The Government has introduced a Bill to amend the Right to Information Act,2005 in the Lok Sabha.The amendment bill proposes two fundamental changes.
First,it proposes to change the tenure of the Central Information Commissioner(CIC) and Information Commissioner(IC) at the centre and state levels from five years or until the age of 65 years at present to for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Second,it proposes to change the salaries and allowances of CIC and IC as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
The RTI Act,2005 provided that at the central level,the salaries and allowances of the CIC and IC would be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) and Election Commissioner(EC) respectively.
The Government has said that the amendment was needed as the functions being carried out by the Election Commission of India and the Central Information Commissions are totally different.
Election Commission is a constitutional body established under Article 324 of the Constitution of India.But the Central and State Information Commissions are statutory bodies established under the RTI Act of 2005.
Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.The basic objective of the Right to Information Act is to (a)empower the citizens (b)promote transparency, accountability in the Government (c)contain corruption and (d)make our democracy work for the people in real sense.
The CIC is an 11 member commission set up under the Right to Information Act,2005 as a quasi judicial body.It is the highest appeal body available to applicants seeking information under the RTI Act.