PUNE: A day after the Lok Sabha passed amendments to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday accused the Union government of betraying Indian citizens through the move.
On Monday, the Lok Sabha amended the RTI Act that allowed the Centre to prescribe the term of office, salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions for employment of Information Commissioners.
It also changes the status of the Information Commissioners, who were on a par with Election Commissioners as per the original RTI Act.
"It is expected that while drafting a legislation, the government take the opinion of citizens. If the draft and the Act are both made only by the government, then it is not a democracy but a dictatorship," Hazare said.
"India got the RTI Act in 2005 but with this amendment in the RTI Act, the government is betraying the people of the this country," he said.
Hazare, 82, said his health is not in a good condition but if people of the country take to the streets to safeguard the sanctity of the RTI Act, he would be ready to join them.
Hazare, whose movement prompted the then Maharashtra government to enact a revised Maharashtra Right to Information Act which was considered as the base document for the RTI Act, 2005, was speaking to reporters at his village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district, around 125km from here.
Hazare said he does not know whether the government will listen to him or not but he will still write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to rescind the changes in the RTI Act.
After 13 years, the government is trying to amend the Act, he said.
Such Acts are made with people's consultation and so changes, if any, should also be made in consultation with the people of the country, he said.
The Modi government is doing "good work" but there was no need to amend the Act, Hazare said.
Hazare, speaking to PTI, said the government's attempt to take control of tenure and service conditions of Information Commissioners was "not good".
"If the government wants to bring certain amendments, it should come back to the people of this country and consult them," he added.
The anti-corruption crusader said the Modi government, which came back to power in the 2019 polls because people reposed faith in it, should not go for such "trivial" things.
Instead of doing these "trivial" amendments, the government should implement the 17 points contained in Section 4 of RTI Act in letter and spirit, he said.
Hazare said these points in Section 4 talk about putting all information received by government offices on Internet so that people don't have to demand it.