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Right to Information: A Journey of Transparency

  • Right to Information: A Journey of Transparency

    Date : 06-08-2018 12:17

    Right to Information: A Journey of Transparency

    INTRODUCTION: As the founding stone of transparency is democracy and India being one of the largest existing democracies in the world has rightfully traveled on the path towards protecting the right to information of an individual.

    During the British rule, there were stringent provisions as to the protection of their privacy, which controlled the official management of data and information. The common man thus was totally unaware of the practice, process or basis of any official decision which encouraged corruption among the authorities and agitation among the masses.

    This secrecy enabled persons with power to exploit those in need and they started misusing their powers in a manner proving beneficial to them. Seeing this situation could be a threat to our democracy parliament passed a new law The Right to Information Act, 2005 replacing the older freedom of information act of 2002.

    This legislation was enacted to ensure and promote transparency in the official process carried on by authorities and also to increase the scope of accountability.

    THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005: since excessive secrecy can possibly hinder with the value of public decision making this act aimed to keep a check on the process of abuse of public power.

    This act was necessary as to promote good governance, avoid corruptive practices, improvising public relation and efficiency and to make accountable those who are responsible for decision making.

    This act helped in achieving the objective of article 19 of the constitution of India which protects the right to information of citizens. It is succeeded by the official secrets act of 1923 and specifically mentions that the information which is not denied to legislature or parliament cannot be denied to any common person.

    SALIENT FEATURES OF THE ACT:

    • With RTI every citizen is empowered to seek information and ask questions from the officials, to demand and inspect copies of government documents and take samples of the work done etc.
    • This act mandates appointing an information officer in every government department of central or state government, Panchayati raj, and from any other organization even non-governmental which is established, constituted, owned, controlled by such government to facilitate on demand the information requested.
    • Also fixes a fixed time period within which such officer shall make available the requested information to the concerned person if it involves life and liberty of such person.
    • It established central and state information commission to implement the provisions of the act on grass root level. These commissions will have all the powers of a civil court and will be independent.
    • A person wanting any information can apply for the same through an application in the prescribed manner and format along with the required fee. The application is free of costs for people belonging to below poverty line.
    • This act also imposes strict penalties on officers who deny or obstruct the flow of information requested and has a provision of starting departmental inquiries against defaulting person.
    • The right to information provided within the act of 2005 and article 19 of the constitution of India is not an absolute one and comes with reasonable restrictions. The scope of this right does not include highly sensitive information and information related to security, scientific, economic or foreign relations of the country.

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