National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) expresses its severe condemnation of the sinister attempts by the NDA Government to arbitrarily push ahead regressive amendments to multiple-pro people legislations passed after protracted nation-wide struggles and consultative parliamentary processes.
There have been repeated attempts to dilute the Right to Information (RTI) Act, one of the most potent tools to ensure governmental accountability, the latest being the RTI Amendment Bill, 2019 introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday (July 19, 2019). The amendments are listed to be taken up on Monday i.e. 22nd July, for consideration and passage.
NAPM stalwarts like Medha Patkar, Arun Roy, Nikhil Dev and others, who had played key role in formulating RTI Act, recalled that tt is well-known that the RTI Act has empowered millions of people across the country to hold the authorities and the state accountable to principles of transparency and fair procedures and realize their constitutional rights.
NAPM accused that the proposed amendments are extremely regressive and are aimed primarily at undermining the independence and autonomy of information commissions, thereby diluting India’s strongest and most widely used institutional framework for transparency. It is also a matter of grave concern that the amendments to the RTI Act were introduced amidst a shroud of secrecy and there were no public consultations in this regard.
NAPM asserted that the RTI Act is extremely crucial for people, in their democratic struggle for their fundamental rights and to hold powers-to-be to account. The law’s passage in the Parliament in 2005 was a victory and acknowledgement of the tireless efforts of peoples’ movements and campaigns that represented the will and intention of lakhs of citizens to keep democracy alive.
NAPM unequivocally condemns these regressive amendments and appeals to all political parties and MPs to put up a united front to safeguard peoples’ fundamental right to information and just governance. The right to information is central to realization of many other constitutional rights, including the right to life, guaranteed by Article 21. We reject the proposed amendments and call for nation-wide protests against them across the country.