As political parties appear set to amend the RTI law to exempt political parties over the next few weeks, RTI activists hit out at the Congress-led UPA for trying to dilute the transparency law in haste.
Transparency activists also knocked at Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar's doors, urging her to refer the legislation to the parliamentary standing committee.
"The government had insisted on referring the Lokpal Bill to the standing committee in 2011 since it could not short-circuit parliamentary procedures... How come the government doesn't mind short-circuiting the procedures now?" asked RTI activist Lokesh Batra.
In 2011, the then law minister Veerappa Moily had refused the now-disbanded Team Anna's demand to straightaway put the Lokpal Bill to vote in Parliament, emphasising that the government "cannot short-circuit the process".
Shekhar Singh of the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) suggested the UPA's "great hurry" to get Parliament to clear the amendments could have something to do with other political parties having second thoughts about supporting the Bill. RTI activists have been reaching out to MPs to clarify their concerns about the transparency law. Many MPs conceded that the bill — and the way it was being pushed — was not desirable.
Former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi expressed disappointment at the political unanimity to change the law, wondering why the Centre hadn't challenged the CIC ruling if it was convinced that its ruling was bad in law.