Right to Information activists on Wednesday said that hundreds of records of their previous applications have disappeared from an online government portal, The Hindu reported.
The records are said to have disappeared from the RTI Online portal, through which citizens can file applications to access information from the Union government. Applications can be filed on the portal to seek information on Central ministries, departments, subsidiary institutions, regulators, the country’s foreign missions and governments of certain Union Territories.
The portal was launched in 2013 and is run by the National Informatics Centre.
An RTI activist from Madhya Pradesh, Chandra Shekhar Gaur, said there was a mismatch running into several hundreds in his RTI Online account.
Digital rights activist Srinivas Kodali also confirmed that the records had disappeared, reported The Wire.
“The RTI Online portal was being turned unusable by the government for the past few months with them stopping new registrations and even warning of deleting accounts that are not being used,” he said. “Now, all the RTIs filed prior to 2019 have been deleted from the server.”
Kodali in a tweet wrote that the move is almost similar to “deleting archival history of governance” in India.
Since its launch in 2013, the RTI Online portal has processed more than 58.3 lakh applications, according to The Hindu. In 2022, over 12.6 lakh applications were filed on the portal.
Modi government is killing RTI Act , says Congress
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of “killing” the Right to Information Act “bit by bit” and added that it is part of a conspiracy to end democracy in the country.
He said that the disappearance of a large number of applications from the RTI website was only a “surface level” incident and that the internal damage is much deeper.
“The proposed amendment of the RTI Act under the guise of the Data Protection Act is a cowardly attack on the Right to Information by an authoritarian government,” the Congress chief added.
Kharge was referring to the accusation that the recently passed Data protection law undermines the Right to Information Act, since all personal information can now be denied under it.