Right to Information: A fundamental right of every Indian

OCTOBER 2019 TOPIC: “Right to Information” — a fundamental right of every Indian. Your comments in light of the recent amendments made to the RTI Act by the government.

Of the three amendments sought-after by the NDA government lately, the third one sounds like the most unacceptable to me. So far, the tenure and salaries of Information Commissioners were mounted by law. Currently bureaucrats can decide their salaries and tenure on an independent basis. This is not a very healthy sign. A statutory term of appointment provides job security. However, if Information Commissioners need to serve in keeping with terms of the government then no doubt one can say, India’s institutional autonomy is under threat. Placed flat out, such amendments might create ICs compromise on sharing info with the applicants simply to avoid being laid off.
Sukanya Basu Malik
Techno India College, Kolkata

The new RTI Act fixes the tenure of office, salary, security and allowances, etc., of the Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commissioners, etc. In spite of much opposition, it was passed. The Act lacks certain freedom, like the freedom to know the expenditure of the government which I hope will be improved in the future.
Manas Kedia (15)
Jeevan Marg Sophia Sec. School, Deoria

The RTI Act provides a practical regime for ensuring people’s right to information which has been upheld by the Supreme Court in several judgements as a fundamental right, flowing from Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution. People have successfully used this law to access information about their basic rights and to expose corruption and abuse of power. Every year, nearly six million applications are being filed by citizens across the country making the RTI Law, the most extensively used transparent legislation in the world. The recent amendments which empower the central government to determine tenure, salaries, allowances and other terms of service of all information commissioners will effectively convert them to proverbial caged parrots.
Nawansha (13)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

According to the Right to Information Act, 2005, every Indian citizen is legally authorized to know the running and functioning of the government. The Act provides the people with the power to know whether their representatives are working for their welfare or not. The amendment in the Right to Information Act provides for the betterment of the citizens.
Samridhi Goyal (16)
St Anthony’s Jr College, Agra

The Right of Information Act has empowered the citizens of India. It is one of the most successful laws of independent India which provides the citizens access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and privacy. It provides the citizens of India, the right to appeal for the information, if any government office refuses to provide any information. It aims at prevention and elimination of corruption, promoting democracy work for people in the real sense. As per my contention, government has taken the right decision to transfer all the powers to the hands of the Central Government as it would be a great contribution to mitigate corruption and increase transparency.
Namita
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

The RTI Act provides many opportunities to gain information about the rules and the works done by the government for the people but the recent amendment says the terms of office of the chief information commissioners and their salary will be decided by the central government. In my opinion the transparency of the RTI act is totally blocked by this and it will deflate its power.
Kanishka (16)
Infant Jesus Matric Hr Sec School, Chennai

Right to Information is indeed a fundamental right of every Indian citizen according to which every person has the right to know about the current affairs and the critical information of important issues and decisions taking place and being discussed in the country. Denying this right is not only a crime but also is equivalent to breaking the fundamental rights given to a person under the Constitution of India.
Senjuti Saibal Bhattacharya (19)
A. C. Patil College of Engineering, Kharghar

Right to Information Act 2005, gives the right to every Indian to enquire or ask anything to a public authority and he/she will have to answer to it, either immediately or within 30 days. This Act was introduced to reduce corruption. I fully support the recent amendments to the Act because it would, no doubt, ensure that the information officer himself is not corrupt, by giving him a specific tenure and salary which would keep him in limits and in the hands of the government. It will lead us to the path of corruption-free India.
Anahit Sandhu (15)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

In the recent order the terms and conditions of service of the CIC and IC at the Centre and in the State had been modified. It deals with the change of the income of CIC and CI. Earlier they were paid on par with the salaries of Chief Election Commissioners and EC respectively. Not only their salaries were changed but their time period was also changed. The bill removes the old provision and their time period will be decided by the state government. The bill shows the transparent functioning of the government, will reduce corruption and increase the faith in government.
Krishna Jain (11)
BJM Carmel Academy, Chandrapur

RTI Act gives citizens the right to access the information in government offices. However, government officials with their feudal attitudes find it difficult to accept the Act. When officials deny giving information which citizens can appeal for, they can approach the Information Commission which is the final appellate authority.
Ridhima Vaid (12)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

The government has circulated the draft bill to Lok Sabha members clearly showing its intention to introduce it in the current session. The right to information is a basic fundamental right of every Indian citizen. It is because every citizen must know under what terms and conditions a citizen is working and being paid. At times, people in the private organized sector fool the workers under the terms of service or salaries for allowances or other terms of conditions. The recent amendment has given the workers the right to know of their conditions of work. Therefore, I genuinely support this amendment act.
Ayush Rajiv Ambatkar (15)
Agragami Convent School, Wardha

The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 proposes that the Central Government will notify the term of office for the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) and State Information Commissioners (SIC), their salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service. There is strong opposition to these proposed changes because the government retains the powers to hire and fire independent information commissioners. It is not an Amendment Bill but an “elimination bill”. This amendment is a deliberate attempt to undermine the RTI Act.
Sargun Kaur (13)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

Under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “Instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
Shreya Tiwari (14)
Jeevan Marg Sophia Sec. School, Deoria

The recent amendments give the central government the power to decide the tenure of Chief Information Commissioners. Also, the salaries would be reduced which were equal to other commissioners earlier. Now, the government can check the flow of information and hide anything regarding their crimes. With tenure and salary in governments’ hands, the officers will not be able to go against them, which further destroys their independence.
Arunima (14)
St Joseph’s Convent School, Jalandhar

Fundamental rights are those rights which are essential for intellectual, moral and spiritual development of individuals. These include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, peaceful assembly, freedom to practise religion of one’s choice, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writs such as Habeas Corpus, etc. A year after the Centre deferred a bill to amend the RTI Act, the government is all set to introduce it in Parliament soon. With the amendments, the government has given itself powers to determine before each appointment how long the information commissioner can be in service, which is very healthy.
Mrudula Satla (13)
Mary Immaculate Girls High School, Kalina, Mumbai