UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday accused the Narendra Modi-led government of trying to “subvert” the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, saying that the law now “stands on the brink of extinction”.

She further said the government sees the RTI Act as a “nuisance” and “wants to destroy the independence” of the Chief Information Commission.

Her strong remarks come a day after the Lok Sabha passed the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019, three days after it was introduced on Friday.

In a statement, she said, “It is a matter of utmost concern that the Central Government is hell-bent on completely subverting the historic Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005”.

She said that over 60 lakh Indians have used RTI for over the past decade and have helped usher in a new culture of transparency and accountability administration at all levels, as a result of which, the foundations of the democracy have been strengthened.

She further said the law has greatly benefitted the weaker sections of the society.

“It is clear that the present Central government sees the RTI Act as a nuisance and wants to destroy the status and independence of the Central Information Commission which was put on par with the Central Election Commission and the Central Vigilance Commission,” Gandhi further said.

The RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to make changes to the landmark transparency law and later the salary and tenure structures of Information Commissioners (ICs) in the states and at the Centre. It now needs clearance from the Rajya Sabha.

She concluded that the government may use its legislative majority to achieve its aims, but in the process, it would disempower each and every citizen of the country.