Widespread protests have started across India against the Centre’s move to introduce amendments to the Right to Information Act to exempt political parties from its purview in Parliament.
Around 3,000 auto-drivers in Chennai held a march against the UPA government’s decision, which enacted the law in 2005.
People in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Jaipur also protested the move.
A group of Indian Americans had a sit-in protest outside the Indian embassy in Washington. Around 6,000 citizens including National Advisory Council member Deep Joshi has signed an online petition urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to amend the law.
The Central Information Commission in June had issued a landmark order bringing six national political parties under the RTI ambit and asked them to appoint public authorities within the next six weeks. Except CPI, no other political party has appointed public authority to implement the Central Information Commission order.
“It is shameful that the government has opted for the easier route of amendment and not gone for the one which is available to all (seeking stay from High Court),” former NAC member Harsh Mander said while announcing a demonstration at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday against the amendment.
Another former NAC member Aruna Roy accused the government of bringing in the amendment in “great haste” without any consultation with people as mandated by NAC headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.