New Delhi:A day after Union government passed amendments in the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 in the Lok Sabha, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at government and said the transparency act is "on the brink of extinction".
"It is a matter of utmost concern that the Central government is hell-bent on completely subverting the historic Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. This law, prepared after wide-spread consultations and passed unanimously by Parliament, now stands on the brink of extinction", Ms Gandhi said in a statement.
The senior Congress leader said that the weaker sections of society have benefitted greatly by the proactive use of RTI by activists and others.
"Over the past decade and more 60 lakh of our countrymen and women have used RTI and helped usher in a new culture of transparency and accountability administration at all levels. The foundations of our democracy have, as a result, been strengthened immeasurably", she added.
Ms Gandhi headed the National Advisory Council during UPA-I and was involved in discussions and consultations in formulating the draft bill.
Taking on Narendra Modi government, the former Congress president said that "it is clear that the present Central Government sees the RTI Act as a nuisance and wants to destroy the status and independence of the Central Information Commission which was put on par with the Central Election Commission and Central Vigilance Commission".
"The Central Government may use its legislative majority to achieve its aims but in the process it would be disempowering each and every citizen of our country", she added.Amid opposition from various parties, Lok Sabha on Monday passed the bill, as the Modi-led government has a brute majority in the house.
The bill now will go for the consideration of Rajya Sabha, where the government still does not have a majority.The opposition alleges that the proposed changes, including the provision that salaries and tenures of Information Commissioners at the states and centre will be decided by the central government, is a move to interfere in the independent functioning of the transparency body.(UNI)