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New RTI provisions might jeopardize lives of whistle-blowers’: Activists

  • A new provision that allows for an RTI case to be closed in the event of death of the applicant has come under criticism from activists who fear that this will encourage attacks on whistle-blowers’.

    In 2017, there have been many cases of attacks on citizens who sought information to expose corruption and wrongdoing in various public authorities. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative's (CHRI) Venkatesh Nayak said that if this rule becomes law at the Centre, most other states will make similar amendments, thereby risking the life and safety of RTI users. These amendments must not be allowed to go through when the Whistle blower Protection Act, 2011 has been put in cold storage.

    Supreme Court had earlier passed an order that the CIC (Central Information Commission) while hearing a plea under complaint clause cannot order disclosure of the information which can only be provided if the person is approaching it under second appeal.

    A new proposal now allows the CIC to convert a complaint into second appeal which would mean it can order the disclosure of information to an applicant who has come under complaint clause of the RTI Act, which was not the case earlier.

    Such changes will raise the bar and make RTI difficult to access for the common man.
     

    OUR TAKE

    Right to Information gives the citizens the right to ask for information from the government. Anything that might cause danger to the life of citizens in exercising their right, should not be given effect to. The basic idea must be to encourage the citizens to freely ask their queries with no sort of hesitation or fear. 


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