Right to Information
Call Your MPs and let them know what you think about RTI Act amendment

The former Central Information Commissioner spent about six hours on telephone at different times and has spoken with 15 MPs trying to persuade them against voting for the amendment to the RTI Act

I received an email from Suresh Ediga who is an Indian in US in which he mentioned that he is calling up members of Parliament (MPs) from India and trying to persuade them against voting for the amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act. He also wrote that MPs were talking with him.

 

I was first cynical and wondered how to get the phone numbers of MPs and whether any of them would pick up phones and talk.  However, I felt if an Indian can call from US, I should certainly try. I have spent about six hours on the telephone so far at different times and I have spoken with 15 MPs. What was my experience?

 

For starters, most telephones can be obtained from SarkariTel Lok Sabha  

  and for Rajya Sabha These numbers work and many MPs do pick up the calls themselves.

 

I have been able to speak with 15 MPs so far and have got varying responses, which are listed below.

 

No

Name

Telephone

Party

Response

1

Roy Saugata

09********0

Trinamool Congress

Party will oppose amendment to RTI Act.

2

Roy Nripendra Nath

09********4

Forward

Block

Parliament will decide. Not feasible to

Consult and discuss with citizens.

3

Rathwa Ramsingh

09********0

BJP

Did not argue but heard my plea  [email protected]

4

Rana Rajendrasingh

09********9

BJP

[email protected]

Agreed that amendments are not justified and promised to persuade his colleagues not to agree to the amendments.

5

Rai Premdas

09********8

Sikkim Democratic Front

Spoke with me but said he had not made up his mind. Would consider my arguments. Emailed: [email protected]

6

Radadiya Viththakbhai

09********0

BJP

Heard me and said he would discuss in the party. Did not appear to be conversant with RTI amendment issue.

7

Abdul Rahman

09********5; 09********0

DMK

He agrees that amending RTI is not right and says he will argue for this

[email protected]

8

Adhikari Suvendu

09********3

Trinamool Congress

Said his party will oppose any amendments [email protected]

9

Agrawal Rajendra

09********6

BJP

[email protected]

Agreed with me that RTI should not be amended and said he would present this view

10

Ahir Hansraj

09********9

BJP

Agreed with me and said he would put this view across in the party’s meeting on Tuesday.

11

Adityanath Yogi

09********1

BJP

[email protected]

Agrees that amending RTI Act not right. Will raise this in the party meet.

.

12

Shashi Bhushan Behera

09********8

BJD

Agrees that amendment may not be right, and definitely agrees that even if an amendment is desirable, it should be done after public discussion.

13

HK Dua

09********6

Nominated

Says he feels Information Commissioners selection leads to improper Commissioners being selected. He feels relatively the Election Commissioners are better and hence is unwilling to give powers to the Information Commissioners over political parties.

14

Anu Aga

 

Nominated

Has issued a statement opposing amendment to the RTI Act.

"I agree with the appeal of ADR-NEW. Amending the RTI act to exclude the political parties from the Act is not the right step. If political parties feel strongly about not coming under RTI, the right step for them will be to move court. The amendment to the RTI Act, if passed, will add substantially to the already widespread resentment across masses and widen the distrust between citizens and the leaders."

15

Vandana Chavan

0112******0

NCP

Said she agreed with my position that RTI Act should not be amended, but felt there may be reasons, and would discuss this with her party colleagues. She agreed that any proposed amendment should be discussed with Citizens and not rushed through.

 

 

I think this is s technique worth adopting to lobby with our MPs on issues, which are important to us. I would suggest that we use this to converse with our MPs.

 

Please be polite and avoid calling them up at odd times. Give your viewpoint and see if the MP will give his views, but do not insist that he must give an opinion or view.

 

Take it more as an opportunity of putting your views across.

 

If we work on this we may be able persuade a few more MPs to change their positions and this would be a big step for democracy. Citizens must use this with maturity.

 

I admit that when calling, I did disclose that I am a retired Central Information Commissioner.

 

(Shailesh Gandhi served as Central Information Commissioner under the RTI Act, 2005, during 18 September 2008 to 6 July 2012. He is a graduate in Civil Engineering from IIT-Bombay. Before becoming a full time RTI activist in 2003, he sold his packaging business. In 2008, he was conferred the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Award for civil liberties.)

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COMMENTS

S BHASKARA NARAYANA

3 years ago

Nominated MP,(Mr./Mrs.)Anu Aga expressed excellent views, with which I too concur.

hasmukh

3 years ago

If MPs want RTI amendment, they must first participate in a discussion with activists like Shri Shailesh Gandhi etc. By simply voting in favour of amendment without participating in such discussion will mean cowardly act.

S K Gupta

3 years ago

Political Parties nominates the bad and the worse... we have to elect between the 2.... wow! what a choice! Election with no choice or option.... is it possbile that we vote for one and reject/bar one for a least 5 years just to clean the system a bit

Shadi Katyal

3 years ago

The idea of calling our MP is great but what makes you think that any MP of India cares for the voters.
One forgets that we don't choose our MP and some of them donot live in the constituency and will like to hear how many of voters have ever met any MP without paying.
We need our Constitution to be amended where the people have the right to select and elect their MP and not nominated by party.

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