The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to explain within two weeks as to why five subjects have been removed from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The five subjects are the appointment of governor, high court judges, ministers, code of conduct for ministers and letters written by the governor to the president.
The court issued the notice to the state government while hearing a petition from the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) by Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey and noted RTI crusader Naveen Tiwari.
"We beg to differ with the decision of the state government to still keep out five subjects from the purview of the RTI Act. The RTI Act, passed by parliament of this country in 2005, empowers the citizen of this country information on all matters except those covered under Section 8 of the act," said Pandey, national convener of NAPM.
"It is against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act to exclude information related to appointment of governor, high court judges, ministers, code of conduct for ministers and letters written by the governor to the president from its purview. Section 24(4) of the act doesn't apply as these matters are not related to intelligence or security organisations of the state," said Tiwari.
The state government had issued the notification on June 7, 2009, stating that the five subjects will not come under the purview of the RTI Act, 2005. In an earlier order of civil aviation department on March 25, 2008, two units of civil aviation department were also removed from the purview of RTI Act, 2005.
NAPM requested the state government to retract any attempt to tamper with the RTI Act and restore the original scope of the act.