“RTI Elimination Bill” passed in Rajya Sabha despite protest by opposition

The Right to Information (RTI) bill was passed with changes in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday despite the opposition’s objections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly spoke with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requesting for support of his party, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

The Congress party wanted the bill to be scrutinized by the select committee, however it was negated by 117 members and 75 voting in favour.  Following the voting, the Congress staged a walkout of the Rajya Sabha.

The bill was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Parties that are non-aligned with either the BJP or the Congress, BJD, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress supported the bill.

In some reports, Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister and BJP president telephoned the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao urging TRS to change its stand.

The Congress have strongly objected to the changes in the RTI law.

The RTI changes will allow the government to decide the tenure, salary, allowances and other terms of service of the Information Commissioner’s at the centre and states.

Parties opposing the bill say that the government was taking away any independence of the RTI officials. They argue that even honest officials will stop disclosing sensitive information if their job and salaries are at stake.