RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Tamil Selvi M, III year of B.A.,LL.B.
Every citizen has the rights to know about the activities and accountability of the government authorities. Under Rights, to information act, some of that information would be given to the citizens. It is an implied fundamental right. Sweden and Finland are the first countries who enacted Rights to information act and now there are above 90 countries consisting of the RTI Act. Countries like Switzerland, China, USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh have recently joined the RTI club. India has the 4th position of Right to information act over all countries who have an RTI Act.
Right to Information Act, 2005
In India Right to information act was enacted on 15th June 2005, came into enforcement on 12th October 2005 it was enacted by the parliament of India. It replaced the freedom of information act, 2002. Right to information act applies to the whole India including Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. The RTI act covers all the three branches of the government (executive, judiciary, legislative).
Under the right to information act, the Indian citizens have the right to request information about the public authorities works. Within thirty days that the requested information would be given to applicants. If the petitioner wants such information for their life or liberty within 48 hours the information must be given to them.
The RTI acts not only provide some information about the works of the public authorities it also gives such information like who is the member of such organizations? Who helps them? What are all the works given to that person? Based on this act it helps the citizens know about the works of the government. But whistleblowers protection act, 2011 is opposed to this right to information.
Who are comes under the RTI Act, 2005
1) Private sector doesn't come under this act. But some of the private sector or NGO'S who receive 95% of funds from the government are coming under this act.
2) No political parties come under this act based on the rights to information act amendment bill introduced by the government in August 2013.
3) The Supreme Court in Delhi decided that the office of chief justice of India is coming under the RTI Act, 2005.
Request for obtaining information
Right to information act consists of 80 sections. Requests for obtaining information are laid down in Section 6 of this Act.
1.If a person wants a piece of information they requested writing a letter or in electronic ways, the language may be in English or any other languages which are the official language of where the information is made and some fees also pay to get that information which is mentioned on it.
a) Public authorities who are related to that information, the central or state public information officers.
b) The central or state assistants public information officers cannot be able to provide that information in written form in such cases the central or state public information officers provided that required information to them in an oral form with all reasonable assistance.
2) A applicant who made such requests for information they don't want to give any reason for the need of that information and also provide some information about that applicant necessary for contacting them but any other information about the applicant is not provided in that.
3) The applicant made an application for some information to the public authority
I) That information is held to another public authority or
II) If that information is held by another public authority the public authority where the application is sent they transfer that application to another public authority and also inform that transformation to that applicant immediately not more than five days from the receipt date in that application.
Exemptions from the disclosure of information
Exemptions from the disclosure of the information is coming under section 8 of the Rights to information act, 2005.
1)In this act there are restrictions for some information which is given to the citizens
a) Information disclosure will affect sovereignty or integrity of India or the relationship of the state with other foreign countries or the state's strategic, scientific or economic information.
b) Any information which is forbidden by law or court is disclosure it may consider as the contempt of court.
c) Some information is the disclosure that causes breach of parliament or state legislatures privileges
d) The third party competitive position is affected if some information is disclosure like commercial or trade secrets
e) Information held to a person in a trustee relationship, if the authority is not satisfied with that the information may be disclosed.
f) Information brought by the foreign state
g) If information is disclosed it may affect the life or security of any person or help to identify the source of information or security purpose.
h) Information about the offenders’ investigation or apprehension.
i) Under this section some information not to disclose to the citizens likes cabinet paper and records of cabinet ministers, secretaries and other officers and the decision of the council of ministers and the reason for that.
j) If any information is not denied for the parliament or the state legislatures is also applicable to the citizens.
2) Based on the official secrets act, 1923(19 of 1923) the public authority may allow such information to the public interest if the information is disclosed to the public the reason for the protection of that information may affect.
3) subsection 1 of clauses A, C and I, a person requests a piece of information about any event or occurrence which has happened before twenty years under section 6 he requests that information would be given to them. If any questions arise about the date which is mentioned before twenty years has been calculated. The central government gave a decision for that and that is final.
An information request may be rejected based on section 8 and 9 of the Right to Information Act, 2005. Every citizen has to know about public authorities’ works and their positions. The RTI act helps for that. Requests through writing or electronic ways are available. This is an implied fundamental right on freedom of speech and expression.