Government has dropped the move to amend the Right to Information Act in the current session of Parliament to keep out of public purview file notings in some areas.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri said that following a decision taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the amendment bill was not likely to be introduced in the current session of Parliament concluding on July 25.
He said there have been considerable apprehensions about the proposed changes and clarifications in the Right to Information Act. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister have received several representations in this regard and it has been decided that the issue should be first discussed with all stakeholders, he said.
In view of this, Pachauri said, the bill to amend the RTI Act was not likely to be introduced during the current session of Parliament as decided by the Prime Minister.
Officials sources said when the previous NDA government brought the Freedom of Information Bill in 2004 all the file notings were exempted from public disclosure. Similar acts in states also exempted file notings.
Recently, the sources said, the centre had said that notings of officials on social and developmental issues would be made public and this would cover 85 per cent of all notings.
However, other notings were kept out of purview of the RTI Act because of the apprehensions voiced by some government institutions and bureaucracy that it would impede decision-making process.
Sources said President APJ Abdul Kalam was also believed to have expressed reservations about making all notings public because officials should be able to record their views frankly.
Re: Govt develops cold feet on amendments to RTI Act
What is the harm in providing file notings under the provisions of RTI Act 2005. If there is any hidden agenda then only one wants to hide something fromthe public domain. If the act is made for the sake of transparancy, then in all fairness, the file notings should also be provided by the different provisons of the Act in its right perspective. Without the file notings the inforamtion is incomplete. Let the public know who has taken decisions on a particular subject matter - whether it is Right or wrong. Let the public after getting the file notings assess the performances at different levels in order to inculcate a sense of accountablilty, which will be a remedial action to set right the wrong done in the past.