“Where is the life: we have lost in living Where is the wisdom, we have lost in knowledge Where is the knowledge, we have lost in information. - T S Eliot Where is the information, we have lost in suppression. -V.R. Krishna Iyer
The veil of secrecy that has traditionally shrouded activities of government is being progressively lifted and this has had a salutary effect on the functioning of governments in free societies. As a major step in India’s march to becoming, not only the world’s largest, but also the world’s most intense democracy. The Right to Information act has indeed, in one stroke, brought, till recently the unforeseeable, reality, the right of every citizen of India to access information held by or under the control of not only the executive but also of the judiciary and the legislature, from the office of the president of India to that of the humblest village council. 1 As would be expected, this step has elicited much debate and discussion across India’s civil society both in town and country side. More recently, based on the experience of the last few years, much has also begun to be written on the subject. “Earlier thought the preserve of only the most developed countries among the world’s democracies, the right to information is now looked upon as a necessary component of any democracy. To make such democracy real even in those countries which are still categorized as ‘developing’, the Right to Information is increasingly considered an inseparable part of any public participation in the process of governance and hence of development”. - Wajahat Habibullah Former Chief Information commissioner India.
Mac Bride rightly argues:
“If individuals are to play their part as responsible citizen in the community at the local, national and even international level, they must be adequately informed, possessing sufficient facts on which to base rational judgement and select courses of action.2”
Towards RTI in India-
From Jan Sunwai To Jaanne Ka Hak
The real movement for right to information originated from the grass-roots level. The origins of the RTI movement lie in Devdungri, Rajasthan. In 1987 four Human right activist- Nikhil Dev, Anchi, Shanker Singh and Aruna Roy settled in Devdungri. They lived with the same facilities as those available to the ordinary small farmers in the surrounding countryside.3 In fact they were leading a Gandhian Life in rural areas for achieving the gandhian goal of Gram Swarajya through the Right to Information. Devdungri soon became a meeting point for people who were concerned about social discrepancies and did not know how to confront the local elite and the officials. When their grasp in the region improved, the Mazdoor Kishan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) – or the Workers and Peasants Empowerment Organisation – was founded in 1990.4 MKSS pioneered an agitation for people’s right to information. It has evolved a programme called ‘Jan sunwai’ i.e., Public hearing, wherein public demand accountability from the government officials and the legislators. The MKSS was engaged in a struggle for minimum wages on government work sites. After years of Knocking at officials door and despite the usual apathy of the state government, MKSS succeeded in getting photocopies of certain relevant documents.5 On 5th April 1996, the MKSS organized a Dharna in the town of Beawar in Ajmer to stress the demand for the right to free access to information.6 The state government set up a commission, which, within three months, had to look into the benefits and risks relating to free access to documents of the local administration. Although the Committee submitted its report on 30th August 1996, it...
2010, April 27
Right To InformationAct 2009
M S Siddiqui
A citizen of a free and democratic country has the right to have access to information and know everything happening around him. It is a fundamental right of every citizen as enshrined in the UN resolution in its very first session in 1946, stating that 'Freedom of information is a fundamental humanright.'
It is interesting to note that the right to information laws existed about 200 years before the UN resolution was adopted. Sweden passed its Freedom of the Press Act in 1766.
Access to information is a basic democratic right. The access to information or freedom of expression is the precondition to fulfillment of all other rights in a democratic society.
The developing countries are lagging behind in this respect. There is pressure from media and civil society groups, both domestic and international, for greater access to government information. International bodies, donors such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund etc. are promoting such laws in developing countries and have drafted guidelines or model legislation to promote freedom of information. This is an effort on their part to increase government transparency and reduce...
...Common people got their right to raise question. It gives the power to throw question to the government directly
and the concerned authority has to reply back within 30 days with proper explanation. It gives every citizen a fundamental
right to seek information from any government department.
The Law is applicable to all constitutional authorities, including the executive, legislature and judiciary; any
institution or body established or constituted by an act of Parliament or a state legislature.
RTI Act not only covers the executives rather the judiciary and legislature are also under its strict regulations.
There is no gap in the process of formatting a corruption free and transparent government. It defines the term “public
authority” as the government is answerable to the supreme authority of common people.
The RTI Act specifies that citizens have a right to: request any information; take copies of documents; inspect
documents, works and records; take certified samples of materials of work; and obtain information in the form of
printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode.
Common people got their right to raise question. It gives the power to throw question to the government directly
and the concerned authority has to reply back within 30 days with...
...About Right to Information
1) This Act may be called the Right to InformationAct, 2005.
2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
3) The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 4, sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 5, sections
12, 13, 15,16, 24, 27 and 28 shall come into force at once, and the remaining provisions of this Act shall come into force on the one hundred and twentieth day of its enactment.
When does it come into force?
It comes into force on the 12th October, 2005 (120th day of its enactment on 15th June, 2005). Some provisions have come into force with immediate effect viz. obligations of public authorities [S.4(1)], designation of Public Information Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers[S.5(1) and 5(2)], constitution of Central Information Commission (S.12 and 13), constitution of State Information Commission (S.15 and 16), non-applicability of the Act to Intelligence and Security Organizations (S.24) and power to make rules to carry out the provisions of the Act (S.27 and 28).
Who is covered?
The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. [S.(12)]
What does information mean?
Information means any material in any form...
... Freedom of InformationAct 2002 4
Chapter 2 6
THE RTI ACT 6
Object of the Right to InformationAct 7
RTI & THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY 7
Chapter 3 8
REACHING THE MASSES 8
Chapter 4 11
What is the Right to Information? 11
Chapter 5 13
Whom does the Act apply to? 13
Are private bodies covered? 14
Are non-Government organizations covered? 14
What is Information? 14
What is a Record? 15
Chapter 6 16
What is a Public Authority 16
Public Information Officer 16
Assistant Public Information Officer 16
Chapter 7 17
Why is the Right to InformationAct important for me? 17
Chapter 8 18
What are the salient features of the Act? 18
Chapter 9 20
What are the benefits of the Act? 20
Chapter 10 21
HOW TO APPLY 21
Application Fee 21
Additional Fee 21
What information is exempted from disclosure by public authorities? 22
Chapter 11 25
Disclosure of Third Party Information 25
Chapter 12 27
Suo Motu Disclosure 27
Protection for Work Done in Good Faith 27
Chapter 13 28
How can I apply for Information from a Public Authority? 28
Chapter 14 29
How much time does the authority have to reply? 29
Chapter 15 30
Privacy Act versus Right to InformationAct
M S Siddiqui
Democracy is a pre-condition for good governance and effective democratic institutions are essential for democratising the society, ensure human rights and free flow of information. Democracy cannot flourish in the absence of good governance. The economic development is also linked to democracy. Democracy works properly with transparency and accountability. The free flow of information has a precondition to protect state security, personal and private secrecy for safety and peaceful private life.
GDP of Bangladesh has been growing at about six per cent for last two decades and second generation citizens are living in the cities. They are economically secured and the lifestyles changing steadily in slow pace and citizens now prefer individualism. They are trying to have private life with out interference of relatives and neighbors.
On the other hand, privacy is a fundamental human right. It underpins human dignity and other values such as freedom of association. It has become one of the most important human rights of the modern age. It is protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights treaties. Nearly...
...processes, brought into force the Right to InformationAct on October 12th, 2005. As per the Parliament of India, the purpose of the RTI Act is ‘to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens’[i]. The Act applies to all the states and union territories of India, except Jammu and Kashmir. The Act is applicable to all constitutional authorities – any institution or body constituted by an act of Parliament or state legislature – including the executive, judiciary and the legislature. This act empowered the citizens of India to seek information from public authorities. In particular, the RTI act was expected to have a huge impact on the quality of the life of the poor and other backward sections of the community.
Over the last five years, several incidents have highlighted that the RTI act has enough ‘teeth’ in it to bring radical increase in transparency and reduction in corruption. At the same time, it has to be accepted that the act has not reached the envisioned level. However, the institutional mechanism for the implementation of act are in place and some stakeholders like media and civil right activists have been making extensive usage of the act to bring transparency and objectivity in the...
... IIPM, MUMBAI
SUBJECT: LEGAL SYSTEM
TOPIC: RIGHT TO INFORMATIONACT PROVIDES A TOOL TO IMPROVE TRANSPERANCY & VALUE-ADDED PRACTISES IN PUBLIC DOMAIN
SUBMITTED ON: November 7, 2010
SR. NO. | TOPIC | PAGE NO. |
1 | INTRODUCTION | 3 |
2 | RTI & THE ELEMENTS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE | 5 |
3 | THE 3-STAGE REGIME FOR ACCESSING INFORMATION | 7 |
4 | HOW A CITIZEN SHOULD GO ABOUT EXERCISING HIS/HER RIGHT TO INFORMATION | 7 |
5 | A FEW USEFUL TIPS WHEN FRAMING QUESTIONS | 8 |
6 | DUTIES OF PIO | 8 |
7 | FEES CHARGEABLE FROM APPLICANTS | 12 |
8 | INFORMATION WHICH CAN BE DENIED | 13 |
9 | APPEAL TO DEPARTMENTAL APPELLATE AUTHORITY | 14 |
10 | SOME EFFECTIVE USES OF RTI | 15 |
11 | SOME EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE USAGE OF DEMANDING INFORMATION UNDER RTI | 16 |
12 | GREATER TRANSPARENCY | 16 |
13 | PROMOTION OF CITIZEN-GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS | 21 |
14 | GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY | 22 |
15 | REDUCTION IN CORRUPTION | 25 |
16 | RTI & ITS IMPACT ON MAJOR INDICATORS OF DEVELOPMENT | 26 |
17 | POVERTY ALLEVIATION | 27 |
18 | DELIVERY OF SERVICES UNDER SUBSIDIZED SCHEMES | 30 |
19 | HUMAN CAPITAL:EDUCATION & HEALTH CARE | 31 |
20 | BASIC ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE | 33 |
21 | EMPOWERMENT OF WEAKER SECTIONS | 34 |
22 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION | 35 |
23 | CASES | 36 |
24 | CONCLUSION | 40...
...“Key Issues and
Constraints” in implementing the RTI Act*
“…democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which
are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and
their instrumentalities accountable to the governed” – Source: RTI Act’ 2005
Progress made so far
Key issues and constraints in implementing the RTI Act
Learning from international experience
Final Understanding the “Key Issues and Constraints” in implementing the RTI Act*
In order to promote transparency and accountability
in administration, the Indian Parliament enacted the
Freedom of InformationAct, 2002, which was repealed
later and a new act, The Right to InformationAct, came
into force on 12 October 2005. The new law empowers
Indian citizens to seek information from a Public
Authority, thus making the Government and its
functionaries more accountable and responsible. The Act
has now been in operation for over three years and has...