Wednesday, August 29, 2012


RTI is a weapon to stop corruption, bring out transparency, make Government and Non-Government agencies more efficient and above all end the bureaucratic exploitation of common citizens of India.
We often have to pay bribes in our interaction with government departments - be it getting a license, passport, ration card, registering an FIR etc. Sometimes even if bribe is not asked for, our work is still not done due to complacency of public officials and bureaucrats which results in our harassment and loss in cognitive energy. We all pay taxes. This money is taken from us with an assurance from government that it will be used for our well being. But nothing happens. Where does this money go? There is no water to drink in a country which has large number of water resources. The condition of the roads is so pathetic due to which many times people loose their lives. The government hospitals have no medicines in their stock, patients are living in insalubrious conditions and doctors are not present at the time of their duty. During rainy season the drainage system doesn't work properly. Likewise every department is deep involved in corruption and entire system has become rotten. They perform their duty only when some VIP is on a visit and complete the work in haste which is temporary.
So far people were helpless and could only curse the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the system and be a mute spectator. But now, we have a right to question the government, inspect their work, inspect their files, take copies of government documents and make them answerable for every question shot at them. The Parliament of India has passed a law which makes the common man of the country the ruler in the real sense. This law is known as Right To Information.
Right To Information Act came into force on 12th October, 2005. This Act empowers the citizens of our country to actively participate in the governance of the society and give a befitting reply to corruption. RTI Act enables the common man to closely monitor the functioning of all the departments under the purview of either the Central or State government or any other body which is created as per Constitution of India or by an Act of Parliament or Act of State legislature. Even the private organizations who are not directly under the purview of the RTI Act have some obligations.
The organizations either private or NGO's which benefit partly or substantially from the government are also under the purview of this Act. There are some organizations who are not covered in this Act, but the exclusion is not absolute and these organizations have an obligation to provide information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violation.
An Act 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 in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Whereas the Constitution of India has established democratic Republic;
And whereas 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;
And whereas revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests
including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the
preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information;
And whereas it is necessary to harmonise these conflicting interests while preserving the paramountcy
of the democratic ideal;
Now, therefore, it is expedient to provide for furnishing certain information to citizens who desire to have it.
Guide For the Information Seekers Under the Right to Information Act, 2005

Object of the Right to Information Act

The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense. An informed citizenry will be better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of government and make the government more accountable to the governed. The Act has created a practical regime through which the citizens of the country may have access to information under the control of public authorities.

What is Information

Information is any material in any form. It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. It also includes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by the public authority under any law for the time being in force.

Right to Information under the Act

  1. A citizen has a right to seek such information from a public authority which is held by the public authority or which is held under its control. This right includes inspection of work, documents and records; taking notes, extracts or certified copied of documents or records; taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority.
  2. The public authority under the RIT Act is not supposed to create information; or to interpret information; or to solve the problems raised by the applicants; or to furnish replies to hypothetical questions. Only such information can be had under the Act which already exists with the public authority.
  3. A citizen has a right to obtain information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print-out provided information is already stored in a computer or in any other device from which the information may be transferred to diskettes.
  4. The information to the applicant shall ordinarily be provided in the form in which it is sought. However, if the supply of information sought in a particular form would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or may cause harm to the safety or preservation of the records, supply of information in that form may be denied.
  5. The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of India. It does not make provision for giving information to Corporations, Associations, Companies etc. which are legal entities/persons, but not citizens. However, if an application is made by an employee or office-bearer of any Corporation, Association, Company, NOG etc. who is also a citizen of India, information shall be supplied to him/her, provided the applicant given his/her full name. In such cases, it will be presumed that a citizen has sought information at the address of the Corporation etc.
1. What is the Application Procedure for requesting information?
  1. Apply in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the PIO, specifying the particulars of the information sought for.
  2. Reason for seeking information are not required to be given;
  3. Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the below poverty line category).
2. What is the time limit to get the information?
  1. 30 days from the date of application
  2. 48 hours for information concerning the life or  liberty of a person
  3. 5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the application for information is given to Assistant Public Information Officer.
  4. If the interests of a third party are involved then time limit will be 40 days (maximum period + time given to the party to make representation).
  5. Failure to provide information within the specified period is a deemed refusal.
3. What is the fee?
  1. Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable.
  2. If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated in writing with calculation details of how the figure was arrived at;
  3. Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged by the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority;
  4. No fees will be charged from people living below the poverty line
  5. Applicant must be provided information free of cost if the PIO fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.
4. What could be the ground for rejection?
  1. If it is covered by exemption from disclosure. (S.8)
  2. If it infringes copyright of any person other than the State. (S.9)

Exempted Organisations
The List of 22 exempted organizations is given below:

  • Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Ministry of Finance
  • Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Finance
  • Directorate of Enforcement, Ministry of Finance
  • Narcotics Control Bureau
  • Aviation Research Centre
  • Special Frontier Force
  • Border Security Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Central Reserve Police Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Central Industrial Security Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • National Security Guard, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Research & Analysis Wing of The Cabinet Secretariat
  • Assam Rifles, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Sashastra Seema Bal, Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Special Protection Group
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence
  • Border Road Development Organisation
  • Financial Intelligence Unit, India
  • Directorate General Income Tax (Investigation)
  • National Technical Research Organisation
  • National Security Council Secretariat


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