This Article is From Aug 12, 2013

Government to introduce RTI Act Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha today

New Delhi: A bill to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act in order to keep political parties out of the ambit of the transparency law is slated to be introduced in Lok Sabha today by the government.

The bill will be introduced in the Lower House by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy.

The Union Cabinet had, on August 1, cleared a proposal to amend the RTI Act to give immunity to political parties.

The Cabinet's decision had come nearly two months after the Central Information Commission's (CIC) order of bringing six national political parties - Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and BSP - under the RTI Act.

The government may propose an amendment in Section 2 of the Act, which defines public authority, to shield the political parties, official sources said.

The proposed amendments will make it clear that the definition of public authority shall not include any political party registered under the Representation of the Peoples Act, they said.

The CIC had, in its order on June 3, held that the six national parties have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and were required to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) as they have the character of a public authority under the RTI Act.

The order of the transparency watchdog had evoked sharp reactions from political parties, especially Congress which has been credited with bringing in the transparency law.

The decision to amend the RTI Act was taken by the Ministry of Personnel, which acts as the nodal department for the implementation of the Act, in consultation with Law Ministry and was based on consensus of all political parties, the sources said.