Monday, April 22, 2024

Save democracy & RTI, Prime Minister Modi requested by Sridhar Acharyulu and 13 others

Fourteen concerned persons requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to allow  the Right to Information Act to be killed. The concerned person who signed the petition are: Anjali Bhardwaj, Anjali Damania, Amrita Johri, Aruna Roy, DebashisBasu, Manoj Harit, Nikhil Dey, Sanjay Jha, Sambhaji Sarkunde, Shailesh Gandhi, Sridhar Acharyulu, SuchetaDalal, Sunil Ahya, Yashovardhan Azad.

They said that the RTI Act is one of the most empowering legislations for the citizens of India. It has been of great help to every segment of society from the most disempowered to the powerful to obtain relevant information and protect their rights. It has adequate  built-in safeguards under Section 8 (1) (j) to protect individual privacy, the ten exemptions of Section 8(1) have served the nation well.  

They stated that the proposal to amend section 8 (1)(j) at Section 30 (2) of the Digital Personal Data Protection bill 2022 (DPDP) will convert RTI into a Right to Denial of Information since most information can be linked to a person. This would allow officers to hide most information from the common woman and protect corruption.

There is almost no instance where release of information under RTI has caused any significant loss to any national or personal interest which deserves to be protected.  We appeal to you to use your good offices to stop the proposed amendments to the RTI ACT as well as indirect attempts to destroy it via the DPDP bill. The RTI Act is a fundamental right and empowers citizens to curb corruption and wrongdoing.

They requested the PM to ensure that the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 does not override RTI Act in 29(2), as the RTI Act has sufficient safeguards.

They demanded not to amend the RTI Act, and Section 30 (2) should be deleted, because the Act is used by every Indian, it is important that all the people are able to understand the changes and their implications. 

Hence, we appeal to the PM to ensure that there is a proper public consultation process throughout the country. The proposed DPDP Bill after the two changes suggested above should be made available in all regional languages and proper public consultations done, before parliamentary approval. 

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.


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