On August 1, 2019, President of India Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to Right to Information (Amendment) Act, 2019. It will amend the Right to Information Act (RTI), 2005.
- Background: The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Mr. Jitendra Singh, on July 19, 2019.
- Changes: Amendments are made in Section 13, Section 16 and Section 27 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
- Term of Information Commissioners: Under the Act, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs) are appointed at the national and state level to implement the provisions of the Act. They will hold office for a term of 5 years. The Bill removes this provision and states that the central government will notify the term of office for the CIC and the ICs.
- Determination of salary: The Act states that the salary of the CIC and ICs (at the central level) will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, respectively. The salary of the CIC and ICs (at the state level) will be equivalent to the salary paid to the Election Commissioners and the Chief Secretary to the state government, respectively. The salaries, allowances, and other terms and conditions of service of the central and state CIC and ICs will be determined by the central government.
- Deductions in salary: The Act states that at the time of the appointment of the CIC and ICs (at the central and state level), if they are receiving a pension or any other retirement benefits for previous government service, their salaries will be reduced by an amount equal to the pension. Previous government service includes service under the central government, state government, corporation established under a central or state law, and government company owned or controlled by the central or state government.
About RTI Act 2005:
Under the provisions of this Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days.