NEW DELHI: Maintaining that the government is bringing bills for passing without adequate scrutiny, the Congress and other opposition parties in Rajya Sabha on Thursday stuck to their demand for sending the RTI amendment bill to a Select Committee before taking it for discussion and passage.
Amid the din, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh moved the bill to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 and pass it.
Led by the Congress, the opposition members kept chanting: "We Want Select Committee" and "Dilution of RTI would not be accepted" in the house, forcing the Chair to adjourn the proceedings twice for brief periods.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien, among others, moved the motion for referring the RTI bill to the Select Committee. The Congress-led the opposition with its senior leaders making their position clear that they would not take up the bill without sending it to a House panel.
Senior leader Anand Sharma strongly opposed the government move, saying the House was not obliged to blindly endorse bills cleared in the other House (Lok Sabha).
"The House must be alive to its duty," he said, underscoring the important role of the Rajya Sabha.
But the Chair allowed discussion on the bill, saying a vote on sending the Bill to the Select Committee can be done after the discussion concludes. Most opposition members, however, did not seem to be convinced of the decision and continued their protest.
The opposition members continued their protest even as Jitendra Singh said that there was no intention, motivation or design to dilute the RTI and that there was no need to send the bill to a Select Committee.
Speaking on the bill, AIADMK member Navneet Krishna supported it.
RJD's Manoj Jha, however, said he can not speak when democracy was being killed, referring to the uproar in the House. CPI-M's K.K. Ragesh also said he wants to speak but was unable to do so given the uproar in the House.