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SC reprimands Centre for not submitting reply in plea in opposition to 2019 RTI amendments

The Apex Court admonished Union of India as it failed to file its response to a plea filed for challenging the 2019 RTI Amendments and the Rules formulated therein.

The respective writ petition was filed by ex-Union Minister and Congress MP Jairam Ramesh in order to challenge the 2019 amendments issued under Right to Information Act.

The amendments in the act are inclusive of changing the term of Information Commissioners, and make their pay and service conditions w.r.t. to the executive rules to be formulated by the government.

These amendments have been challenged on the ground that there is no rational nexus between the proposed amendments and the object of the Act.

The counsel also contended that the amendment violated the golden triangle of Indian Constitution i.e. Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21.

The counsel also alleged that the absolute power has been extended to the Central Government to prescribe the salaries, allowances and terms and conditions of the central as well as state information commissioners.

The Supreme Court had issued the notice to Centre in January, 2020 and till date Centre did not file its reply.

The bench enquired the counsel appearing on behalf of Centre as to why the response had not been filed.

The bench stated that this matter, being of utmost importance, should not be taken lightly as the invalid part of the act has been challenged.

Upon Centre’s request, the court gave two weeks’ time to file a reply as one year has elapsed since the notice has been issued.

The bench also directed that on next hearing, the matter would be listed for final disposal.

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