NEW DELHI: The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) launched the ‘Use RTI to Save RTI’ initiative on Thursday. As a part of the initiative, activists filed 100 RTIs on the launch on issues of national importance.
Activists said they would resist the government’s deliberate attempt to weaken the transparency law with the RTI Amendment Bill.
The subjects on which RTIs were filed include Aadhar, acquisition and displacement, judicial appointments, NRC issue, pensions, forest rights issues, Rafale, MGNREGA, Unnao rape case, the functioning of the Lokpal, the functioning of hospitals, and deployment of teachers, among others.
On Thursday, activists reached Rashtrapati Bhavan in order to submit a petition against the RTI Amendment Bill to the President. However, over 60 people were detained and three people eventually allowed to go and submit the petition, said Anjali Bhardwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan.
“People came with petitions peacefully. Even that was not allowed today. The government is clamping down people’s freedom of speech and expression. This is an absolute attack on democratic rights. We condemn these kind of actions,” said Bhardwaj.
On an average, annually around six million RTIs are filed, she added.
“Freedom of expression is the hallmark of our democracy. They (the government) has not allowed the Amendment to be discussed anywhere,” said Nikhil Dey an activist.
Under the new initiative, on the first of every month, the campaigners would file RTIs with peoples’ groups to seek information on issues of ‘public interest’.
The campaign was launched in Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala. It will be taken up in other states soon.