Greed behind protest

How a rationalisation of pay and perks of information commissioners constitutes an attack on the Information Commissions is beyond comprehension. Yes, there is a move to amend the RTI Act, 2005, pertaining to the salaries, allowances and conditions of service of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners at the Centre and the State Chief Information Commissioners. The change would end the parity enjoyed by the above with the judges of the Supreme Court. Sometime earlier, the Modi Government had changed the provision governing the salaries and allowances of the Chairman and members of the UPSC, restoring them to the level of the Secretaries to the Government of India.

The UPSC members were given a bonanza when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, without fully examining the request from a retiring chairman of the UPSC had granted him  his wish. The move to correct the salary structure and the protocol hierarchy for the information commissioners had become absolutely necessary due to the problems created by their parity with the judges of the Supreme Court. Besides, both the Election Commission of India and the apex court are constitutional bodies while the information commission is a statutory body. Even if the right to information is integral to the right to free expression how re-ordering the salaries and allowances of information commissioners erodes their autonomy remains unclear. Greed should not be masked as public interest, no, never.

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