TMC MP Derek O'Brien on Thursday alleged that a BJP MP manipulated ballot papers during voting on the RTI amendment bill in Rajya Sabha. "BJP MP caught red handed trying to manipulate; had multiple ballot papers with him. He was influencing MPs distributing & collecting ballot papers #Shame Appeal to @rajyasabhatv to share video footage recorded on multi cameras," he tweeted.
O'Brien, however, refrained from naming the erring parliamentarian. "In the larger interest of democracy, @rajyasabhatv should air all footage of what transpired in the House today while voting to send the RTI Bill to a #Parliament committee. RTI Right to Information became RTI Right to Intimidation. Did the same tactics get BJP 303 seats!," he said.
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and other opposition parties had wanted the bill to be sent to a select committee. The parliament on Thursday approved the amendment to the RTI Act which gives the government powers to decide salary and service terms of the statutory body's head andmembers, with the Rajya Sabha passing it by a voice vote. The Upper House witnessed high drama when it negated a motion for sending the bill to a house panel.
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, takes away the stature of information commissioners from equivalent of election commissioners, with their salaries and service conditions to be specified by the government.
The main Opposition Congress said that it was not an amendment bill but elimination of the RTI Act and demanded that the bill be sent to a Select Committee for further scrutiny.
However, the demand was rejected and the Congress staged walkout from the House in protest against the bill. Rajya Sabha rejected the motion to refer RTI Amendment Bill to Select Committee by 117 vote against 75 in favour of motion.