- September 7, 2011
- Press Release
The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) strongly condemns the anti-transparency provisions proposed in the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill (BRAI) 2011 and the attempt to override provisions of the Right to Information Act by empowering the proposed authority as the final decision maker in matters of release of information. The Bill is in violation of the provisions and spirit of the Right to Information Act.
The provisions laid out in section 2, section 28, section 70, Section 77 undermine the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression , and the right to life, by violating provisions and protection of the RTI Act. and also by preventing civil courts to have jurisdiction on any matter under the Act.
The BRAI Bill is also a regrettable attempt to curtail spaces for people’s participation and democratic oversight in decisions that could affect the lives of the entire population of our country.
The BRAI bill in its present form seems to be an effort to sweep aside public concerns and public participation on an issue as important as our food and farming.
The NCPRI is of the opinion that if the draft bill is introduced in Parliament in its present form, it will be a highly retrograde step on behalf of the government that has been repeatedly appreciated for bringing about progressive transparency legislation, the Right to Information Act 2005.
The fact that this Bill has been listed for introduction in Parliament with no discussion of its contents in the public domain is an indication of the intent to push this bill through without discussion and debate.
NCPRI urges the Union government not to table this bill until it is publicly discussed and debated in light of the public concerns on GM crops, serious violations of constitutional rights, the breach of constitutional guarantees and arbitrary exercise of power and authority that this bill seeks to provide the government and the regulatory authority.
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Trilochan Shastry, Venkatesh Nayak, Ramakrishna Raju, Angela Rangad (For the NCPRI)