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Anna Hazare protests RTI amendments

Posted by egovindia on July 23, 2006

Anna Hazare protests RTI amendments


Anna Hazare protests RTI amendmentsSidharth Pandey

Saturday, July 22, 2006 (New Delhi):

Pressure seems to be mounting on the government to rethink its decision to amend the Right to Information act.

Social activist Anna Hazare today threatened to return his Padma Vibhushan if the act was amended.

On Monday the cabinet had cleared amendments to the Act, which would have meant that only certain ‘file notings’ would be made public. This led to an outcry across the country with activists saying they will launch a massive campaign.

“On August 9 I will sit at Rajghat and give the Padma Vibhushan back to the President. I was given the award for my work with people. Today what is happening is unjust to the people and the award is not more important than the people,” said Anna Hazare.

Bureaucratic pressure

Noted Gandhian, Anna Hazare joined the chorus of voices against the government’s decision to amend the Right to Information act, saying that it had bowed to pressure by the babus.

“It is because of the pressure of the bureaucracy that this has happened, and not politics,” he said.

While the government claims that the changes will end ambiguity, activists say the changes will render the law powerless by only allowing for marginal access to government files and making “file notings” public in very few cases.

Popular Act

Since it became a law in October last year, close to 40,000 applications have been filed and the Act has helped citizens access government files.

This has made officers more accountable and even helped in getting passports, ration cards and even filing FIRs with the police.

“We will mobilize people to protect it. We have made the act and we will protect it. All the people watching TV should write to the Prime Minister and say that they do not want the amendments,” said Aruna Roy, Activist.

The Right to Information is one of the most important laws since independence. No surprise then that the UPA government has been trumpeting it as one of its major achievements.

Activists are angry at moves to weaken it and say that they will hit the streets in protest.

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