The parliamentary standing committee,set up to discuss the proposed changes in the Right to Information (RTI) Act,2005,held its public consultation in Mumbai on Sunday. RTI activists Vijay Kumbhar and Bhaskar Prabhu appeared before the committee to present their views on the matter.
Central Information Commissioner (CIC)s ruling on applicability of RTI Act for political parties,although welcomed by many was opposed by politicans cutting across party lines. Subsequently,the central government had proposed an amendment in the RTI Act,which would have given political parties immunity from RTI. However,following stiff opposition from all sectors of society,the government had referred the matter to the standing committee of the Parliament. The 20-member committee,headed by MP Shantaram Naik,had invited suggestions and objections from public and had also arranged a hearing at select places. The first such public hearing was scheduled in Mumbai on Sunday and both Kumbhar and Prabhu were invited by the committee to put forth their views. The hearing also saw two other RTI activists from Mumbai give their suggestions.Besides activists,representatives of the Shiv Sena,the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Samajwadi Party also attended the hearing.
The committee is scheduled to conduct five such hearing before arriving at a conclusion. The report of the committee would be placed before the Parliament,which would then take a final call.