Mayawati draws flak for ‘tampering’ with RTI

June 9th, 2009 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 8 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati continues to draw flak for what was termed as “tampering” with the Right to Information (RTI) Act to systematically deny access to legitimate information relating to various actions of the state government.
While Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi led a delegation to Governor T.V. Rajeshwar for lodging a formal protest on behalf of the party, leading social activist and Magsasay awardee Sandeep Pandey submitted a memorandum to the governor seeking his intervention in the matter.

Joshi told mediapersons here Monday evening: “No state government including that of Mayawati, has any business to alter a single provisions of the RTI Act. What Mayawati has done is not only against the spirit of the law but also absolutely unconstitutional.”

She also sought action against “all those who were responsible for altering the provisions of the RTI Act”.

According to Joshi, “Mayawati did not even care to seek the advice of the governor, who admitted being totally clueless about whatever Mayawati had done over the past few days with respect to the RTI law.”

On June 2, the Mayawati government had issued a notification disallowing access to information on as many as 14 counts under the RTI Act.

However, following the Congress party’s threat to stage a protest against the move, Mayawati backtracked and knocked off nine of the 14 banned issues. However there were still five areas about which the government retained its self-proclaimed entitlement to deny access to information. These included information relating to appointment of governors, ministers and high court judges, code of conduct for ministers and material for the monthly demi-official letter to be sent to the president of India on behalf of the governor.

Both the Uttar Pradesh Congress president as well as Pandey, however, felt that the state government was empowered to make alterations in the Act on matters relating to the security and safety of the state, but maintained that it was amply evident that the five issues on which the Mayawati government was still adamant about denying information access, were not even remotely related to the security or safety of the state.

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