Scientist - HRD, NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram Former Examiner of Patents, Indian Patent Office
All that you should know about
“RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005”
Right to Information is a fundamental Right
But this right is not absolute
Right to Information has been judicially recognised as part of Article 19(1)(a) of Indian Constitution “All Citizens shall have the right to freedom of Speech and Expression” For proper enjoyment of freedom of Speech and Expression, it is imperative that correct information is available to the Citizens.
Why an RTI Act ?
“Lack of Transparency was one of the main causes for all pervading corruption and Right to Information would lead to openness, accountability and integrity” - Soli Sorabji “ Free flow of information from the Government to the people will not only create an enlightened and informed public opinion but also render those in authority accountable” Mr. V.P. Singh, Prime Minister of India (1989)
Movement for Right to Information
Press Council of India drafted a Right to Information Bill, 1996 (Justice P B Sawant, Chairman, PCI) Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad also drafted a bill in 1997 In 1997 January 2, DoPT established a working group under the chairmanship of Mr. H.D. Shouri Freedom of Information Bill 2000 introduced in Parliament on 25th July 2000. Freedom of Information Act, 2002 Right to Information Act, 2005 (wef 12th October 2005)
India is not the first country to implement RTI
• • • • • • India is the 48th Country to implement RTI USA - Freedom of Information Reform Act 1986 Sweden enjoys the right since 1810 Australia – Freedom of information Act, 1982 Canada, New Zealand, France, South Africa Malaysia operates an on-line data base system known as Civil Services Link, through which a person can access information regarding functioning of public administration.
Extract from the Preamble of 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 RTI declares that sovereignty is vested in the citizen
Why RTI Act is so powerful
• It extends to the whole of India (Except J & K)
• It covers all the “Public Authorities”
– Executive, judiciary and legislature – Central, state and local governments, all bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by government – Non-government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by Govt.
• It also covers Information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force • Independent and Non-judicial appellate mechanism • Penalty for forfeiture of information • There are virtually 1 billion (100 Crore) MPs
a) Speaker for Loksabha, Chairman for Rajyasabha, Speaker for legislative assembly b) Chief Justice of India for Supreme Court c) Chief Justice for High Court d) President for India/Governor for States e) Administrator for Union Governments
INFORMATION (Section 2 (f))
• Any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form.
RECORD (Section 2(i))
Record includes – • Any document, manuscript and file; • Any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; • Any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not; and • Any other material produced by a computer or any other device.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION (Section 2(j))
• …….. includes the right to: *Inspection of work, documents, records; *Taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records; • Taking certified samples of material; • Obtaining information in the form diskettes,...