‘Online RTI will help clear people’s doubts’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Online RTI will help clear people’s doubts’

Under attack from civil society groups for taking political parties out of the right to information law, the government on Wednesday formally launched the web portal for filing right to information requests in the hope of neutralising criticism for amending the RTI Act.

delhi Updated: Aug 22, 2013 00:01 IST
Aloke Tikku

Under attack from civil society groups for taking political parties out of the right to information law, the government on Wednesday formally launched the web portal for filing right to information requests in the hope of neutralising criticism for amending the RTI Act.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told me to go ahead with the launch... to clear doubts in the mind of people," minister of state in the PMO V Narayanasamy said at the formal launch of the portal, claiming India's transparency law was much better than similar provisions in the West.

The minister later told reporters that he would write to all chief ministers to adopt the online model -"driven by the department's young and enthusiastic joint secretary Manoj Joshi" - to make life easier for RTI applicants.

Maharashtra, he added, had already taken the first step and approached the Department of Personnel & Training to replicate the central model. At the Centre, 82 ministries and departments would be covered by the central portal.

The minister, however, went on a defensive on the RTI amendments, pointing that the government had taken a view on the basis of the feedback received from major political parties.

"The CIC has given a judgment. The Cabinet has in its wisdom taken a judgment to go for amendment seeking that political parties are not public authorities. Now, it is for Parliament to decide," the minister said.

Central Information Commission Satyananda Mishra, whose decision to treat political parties as public authorities triggered the amendment, said the CIC had already given its view in light of the law enacted by Parliament. As long as the order is not set aside by a superior court, it remains in force.