The National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have appealed to all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs to not support the proposed amendment of the Right to Information Act 2005. They have dispatched letters signed by state co-ordinators of state election watch teams. The demand is supported by over 1200 organizations which are members of National Election Watch across India. Members of NEW and ADR also be participating in the public action called in by the National Campaign for Peoplés Right to Information on August 6th, 2013.
In their letters, they recalled that according to media reports, DoPT has cleared the proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act 2005. They expressed fear that the government may introduce the Bill in the monsoon session and push for its passage.
On behalf of the citizens of India, they urged them not to support such a bill if introduced in the Parliament. By not supporting this bill, they said that amounts to supporting the citizens of the country, and will become an advocate of transparency and accountability.
According to them, the Right to Information Act has been hailed as landmark legislation since its enactment, and the government that passed this legislation has claimed, and is believed, to be an advocate of transparency. They lamented that bringing political parties under the purview of the RTI Act is merely a step forward in the same direction to ensure accountability by all political platforms to the citizens of India.
They said that the suspicion that this may be detrimental to the internal functioning and strategies of the political parties is completely misplaced. On the contrary, they felt that lack of information about the political parties leads to disconnect between the parties and the common man. Bringing political parties under RTI will help bridge that gap and the common man will be able to engage with the parties. The amendment to the RTI Act, if passed, will add substantially to the already widespread resentment across masses and widen the distrust between citizens and the leaders, they added.
Both ADR and NEW, a non-partisan, non-political, reformist campaign working towards Electoral and Political Reforms, believe that your vote is vital to decide the fate of transparency in Indian governance.