The lower house of the parliament amid massive uproar by the opposition changed the RTI Amendment Bill with 218 ‘yes’ and 79 ‘no’ votes, the bill among many other things the Act brings changes involving tenures and salaries of Information Commissioners at state and central level.
The object of the amendment is stated to “the mandate of Election Commission of India and Central and State Information Commissions are different. Hence, their status and service conditions need to be rationalised accordingly”
The Bill amends Sections 13 and 16 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Under section 13 the ICs which previously had a fixed tenure of 5 years (or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier) will now have “terms as may be prescribed by the central government”.
Whereas under Section 16 remuneration and other terms of service of ICs as fixed by the central government instead of the earlier position where it was on par with that of Election Commission officials (Chief Secretary to the State Government) and for the State Chief Information Commissioner to be at par with the Election Commissioner. Although the above are the most highlighted changes another change which has been unnoticed is that the provision regarding deduction for those receiving previous pension for government services from the salaries of new appointees has been done away with. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 22nd July 2019 and will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha where its fate remains in question.