Sunday, February 26, 2017

CPI lawyers take on CPM-led government

Indian Express‎ ‎: Kochi: Sunday, February 26, 2017.
The rift between the Communist parties in Kerala has taken a new turn with lawyers’ organisation affiliated to CPI coming out against the decision of the left front government, led by CPM, on providing information under RTI act.
The association submitted before the Kerala High Court that relief sought by the State in a petition against the order of State Information Commission (SIC) is a matter of great public importance. "The State government is indirectly seeking 'secrecy' for the decisions made by the elected representative. This is against the purpose and transparency set out by the Right to Information Act, 2005,” the association pleaded before the HC.
The Indian Association of Lawyers’ Kerala State Committee affiliated to CPI made the submission in an application seeking impleadment in the petition filed by the State government. The government had sought an order instructing that the information under the RTI Act regarding the decisions at the meeting of the Council of Ministers need be provided only by the administrative departments concerned.
The Association informed that it could contribute better to the dispassionate legal discussion which is essential for deciding the petition by the State government. The petition was filed by CB Swaminathan, general secretary of the Association.
In the petition filed by the State, it had challenged the order of the SIC directing the State Public Information Officer in the office of the Chief Secretary to provide information regarding the details of the decisions taken at the Cabinet meetings held from January 1 to March 12 this year sought by an RTI activist.
A debate has been raging between the two leading parties over the purview of RTI Act. CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had demanded that RTI should not be diluted and cabinet decisions be posted on the government web site. This was dismissed by CM Pinarayi Vijayan who asserted there is no need to post all information on the website and the public will come to know about decisions through government orders.