Someone at DoPT screwed up… and how! Yesterday, while emailing an invitation to Activist Bimal Khemani of Aligad, UP, an official unwittingly attached an entire word file containing many other letters pertaining to RTI. A couple of these letters reveal the intent of the meeting being convened on 31st March.
A draft of a letter from DoPT Secretary Shantanu Consul addressed to PM’s Principal Secretary T K A Nair states, “The proposal for making some essential amendments in the Act are still under consideration and as per the Minister’s directions the Department will hold consultation with the civil society to allay apprehensions they may harbour that amendments would tinker with the efficacy of the RTI Act.” (Blue highlight in the first, second and last letter.)
Nested between the three differently dated drafts of this revealing letter was the draft of invitation (yellow highlight) for the meeting being held at Civil Services Officers Institute, New Delhi on 31st March. The invitees are prominent NGOs all over the country (Green highlight at bottom of invitation letters.)
And as if the above confession were not sufficient, another letter from Shantanu Consul to Nair candidly states, “there are some amendments which need to be carried out in the Act to remove ambiguities in its effective implementation. Rules also need to be framed to smoothen the procedures to ensure easier access to information. Proposals in the above regard are already with the Prime Minister’s Office.” (Blue highlight in this letter)
Fellow Activists, now that we have been forewarned of why such meetings are being held, let us respond forcefully, and speak out in one voice: DON’T AMEND, IMPLEMENT! Please print one of the below drafts and send them to DoPT, PMO and Sonia Gandhi.
These demands have been drafted after consultation with many activists around the country, so we hope that you will not find them lacking in any way.
PS: Tomorrow, we shall post other leaked-out letters from the same batch.