Saturday, 10 June 2017

Rights to Information (RTI) Act

What is Rights to Information Act

Right to Information (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens and replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen of India may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. The first application was given to a Pune police station. Information disclosure in India was restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act relaxes. It codifies a fundamental right of citizens.

Scope

The Act covers the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir, where J&K Right to Information Act is in force. It covers 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. It is also defined in the Act that bodies or authorities established or constituted by order or notification of appropriate government including bodies "owned, controlled or substantially financed" by government, or non-Government organizations "substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds"

Private bodies

Private bodies are not within the Act's ambit directly. In a decision of Sarbjit roy vs Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Central Information Commission also reaffirmed that privatised public utility companies fall within the purview of RTI. As of 2014, private institutions and NGOs receiving over 95% of their infrastructure funds from the government come under the Act. Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information.

Political parties

The Central Information Commission (CIC), consisting of Satyanand Mishra, M.L. Sharma and Annapurna Dixit, has held that the political parties are public authorities and are answerable to citizens under the RTI Act. The CIC, a quasi-judicial body, has said that six national parties - Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI(M), CPI and BSP and BJD - has been substantially funded indirectly by the Central Government and have the character of public authorities under the RTI Act as they perform public functions. In August 2013 the government introduced a Right To Information (Amendment) Bill which would remove political parties from the scope of the law

Fees

A citizen who desires to seek some information from a public authority is required to send, along with the application, (a demand draft or a bankers cheque) payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information.If the person is from a disadvantaged community, he/she need not pay.

The applicant may also be required to pay further fee towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the PIO as prescribed by the RTI ACT

More Information
RTI-Act-2005.pdf

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Item Reviewed: Rights to Information (RTI) Act Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Annamalai Thangaraj