The Right to Information Amendment Bill that seeks to keep political parties out of the transparency law’s purview has been referred to a Parliamentary standing committee.
After consulting all political parties, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said: “The government has decided to refer the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2013, to the standing committee of Parliament because the order passed by the Central Information Commission, bringing political parties within the purview of public authorities under the RTI Act needs an elaborate study.”
The Minister said the Bill would get more inputs from various political parties after it was studied by the Parliamentary committee. He added that the bill would be taken up for passage during the Winter Session.
RTI activists and NGOs strongly oppose the amendments which they fear would defeat the very purpose of the transparency law. RTI activists such as Subhash Agarwal have welcomed the move to send the Bill to the standing committee.
The amendments were proposed by the government after the Central Information Commission on June 3 declared six political parties as “pubic authorities” under the RTI Act.
All the six parties - the Congress, BJP, NCP, BSP, CPM and the CPI - were brought under the law’s purview as they get government land and other benefits.
Meanwhile, the Centre managed to get the Waqf Amendment Bill, aimed at maintaining proper records of Waqf properties and extending their lease period to a maximum of 30 years, passed in the Lok Sabha. The Bill, which was already passed by the Rajya Sabha, got the support of all parties including the BJP.
The Rights of Urban Street Vendors Bill was also introduced in Parliament on Thursday.