Sunday, October 18, 2009

Info panel resists bid to dilute RTI

The government's attempt to `dilute' the RTI Act was met with stiff opposition from information commissioners at a meeting organised by the department of personnel and training on Wednesday. While there was no final word on the issue, information commissioners including Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah have been upfront in their view that amendments like the power to reject frivolous and vexatious complaints by public information officers and constitution of Benches were

Habibullah raised both issues in his keynote address on Wednesday. "Rejection of requests for information on the basis that they are frivolous or vexatious is a delicate issue. I think any amendments will be premature as the limits for the RTI Act are yet to be established,'' he said. Sources said there is stiff opposition from some quarters of bureaucracy and polity regarding the freedom to seek any information and they had suggested clauses to curb the practice. Incidentally, the issue of "frivolous" applications was also raised by President Pratibha Patil during her inaugural address of the fourth convention of the CIC recently.

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