring greater transparency in governance, the Union Government of India has extended the facility of e-filing of RTI applications to President and Vice-President’s secretariat and Foreign Ministry among others.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which acts as nodal ministry for implementation of Right to Information Act, has unveiled a website — www.rtionline.gov.in — to facilitate e-filing of applications and payment of fees.
The facility which in its pilot stage was limited to DoPT has been extended to Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and Department of Consumer Affairs and Department of Food and Public Distribution, Department of Agricultural Research & Education, Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Department of Commerce, Department of Disinvestment, Department of Public Enterprises and Ministry of Culture. The government plans to extend e-filing of RTI applications to all central ministries or departments through the website.
Note: Information related to the departments of State governments can’t be filed through this mode. If filed, the application would be returned, without refund of fee amount.