Panaji: The Goa government on Wednesday decided to withdraw and redraft its `controversial` circular on the Right to Information (RTI) after it drew flak from activists over the compulsory clause to produce an additional affidavit on citizenship.
"We have decided to withdraw the circular and redraft it. The circular is being misunderstood," Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here.
The state government had made is mandatory for RTI applicants to swear through an affidavit that he/she is an Indian citizen while moving an application under the Act.
The circular evoked strong criticism from RTI activists, forcing the government to withdraw it.
Parrikar, however, justified the circular and said, "It`s only when he can`t prove his nationality through any of the document he can do it by swearing the affidavit."
"As per RTI Act, only an Indian can ask for the information. We issued this circular when we found that some foreigners were misusing the Act to file petitions against the government in the courts," he added.
The Chief Minister said that he has asked the circular to be sent back to him so that it could be redrafted addressing the apprehensions raised by people.
Earlier in the day, RTI activist Aires Rodrigues had termed the circular as "draconian and dictatorial".
"Goa is the only state where RTI applicants have to now unnecessarily bear extra financial costs of swearing an affidavit on citizenship. This skewed move of the government is contrary to the very intent and objectives of the RTI Act of ensuring that information was easily available to any citizen," Rodrigues had said.