RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT IN INDIA

Author: Swetha.s

College : The Tamilnadu Dr ambedkar law University (SOEL) Taramani, chennai


ABSTRACT :

Right to Information Act , (2005) is an most important features of democracy which helps the ordinary citizen ,a tool to question and to get information about the working of the government an its various organs . This articles aims to explain about the importance of Right to Information Act in India and explain about the provision of this act. It is significant tool to ensure transparency in most of the operations of the government and ensure good governance an eliminates corruption .


KEY WORDS:

Right to information Act, transparency, corruption


INTRODUCTION:

The Right to Information Act was passed in the year 2005 .It is doubtless a milestone in the deliberate route taken by a country for setting up bedrock foundation for democratic institutions and impact depth to public responsive functioning of the government and its various agencies .All public authorities of Government of India and all the State Governments are subject to the mandate of RTI Act . Right to information is the part of the freedom of speech and expression which is enshrined in art 19(1)(A) of the constitution. It has the widest possible reach covering central government ,state government ,panchayat raj institutions ,local bodies and recipients of government grants.[1 ]

According to WOODROW WILSON, “I for one have the conviction that government ought to be all outside and not inside. I, for my part, believe that there ought to be no place where everything can be done that everyone does not know about. Everyone knows corruption thrives in secret places and avoids public places”.

MECHANISM OF RTI ACT:

  • The term ” information” under this act means any mode of information in any form of records , documents, memos ,opinion and advices, press releases ,circulars and orders.

  • Under this act certain rights are available to citizen such as:

  1. Take copies of documents

  2. Inspect documents

  3. Takes certified samples of material work

  4. To Obtain information in the form of printouts, floppies ,tapes, videos, etc.,

  • Any citizens may request information from the public authority which is require to rely immediately or within 30 days.

  • PROCEURE:

  1. Application may be in writing or through electronic form in English or hindi or in the official language of the area ,to the public information officer [PIO]

  2. It is not required to give reason for seeking information .

  3. Pay fees as may be required. Application fee rs.10/-. The citizens who are below poverty line ,they need not to pay fee for application.

  • TIME LIMITS:

  1. if application is filed with the PIO ,he should provie information within 30 days .

  2. If application is filed with the assistant PIO ,he should provide information within 35 days.

  3. 48 hours in case the matter to which the information affects the life and liberty of an individual.

  • Penalty for refusal to receive an application for information will is INR 250 per day,which should not exceed INR 25000/-[2]

EXEMPTIONS AND DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION:

  • An application can only be rejected if it is cover by exemption from disclosure. Sovereignty and integrity of India

  • Prevented by courts

  • Breach of privilege of parliament

  • Trade secret, intellectual property

  • Fiduciary relationship

  • Info received from foreign government

  • Life and physical safety of any person

  • Issues under investigation

  • Cabinet papers

  • Invasion in privacy


CHALLENGES OF RTI ACT:

  • Different types of information is sought which has no public interest an sometimes can be used to misuse the law and harass the public authorities. Example:

  1. Asking for desperate and voluminous information.

  2. To obtain publicity by filing RTI.

  3. RTI file as vindictive tool to harass or pressurize the public authority.

  • Because of the illiteracy and unawareness among the majority of population in the country , the RTI cannot be exercised.

  • The information under the RTI Act can be sought by any person irrespective of the background , address and particulars . this can be more threat to the country as the information can also be misused by any external association.

IMPACT OF RTI IN RURAL AREAS:

Having woven a many success story in cities ,the Right to Information Act , reaches the rural areas too with villages using its provisions to redressal grievances .

  • Sidhakahna jot Keshav village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh is one such example. Five inspire residents of village filed RTI applications and question the district administration about the conditions of the village roads and drains. The administration immediately acted and the construction of the roads and drains began in the village.[3]

  • Bihar has set a great example by creating a dedicated phone line for RTI . here RTI can be filed through a phone call . by this dedicative act even an illiterate villager can file his RTI application by a call .

  • In Ghara Katara village of Shankar Garh block in Allahabad , daily wagers had a tough time arranging a proper meal as they were not receiving rations on their cards .On December 19,2006, some 21 villagers prepared RTI applications and questioned the administrations .The very next day all the ration card holders got their rations.[ 4]

CASE LAWS :

  • Central Board Of Secondary Education & Another v. Aditya Bandopadhyay & others

In this case , the main issue was whether a party is eligible to access his answer book for the purpose of revaluation an inspection under the Right to Information Act .

The Honourable Supreme Court has held that the examinee has right to access those scripts provided that the request is made during a reasonable time in which the authorities are expected to retain the answer scripts.[ 5]

  • SP GUPTA V. UNION OF INDIA

The Supreme Court of India has emphasized in the SP GUPTA case (1982) that open government is the new democratic culture of an open society towards which even liberal democracy is moving and our country should not be exception .In a country like India which is committed to socialistic pattern of society ,right to know becomes a necessary for the poor ,ignorant and illiterate masses.[6]

RECENT AMENDMENTS:

· The RTI amendments Bill 2013 removes political parties from the ambit of the definition of public authorities and hence from the purview of the RTI act.

· The draft provision 2017 which provides for closure of case in case of death of applicant can lea to more attacks on the lives of whistleblowers.

· The proposed RTI Amendment Act 2018 is aimed at giving the centre the power to fix the tenures and salaries of state an central information commissioners , which are statutorily protected under the RTI Act .[7]

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the Right to Information Act 2005 is a massive tool that checks corruption ,and holds the various bodies ,agencies and departments of the government accountable to the public . Nowadays awareness an the use of the Right to Information Act 2005 is increasing among citizens of our country. The corruption in the country is reduced by the amendment of the Right to Information Act. The act is to develop in future for the welfare of the people and also to ensure to the public to secure its trust in the government agencies.




[1](2010) ‘samachara hakku ‘ by Eenadu mundu adugu

[2]right to information act 2005

[3] rediff .news

[4]press information bureau, pib.

[5]scc 497(2011)

[6] AIR1982 SC(149)

[7]central information comission

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