RTI Amendment Act: DoPT wanted change in CIC/IC ranks, Cabinet sought control on tenure

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The DoPT has made the files regarding RTI (Amendment) Act now public.

The initial proposal from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) was to amend the sections of the RTI Act related to salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions of service of chief information commissioners and information commissioners, but the Cabinet directed that their term also be as prescribed by the central government.

The DoPT has made the files regarding RTI (Amendment) Act now public.

A note of DoPT which travelled from the concerned section officer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 5 last year clearly mentions, “Cabinet Note was sent for approval of Cabinet on April 3, 2018. Cabinet Secretariat had conveyed the approval of the Cabinet. The Cabinet further directed that the term of office of Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commissioners, State Chief Information Commissioners and State Information Commissioners be as prescribed by the Central Government.”

These file notes further mention that the government sought relaxation of rules of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha requiring prior notice and circulation of Bill. The rules of procedure of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha require prior notice to be given for introducing a Bill and also have provisions requiring circulation of a Bill to members before it is introduced. Jitendra Singh, MoS, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, wrote to the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, seeking relaxation of these provisions.

The file, which was put in public domain after an application and appeal filed by RTI Activist Anjali Bhardwaj and Chitrangada Choudhury, also says the government wrote to the Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, requesting that the RTI (Amendment) Bill not be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for detailed deliberations.