Cabinet approves Right to Information Ordinance
Thursday, 19 June 2008

Bdnews24.com

The cabinet has provisionally approved the Right to Information Ordinance 2008, a government spokesman said Wednesday.

"The ordinance has been sent to the law ministry for vetting," the chief adviser's press secretary Syed Fahim Munaim told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet in the CA's office.

Munaim said the ordinance was meant to ensure people's right to information and to increase accountability of government institutions, curb corruption and establish good governance.

"Advisers suggested some changes in sections of the proposed ordinance," he said.

The ordinance proposes formation of a three-member Information Commission. "One of the members was proposed to be a woman," he said.

A search committee to be headed by an Appellate Division judge will select members for the president to appoint them to the commission.

Anybody involved in politics will be ineligible for holding the post of information commissioner, according to the proposed ordinance.

Poor people living in rural areas would have an option to apply for information at no cost. Organisations refusing to give information without any "logical reason" will be fined, a section of the ordinance says.

The government had collected feedback from 1,000 people on the ordinance.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry demanded that industrialists be kept outside the ordinance.

The rural poor will get information for free on 10 matters including healthcare, TR, VGF, fertiliser, agriculture and loan.

The government had earlier formed an eight-member committee headed by the information ministry's joint secretary Kamal Uddin Ahmed to draft the law.

The committee analysed the right to information laws of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in addition to the drafts made by the Law Commission and Manusher Jonno Foundation, a local NGO.

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