Do not dilute the Right To Information on nuclear safety issues: Chief Information Commissioner’s letter to PM

Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Sailesh Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against diluting the Right to Information (RTI) act to shield nuclear safety regulators from coming under its purview.

In his letter, the CIC has said that the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA)Bill, that was introduced in Parliament by the government in September last year, aims at amending the RTI act in order to exempt safety regulators from accountability. Expressing serious apprehensions about transparency, Mr Gandhi said that nuclear energy is as much about the safety and well-being of the citizens as it is about development.

Towards that ends, the CIC has urged the Prime Minister to prevent amendments to the RTI act which would weaken the fundamental rights of citizens.

The letter comes in the wake of protests over the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Locals as well as activists have expressed fears and concerns over the safety of the plant, drawing a parallel to the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan that was triggered by a tsunami last year. The state government, after an initial objection to the project, gave its go-ahead this month – something that has upset villagers and activists alike. The Centre, as also experts, though have assured that the plant meets international safety standards.

The CIC, citing the effectiveness of the revolutionary RTI act that had “stood the test of time”, has said that a high degree of transparency would go a long way to check any mistakes which may be made.

Here is the letter:


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