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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Activists hail decision to refer RTI Bill to Parl

PTI  New Delhi, September 05, 2013
First Published: 18:39 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:44 IST(5/9/2013)

Activists working to promote Right to Information (RTI) Act on Thursday welcomed the government's decision to refer a bill aimed at shielding political parties from providing information under the transparency law to a Parliamentary standing committee.

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"We appreciate the decision taken by the government to recommend to Lok Sabha Speaker that RTI Amendment Bill be referred to the Standing Committee," said Venkatesh Nayak, coordinator (access to information programme) of NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

People will have an opportunity to present their view before the lawmakers and this is how we believe that laws must be made or amended in a democracy like ours, he said.

"It is a welcome move. The government decision's prove that it believes in Parliamentary democracy and not in Parliamentary dictatorship," said RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

He said a lot of Parliamentarian has given support to the people's movement to save dilution of RTI Act by the proposed amendments by the government.

"We have met a lot of parliamentarians to support our cause and oppose government's move to amend RTI bill to give immunity to political parties from providing information. Most of them have opposed the government's move," Agrawal claimed.

Another RTI activist, Commodore Lokesh Batra, attributed the government's decision to people's voices.

"It has been proved that in democracy it is the people whose voices are heard. We thank government for hearing our voice. It is a message for all those people who believe that 'kuch nahin hota (nothing changes or improves thing)'," Batra said.

A Bill seeking to keep political parties out of RTI ambit has been sent to Standing Committee for larger consensus, minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy said in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

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