CIC says it is too early to amend the RTI Act

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New Delhi, Sep 2 (UNI) The Central Information Commission(CIC) has put off consideration of changes in the Right to Information Act, saying the new law should be given sometime to work.

Ever since the Act came in October 2005, it has been criticised by right to information activists for ''lacking teeth.'' ''The Act having been in force for a little of over two years, it would be premature to recommend amendments to the RTI Act,'' said a sub-committee constituted by CIC for coordinating the suggestions received from the State Information Commissions and to review the suggested amendments in the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The Committee consisted of ten members, of which nine are Chief Information Commissioners of States and one a Central Information Commissioner.

Although the mandate of the sub committee was to coordinate the suggestions received from State Commissions and to review the suggested amendments in the Act, the Committee decided to concentrate on the first objective alone.

The other task of the committee were to identify the major obstacles in flow of information and to outline ways and measures for removing them for facility of the public.

The Committee felt that a fundamental change in attitude was necessary within the bureaucracy to enable it to comply with the Act in letter and in spirit.

''It is the responsibility of the respective Governments to inculcate in the bureaucracy a respect for citizen's right and to give up the cloak of secrecy and opaqueness that its functioning is characterised by,'' the committee said.

It said that for the RTI Act to be an instrument of accountability and transparency, political and administrative support and ownership of reform was critical.

The quality of leadership in supporting necessary reform measures and in enabling effective compliance will, to a large extent, determine the effectiveness of the Act, it said.

Finally, it said that for the efficacy of the Act, the role of Information Commissions must be recognised as critical for the efficacy of the Act.

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