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dr.s.malhotra posted a topic in RTI in MediaRTI ‘transgressing into govt functioning’, Moily wants a debate D K Singh Posted: Sun Sep 25 2011, 01:19 hrs New Delhi: can be seen here : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rti-transgressing-into-govt-functioning-moily-wants-a-debate/851360/0 Denying any rift between Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily today called for a “national debate” on the scope of the Right to Information Act (RTI), saying it “transgresses into the independent functioning of the government”. This came in the context of Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy citing a Finance Ministry note that has brought the spotlight on Chidambaram’s role in the 2G spectrum allocation, which was obtained through RTI. “We call it argumentative India. Every person or ministry has the right to express views but you cannot interpret it as differences between Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram. In the context of RTI exposures, people are misreading things. Transparency, yes, but it cannot scuttle the independence of individuals and ministries expressing difference of opinion. It’s time for a national debate on this issue,” Veerappa Moily told The Sunday Express. As for the Finance Ministry’s purported letter regarding the role of Chidambaram, the Corporate Affairs Minister said it could not be construed as infighting in the government. The note sent to the PMO says that had the Finance Ministry, then under Chidambaram, stuck to the auction option, the grant of licences could have been cancelled. It adds that the note “had been seen by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee”. “Just because there is exchange of views on administrative matters, one cannot call it infighting. In a democratic process that our Cabinet system follows, there is free exchange of views to arrive at a correct decision. Even at the Prime Minister’s level, we express our differences. How can democracy function otherwise? But RTI obtain some extracts of such exchange of views and attribute motives to them. If this continues, no officer or minister will discuss anything. Even the judiciary should appreciate it. Time has come to re-visit the issue of (making public) file notes and discussions,” said Moily. The Corporate Affairs Minister, however, refused to discuss specific changes in the RTI Act, preferring a national debate first. Moily had earlier backed Chidambaram, slamming opposition parties for demanding his resignation. While the Congress has been quick to back Chidambaram, party president Sonia Gandhi has refrained from making any intervention so far. Sources said she has not spoken to either Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Mukherjee or Chidambaram. “Let’s see how the court treats this matter,” said a senior Congress leader, maintaining that the party was not inclined to interfere in issues concerning governance. Congress sources, however, said many senior leaders have raised the issue of a “rift” in the top echelons of the government with her. “She had made some interventions in the past but that apparently did not last long. We are sure she will have a serious talk with the Prime Minister upon his return,” said a senior party functionary.