Right to Information: Explained

This post is written by Muskaan Sharma

INTRODUCTION

The Right to information Act was created to realize social justice, transparency and to form responsible government however this act has not achieved its full objectives because of some impediments created because of systematic failures. As ascertained by city tribunal that misuse of the RTI Act has got to be suitably dealt with; otherwise the general public would lose religion and confidence during this “sunshine Act”. It is well recognized that right to information is important, however not sufficient , to boost governance. tons a lot of has to be done to start responsibility in governance, together with protection of whistle-blowers, decentralisation of power and fusion of authority with responsibility in any respect levels.

This law provides us a invaluable chance to revamp the processes of governance, significantly at the grass roots level wherever the citizens’ interface is most.

RTI stands for Right to Information. Right to Information is a a part of fundamental rights under Article19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that each citizen has freedom of speech and expression. As early as in 1976, the Supreme Court said within the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP  that folks cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. Therefore, right to information is embedded in article 19. In the same case, Supreme Court further said that India may be a democracy. People are the masters. Therefore, the masters have a right to know how the governments, meant to serve them, are functioning. Further, every citizen pays taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays tax (in the form of sales tax, excise duty etc.) when he buys a bit of soap from the market. The citizens therefore, have a right to know how their money was being spent. These three principles were laid down by the Supreme Court while saying that RTI may be a a part of our fundamental rights.

OBJECTIVES OF THE ACT

  1. To empower the citizens
  2. To promote transparency and accountability
  3. To contain corruption 
  4. To enhance people’s participation in democratic process.

REASONS FOR ADOPTION OF INFORMATION ACT

The factors responsible for adoption of information act are as follows-

  1. Corruption and scandals
  2. International pressure and activism
  3. Modernization and the information society

FEATURES OF THE ACT

  • Section 1(2) : It extends to the entire of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Section- 2 (f): “Information” suggests that any material in any type, together with Records, Documents, Memos, e-mails, Opinions, Advices, Press releases, Circulars, Orders, Logbooks, Contracts, Reports, Papers, Samples, Models, knowledge material control in any electronic type and knowledge about any personal body which may be accessed by a Public Authority below the other law for the nowadays in effect. 
  • Section- 2(j) : “Right to Information” suggests that the correct to data accessible below this Act that is control by or below the management of any public authority and includes the correct to:
  • Inspection of labour, documents, records; 
  • Taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
  • Taking certified samples of material; 
  • Obtaining data within the style of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in the other electronic mode or through printouts wherever such data is keep during a pc or in the other device 

Section 4 :  Of the RTI Act needs suo motu revealing of data by every public authority. However, such disclosures have remained but satisfactory. 

Section 8 (1) mentions exemptions against furnishing data below RTI Act.

Section 8 (2) provides for revealing of data exempted below Official Secrets Act, 1923 if larger public interest is served. The Act conjointly provides for appointment of data Commissioners at Central and State level. Public authorities have selected a number of its officers as Public data Officer. they’re accountable to grant data to an individual who seeks data below the RTI Act. 

  • Time period: In traditional course, data to an human is to be equipped at intervals thirty days from the receipt of application by the general public authority. If data wanted issues the life or liberty of an individual, it shall be equipped at intervals 48 hours
  • In case the applying is distributed through the Assistant Public data Officer or it’s sent to a wrong public authority, 5 days shall be value-added to the amount of thirty days or 48 hours, because the case could also be.

IMPORTANCE

  • The RTI Act, 2005 didn’t create a new bureaucracy for implementing the law. Instead, it tasked and mandated officers in each workplace to alter their angle and duty from one among secrecy to at least one of sharing and openness. 
  • It fastidiously and deliberately authorized data , the knowledge, the data} Commission to be the very best authority within the country with the mandate to order any workplace within the country to supply, And it authorized the Commission to fine any official who didn’t follow the mandate. 
  • Right to information has been seen because the key to strengthening democratic democracy and debut folks centered governance. Access to data will empower the poor and therefore, the weaker sections of society to demand and find data regard public policies and actions, thereby resulting in their welfare.
  • It showed associate early promise by exposing wrongdoing at high places, like within the organization of the Commonwealth Games, and therefore, the allocation of 2G spectrum and coal blocks. Right to data unveil government’s records to public scrutiny, thereby mobilization voters with a significant tool to tell them regarding what the government will and the way effectively, therefore creating Improves deciding by public authority by removing spare secrecy.

CHALLENGES

  • Different types of knowledge is wanted that has no public interest and typically is accustomed misuse the law and harass the general public authorities.
  • RTI filed as vindictive tool to harass or pressurize the general public authority
  • Because of the illiteracy and unconsciousness among the bulk of population within the country, the RTI can not be exercised.
  • Though RTI’s aim isn’t to make a grievance redressal mechanism, the notices from info Commissions typically spur the general public authorities to redress grievances.

RECENT AMENDMENTS

  1. The RTI amendment Bill 2013 removes political parties from the extent of the definition of public authorities, and thence from the ambit of the RTI Act. 
  2. The draft provision 2017 that provides for closure of case just in case of death of applier will cause a lot of attacks on the lives of whistle-blowers.
  3. The proposed RTI amendment Act 2018 is geared toward giving the Centre the facility to mend the tenures, and salaries of state and central data commissioners, that area unit statutorily move can dilute the autonomy and independence of CIC.
  4. The Act proposes to exchange the mounted five-year tenure to the maximum amount prescribed by government.

OTHER ISSUES

  • Information commissioners don’t have adequate authorities to enforce the RTI Act.
  • In case of award of compensation to activist by public authority as ordered by commission, compliance can’t be secured.
  • Poor record-keeping practices
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and workers for running data commissions
  • Dilution of supplementary laws just like the whistle-blowers protection Act.

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