Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sharm el-Sheikh query spurs Centre to restrict RTI reach

The government is considering expanding exemptions to the Right to Information Act to buffer itself from having to reveal information having sensitive foreign policy or security implications by strengthening clauses of the law relating to "national security". The recent case of an RTI inquiry seeking to know the "authorship" of the
controversial India-Pakistan Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement seems to have jolted the government into action. The query was turned down by the ministry of foreign affairs on the grounds that the statement was put together at the India-Pak summit itself. But while the government argued that there had been no draft and hence there was no question of an "author", it had alerted it to the need for a legal cover. Similarly, though less publicised, the government has been receiving RTI queries seeking to know the Prime Minister's "opinion" on various issues and the manner in which this had been recorded.

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