The government wants to introduce new exemption clauses in the Right to Information Act. These will not only block access to file notings but the entire decision-making process.
RTI activists like Shekhar Singh say this will also curtail the powers of the Central Information Commission.
One amendment clause bars the identification of officials conducting inspections, making observations or giving legal advice. Another restricts access to portions of files relating to opinion given by an officer before the government decides in any matter. A third bars information on examinations conducted by a government body.
Yet another clause proposes to withdraw access to material forming the basis of any cabinet decision. The RTI law can only give you the decision and the reasons for it.
“This means if the government reasons - as the PMO has - that the RTI amendments are to promote transparency and accountability, we’ll just have to take its word for it,” activist Manish Sisodia said.
Arvind Kejriwal, this year's Magsaysay Award winner, suspects that top bureaucrats are pressuring the central government after questions had been raised on the suitability criteria for posting IAS officers to posts of secretaries at the Centre.