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Central Government reduces the term of Information Commissioners from 5 to 3 years - (24 Oct 2019)

Right to Information

The Central Government in a recent move has reduced the tenure of Information Commissioners as 3 years in Central Information Commission as well as in State Information Commissions. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), has notified RTI Act rules for fixing tenure, salaries and service conditions of information commissioners. By virtue of said Notification, tenure of Central and State Information Commissioners has now been reduced from five to three years.

The move has raised eye brows of RTI Activists who are closely monitoring the Notification and are having apprehensions of serious concern of diluting the object of Right to Information Act, 2005 in public interest. Infact, as per the latest Notification, Government is given power to relax the provisions of the Rules and the activists are looking at it as a tool for government to mould the structure of Information commission as per its convenience.

As per the Right to Information (Term of Office, Salaries, Allowances and Other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission, State Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioners in the State Information Commission) Rules, 2019, apart from tenure being reduced to 3 years from 5 years, the salary of chief information commissioner has been fixed at Rs. 2.50 lacs and salary of state information commissioners has been fixed at Rs. 2.25 lacs.

It is to be noted that, in the monsoon session of this year, the Government had tabled the bill for seeking amendment in RTI Act, 2005 to which the Parliament approved an amendment in the RTI Act, 2005 that gave the Government absolute powers to decide salary and service terms of the statutory body head and its members. The bill was initially tabled in Lok Sabha in this year’s monsoon’s session and was passed and thereafter it was placed before the Rajya Sabha and same was also passed.

Among the new Rules, the Government had been given the “power to relax” the provisions of the rules, raising serious concerns that the government could potentially invoke these powers to determine different tenures for different commissioners at the time of appointment. The RTI Act, 2005 is one of the most important tool in the hands of citizens to seek information from the Government and this Act bring transparency in the working of the various limbs of government and same maintains balance between the government and the citizens.


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