There are reports that the Government has decided to promulgate an ordinance to amend the RTI Act. The ostensible purpose is to counter the decision of the CIC declaring six political parties as Public authorities which are subject to the Right to Information Act. Representatives of all political parties have stated that they believe the CIC decision is unsound legally and hence they are opposing it. If they are being truthful, they can certainly go in a writ to the Courts. Hundreds of CIC decisions have been quashed by the Courts.
I am sure you realise that an ordinance should only be promulgated when there is a great urgency. Article 123 of the Constitution states (1) If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinance as the circumstances appear to him to require.
In the instant case citizens cannot see any reason which justifies an ordinance. Curtailing citizen's fundamental right and issuing an ordinance to frustrate a statutory order are morally and legally repugnant. Frustrating an existing law arbitrarily, will not promote the rule of law. I plead with you to consider whether it would be right to curb citizen's fundamental rights by ordinance when there appears to be no need for immediate action.
If you do issue the said ordinance, i am hoping you will share the reasons for the immediate action with citizens.
- Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India
Ordinance to exclude political parties from the purview of RTI
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