Mayawati reverses move to ban information disclosure

June 7th, 2009 - 11:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 7 (IANS) In the face of protest threats, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Sunday partially reversed her move to deny certain disclosures under the Right to Information Act.
The reversal followed widespread criticism of the June 2 notification, which, among other things, had disallowed disclosing information relating to complaints against ministers or notings and endorsements on secretariat files.

While the notification denied information under 14 heads, nine of them stand removed now.

“There are only five areas about which information would not be made available under the RTI Act. These are - information relating to appointment of governors, ministers and high court judges, code of conduct for ministers and material for monthly demi-official letter to be sent to the president of India on behalf of the governor,” Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told a press conference here.

Asked if the state government had the power to initiate such an action, he said: “The decision was taken well within the framework of the RTI Act which entitles the state government to refuse any information for strategic or security reasons.”

The previous notification had also banned dissemination of information relating nominations for Padma awards, rules of government business, complaints against MPs and appointment of accountant general, besides all other officially ’secret’ tasks.

Both notifications, the previous and the new, are stated to have been issued under the provisions of section 24 (4) of the RTI Act, 2005.

Though the state government had remained tight-lipped about the previous move, a TV channel had reported the matter.

A number of RTI activists as well as state Congress president Rita Bahugun Joshi had threatened to oppose the move. Joshi planned a protest demonstration before Governor T.V. Rajeshwar Monday.

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