A bill which seeks to take away the stature of information commissioners from equivalent of election commissioners and give the Centre the power to set their salaries and service conditions was introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday amid protests by opposition parties.
Introducing the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said no one can question the Modi government on its commitment to transparency. He asserted that the government works on the principle of maximum governance minimum government.
The bill, he said, aims at institutionalisation, streamlining and ease of delivery of RTI Act. He said it strengthens the overall RTI structure and described it as an enabling legislation for administration purposes.
In the present form Section 13 (5) of the Right to Information Act provides that salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of the service of the Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner while that of an Information Commissioner shall be same as that of an Election Commissioner.
The amendment states that the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners have salaries of a Supreme Court Judge which brings Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners on a par with apex court judges.