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Presented by Somnath De
Right to Information Act, 2005 it comes into force on the 12th October 2005 (120th day of enactment on 15th June, 2005). Information disclosure in India was hitherto restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles by it.”
WHAT DOES INFORMATION MEAN? 'Information' as a term has been derived from the Latin words 'Formation' and 'Forma' which means giving shape to something and forming a pattern respectively. Information means any material in any form including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force but does not include "file noting" [S.2(f)].
WHAT DOES RIGHT TO INFORMATION MEAN? It includes the right to i. Inspect works, documents, and records. ii. Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records. iii. Take certified samples of material. iv. Obtain in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts. [S.2 (j)].
WHY PUBLIC AWARENESS? Right to Information is a Peoples Right. People have to use the Act for it to be effective By creating an informed public, the Government will ensure that the Act is used actively and effectively
THE NEED AND IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION
Knowledge is power and freedom of information is vital to the advancement of knowledge society. The right to information has been recognized as a fundamental human right, which upholds the inherent dignity of all human beings. The right to information forms the crucial underpinning of participatory democracy - it is essential to ensure accountability and good governance.
CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES IN RESPECT TO RIGHT TO INFORMATION
early as in 1976, the Supreme Court said in the case of Raj Narain vs State of UP, that people cannot speak or express themselves unless they know. In the same case, Supreme Court further said that India is a democracy. People are the masters. Therefore, the masters have a right to know how the governments, meant to serve them, are functioning. These three principles were laid down by the Supreme Court while saying that RTI is a part of our fundamental rights.
19(1) (a) of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights to free speech and expression. The prerequisite for enjoying this right is knowledge and information. Therefore, the Right to Information becomes a constitutional right, being an aspect of the right to free speech and expression which includes the right to receive and collect information. This will also help the citizens perform their fundamental duties as set out in Article 51A of the Constitution. A fully informed citizen will certainly be better equipped for the performance of these duties. Thus, access to information would assist citizens in fulfilling these obligations.
IF RTI IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, THEN WHY DO WE NEED AN ACT TO GIVE US THIS RIGHT? we need a machinery or a process through which we can exercise this fundamental right. Right to Information Act 2005, which became effective on 13th October 2005, provides that machinery. Therefore, Right to Information Act does not give us any new right. It simply lays down the process on how to apply for information, where to apply, how much fees etc.
In S P Gupta vs. Union of India AIR 1982 SC (149),
Popularly known as Judges case. The Supreme Court by a generous interpretation of the guarantee of freedom of speech and expression elevated the right to know and the right to information to the status of a fundamental right, on the principle that certain unarticulated rights are immanent and implicit in the enumerated guarantees.
Recently in Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms(2002).
The court held that the freedom of speech and expression includes right to impart and receive information which includes freedom to hold opinions, and therefore, covers right to get material information with regard to a candidate who is contesting election for a post which is of utmost importance in the democracy.
PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES SECTION- 26 of RTI Act 2005
(1) The appropriate Government may, to the extent of availability of financial and other resources,— (a) develop and organise educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities as to how to exercise the rights contemplated under this Act; (b) encourage public authorities to participate in the development and organisation of programmes referred to in clause (a) and to undertake such programmes themselves;
promote timely and effective dissemination of accurate information by public authorities about their activities; and (d) train Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, of public authorities and produce relevant training materials for use by the public authorities themselves.
SOME OBLIGATION LIES ON THE GOVERNMENT
many campaign, either in electronic or in print media for making RTI popular among people Develop and organize educational programmes to advance the understanding of the public, in particular of disadvantaged communities
NOW WE DISCUSS ABOUT VARIOUS INSTITUTION IN SPREADING AWARENESS ABOUT RTI ACT 2005
This legislation provides opportunities to Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) to be involved in governance and social transformation processes by using the Act as a weapon to monitor, review and evaluate Government policies, programmes and schemes. Now look on the various educational institution have taken major steps in spreading awareness of this act, they are -
mass awareness campaign in Andhra Pradesh was implemented with the joint efforts of the United Forum for Right to Information (AP) and the Centre for Good Governance. In the year of 2007 Associated with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Social Educational and Economical Development Society (SEEDS)
Haryana Institute of Public Administration, Gurgaon in association with IC Centre for Governance, New Delhi organized a Workshop on Right to Information on 17.11.2006 Again National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) seeks to empower people and to deepen democracy, through promoting people’s right to information.
department is concerned with primary, secondary and teacher education in Andhra Pradesh. Commissioner/Director of School Education is the Head of the Department of School Education to give information under rule 4(1)(b) of Right to Information Act 2005.
Objectives To provide access to school education to all the children in the age group of 5 – 15 Years. To enroll all school age children in the Schools. To ensure quality in Education. DEVELOPING A BASIC PLAN FOR RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS ON RTI AND THE RTI ACT 2005 (JULY 2005) Identifying Partners
Government Information & Publicity Directorate : to take a lead on disseminating information on RTI to all Departments.
Universities Urban : Cities . Municipal Councils, Housing Societies,Cooperative Societies etc Rural : Villages .Panchayati Raj Institutions: village pradhans, elders etc, Youth : Cities & Villages via government and local schools (pathshalas, madrasas), Universities, Training Institutes Senior and Secondary High Schools, Universities
Education Materials Print (Newspapers, Journals): Weekly press releases updating on progress. RTI in school and university curriculum.
Central Information Commission organized the National Convention on Right to Information on completion of one year of its enforcement at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi during October 13 to 15, 2006.
in the year of 2008 held a workshop in Uttarakhand. On the 12 and 13th of October 2008 the Mountain Children’s Foundation and Asha for Education, Silicon Valley (Asha SV) held a workshop with 72 children from 18 different partner organizations all over Uttarakhand.
WHAT TO DO FOR SPREADING AWARENESS OF RTI ACT 2005 BY THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION AS WELL AS OTHERS INSTITUTIONS
Users Guide, Articles,Advertisements,Posters, Pamphlets etc. School,Curriculum,debates,competitions etc. Make various workshops ( like District Level Workshops on Right to Information (RTI)Madhya Pradesh, September 2005) Organised campaign in many places rural as well as urban area
Organised seminar on RTI Act in many educational institution and also in many other institutions etc.(. (like Regional Seminar on Right to Information Jointly organized by MEDIA INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION CENTRE OF INDIA ) Making Various Aviyan regarding RTI Act (Madhya Pradesh Suchna Ka Adhikar Abhiyan, led by an NGOnamed Sandhan ) Making Various Aviyan regarding RTI Act (Madhya Pradesh Suchna Ka Adhikar Abhiyan, led by an NGOnamed Sandhan ) Right to Information Awareness through Quiz (Quizzing section at RTI India Portal. The purpose is to bring about awareness and improve the knowledge of the community, Sep 2006 Location: New Delhi)
Lastly we now say that this right is important not only for the exercise of political and civil rights but also social and economic rights. Independent information is also important for the people to make informed choices. Now we should think broadly that it is the one of the obligation educational institution as well as Government and other institution and NGO’s in spreading awareness about right to information act-2005
Somnath De 3rd Year Law Student SKAIL,Kalyani, WestBengal.
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