Indian Express: Pune: Friday, April 14, 2017.
The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has called for suggestions and objections on its website for a series of changes in the rules of the RTI Act.
Closure of pending cases after the death of the applicant, increase in the fee to access photocopies of documents and fixing the word limit of applications to 500 words are some of the proposed changes, which the DoPT says are to make the RTI Act ‘more efficient’.
Opposing the proposed moves, Hazare in his letter said these changes would burden the RTI applicants instead of making the Act stronger.
“The proposal to close RTI cases after the death of the user is particularly dangerous. With cases of attacks on RTI activists on the rise, this can lead to many other attacks,” Hazare said.
He added that the word limit would adversely affect the rural masses and the barely-literate, who would then find it difficult to file applications. Criticising the proposed fee hike, the activist said this would limit the financially weak section’s access to information.
In his letter, Hazare also pointed out the various agitations the country had seen for the promulgation of the RTI Act, and said any move to weaken the Act would face stiff opposition. The central government had in 2006, Hazare said, tried to change the Act, but dropped its plans in face of strong citizen protest. “If the government goes ahead with its plan, I will hit the streets to agitate against it,” the letter said.