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The Right to Information RTI Act is a law enacted by the Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens.
It was passed by Parliament on 15 June and came fully into force on 13 October The RTI Act mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. The Act relaxes the Official Secrets Act of which was amended in and various other special laws that restricted information disclosure in India.
In other words, the Act explicitly overrides the Official Secrets Act and other laws in force as on 15 June to the extent of any inconsistency.
The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
The RTI Act specifies that citizens have a right to: Some of these State level enactments have been widely used.
At the national level, given the experience of state governments in passing practicable legislation, the Central Government appointed a working group under H.
Shourie to draft legislation. The Shourie draft, in an extremely diluted form, became the basis for the Freedom of Information Bill, which eventually became law under the Freedom of Information Fol Act, Further, there was no upper limit on the charges that could be levied and there were no penalties for not complying with a request for information.
Subsequently, more than a hundred amendments to the draft Bill were made before the bill was finally passed. The Law is applicable to 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.
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" provided by the government are also covered by the Law.
The Act also specifies time limits for replying to the request. If the request has been made to the PIO, the reply is to be given within 30 days of receipt. In the case of APIO, the reply is to be given within 35 days of receipt.
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If the request is transferred by to PIO to another public authority the time allowed to reply is computed from the day on which it is received by the PIO of the transferee authority.
In case of information concerning corruption and Human Rights violations by scheduled Security agencies, the time limit is 45 days but with the prior approval of the Central Information Commission.
However, if life or liberty of any person is involved, the PIO is expected to reply within 48 hours. The time between the reply of the PIO and the time taken to deposit the further fees for information is excluded from the time allowed.
If information is not provided within the time limit, it is treated as deemed refusal. Refusal with or without reasons may be ground for appeal or complaint.
Further, information not provided in the times prescribed is to be provided free of charge. Considering that providing each and every information asked for under the Act may severely jeopardise national interest, some exemptions to disclosure are provided for in the Act.
Information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party.
Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship; information received in confidence from foreign Government; information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; and cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers are some of the exemptions.
Notwithstanding any of these exemptions, a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
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This is your chance to tell your story (or at least part of it). The best way to tell your story is to write a personal, thoughtful essay. The Right to Information Act is comprehensive which includes provisions for independent appeal penalties for non-compliance, proactive disclosure and clarity and simplicity of the access process.