Right to information is a fundamental right of any citizen of India to know what is happening with the government. Every individual has the freedom to seek any government related information through this RTI act 2005. The Right to Information Act (2005) is one of the key legislation enacted by the Parliament which guarantees the right and freedom of every citizen of India to get the information related to our government dealings, both at centre and the states.
Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. Right to Information empowers every citizen to seek any information from the Government, inspect any Government documents and seek certified photocopies thereof. Right to Information also empower citizens to official inspect any Government work or to take sample of material used in any work.
Right to Information is a part of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) says that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression.
This act was passed in the Indian Parliament on 15th June 2005 and was brought into force on 12 October 2005.
Applicability: This Right to Information act is applicable to all the states and Union territories of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own Right to Information act 2009. Every citizen of India has the right to seek information through this act. Only an Individual can use this RTI facility. A group or company cannot request for any information.
Covered Govt Offices: The citizen of India has all the right to seek information related to the Indian constitutional authorities, viz; the executive, the legislative, judiciary, any other institution or body constituted by the act of parliament or state legislature. Any private institution financed and supported by the constitutional authorities.
Who is responsible: Every government office will have its own PIO(Public Information Officer) who is responsible to accept the request from the public and provide the information within 30 days of their request. A minimum fee is charged from the public. People from BPL(Below PovertyLine) are exempted from paying any fee to seek any information. Also there are APIOs(Assistant Public Information Officers) available in the post offices located in main cities and towns.
Information type: This act facilitates the citizen of India to obtain government documents, to inspect government documents, to inspect government works and to get the samples. (Government document means anything big to small including the Ration card, Election ID card).
Time Frame: The time frame to obtain any information is 30 days from the date of application. If the application was submitted through APIO, then the time frame is 35 days. In the case of information relating to life and death warranting very urgent information, the information to be provided within 48 hours from the time of application.
Restriction of Information: There is a restriction in seeking information according to the official secret act 1923 and such information will not be revealed or provided to the citizen of India in the interest of the country’s security. No information pertaining to offices and section dealing with security of the nation which will endanger the national security, security to personnel,. Like the defence, CB CID, BSF,Police etc; However, any issues relating to malfunction or corruption in the department are excluded , and can be sought through this RTI act.
Appeals: An appeal can be made to the appellate authority. If the first appeal is not replied, then the second appeal can be made to the Information Commission.
Actions on delay information: The officer is charged Rs. 250 per day as penalty for the delay. He is likely to be charged Rs. 25000 for providing wrong information or for denial of information, and disciplinary action will be initiated against the officer who fails to provide information and if his explanation is not duly justified.
Word limit: There is no word limitation when the act was brought into force. Now the government is thinking to impose restriction on the word limit to 500 words per application.
Right to information act helps the citizen to exercise their fundamental right to get information without any denial from the authorities. It helps the people to get the information pertaining to self relating to the government. It also helps to find out the corrupt functioning of the government and its officials. It keeps a check on government to conduct its business in a very fair manner. This act creates a fear in the minds of government servants to think and work that they are the servants of the people of this nation. Many government scandals have been brought out
to light with the help of this good act.
This Right to Information act has been conceived and delivered in a better shape that will lead India to move forward by reducing corruption in government departments. With this a government servant recognizes and respects the citizen of India and the government fears its people for wrong doings.