GOVERNMENT TO BRING CHANGES TO KEEP POLITICAL PARTIES OUT OF THE RTI ACT: WISH THEY HAD ACTED SO SWIFTLY TO SAVE THE UTTARAKHAND VICTIMS

It had to happen; it was not even a matter of time before we were to witness yet another shame in the name of democracy!

It was a writing on the wall that we all had read. Its precursor was made evident to us from time to time with the developments like these:

Prime Minister’s Office refuses to answer RTI query on Robert Vadra citing confidentiality

Gujarat government has not given information on Narendra Modi’s travel: RTI activist

Sonia Gandhi cites privacy, refuses to disclose info on I-T returns

No details of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign tour under RTI

Scratch a little and one would come across plenty of such reports involving politicians across the party-lines!

And so it was not even the matter of time when they decided to act. They had to act and they acted swiftly to blunt the sharpness of the democratic weapon that had grown potentially dangerous for them after a recent development.

This June (and it is still this June only), the Central Information Commission (CIC) of India ruled that the political parties were under purview of the ‘Right To Information Act’ (RTI) by rightly exploiting the elements that define a ‘public authority’ in India. The detailed report was a result of a prolonged hearing after the RTI activists approached the CIC as the political parties denied information under the RTI Act on funding related matters.

It is rare to see the Indian politicians standing united in public’s eye on an issue of social concern. Though they are similar under the skin, the vote-bank compulsions push them to act enemies to each other whether the political opposition to an issue is relevant or totally baseless.

But there come certain developments when politicians are forced to shed this ‘we are different attitudes’; developments, when we see the ugly face of Indian politics.

We witness the rare political unity on display whenever there is an event that either leads to the personal benefits of the parliamentarians like increasing salaries and perks frequently or events that might threaten their absolute run of corruption like the Lokpal Bill or the CIC decision to put the political parties under the ambit of the RTI Act.

And so, this June only, within few days of the CIC ruling, reports say the government is preparing to bring an amendment to the RTI Act or an ordinance to keep the political parties out of the RTI Act. The changes would be effective retrospective and would overrun the June 3 CIC order.

According to the reports, the Department for Personnel and Training has sent a draft of the proposed ordinance to the Law Ministry. Sources say the government is going to change the definition of the ‘public authority’ in a way so as to bring the political parties out of the RTI Act applicability.

Activists are saying they would fight it out in the court while the political parties are all praise for the government on this move.

After all, how can the law of the land that applies to the commoners, can apply to the superhuman Indian politicians?

Now, expect the ordinance or the amendment soon!

But where was this swiftness when thousands were stranded and thousands had died in the disastrous Uttarakhand flash floods? The scale of the disaster and the callous attitude of the politicians in relief and rescue efforts tell us a sorry state of affairs, a blot on the humanity and a pathogen for the democratic health of the country.

But can we question the politicians?

If they are acting so undemocratic, it is us only who are allowing them to act so. Their every move has become so predictable yet we continue making silly choices by electing them in the office, the powers of which they manipulate to exploit us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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