Right to Information Act, 2005.

 

Introduction:

The right to Information Act 2005 which came fully into effect on12th October 2005 is one of the most significant legislation enacted by the Parliament in India. It is a major step towards more accountable and transparent government. RTI has been enacted to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability. The Act will certainly lead to end the culture of governmental secrecy andfulfil its potential as a truly great democracy.

Objective of the Act:

1. To promote transparency and functioning of the government. accountability in the

2. To set up a practical regime for giving citizens access to Information that is under the control of public authorities.

3. To empower the citizens as the law will promote the participation of the citizens in official decisions that directly affect their lives.

4. The effective implementation of RTI Act will build public trust in the government functioning.

5. It will lead to effective and efficient records management technique that is needed to facilitate the provision of information in response to public interest.

What is Right to Information?

Government information is national resource. Neither the particular government of the day nor public officials create information for their own benefits. Government and officials are trustees of this information for the people. The RTI act enables the citizens to obtain access under the law to documents that may otherwise be available only at the discretion of government.

The RTI Act 2005 provides effective access to information for citizens of India, which is under the control of public authorities. This overrides the ―official Secrets Acts and similar laws and rules.

The Act primarily envisages setting out a practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.

Right to Information means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to: -

(i)             Inspection of work, documents, records.

(ii)           Taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records.

(iii)         Taking certified samples of material.

(iv)         Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is shared in a computer or in any other device.

Every information held by or under the control of a public authority is accessible to a citizen, unless information is exempt from disclosure.

What is Accessible under the Law?

Information means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mail, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, log books, contacts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.

Features of the RTI Act:

Ø The Act extends to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir.

Ø All citizens shall have the right to information, subject to provisions of the Act. The RTI empowers the citizens to ask any question or seek any information from government authorities be it Central, State or Local governments.

Ø It shall apply to Public Authorities which means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by or under the Constitution; by any law made by the appropriate Government or, any other body owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by the appropriate Government, and includes non-government organisation substantially financed by the government.

Ø The Act lays down the machinery for the grant of access to information. The Public Authorities are required to designate Public Information Officer and Assistant Public Information Officer with in the hundred days of enactment to accept the request forms and provide information. The Public Information Officers/Assistant Public Information Officers will be responsible to deal with the requests for information and also to assist persons seeking information.

Ø The Act envisages creation of an independent non-judicial machinery viz, Central Information Commission, State Information Commission. Legal Framework of exercise of powers by the Commission is defined in the Act.

Ø The Act also provides the two- tier Appellate forum. First appeal is to be made to the departmental officer senior to the Public Information Officer. The second appeal is to be made to State Commission.

Ø Fee will be payable by the applicant depending on the nature of information sought.

Ø Time limit has been prescribes for the compliance of information depending upon the information requirements.

Ø Certain categories of information have been exempted from the disclosure under Section 8and 9 of the Act like conduct of International Relations, security of the State, trade and commercial secrets, intelligence agency etc.

Ø Central Information Commission and the State Information Commissions monitor the implementation of the Act and prepare an Annual report to be laid before the Parliament / State legislatures.

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