A committee led by the Chief Secretary of Nepal, Shanker Das Bairagi, decided to classify 87 types of information should be kept secret for up to three decades.
According to the classification decision, information about tax evasion, public procurement, meetings of dignitaries, law-making process and any documents submitted to the Nepal government for decision, among others should be kept secret for 30 years.
After the decision, several stakeholders including the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and Freedom Forum have criticized the government’s move.
The organizations, pitching people’s Right to Information, have demanded immediate scrapping of the classification of information.
Issuing a press release on Sunday, Freedom Forum stated that the decision to keep policy-level information secret refutes the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the citizens, and the rights provided by the RTI Act, 2007.
The statement also noted that the classification was against the precedents set by the Supreme Court as the Court had earlier scrapped such decisions in regard to information classification during Dr Baburam Bhattarai’s tenure as Prime Minister.
“The classification of policy information is unconstitutional and undemocratic which is also a serious blow to the RTI movement and transparency movements ongoing in the country,” stated the press release.
A meeting has been called by PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal today to discuss the issue after the decision attracted nationwide criticism.