The government on Thursday withdrew the controversial amendments to the Right To Information (RTI) Act approved by the cabinet on 2006 capping fears of attempt to dilute the transparency law.
“The cabinet has decided to withdraw the amendments to the RTI Act,” said a government official, after a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In 2006, the cbinet had decided to block access to most government files by amending the law. The draft bill, however, was not introduced in Parliament after National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi responded to protests from the RTI activists against the decision.
The government’s against resurrected its bid to change the law with another set of amendments on the ground to prevent frivolous and vexatious RTI applications. Again Gandhi stepped in and prevented the UPA-2 from perusing the amendments.
RTI activists led by NAC member Aruna Roy were again up in arms against the government when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raised concerns regarding infringement of privacy at the Central Information Commission convention.
In a bid to bury of-repeated speculation over the government trying to dilute the law, the cabinet decided to withdraw the 2006 cabinet decision.
"It is an important decision. The amendments would have killed the RTI Act and there would have been no transparency in governance," Nikhil Dey, a close associate of Roy said.
The RTI Act was enacted by the previous UPA government to bring more transparency in governance and fight corruption and was described as its biggest achievement.