TOPIC: GS PAPER II Indian Constitution- features
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
In April, the government of India proposed amendments to the RTI Act, one of the most empowering pieces of legislation inherited from the UPA era. The most controversial amendment pertained to Rule 12. It would allow the withdrawal of an application in case of the applicant’s death, making the job of those who file RTIs even more risky.
The RTI activists fight for their rights and/or those of others, but they are hardly protected by the police and judiciary. Cases have been filed for only 137 murders, assaults and harrassment (out of 369). No action has taken place in 141 cases. (No information is available on the status of 91 cases). And where action has taken place, it has resulted in conviction and sending to jail of only six people so far (justice is delayed in many pending cases). This impunity creates the conditions of more violence against the RTI activists and has made the revision of Rule 12 even more problematic.
WHERE DOES THE PROBLEM LIE?
The attitude of the government of India is a big challenge. Some of its agencies refuse to disclose the required information. The PMO, where the rejection rate is very high, is a case in point. The Commission does not have enough power for getting responses to its questions and does not have the mechanisms for following up on whether its orders have been complied with. The Information Officers do not necessarily get the right training, at least the updated information which would make their action more appropriate. Universities could include the RTI Act in their curriculum and offer not only degrees or modules for credit, but also continuing training for helping this major achievement to remain relevant.
But the urgent issue concerns the risk of the amendments formulated in April (including those related to Rule 12) to be transformed into law. If they go through, it would send disturbing signals to the defenders of human rights.
QUESTION ARSING FROM THE NEWS:
Q1) Critically examine the government of India proposed amendments to the RTI Act. And, in this context analyze the role of an RTI activist in the protection of human rights.
Source: INDIAN EXPRESS 01.Dec
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