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Speaker of the Lok Sabha Shrimati Meira Kumar: Send the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to a Standing Committee/Select Committee
Dear friends, The Central Government acted in a hasty manner by introducing a Bill to amend the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) in the Lok Sabha on 12 August, 2013. The Bill: *Excludes all political parties from the purview of the RTI Act *Invalidates the June 2013 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which declared six national political parties as ‘public authorities’ under the RTI Act. All political parties who opposed the CIC’s order are most likely to vote in favour of the Bill. Essentially, they are all collaborating to refuse direct queries from the people of India aimed at their functioning. The Government, in 2009, had assured the Parliament that the RTI Act would NOT be amended without proper debate and consultation with the people of India. And yet, today, when their own interests are at stake, the Government, with the backing of political parties, is defaulting on its promise to Parliament. And also to the People. The RTI Act has given us citizens never-before-seen powers to demand answers from our government and participate in governance. We, the People, have tried a variety of ways to engage with our MPs in an effort to make our voices heard with regards to these amendments. We have called them, emailed them and even tried to meet them in person to express our opinions but were stonewalled each time. In the absence of any meaningful engagement with our law-makers, who impose arbitrary law-making practices on us citizens, our only option is to petition the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The Speaker has the power to refer the amendment Bill to a Standing Committee/Select Committee before putting it to vote. We encourage you to sign this petition addressed to the Honorable Speaker urging her to send the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to a Standing Committee/Select Committee and facilitate widespread public consultation on it. LET US DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO KNOW! This petition is supported by: Commonwealth Human Rights Intitiative (CHRI), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), Satark Nagrik Sangathan, and all the RTI Call-a-Thon Volunteers.