Press Trust of india

Activists urge Prez to withhold assent to RTI bill; detained by police

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New Delhi, Aug 1:  The Delhi Police on Thursday detained a group of activists who marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan here with a plea urging the president to not give his assent to the RTI Amendment bill passed by Parliament last week.

The group of activists from National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) had gathered outside gate number 38 of Rashtrapati Bhavan to give their representation to President Ram Nath Kovind.

The activists were ushered into a waiting bus and taken to Mandir Marg Police Station.

“The police is detaining everyone who wants to petition the president to withhold his assent to the amendments to Right To Information. Don’t we have the right to peacefully submit a petition to the president of our country? Is this democracy?” Anjali Bhardwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan said.

She also slammed the NDA government at the Centre for “undermining the independence of information commissions”.

“The recent amendments introduced to the RTI Act, are a testimony to the NDA government’s determination to undermine independent bodies and fundamentally weaken any system or structure that can uncover the truth,” Bhardwaj said.

“The amendments introduced by brute legislative force are regressive and are aimed squarely at undermining the independence of information commissions, thereby diluting India’s strongest and most widely used framework for transparency,” she added.

Bhardwaj, the leading member of NCPRI, also announced the launch of ‘Use RTI to Save RTI’ campaign encouraging people to ask the government questions on a range of issues including social security, defence procurement, land acquisitions, ration, MGNREGA, functioning of hospitals, deployment of teachers, among others.

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