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“We live in an age of information, in which the free flow of information and ideas determines the pace of development and well being of the people. The implementation of RTI Act is, therefore, an important milestone in our quest for building an enlightened and at the same time, a prosperous society. Therefore, the exercise of the Right to Information cannot be the privilege of only a few.” Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Valedictory Address at the National Convention on RTI, October 15, 2006
Right to information is a fundamental right and is a necessary condition for the existence of participatory democracy. Under Article 19(1) of the Constitution every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 19, the Right to information is treated as human right. The Act gives every individual the same powers as that of an elected representative.The right to freedom of information was recognised in law for the first time more than two hundred years ago in Sweden, with the publication of the Freedom of Press Law in 1776. Currently, over 90 countries have adopted RTI laws. While most of these laws are similar in structure, there are considerable variances between them which substantially influence their effectiveness. RIGHT TO INFORMATION Under the Act, 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 copies of documents or records; and taking certified samples of material held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. It is important to note that only such information can be supplied under the Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or held under the control of the public authority. The Public Information Officer 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. The Act gives the citizens a right to information at par with the Members of Parliament and the Members of State Legislatures. According to the Act, the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature, shall not be denied to any person. A citizen has a right to obtain information from a public authority in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through print-outs provided such information is already stored in a computer or in any other device from which the information may be e-mailed or transferred to diskettes etc.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY In 1994 a mass based called the Mazdoor Kisan Sanghathan took an initiative to lead the people in a very backward region of Rajasthan Bhim Tehsil to assert their right to information by asking copies of bills and vouchers and names of persons who have been paid wages mentioned in the master rolls on the construction of schools , dispensaries, small dams and community centers. On paper such development projects were all completed. Villagers knew that there was misappropriation of funds with roofless school buildings and dispensaries without walls, dams left incomplete, and community centers having no doors and windows. After few years it was confirmed there was misappropriation of funds. Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan organized a Jan Sunvai (People’s Hearing) the first ever in history of Rajasthan. Politicians , administrators, landless labourers , private contractors were all invited to listen, respond and if willing to defend themselves. The first jansunvai marked the beginning of the real struggle for Right to Information in Rajasthan thereafter several jansunvais were held. Press Council of India prepared a draft Bill in 1996 to make a provision for securing rights to information known as Right to Information Bill, 1996. The Institute of Rural development Hyderabad also prepared a Bill in 1997. The working group appointed by the Government of India on January 2 , 1997 recommended that legislation in this regard is necessary. The Working Group recommended that the Bill should be named as Freedom of Information Bill as the Right to Information has already been judicially recognized as a part of Freedom of Speech and expression. State Legislations Rajasthan In 1995 with the efforts of MKSS Right to Information law was passed which enabled, on payment of a prescribed fee citizens to demand and receive details of expenditures on the work done in the last five years in their villages and all the documents could be photocopied for possible use as evidence in the future. This law was informal and the Rajasthan Right to Information Act was passed in 2000. Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu introduced the Right to Infomation Act on 17th April 1996. The Bill was modelled on the draft legislation recommended by the Press Council of India. Though the enacted legislation was full of exemptions and inadequacies still effort of state government became example for others. Goa Goa followed the foot prints of Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu to enact the Right to Information
legislation in 1997. It was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Goa on 31st July, 1997 and assented by the governor of Goa in October 1997. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh introduced the Right to Information Bill, 1998 aimed at proving transparency in the administration and got passed by Assembly on April 30th 1998 but Presidential assent was denied to the Bill. The Madhya Pradesh government again in 2003 tried to pursue the Bill and on 24 January 2003 assent was received to the Bill. Karnataka Karnataka Right to Information was passed in 2000. The legislature also enacted the Karnatake Transparency in Public Procurement Act 1999 which ensures transparency in public procurement of goods and services. Delhi Delhi Right to Information Act received assent on 14th May 2001. The Act came fully into effect on 13 October and State Laws on Right to Information were repelled.
Important Terms Public Information Officers (PIOs) Every Public Authority shall designate as many PIOs in all the administrative units or Offices under it as may be necessary to provide information to persons requesting information (Section 5(1)) PIO shall render reasonable assistance to the persons requesting the information (Section 5(3)). If such request cannot be made in writing PIO shall help such person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing (Section 6(1) Provision) Assistant Public Information Officer (APIO) Every Public Authority shall designate an Officer at each sub-divisional or other sub-district level as APIO to receive the applications for information or appeals under this Act for forwarding the same forthwith to the respective PIO or 1stAppellate Authority or Information Commission (Section 5(2)) Deemed PIO PIO may seek assistance of any other Officer as he or she considers it necessary for the proper discharge of his or her duties (Section 5(4)) Such Officer will be deemed as PIO for the purposes of providing the information requested (Section 5(5)) All the Burden including liability for Penalty on defiance of information will stand transferred to the Deemed PIO, if PIO transfers the request to such Officer with a note indicating the same. What is ‘Fiduciary’ relationship ? (S. 8(1)(e)) ‘fiduciary’ is derived from Latin word ‘fiducia’(trust) Fiduciary relationship exists between a) Lawyer and Client b) Doctor and Patient c) Bank and Customer d) Trustee and Beneficiary e) Organisation and Reporting Officer in respect of CR of an Employee With regard to Report submitted by an Enquiry Committee constituted to probe into a Complaint of sexual harassment, the Report per se cannot be rejected under S.8(1)(e), but it may be severed to
CBSE. CIC/WB/A/2006/00469. the answer sheets shall ordinarily be disclosed subject to the scrutiny under S. CIC/WB/C2006/00223. Appeal Nos. the function of which is mainly to conduct examinations and which have an established system as fool-proof. and which by their own rules or regulations prohibit disclosure of evaluated answer sheets or where the disclosure of evaluated answer sheets would result in rendering the system unworkable in practice. & 00394 . 8 (1) and S. we would like to rest the matter of disclosure of answer sheets.exclude personal details of those involved and the Witnesses invoking the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) and Section8(1)(g) No “fiduciary relationship” in respect of “Evaluated Answer Sheets” In regard to Public Examinations conducted by institutions like UPSC. Staff Selection Commission etc. 9 Full Bench of Central Information Commission (Decision dated 23rdApril 2007) Complaint No. But disclosure has to be made when the evaluation is done by computer (OMR Sheet for Example) and the process does not create unnecessary burden on the system In all other circumstances..
Important Section under Right to Information Act. Orders. owned. the Central Government. c. Opinions. Contracts.2 (f): "Information" means any material in any form. Models.2005 Jurisdiction of RTI Act.2 (a): "Appropriate Government" means in relation to a public authority which is established. Samples. By notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government It also includes any: (i) Body owned. Advices. constituted. as the case may be.2 (h): "Public Authority" means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted: a. Definition Section. the State Government. b. Section. controlled or substantially financed. d. in the case of other authorities established or constituted by or under the Constitution.2005 Section-1(2): It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Reports. (iv) The President or the Governor. By any other law made by Parliament.2 (e): "Competent Authority" means: (i) The Speaker in the case of the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State or a Union territory having such Assembly and the Chairman in the case of the Council of States or Legislative Council of a State. Logbooks. controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly: (i) By the Central Government or the Union territory administration. (v) The administrator appointed under article 239 of the Constitution. (ii) Non-Government Organisation substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government. (iii) The Chief Justice of the High Court in the case of a High Court. Section. By or under the Constitution. including Records. By any other law made by State Legislature. Documents. . e-mails. Section. Press releases. Data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a Public Authority under any other law for the time being in force. (ii) By the State Government. Papers. Circulars. (ii) The Chief Justice of India in the case of the Supreme Court. Memos.
6 (2): An applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him/her. and (d) Any other material produced by a computer or any other device.6 (1): A person. who desires to obtain any information under this Act. (c) Any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not). shall render all reasonable assistance to the person making the request orally to reduce the same in writing. Extracts or Certified copies of documents or records.2 (j): "Right to Information" means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to: (i) Inspection of work. as the case may be. Tapes. as the case may be Provided that where such request cannot be made in writing. (b) Any microfilm.2 (i): "Record" includes: (a) Any document. Section. of the concerned Public Authority.Section. the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. Cause of Information Section. Floppies. microfiche and facsimile copy of a document. (ii) Taking notes. . Records. Video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device. (b) The Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer.5 (3): Every Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. as the case may be. as the case may be. Responsibilities of Public Information Officer Section. shall make a request in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is being made. (iii) Taking certified samples of material. Section. shall deal with requests from persons seeking information and render reasonable assistance to the persons seeking such information. (iv) Obtaining information in the form of Diskettes. accompanying such fee as may be prescribed specifying the particulars of the information sought by him or her to: (a) The Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. manuscript and file. Documents.
the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. (ix) Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers. either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9. scientific or economic interests of the State. as expeditiously as possible. and (iii) The particulars of the Appellate Authority. as the case may be. If the sought information concerns the life or liberty of a person. strategic. on receipt of a request under section 6 shall. (ii) The period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred. there shall be no obligation to give any citizen. relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence. and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken. unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.7 (8): Where a request has been rejected under sub-section (1) of Section. and in any case within 30 (Thirty) days of the receipt of the request. (iii) Information. the reasons thereof. Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers. disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India. as the case may be. in that case information shall be provided within 48 (Forty-Eight) hours of the receipt of the request. shall communicate to the person making the request. (v) Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship. Section. (i) The reasons for such rejection. trade secrets or intellectual property. the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature. Secretaries and other officers. (vi) Information received in confidence from foreign Government. the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.7 (1): Subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 5 or the proviso to subsection (3) of section 6. or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the . (ii) 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. (i) Information. the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party. the security.8 (1): Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act. (vii) Information.Time limit for the supply of information Section. and the matter is complete. (x) Information which relates to personal information and the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest. unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information. (iv) Information including commercial confidence. (viii) Information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders. or over.7. Those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed. Reason to rejection Section.
Who believes that he or she has been given incomplete. a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer. b. then.18 (1): Subject to the provisions of this Act. Role of Central/State Information Commission Section. is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority.10 (1): Where a request for access to information is rejected on the ground that it is in relation to information which is exempt from disclosure. First Appeal . Supply of partial information Section. misleading or false information under this Act. to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person. as the case may be. The information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. either by reason that no such officer has been appointed under this Act. Who has been required to pay an amount of fee which he or she considers unreasonable. as the case may be. it shall be the duty of the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission. notwithstanding anything contained in this Act. access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information. Who has not been given a response to a request for information or access to information within the time limit specified under this Act. as the case may be. Who has been unable to submit a request to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer. or because the Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer. as the case may be. has refused to accept his or her application for information or appeal under this Act for forwarding the same to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer or senior officer (First Appellate Authority) specified in subsection (1) of section 19 or the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission. a. Section.9: Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8. Who has been refused access to any information requested under this Act. e. as the case may be. may reject a request for information where such a request for providing access would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting in a person other than the State. d. as the case may be. c.
being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government. In the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of Human Rights.Section. may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be. Second Appeal Section. and notwithstanding anything contained in section 7. as the case may be. Non applicable to Intelligence and Security agencies: Section. Non interference of court Section. The information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and Human Rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub-section. application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act and no such order shall be called in question otherwise than by way of an appeal under this Act.19 (3): A second appeal against the decision under sub-section (1) of Section.19 shall lie within 90 (Ninety) days from the date on which the decision should have been made or was actually received. Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. Time limit for decision on First and Second Appeal Section. such information shall be provided within forty-five days from the date of the receipt of request. or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer.19 (6): An appeal under section 19 (1) or section 19 (2) shall be disposed of within 30 (thirty) days of the receipt of the appeal or within such extended period not exceeding a total of 45 (forty-five) days from the date of filing thereof. with the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission.23: No court shall entertain any suit. the information shall only be provided after the approval of the Central Information Commission. Provided that the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission. in each Public Authority. as the case may be. Annual Report . for reasons to be recorded in writing. may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of 90 (Ninety) days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time.24 (1): Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule. as the case may be.19 (1): Any person who does not receive a decision within the time specified in subsection (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7.
g) Recommendations for reform. Section.2005 and has been modified accordingly to present this in user friendly manner. improvement. shall. In case of any variation in terms of meaning and definition. b) The number of decisions where applicants were not entitled to access to the documents pursuant to the requests. Note: All the above information has been taken from the Constitutional text of RTI Act.Section. Case Study 1 . original text will be final. d) Particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer in respect of the administration of this Act. the nature of the appeals and the outcome of the appeals. e) The amount of charges collected by each Public Authority under this Act. as soon as practicable after the end of each year. as the case may be. f) Any facts which indicate an effort by the Public Authorities to administer and implement the spirit and intention of this Act. reform or amendment to this Act or other legislation or common law or any other matter relevant for operationalising the right to access information. for the development. for review. a) The number of requests made to each Public Authority. including recommendations in respect of the particular Public Authorities.25 (1): The Central Information Commission or State Information Commission. modernisation. the provisions of this Act under which these decisions were made and the number of times such provisions were invoked. c) The number of appeals referred to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission. as the case may be.25 (3): Each report shall state in respect of the year to which the report relates. prepare a report on the implementation of the provisions of this Act during that year and forward a copy thereof to the appropriate Government.
On hearing the learned Attorney General and the learned counsel for the respondent. Union of India inter alia contended that disclosure of the information sought for by the respondent cannot be furnished in public interest. Independence of Judiciary forms part of basic structure of the Constitution of India. In the opinion of the Court this case raises important questions of constitutional importance relating to the position of Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India under the Constitution and the independence of the Judiciary in the scheme of the Constitution on the one hand and on the other.Justice RM Lodha. The learned counsel for the respondent Mr. Right to Information Act merely recognizes the constitutional right of citizens to freedom of speech and expression. The independence of Judiciary and the fundamental right to free speech and expression are of a great value and both of them are required to be balanced. Whether the concept of independence of judiciary requires and demands the prohibition of furnishing of the information sought? Whether the information sought for amounts to interference in the functioning of the judiciary? . Mr. It is in the public interest to keep the appointment and transfer from needless intrusions by strangers and busybodies in the functioning of the judiciary.P. The submission was that the information made available to the Chief Justice of India in respect of appointment of Judges of the High Court and as well as the Supreme Court is held by him in trust and in fiduciary capacity. It was further contended that the appointment of Judges is essentially a discharge of constitutional trust as laid down by this Court in Subhash Sharma Vs. Supreme Court of India to furnish information sought by the Respondent relating to the appointment of Mr. The learned Attorney General appearing on behalf of the appellants while placing strong reliance upon the decision of this Court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs. fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression (Right to information being an integral part of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution). Supreme Court of India Vs Subhash Chandra Agarwal (November 26. 2009 passed by Central Information Commission (CIC) whereby CIC directed Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). the Court is of the considered opinion that a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution is involved in the present case which is required to be heard by a Constitution Bench.disclosure of the said documents would seriously handicap the petitioner therein in showing that there was no full and effective consultation with the Chief Justice of India or that the transfer was by way of punishment and not in public interest. Justice HL Dattu. wherein it was observed at more than one place that the non. Prashant Bhushan placed heavy reliance on the decision of this Court in S. Justice A K Ganguly and Mr. Following substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution arise for consideration: 1.CPIO. Gupta Vs Union of India. Union of India. 2010) Leave is granted for appeal directed against the impugned order dated November 24.
(b) information relating to declaration of assets etc. 2009. CIC directed the CPIO of the Supreme Court to provide the information asked for by the appellant in his RTI application as to whether such declaration of assets etc.(September 02. the CPIO informed the applicant that a copy of the resolution dated 7-5-1997 would be furnished on remitting the requisite charges. Supreme Court should have transferred the matter to the respective CPIOs. Whether the information sought for is exempt under Section 8(i)(j) of the Right to Information Act? For the aforesaid reasons. 2009) FACTS: The Respondent (“Applicant”) had. nominated under the Right to Information Act. 2005 (hereafter "the Act") to (a) furnish a copy of the resolution dated 7-5-1997 of the Full Court of the Supreme Court ("the 1997 resolution"). on 10-11-2007 required the Central Public Information Officer. In its order dated January 06. He was also told that information relating to declaration of assets by the Judges was not held by or under the control of the Registry of the Supreme Court and. since the applicant had sought information regarding the declaration of assets made by the various Chief Justice of the States. Case Study 2 The Central Public Information Officer. Supreme Court of India ("the CPIO"). Supreme Court of India Vs Subhash Chandra Agarwal and Anr. this matter is directed to be placed before Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India for constitution of a Bench of appropriate strength. therefore. The applicant appealed to the First Appellate Authority challenging the second part of the impugned order. it could not be furnished. The appellant then approached the Central Information Commission (CIC). to direct the CPIO to transfer his RTI application under Section 6(3) of the RTI Act to any concerned Public Authority having the said information. he should have disclosed the authority holding such information and should have referred the application to such an authority. It was contended that if the CPIO was not holding the information. the CPIO. invoking Section 6(3) of the Right to Information Act. By order dated 30th November. furnished by the respective Chief Justices of States. which requires every Judge to make a declaration of all assets. which is essential for effective consultation and for taking the right decision? 3. The First Appellate Authority after hearing the appellant in person and after perusal of the records decided to remand back the matter to the CPIO to consider the question as to whether Section 6(3) of the RTI Act is liable to be invoked by the CPIO. . It was also contended out that assuming that the CPIO did not hold the information.2. Whether the information sought for cannot be furnished to avoid any erosion in the credibility of the decisions and to ensure a free and frank expression of honest opinion by all the constitutional functionaries. 2007. Such remission was rejected by CPIO. has been filed by the Hon’ble judges of the Supreme Court or not within ten working days from the date of receipt of this Decision Notice..
.from disclosure. pursuant to the 1997 Resolution is "information". at the apex to decide disputes pertaining to information disclosure. however. This has been addressed at two levels: one. under the Right to Information Act. 5. does not possess the information sought. on grounds of public interest. and Governments as well as individuals in particular.(a) By or under the Constitution of India. within prescribed time-limits. are defined by Section 2(h) as. Public authorities. It mandates disclosure of all manner of information. under the Act. and if so. to ensure that sensitive information is kept out of bounds. as well as lack of security renders asset declarations and their disclosure. and two. the Public Information Officer (PIO) has to forward the application. The information provider or the concerned agency is. unworkable? DECISIONS Point No. 1: By virtue of Sections 3. by enacting specified exemptions . in case the public authority who is approached. Parliamentary intention in enacting this law was to arm citizens with the mechanism to scrutinise Government and public processes and ensure transparency. the needs of society at large. have also been accommodated. 2005? (4) If such asset declarations are "information" does the CJI hold them in a "fiduciary" capacity. and are they therefore. is different from the office of the CJI. under the Act. Section 4 obliges public authorities to publish various specified classes of information. A hierarchy of authorities is created with the CIC. 6 and 7. Issues to be decided by the Court: (1) Whether the CJI is a public authority? (2) Whether the office of CPIO of the Supreme Court of India. Section 6 enjoins that information disclosure is the norm. and abolishes the concept of locus standi of the information applicant. exempt from disclosure under the Act? (5) Whether such information is exempt from disclosure by reason of Section 8(1)(j) of the Act? (6) Whether the lack of clarity about the details of asset declaration and about their details. by taking a number of security and intelligence related organisations out of purview of the Act. every public authority requested to provide information is under a positive obligation to do so.-means any authority or body or institution of self-Government established or constituted. the latter authority is accountable for disclosure of the information. in that situation. the information seeker is under no obligation to disclose why he requests it. Justice Ravindra Bhatt after hearing the plea of the Supreme Court Registry.The Supreme Court Registry filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the decision of CIC. of information seekers. stayed the CIC Decision until next hearing. obliged to decide the applications. whether the Act covers the office of the CJI? (3) Whether asset declarations by Supreme Court Judges. under Section 6(3) to the authority who actually holds the information. At the same time.
Point No. rather than individual choice of the Judge's notion of justice of the case.2: Since the 1997 resolution explicitly states that the information relating to the assets would be given to the CJI. Caselets 1: A village farmer has got compensation money from gov. this act is used in verity of sector in our country . having regard to the objectives of the Act. the basic and the most power full tool of this act is getting information from government offices or from organization in just 1st 30 day’s from the day it has been demanded . it is held that all "material in any form" includes all manner of information. Point No. The emphasis is on the information available. 5 & 6 A Judge's independence. farmer was suppose to get compensation money from gov india for damaged cash crop due to adverse climatic change conditions . farmer went to the bank for clearance of amount but a officer from bank demanded . under Section 2(f). the duty to not only do justice. RTI (Right to information ) This act is playing a very important role into our society from the day it has launched . paradoxically imposes duties on him (or her): duty to decide according to law and binding precedent. 3: The definition of "information" under Section 2(f) is extremely wide and comprehends all matters which fall within the expression "material in any form". but follow a fair procedure which accords with notions of justice: "appear to be doing justice". RTI is playing very responsible role into our society and to explain how it is responsible following are some caselet’s related to RTI. 4. Therefore. which in turn would mean that the Judge is not completely "free. the absence of specific exclusion leads this Court to conclude that asset declarations by Judges. it was concluded that CJI holds the information pertaining to asset declarations in his capacity as Chief Justice and that office is a "public authority" under the Act and is covered by its provisions. of india under “Cotton compensation fund”. to start with caselet let me tell you a brief regarding the case . held by the CJI are "information".In view of these provisions. Point No. the Court upheld decision of the CIC concluding that the CJI is a public authority. not the manner in which information is obtained or secured by the authority.
Today. When this muster rolls were studied it came into light that. CBOs working on various human rights issues. Natu Barot of Sabar Ekata Manch contacted.how many officers work on the application and how much time one officer can spend on application and if he is crossing the limit then what action is taken against that officer etc . about how to acquire Muster Roll and Payment Sheets of the works. Janpath has 209 members (133 Organizational and 76 individual members) Apart from these. In Balisana village of its Prantij block. the amount calculated based on the quantum of work is being written in column 7 of the muster Rolls and that which needs to be paid as per minimum wages is being noted in column 10. These irregularities and violations were brought to the notice of media through press conference. As the result farmer got his money before RTI answer . workers got the payment as low as Rs. Janpath is a friendly and solidarity forum for voluntary organizations. Mr. Sabar Ekata Manch(1)and Janpath(2) did fact-finding survey in Prantij block and where in. he was advised to just file an application asking the copy of the muster and payment sheets under RTI. He got the information immediately after filing an application by paying actual photocopy charges. How much maximum time is required or bank can take for clearance of money . There is clear instruction in the printed muster rolls to pay whichever is less from column 7 and column 10. similar situations were found in all the works that were done in February and March after enactment of NREG. Since this information comes under pro-active disclosure category.him a cut (10%) over compensation money . .7 per day for their work. and concern individuals working in different parts of Gujarat on various issues with various approaches but who are basically committed to poor and oppressed ones in the society. we also have close association with almost 360 organizations. Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel for guidance. Village farmer was aware about the RTI so he filled a application against the bank in order to know what is the procedure of clearing the amount .3 to Rs. CASELETS 2: USE OF RTI IN NREGA Sabarkantha district is one among six from Gujarat that are covered under NREGA.
And where quantum of work was more the payment doe is more than the minimum wages. to pay Rs. Soon. he gives all the required information on CD free of cost. The information received was circulated amongst the saltpan . The details asked were: (Name of the patient. janpath1ad1@rediffmail. as per provision of act. The issue was highlighted. Vejalpur road. Jivraj Park. in the last six months from Surendranagar district of Gujarat. type of disease. B-3.janpathnetwork. After thirty days. The payments made afterwards were all done as per minimum wage provision. (This mobile health van are allotted for health check-up for salt pan workers) 2. which screened for the media. follow-up done) 3. rtigujaratpahel@yahoo. treatment given. medicine given. The gaps in the state government scheme for implementation of NREG were submitted to the government. C/o Janpath. from Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch.co. Copy of the muster rolls played key role in effective implementation of NREGA 1 A forum of community based organizations working on Dalit Rights in Sabarkantha district 2 A network of voluntary organization of Gujarat Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel. Copy of the route plan and logbooks of the mobile health Van He didn’t receive the information within thirty days. address. calls up the PIO. PIO apologize to Shailesh for not providing information.pdf. Sahajanand Tower. CASELET 3: HEALTH SERVICES IMPROVED FOR SALT PAN WORKERS Shailesh Patel. PIO also asks Shailesh to help him out in future if needed any guidance. Details of the each of the patient attended by Comprehensive Mobile health Van Unit. thus made him understand about various provisions of the act.com. Shailesh. filed an application of seeking information: 1.net. he receives intimation from the authority. Ph:07926821553/0719. This built pressure on the government.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.A small video film was produced with the help of Janpath.org/nrega_rti.3600 which includes the charge for making data entry of the information and cost of photocopying. learns that PIO have not received any training for the same Shailesh. Ahmedabad –51.
When she asked why should I pay for it? The local leader (contractor) told that municipal corporation has sanctioned only 6 drainage pipelines where all together 18 are needed. One of the women from the locality working as housemaid was suppose to borrow money from landlady at interest rate of 10% per month. CASE STUDY 4 RTI SAVED EXPOSED CORRUPT CONTRACTOR Noorjahan (social activist). Tomorrow. which he refused. for more than 8 to 10 months. Another khalifaappa.000 Rupees!!! CASELET 5: Ashokbhai worked in a nursery run by the forest department for years. As . by then. The record was shown to all the women. The record showed that all the 18 drainage pipelines were sanctioned also 480 ft construction was also sanctioned and they need not pay single rupee of that. But some had already given 1000 Rs. The Comprehensive mobile health van now started visiting the workplaces. Every household need to pay Rs. So the amount came to 60. The Salt-pan workers of Gujarat. residents happily shared that RTI saved that 60. The availability of health check-up and treatment services reduced their expenses on medicines. Their workdays were saved and thus adding to their income. was asked to pay Rs. This helped in making the services more effective and accountable. stays in little Run of Kutch. Noorjahaan next day visited the camp and filed an application under RTI to ask what is the sanctioned budget. which created awareness and local monitoring system. PIO initially refused to take application but then upon pressurizing. All the women came home and spread the news to each household not to pay single rupee to contractor. Department argued in the court that.workers.There is in all 60 households in Noorjahan's locality. called his superior. The worksites are generally 20 to 30 km away form the revenue villages. In the open house session held on 10th of July. Noorjahan along with 25 other local women went to file an application in District Panchayat Office. When he was denied permanency from the department he filed a case in the court. Noorajanhan asked the local leader whether he is going to give her receipt.000/-.1000 towards contribution of putting drainage pipeline in her area in eastern part of ahmedabad. details of the work sanctioned work etc. District Panchayat Officer have called meeting where contractor has been asked to give reasons for asking such money. Agariya Heet Rakshak Manch offered free announcements of the health van visits in their weekly Radio programmes. Ashokbhai has not completed 850 days of continuous work thus cannot be given permanency.1000. had planned to mortgage her ear rings to get Rs. 1000/-.
He gives lectures on RTI in workers meetings. His wife decided not to stay anymore wit him. he will again complaint to the commissioner.10. CASE STUDY 6 Right to information. State information commissioner demanded why this information was not proactively disclosed under section 4(1) of the act. N. Lastly DFO had to give the muster rolls of last 25 years. In the hearing of second appeal Chief Information commissioner Mr. Also. It was struggle of 9 months from the day he applied. He was advice by the mamaletdar to go to fair price shop and get the list. Thus. why the applicant should not be financially compensate for the harassment suffered . Ashokbhai firmly denied and said that if DFO pressurizes him.per the government there was shortage of “HALF DAY” to complete 850 days of work. He volunteers his time for teaching about RTI to workers in trade unions. It was not easy to get it. which was committed for rights of marginalized. Meanwhile District Forest Officer invited Ashokbai to his office to request to withdraw the application from the commission. And show cause as to penalty should not be imposed. a volunteer of Sneha Samudaay in Kutch.000 for not sending Anil for hearing. Act brings accountability in the system Shri Anil Ghoda. Das. Finally anil went to committssioner with a complaint. He has to file firstappeal and then finally second appeal in the commission. living with his three children and aged mother. He stayed at several places in these six days to reach finally to Gandhinagar in the date of hearing. Ashokbhai is again moving to court with all the information for his permanency case and is confident to fight till he gets he get his JOB Ashokbhai now spreads RTI wherever he goes. Appearing state chief commissioner RN Das the Mamlatdar tried to shift the blame to the PDS owners. The old mother use to beg in the village to feed her grandchildren. He knew thatpoorest family should get benefit of Antyoday scheme of the government. Mamlatdar office. Anil was volunteering for an organization called Sneha Samudaay. he demanded for information about the Antodaya Anna Yojana in Rapar town and how much ration has been provided to Antodaya families in the last six months at PIO. Once RTI was in place Ashokbhai asked for all the muster rolls (attendance sheets) of last 25 years from the forest department. 20. once visited a family in Rapar block where in male member of the family has turned blind after earthquake. ordered the PIO of the department to furnish complete information to Ashokbai. R. He also blamed inadequate staff strength in the clerk and deputy Mamlatdar cadre for the failure to reply. Anil was pressurized by fare price shop keepers and mamaletdar for not attending the hearing. This was interim order. His elder son of just 10 yrs age would go for a work to get of Rs. Ashokbhai calculated his days of work he got his “HALF DAY” from the muster rolls. His wife had died in earthquake of 2001. Ashokbhai lost his job and his family got disrupted. After a month he again applied asking why he being not given information. Finally Anil got the letter form commissioner about the hearing. Anil ran away from the house 6 days before the date of the hearing. His parents were given lure of Rs.
by him in making frequent trips to his office as well as in coming all the way from Kutch to Gandhi Nagar for the hearing. fake names were found in the list. Mamlatdars personally visited each family and verified the Antyodaya families he also ordered that eligible poor people should be included in the Antyodaya and BPL list and rich people should be deleted from the list. District supply office in the collectorate. 2005 may . Mamlatdar sealed the five fair price shops in Rapar taluka and the verification process is going on. How to file an RTI Application HOW TO APPLY for RTI Any citizen of India who desires to obtain any information under the Right to Information Act. Panchayat office. Because of this. SCIC ordered to principal secretary food and civil supply and chief secretary Gujarat and consumer affair to ensure that the list of Antodaya and BPL families be displayed and widely publicized in each fair price shop. along with their web side. Because of which Governmet has passed an order to District collector to Mamlatdars of all Taluka of Kutch district ordered to verify the list of Antyodaya families and submit the report within a month.
(Rupees ten only) Mode of payment : By cash against proper receipt or by demand draft/banker's cheque/Indian Postal Order drawn in favour of ‘Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. 10/. Recruitment etc. For inspection of records No fee for the first hour. or is aggrieved by a decision of the PIO. preferably in the application format.per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication The mode of payment of above mentioned additional fees shall be the same as application fee. the applicant shall be informed of the additional fees required to be deposited by him/her for the information sought and information shall be furnished after the deposit of the fee by the Requester.make a request to the Public Information Officer/Assistant Public Information Officer.2/. the fee shall be charged at the following rates:a. 1. At present the application fee. are given as under. which are subject to change from time to time. payable at the local office where the application has been submitted.:a. Additional Fee In case it is decided to provide the information. 2005. . 2. At present. For each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) created or copied Rs. the applicable rates. How To File RTI Application? Step By Step Procedure First of all know “What is RTI (Right To Information)“? RTI – It is an Act passed by the Indian Parliament in year 2005 under which any Indian Citizen has got right to obtain information from any public authority /Organisation about their functioning. must be accompanied by prescribed application fee drawn in favour of Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. For information provided in printed form At the price fixed for such publication or Rs.per page b. Appeal In case the applicant does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub-section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7. for providing the information under sub-section (5) of Section 7.’ payable at local office where the application is submitted. Application Fee The application for obtaining information under sub-section (1) of section 6 of RTI Act. For samples or models Actual cost or price d. an additional fee shall be charged. thereafter Further. as the case may be. Rs. may within thirty days from the expiry of such period from the receipt of such a decision. in writing or through electronic means. 2/. is as under:Application fee : Rs. administration. 50/-(Rupees fifty only) per diskette or floppy b. Persons who belong to BPL category are not required to pay the application fee provided necessary documents in support are produced. 3. In accordance to directives given in the above mentioned Gazette notification dated 16/09/2005. which is subject to change from time to time.5/hr. For information provided in diskette or floppy Rs. for providing the information under sub-section (1) of Section 7. as per the Act. For a copy in larger size paper Actual charge or cost price c. prefer an appeal to the Departmental Appellate Authority .
Here is the step by step systematic procedure to file RTI application correctly to get Information: 1. speed post etc. There is a nominal fee of Rs 10 for filing RTI which can be through Postal Order/ CRF or by Bank Draft. Follow these guidelines: • • • • • • • Use a white sheet of paper to write an application. You may send it by any mean like post.Any Individual can get any information like recruitment process. But don't ask for large information at a go. One needs to preserve the application number and date of filing or photocopies for future reference. there is no need to mention your ‘ post/designation ‘ as any citizen has the right to information . For example. it should be Accounts Officer. One may ask as many short questions that he / she may like to. 6. but not by courier. There is a formal way to get information through RTI. There is no compulsion of typing the content Make sure the application is legible and easy to read While asking for information there is no restriction on number of pages There is no restriction on number of questions that can be asked in one application. You must sign the application form. or typed. if RTI for SBI Bank. However. In the application always write your name and put your signature. it is advisable to ask with limited set of questions and only related questions with one application. results or about admission procedure through RTI. Write an application starting with “Request for Information under Right To Information (RTI) Act. 4. 2005”. 2. The matter can be hand written. or the Court stamp paper. How to write an application? While filing an RTI application. SBI payable at location of concerned department of PIO. Mention your query point wise. 3. A slight misunderstanding or vague questions gives the PIO a chance to reject your application. Finally Acknowledgement: All RTI applications have to be answered in 30 days by respected PIO or Organization. the framing of the questions is very important. 5. There is no need to using Note-sheet. First you need to get the Information about the concerned public authority who is known as PIO (Public Information Officer). If you do not get details of PIO at their website or PORTAL just visit the nearest office of the relevant organization or public authority and get the address of PIO. It should be in favor of Accounts Officer of particular organization. every organization has a PIO and their address can be found on their website.
you do not need to write the reason for asking the information Mention the payment details like BC/DD/IPO number. The amount of fees and the mode of payment vary from state to state and you should check the correct rules as applicable in your case. it is better to ask it in the form of CD to save on cost Remember that. Are their separate rules and charges for application process in different states? • • • • Public Authorities under the centre.. You are required to deposit fee in that account. issuing bank/post office. towards the end of your application To whom should the application be addressed ? • • • • Write the details of Public Information officer. name. cash receipt details etc. states. questions like ‘why you failed to pass the bill?’ is liable to be rejected • • • • Ask for reasons behind an "administrative" or a "quasi-judicial" decision under Section 4(1)(d). you can address your RTI application to the Public Information Officer. The Head of Department will have to forward your application to the concerned Public Information Officer. For this – • . address etc. or a new person is designated in his place. o One may deposit his/her application fee via: In person by paying cash [remember to take your receipt] By Post through: • o o o o Demand Draft/Bankers Cheque Indian Postal Order Money orders (only in some states) Affixing Court fee Stamp (only in some states) • Some state governments have prescribed some head of account. legislatures and Supreme/High courts have framed separate rules for RTI. C/o Head of Department and send it to the concerned Public Authority with the requisite application fee. as there is every chance that he might get transferred. as it is liable to be rejected for not being covered under RTI For example.• Never ask a direct question beginning with ‘ Why’. Do not mention the specific name of the Public Information Officer on your application form. In case you have problems locating your Public Information Officer/Assistant Public Information Officer. date. especially if you are a "affected person" If the information sought is voluminous. whom you want to apply to.
index and chronological order of progress. He can take a further 15 days (total 45 days). provided he gives the reasons for the delay in writing The First Appellate Authority can give either a "spoken" order or a written order How to File a Second Appeal under RTI? • Fill your appeal form (given below). designation and address of first appellate authority from the decision letter of CPIO. DoPT have recently clarified that BC/DD/IPO can be in favour of "Accounts Officer". mention it at the end of your appeal No fee is prescribed for first appeal for Public Authorities under the Central Government Some States have a prescribed fee and a specified format for First Appeal All photocopies of enclosures mentioned in the appeal should be self-attested by the applicant under the word ‘Attested’ and full signature Retain one set of appeal and postal receipt and AD receipt You can deliver personally also. If no reply is received. if you are not in a position to locate details of First Appellate Authority. –OrYou can also send a postal order or a DD drawn in favour of that account along with your RTI application. visit the web-site of the government department / office / undertaking and refer RTI icon for these details Despite above efforts. • For Public Authorities under Central RTI rules.o o You can either go to any branch of SBI and deposit cash in that account and attach deposit receipt with your RTI application. then first appeal has to be filed within 30 days from the date when reply was due from CPIO Find out name. but mailing by registered ad/speed post is preferable. . How to write First Appeal under RTI? Please follow these guidelines while filing 1st Appeal under Right to Information Act 2005: • • • • • First appeal has to be filed within 30 days from date of receipt of decision of CPIO by the applicant with First Appellate Authority (FAA) If no reply is received within 30 days (35 days if application is lodged with ACPIO) from the date of receipt by CPIO (ACPIO). address your first appeal as under: First Appellate Head Authority of under RTI Act 2005 The C/O _______________Department/office (Also mention address of Chief Public Information Officer department/office) • • • • • • • • If you want to be present during the first appeal hearing. Couriers should be avoided FAA has to decide on the appeal within 30 days from the date of receipt of first appeal.
Services are generally free o APPLICATION FORMAT FOR INFORMATION UNDER RTI ACT 2005 . • • You may send a copy by speed post only second appeal/complaint [without enclosures] with a request to trace the same at Chief Information Commission. August Kranti Bhavan. NEW DELHI 110066 Avoid courier services Retain one set for your record for reference. cut words “second appeal/appellant”. If complaint is being filed. index and chronology chart [all five sets] Self attest all the photocopies by signing under the word “Attested” Send one set by speed/registered/UPC post to each of Chief Public Information Officer and First Appellate Authority and attach photocopy of proof of mailing to the original. extra copy of second appeal/complaint and your copy after filling details in index/chronology chart Mail original set and one extra copy of set by registered AD to the commission at the following address: The Registrar. Photocopy of registered post receipt may also be mailed to CIC You can also consult local NGO/RTI activist for filing first or second appeal to have better result. with proof of mailing and AD received from Chief Information Commission/ Chief Public Information Officer/ First Appellate Authority for having received second appeal/complaint If postal AD card is not received or acknowledgement letter is not received from Chief Information Commission within 15 days of mailing. CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION II floor. Get one photocopy of: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Original application under RTI with its enclosures First appeal with its enclosures Bank demand draft/pay slip/postal order/cash receipt used for paying filing fee of Rs. This is one original set of second appeal/complaint Prepare additional four sets as above by photocopying Sign each page of appeal.10/and other charges Copy of demand letter of CPIO for charges if any Postal proof of mailing original application and first appeal Postal AD slips/official acknowledgement received from Chief Public Information Officer and First Appellate Authority Decisions of Chief Public Information Officer and First Appellate Authority if received Arrange all papers as per index and then serially number all papers on right hand side top corner.• • If you are filing appeal remove ‘complaint/complainant’ words. Get it typed in double space. Bhikaji Kama Place.
softcopy. Office ________ Res. Telephone No. if required. Whether belong to BPL category (if yes.per page for A-4 size paper created or copied. etc. please attach a copy of the BPL/Antyodaya ration card (please tick) Yes ___No____ to claim waiver of the application fee) 6. inspection. indicating specific details of information required and the preferred medium i. The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.2/. photocopy. Complete address _____________________________ _____________________________ Pin code_____________________________ 4.e. Father’s/Husband Name (in capital letters) _______________________________ 3.Particulars of information required (please enclose separate sheet. Date Name of the issuing Bank/Authority Amount (Rs. Details of Application Fee/Addl. Public Information Officer Rural Electrification Corporation Limited _________________________________ _________________________________ 1. DD/BC/IPO to be drawn in favour of ‘Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. Fee:(Application Fee . by Cash. Full Name of the Applicant (in capital letters) _______________________________ 2. Addl.Rs.) 7.) _____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ DECLARATION I state that the information sought does not fall within the restriction contained in Section 8 & 9 of the RTI Act and to the best of my knowledge it pertains to your office.To The Public Information Officer/ Asstt. • .____________ Mobile ______________ 5.’ payable at the office where application is submitted) Cash Receipt/ DD/Bankers cheque / IPO No.@Rs. Fee . Place:_________ Date :___________ Who • • • can get information under Right to Information Act? Any citizen of India can get information under these RTI. OCI's (Overseas Citizens of India) and PIO's (Persons of Indian Origin) cardholders can also get information under this Act.10/-.
Ques 1:Our right to appeal for right to information Ans : First Appeal . either by the Public Information Officer or by the inward department Registered Post Acknowledgement Due (AD): The AD card will act as proof of submission. It must clearly state the name & complete postal address of the applicant along with the nature of information sought. private courier companies. since these will not provide you with a confirmed proof of delivery Frequently Asked Questions On How to file an RTI?. payable either in cash. after the postal department returns it to you. signed and dated. Application may be made either in Hindi.indiapost. OCI's and PIO's who are staying out of India. How to submit a RTI Application? To ensure that you your RTI application has been received by the Public Information Officer.aspx and keep a print out of the delivery status carefully with you Do not use ordinary post. or in his absence to the ‘Central Public Information Officer’. the RTI Application can be filed with the PIO of the local Indian Embassy / Consulate / High Commission who will inform the applicant regarding the amount of application fee in local currency as well as the mode of payment. English or any regional language of the area and delivered either via post or personally at the office of the concerned PIO. by hand: Please ensure that you get your copy of the application and proof of payment duly stamped. Ques 1:What is the procedure to file an RTI? To whom should it be addressed? Ans: Every government department or Public Authority has a designated ‘Public Information Officer’ (PIO) who is responsible to supply information for his concerned department. 10 (Ten Rupees) is charged per RTI application. A nominal fee of Rs. through DD or cheque or postal order to the Accounts Officer of concerned department. In case the AD card does not come back with a proper stamp.in/Speednew/track.o For citizens. • • • • An RTI application can be made on plain paper in writing or through E-mail addressed to the concerned PIO. and to enable you to have a proof of submission.gov. follow up with the dispatching post office to get the AD card completed Speed Post (A postal department service): Once the application is sent by Speed Post. The following are the tested methods to submit a RTI application: • • • • Personally. signature and date of receipt. etc. track it on http://www.
Second Appeal If the Appellate Authority fails to pass an order on the First Appeal within the prescribed time of 30 days. http://gauravdocumentation. decision of first appeal and any other document which is important to the appeal. or if the RTI applicant is not satisfied with the decision of the Appellate Authority.html http://www. >> The First Appellate Authority is bound to dispose off the appeal within 30 days or in exceptional cases within 45 days from the receipt of the appeal. You need to apply to Central Information Commission with the details of rti application no. The procedure of Second Appeal is also very simple. you are then entitled to prefer a Second Appeal before the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) within 90 (ninety) days from the date of the decision or when it should have been made.in/india/sitemap-1/right-to-information/right-to-information/process-to-getinformation-under-rti-act/view?set_language=en Roles Played by Stakeholder to improve the governance procedure: Roles Played by Stakeholder to improve the governance procedure: . If the RTI Applicant is not satisfied with the reply given to him >> The First Appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date of receipt of reply or from the date of expiry of such day when the reply from the PIO should have reached the RTI applicant.com/rti-manual. and date and details of PIO including the copies of RTI application. first appeal. Complaint to CIC One may also make a complaint to Central Information Commission in certain cases when you are unable to submit an RTI Application or when information has been refused or false misleading information has been provided or you have been asked to pay certain amount which is not required to be deposited. • • • If the concerned Public Information Officer (PIO) has not replied within the prescribed period of 30 days (in general case) or within 48 hours (in an urgent request case) from the time of receipt of such application If the concerned PIO has rejected or refused to Reply to the RTI Application.indg.An RTI applicant has the right to prefer a First Appeal in the following cases. it is deemed refusal. reply of PIO. In Case the PIO does not reply within the stipulated period of 30 days or extended 5 days where application is transferred.
provided that various agencies take up their responsibilities as per the spirit of the Act. However given the geographical size & population. journalists at times have played a dual role – as the users of RTI Act and as watchdogs. PIOs. While there has been no major media campaign for promoting the usage of RTI Act. especially those of the identified Department with maximum public interface Generating awareness among the citizens Establishment of institutional mechanism/processes for enhanced citizen Government interface and for addressing citizens’ views and feedback Business Process Re-engineering Expansion of information in public domain Research communications and Advocacy • • . In the context of RTI implementation. State and district level. nonetheless the awareness on the Act has been generated through news articles based on RTI investigation. • Media • Media has played an important role in generating awareness at a mass scale. section 4(1) (b) etc.) Department of Personnel & Training has been made the Nodal Department for the RTI implementation at the Central level. Various media entities have contributed to the mass awareness and bringing in transparency through their websites • • Central Government • • Basic institutional structure/processes has been set up as per the RTI act requirement (like appointment of Information Commissioners. the reach of Civil Society Organizations and social activists is limited. UNDP with DoPT as an implementation partner launched the “Capacity Building for Access to “Information” project. Based on the secondary research and discussions with key stakeholders. but most of the execution is to be carried out by the appropriate Governments and Information Commissions. monitoring and scrutinizing the implementation of the Act. The Civil Society Organizations and Media can act as pressure points. • Civil Society Organizations and social activists are enhancing the reach and awareness of RTI among the masses. It is mostly with the support of the social activists and Civil Society Organizations that a person in a village is able to use the RTI Act for ensuring his basic rights.RTI Act has the potential to bring in a socio-economic revolution. the key roles played by various Stake holders are: Civil Society Organizations. A centrally-sponsored scheme for capacity building and awareness generation for effective implementation of the RTI Act has been commissioned in the 11th five year plan. Civil society has also made contribution towards training of PIOs and AAs and made them aware of their roles and responsibilities under the RTI Act. This project aimed at : Capacity building of Government officials at Central.
Requisite changes have been made in the rules for acceptance of the application through this channel. Information Commission “regional offices” in Maharashtra: As per Section 15(7) of the RTI Act. Similarly RTI Helpline in Bangalore is providing RTI information to citizens. Post the enactment of the Central Act. some State Governments have taken innovative initiatives in line with the spirit of the Act. Government of Bihar: Bihar Government has initiated a six seater call centre. where the Government trains the CSOs/NGOs to impart training to citizens on RTI in order to maximize the reach of RTI and ensure that there is local ownership and sustainability Review of Public Authorities by Andhra Pradesh State Information Commission Public hearings at the district headquarters by Kerala State Information Commission The CIC website has a feature for online submission of complaints and second appeals . Delhi (2001). Madhya Pradesh (2003). Assam (2002) and Jammu and Kashmir (2004). Network of practitioners State Government • Various State Governments had already enacted laws for access to information in some form or the other.like –Tamil Nadu (1997). Maharashtra has created 5 offices of the Information Commission in Pune. Maharashtra(2002). Mumbai. the SIC can increase their geographical reach through establishing offices at other places. Karnataka (2000). Amravati and Nagpur to enable citizens to approach the most convenient regional office “Train the Trainer” concept in Assam: Assam has adapted a “Train the Trainers” concept. The key initiatives are: • Jankari Call Centre. Goa (1997).This call centre facilitates a caller in drafting the RTI application and the fee is collected through the phone bill. Aurangabad. Rajasthan(2000).
The expectations/actions required from the appropriate Governments are significant. therefore. since data are lacking to permit methodological rigor of analysis. The assessment of impact is proposed to be made in terms of the stated objectives of the RTI Act. It is stated further more that: 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 . there is still a long way to go to establish transparency and accountability through RTI. in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. it may be worthwhile to analyze some evidences for developing an understanding on how it works and what it does or does not do. However. and (iii) Preliminary research studies and publications of results. (ii) Media reports on the issues pertaining to RTI matters. as under: 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.While the contribution made by the above entities is acknowledged. This report tries to bring out both the aspects in its recommendations HOW RTI HELP IN BETTER GOVERNANACE The RTI Act was implemented in October 2005. mainly those relating to corruption and accountability of public bodies. which are outlined in its preamble. propose to find an answer to the question: whether the objectives of the Act are being realized? It must be admitted that the assessment of the RTI on good governance and development is indeed a daunting task. some clearly articulated in the Act and some are implied. particularly during the course of hearings conducted by the Author in the cases listed before the Commission to resolve the disputes between information seekers and providers. Though a period of three years is too a short period to assess the success of this Act. We. reliance is made on (i) The responses of the RTI requesters and the activists.
Greater Transparency With a view to ensuring maximum disclosure of information regarding government rules. the Act has laid emphasis on good governance. regulations and reports including decision making processes. an era which will bring the common man’s concern to the heart of all processes of governance. on May 11. an era which will eliminate the scourge of corruption. that the citizens. An attempt is therefore made below to examine the extent to which the RTI has been successful in influencing the above factors in the desirable direction. of which the major elements that have been identified are: informed citizenry for encouraging people’s participation in development process. would be able to protect life and liberty as well as secure equity and justice before the law. have the powers to enforce accepted policies. an era which will ensure that benefits of growth flow to all sections of our people. iv) Reduction in corruption in the Government departments. Clearly. therefore. common norms and recognized bench marks.instrumentalities accountable to the governed. iii) Improvement in accountability and performance of the Government. which entails full accountability to stakeholders. while piloting the Bill for its passage by the National Parliament. an era of performance and efficiency. the major objectives of the Act are: i) Greater Transparency in functioning of public authorities. who are partners in development process. an era which will truly fulfill the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic. . And. every public authority is required to `maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under the Act’. It is expected. In addition to the above. armed with information obtained through their exercise of right to know. stated. accountability and reduction in corruption. All these parameters are critical elements of good governance. as under. The public authorities are therefore expected to make proactive disclosures through publication of relevant documents. Thus. including web-based dissemination of information. the Prime Minister of India. transparency. 2005: I believe that the passage of this Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance. ii) Informed citizenry for promotion of partnership between citizens and the Government in decision making process.
is required to “provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to the affected persons”. the right to: (i) Inspection of work. so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information’. The Commission. In addition. records. Of the millions of applications for information. on the grounds of national interest. States and Local Bodies. to facilitate the access to information. to impose penalty and/or to recommend disciplinary action against the information providers. if available. and iv) Obtaining information in electronic form. documents. including Village Councils (Panchayats) have put all the records in public domain. all the public authorities have duly placed the information in public domain and that a citizen has the right to observe as to what is going on inside an organization. And. a citizen has. all the levels of the Government – the Centre. The information seekers and the NGOs have put pressure on the public authorities for promoting the culture of openness in functioning of the Government. personal or third party information or those pertaining to commercial confidence. has the mandate. created conditions for providing information to a requester. u/s 4(1)(d) of the Act. (ii) Taking notes extracts or certified copies of the documents or records. for necessary directions to the parties as per the provisions of the Act. u/s 2 (j) of the Act.Besides. A large number of PIOs have already been fined for violation of the provisions of the Act. . 7 In compliance of the above provisions of the Act. Due to perceived benefits of transparency and accountability. the disclosure of which would affect competitiveness of public authorities. misleading or incorrect. inter-alia. which has. through publications as well as internet in the regional languages. less than 5 per cent have been denied information under various exemption categories. (iii) Taking certified sample of material. There is thus massive use of the right to know. u/s 20(1) of the Act. Thus. u/s 8(1) of the Act. in effect. including internet. In the cases where the information sought for are not provided within the stipulated period of 30 days or the information furnished are incomplete. RTI applications have annually increased by 8 to 10 times. a public authority. the public authorities are also required to provide as much information “suo motu” to the public at regular intervals through various means of communication. a requester is free to file a complaint or appeal before the Information Commission. if held responsible for obstructing the free flow of information. The Commission may also award compensation for any detriment suffered by a requester for seeking information.
information obtained under RTI. The disclosure of information relating to use of funds allocated to poverty alleviation schemes. cabinet papers. the Commission has ordered for providing the details of the decision-making processes. there is greater transparency than ever before in the working of the public bodies. food security for destitute. such as above. which augurs well for a healthy democracy and democratic governance of projects. MLA/MP local area funds. thus. which calls for increasing people’s options for higher earnings. shelter for poor.In effect. the lists of beneficiaries of the Government’s subsidized schemes. and (b) empowerment of local government bodies at village level through the involvement and cooperation with NGOs/self help groups. In a large number of cases. details of performance of elected leaders. selection and promotion of staff. . health insurance scheme for poor. have been used by NGOs and media to create awareness among the masses about the contributions of the political leaders. records of recruitment. The media and civil society have raised development issues. The disclosure of vital information. RTI has instilled a wider sense of ownership in the development activities. documents pertaining to tender processes and procurement procedure. Promotion of Citizen-Government Partnerships The RTI Act provides a framework for promotion of citizen-government partnership in designing and implementation of development programmer for improving quality of life. The principle of partnership is derived from the fact that people are not only the ultimate beneficiaries of development. domestic gas. to assume a central role in design and execution of projects. old age pension. etc. such as. For instance. educational and health facilities. muster rolls under employment guarantee schemes. Besides. The citizens are thus better informed about the performance and contributions of the elected representatives. citizens’ participation has been promoted through (a) access to information and involvement of affected groups/communities in design and implementation of projects. a cleaner environment and a richer cultural life. mainly through NGOs. water and electricity. The stakeholders’ participation leads to better projects and more dynamic development. has thus resulted in checking corrupt practices in delivery of services and ensuring the reach of entitlements to the poor. in respect of utilization of funds allocated under various welfare schemes. have contributed to advocacy in the election campaign to highlight the roles of political leaders in fulfilling their obligations. based on facts about the use of funds as well as the best practices in formulation and implementation of pro-poor schemes. The pro-active disclosure of information has enabled the beneficiaries. food grains supplied through ration shops. Under the RTI regime. access to information has enabled the people to participate in economic and political processes through a dialogue between people and the government officials or public campaign on public policies. better education and health care. which have had desirable impact on the outcome of democratic process. which include ‘file noting. but also the agents of change.
the concerned officials at all levels objectively record the reasons for the observations made by them. due to effective implementation of the flagship programmes for poverty alleviation. with a view to raising the satisfaction level of people. created conducive conditions for every one to have a better understanding of how the government works or how a particular decision was reached. showing the sign of deceleration. Attempts are also made to effectively implement the programmes as the relevant details are proactively disclosed. by whom and with what consequences or outcomes. Even before the enactment of the right to information. it was not possible for an ordinary persons to seek the details of a decision making process. not possible to hold a free and frank discussion on issues of common concern of people or to fix the responsibility for any action. are required to be put in public domain. which was found most often. every public authority is required ‘to provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to the affected persons’ u/s 4(1)(d) of the Act. including file noting. particularly for the poor. For instance. This is corroborated by the fact that rural to urban migration is. In addition. particularly at the States and Village levels. been minimized. mainly because of the absence of the transparency and accountability norms. is over. Greater Accountability The RTI provides people with the mechanism to access information. for the first time. We shall return to this again in the following paragraphs of this paper. including monitoring and evaluation of schemes by affected persons. Until the implementation of the RTI Act. being full aware that the records pertaining to the decision making processes. There is therefore no scope for any arbitrary decision. And. . in effect. of late. due care is taken to formulate a professionally sound policy that meets people’s expectations. poverty alleviation and empowerment programmes were implemented but the achievements were always below the general expectations.Therefore. This has begun to happen with salutary effects on delivery of socio-economic services. the mis-match between the planned targets and actual realization has. as ineffective in terms of its outcome. thus. The information regime has. It was. Also. In effect. which has enabled the people to build their strengths and abilities to realize their socio-economic objectives. the quality of decision making and delivery of services have duly improved. which they can use to hold the government to account or to seek explanation as to why decisions have been taken. Such a chance given to people empowers them to make appropriate choice of leadership and the policies that affect them. are being designed and developed in cooperation and support with the NGOs or affected persons. and infrastructure development. A high degree of participation by the people in realizing the assured entitlements is unprecedented in the economic history of India. almost all the welfare projects. Such an era of darkness in policy planning. therefore.
This is also corroborated by the findings of a national level survey conducted by the Transparency International and the Centre for Media Studies. disclosure of information relating to: i) Attendance of staff in schools has helped in checking teachers’ absenteeism and students’ drop out. The survey has revealed that in the opinions of 40 per cent of respondent (all below the poverty line). which means additional income of Rs. iii) The details of supplies and distribution of food grains through ration shops has assured the reach of entitlements to the beneficiaries. as reflected from substantial reduction in litigation cases in the matter. and vi) Allotment of retail outlets (petrol pumps) and agencies for distribution of LPG gas. resulting in better targeting of services to the poor. there is significant quantitative and qualitative improvement in the delivery of services. including the registered beneficiaries has ensured fair play and objective decisions. domestic gas has reduced black marketing. reduction in corruption due to checks on black -marketing of subsidized goods and services. As a result of increased Government’s accountability in delivery of services.6000 – 8000 per year. such as. of late. rural to urban migration has. decelerated. v) Muster rolls and beneficiary of employment guarantee schemes has exposed corruption and ensured effective delivery of services to the poor who are entitled for wage employment on demand for at least 100 days in a year @ Rs. The disclosure of the list of beneficiaries for income support like wage employment and subsidized food grains and subsidized services like domestic gas has helped in weeding out the fictitious names. corruption and mal-practices in implementation of poverty alleviation programmes have declined due to RTI induced accountability of the Government and its functionaries at various levels. And. Disclosure of information regarding the process of decision making or the . business and commercial matters. For instance. as widely reported in the media.Lack of legal right to know and to scrutinize the public action or to question the authority contributed to inefficiency and corruption resulting in lower outcomes of public activities.60 – 80 per day. RTI route has generally been followed by a large number of people for resolving disputes between the parties on the issues pertaining to the decisions on administrative. iv) The supply and demand for petroleum products. ii) Attendance of doctors and nurses at primary health centers has led to improvement in health care facilities in rural areas. With empowered citizens and free flow of information.
compared to 2. The Courts have also advised the petitioners to obtain information under the RTI before filing the cases before the Courts. ii) The TI-CMS has recently accomplished an all India survey study of the poor below the poverty line. and the promised jobs are not provided to the poor. As a result.grounds for action taken has helped resolve disputes on such issues as claim of refund of taxes paid by the individuals/companies. etc. doctors and nurses do not attend health centres. Since a reply is to be given within thirty days.4 (out of 10) in 2008. because. encourages the government officials to indulge in corrupt practices. It thus shows a strong and positive impact of RTI on transparency and accountability of the Government. the government’s social spending yields no worthwhile benefits. filing of appeals in the Courts has substantially declined. for instance. by the Oil Marketing Companies. Under the RTI regime. as reported. Reduction in Corruption The culture of secrecy. livelihood support is denied. which result in lower investments due to misuse of power and diversion of funds for private purposes. which grant dealerships for distribution of petroleum products through retail outlets and domestic gas agencies. payment of dues of contractors. thus. It creates an environment of distrust between the people and the government. There is thus better understanding of the decision making process and greater accountability of government.5 in 2007. At least 40 per cent of the respondents have reported that corruption has declined. In the process. it perpetuates poverty and harms the poor. As a result. as known. which indicate a decline in corruption to the extent of 15%. which impinge upon the development and jeopardize democratic governance. for instance. there is unprecedented transparency in the working of public departments.99 in 2006. disputes have been resolved faster than never before in the India’s history. due mainly to the implementation of the RTI Act. iii) It has also been observed that wherever NGOs are actively involved in the development activities. ration card holders do not receive subsidized food grains and. This has led to reduction in corruption in the country as evident from the following: i) The Transparency International (TI) has reported that perceived corruption in India has declined. mainly promotion and pension benefits have also been redressed due to openness and promptness in taking action on requests made under the RTI. This is evident from corruption reduction score of 3. the perceived corruption is abysmally low. who are assured of income support. A large number of grievances pertaining to service matters. The views of the poor have been elicited in respect of all the flagship programmes that have been implemented for alleviation of poverty. . settlement of insurance claims. after an initial rise of 3. the teachers do not teach. process of sanction and recovery of loans.
they have the right to access information held by the public bodies. And. Poverty Alleviation . which I have had during the last three years of my experience that I gained as a Central Information Commissioner. Of the various factors attributable to slow progress. through effective delivery of services. People can access information held by the Government to develop an understanding as to how they are affected or how can they benefit from the programmes? While the Government has obligations to function in an open and transparent manner. people have right to observe and scrutinize decision making process. information and knowledge for changing the way they live in. PIOs and the activists has been of immense value in providing desirable inputs and perspectives on RTI and its linkages with the factors that affect the welfare of people. At least. The issue therefore is whether the use of RTI has helped in improving accountability of Government. lack of effective mechanisms for sharing information and knowledge and people’s participation in governance of development projects. is chiefly responsible. who have sought to empower themselves with the ne ideas. the implementation of RTI provides a framework for promoting Citizen-Government participation in development process. The record of long-term performance show that while there has been steady progress in improvement of the major indicators of development. there has been massive use of right to know by the citizens. one third of our people suffer from all forms of deprivations. including the poor. which calls for increasing people’s options for higher earnings. a cleaner environment and a richer cultural life. lack of basis education and health care. The feedback obtained from the appellants. as this approach provides legal guarantee for realizing entitlements and promoting empowerment of people. In this backdrop. Of late.RTI and its Impact on Major Indicators of Development The challenge of development is to improve the quality of life. rights-based approach to development has proved to be very effective in realizing socio-economic goals. inadequate livelihood support. better education and health care. resulting in realization of entitlements of poor. such as. It must be admitted that the observations made herein below are largely based on the direct feel. Since people’s participation in decision making process is essence of democracy. which forms the basis for seeking accountability of the Government. the achievements fall far short of our expectations. while adjudicating on the petitions submitted before me.
And. as discussed below. almost all the poverty alleviation programmes are designed such that a citizen can observe and scrutinize the public activities with a view to providing critical feedback for shaping the policies and programmes that would assure optimum gains to society. the adoption of rights-based approach is significant to weed out corruption and to guarantee the reach of entitlements of poor persons. a mention may be made of the following schemes: i) Implementation of NREGA: With a view to providing work opportunity on demand for at least 100 days in a year and to secure livelihood of people in rural areas. Guarantee of Income and Food Security The Governments – the Centre and States – have launched from time to time a number of schemes for providing wage employment to the poor. In rural areas. to take informed decisions in all matters affecting them so as to secure equity and justice. which resulted in both perpetuation of poverty and unproductive use of resources that were allocated for eradication of poverty.10/. sought to know the details of services assured to them and the reasons as to why the services meant for them are not reaching them.60 – 80 per day wages).for seeking information. are getting increasingly involved in designing and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes. particularly the poor. it was not possible to create conditions for accountability of public servants or authorities. In the RTI regime. annual income of a rural job card holder has thus risen by Rs. They have. The right to work has thus been legally guaranteed and the manner in which entitlement for employment is to be claimed has been clearly articulated. The development of rural infrastructure under the scheme would surely enhance productivity of various activities and augment further opportunities for employment and income. NREGA has been implemented. Accordingly. in general. In view of the above gains. the information is to be furnished within the stipulated period of thirty days. the RTI Act exempts the poor from payment of fees of Rs.000-8000 (100 days x Rs. the rural community in cooperation with . Rural poor have been effectively participating in the programme for not only just to secure income security but also to build rural infrastructure. this share is as high as 37% of the total applicants. In this context. RTI empowers people to seek details about their entitlements and. including rampant corruption. An estimate reveals that at least 20 per cent of the information seekers are those who belong to BPL category. In the absence of right to information. the benefits of which have hardly reached them due to ineffective implementation of programmes. In effect.6. accordingly. the poor persons armed with information through the exercise of right to know. which is in addition to other incomes.RTI is used as a tool for facilitating effective delivery of socio-economic services. In this backdrop. failing which penalty may be imposed. Recognizing the significance of right to know for ensuring free flow of information and good governance. which is critical for raising productivity in the future.
education. information is furnished within 48 hrs as per the provisions of the Act. the destitute are entitled for 10 Kgs of food grains per month free of cost. transport. Those who could not claim for their entitlements of pensions or free food grains. people have access to relevant information. iii) Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS): One of the components of this scheme is to provide nutritional support to children from poor families. All the stakeholders. iv) Grant of Food Security and Pension for the Poor Senior Citizens: With a view to providing income and human security to the poor and destitute. which not only help in reducing nutritional deficiency among the poverty stricken children but also enhance their learning attainments due to adequate intake of balanced diets. ICDS. Through RTI. There are umpteen numbers of instances which demonstrate that the people are accessing the above benefits that have been assured by the Government. etc. all the school children are provided with mid-day meals in schools. payment of wages to the target beneficiaries.the Panchayats (Village Councils) has been effectively participating in changing the landscape of poverty scenario in the country. for different reasons. has helped in containing corruption. Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has been launched to provide basic services. The disclosure of relevant details. above 60 years. and the right to information. teachers and parents.per month has been universalized. which they utilize for improving effectiveness of the scheme. including the NGOs. The RTI . Taking advantage of the transparency norms.500/. water supply and sanitation. etc. The issue of livelihood being important as it affects life and liberty of people. has ensured effective implementation of the scheme to the advantage of the poor children. the scheme improves physical health and learning abilities of children. namely. which has desirable impact on ii) Mid-Day Meals to School Children: As a measure of food security. which are duly built in both the NREGA. citizens ensure effective delivery of services in a time bound manner. utilization of funds. Since there has to be almost total openness in operationalisation of the scheme. The grant of pension of Rs. NREGS and old age pension cover the entire target population. The use of RTI by the target group. in turn. assists in reducing both food poverty as well as dropouts. mainly the students. In effect. there is no reason why the food poverty cannot be annihilated over night. For urban poor. This. mid-day meals. Moreover. which have been rampant among the children from poor families. financial assistance to families with low means of subsistence is provided to all poor persons. ensuring the reach of benefits to the target groups and identification of officials responsible for creating obstruction in effective implementation of programmes. people have sought to know the details of schemes and its relevance to the rural community. and the Government is committed to implement these schemes and is actually doing so. The RTI has thus proved very effective in providing grounds for initiating remedial actions with a view to realizing the objectives of public policies. namely. are able to do so through the use of RTI. health care. are able to observe and monitor the service delivery system. such as muster rolls. The outcome is encouraging as the affected persons are able to get their grievances redressed under the provisions of the RTI Act. Since these schemes.
are able to create effective demand for release of funds. It has thus been possible to curb corruption and plug loopholes in the PDS. In the knowledge economy. education and health services. which. minimize corruption and improve satisfaction level of target groups. and the poor. which. i) Public Distribution System (PDS): The implementation of schemes like Public Distribution System (PDS) has. are provided to the poor in order to alleviate costs burden on them. having known of their entitlements. The identified beneficiaries. till recently. subsidy is provided for housing. sugar. in particular. However. Under the schemes. below 5% for the . by asking this. for construction of houses.the disclosure of which ensures weeding out of fictitious names. And.encourages everyone to ask the Government to explain as to why assured benefits are not 15reaching them. The instrument of RTI has helped in maintaining total transparency in operationalisation of the scheme. As a result. The issue of how to improve the quality of governance at all levels of public administration to curb leakages and plug loop holes has never been effectively addressed. Accordingly. The scheme is fully participatory between the Government and beneficiaries as per the guidelines which are in public domain. which is driven by new ideas and technologies. in effect. thus. such items as food grains. financial support is provided to the rural poor for construction of houses as per their choice of design and requirement. ii) Shelter for the Poor: Housing is recognized as one of the human rights since a shelter is essential asset that improves physical and mental well-being of people. rate lists. The share of educated and vocationally trained labour force in the total manpower is one of the lowest. etc. has improved the delivery of services and. Besides. in general. under the RTI regime. the services meant for the poor are reaching them since the beneficiaries are using RTI to seek such details as the stock of supplies and distribution. reduced incidence of poverty also. in effect. it is not possible to function and expedite the process of national development without enhancing the technical and professional competence of the entire manpower. list of beneficiaries . been adversely affected by unacceptably poor quality of governance at all levels of execution of the scheme. grievances are redressed under the auspices of the Information Commission. resulting in leakages and siphoning of materials to non-poor. which seeks transparency and accountability of public bodies. Delivery of Services under Subsidized Schemes The Governments have launched a number of schemes which make essential services available to the poor at low rates. under Indira Awaas Yojna (IAY). Human Capital: Education and Health Care Education and health care are critical services for empowerment of people. the quality of governance has begun to improve. as discussed above in this paper. kerosene.
norms and guidelines are followed. access to primary health care 17has significantly improved. implementation of mid-day schemes. In effect. however. who are ultimate beneficiaries of the rural health policy. procedure for procurement of medicines. mainly women. etc. with which India has to compete in the global market. the target groups are able to claim for their entitlements. which was. The use of RTI has contributed to improvements in quality and quantity of services under the following flagship programmes. admissions and recruitment processes. including higher education. thus. utilization of funds and process of recruitment of teachers.. namely. in pursuance of the goal of the Mission. there are signs of improvement in the schools’ performance since the parents and the civil society have asked the school authorities to provide explanations in respect of all those activities. have been helpful in improving both internal and external efficiency of education system. quality of education was compromised and there was no check on drop-out or teachers’ absenteeism. But. students’ enrolment and performance. Through the use of RTI. the citizens have raised issues pertaining to management of the schools. The involvement of students and teachers have thus exposed the extent to which relevant policies. norms and guidelines and people’s expectations. attendance of medical staff and number of patients treated. minorities and physically challenged persons. The Government has been providing financial assistance. not possible before the implementation of the Act. the governments have articulated plans for expansion of facilities and improvement of quality of teaching and research. who have raised issues and sought for details relating to the expenditures on various educational activities. including scholarships to the students from deprived groups. SC/ST. mainly the availability of infrastructure support. The participation of deprived groups in the educational processes has thus been encouraged. Through the use of RTI. the progresses made are monitored by the information seekers. In the areas of technical and vocational education. teachers’ attendance. as compared to other countries. has resulted in better management of primary health centres. which. the Governments have committed to provide minimum school infrastructure for universalization of elementary education. The disclosure of such details as stock of medicines and its distribution. Using the tool of RTI. which are contrary to the accepted policies. mainly students or parents. The implementation of relevant policies and programmes in the past has yielded less than desired results due mainly to lack of people’s participation in delivery of services that empower the poor. Thus. The . the citizens have sought for details of primary health services. which is due to the use of RTI by the poor. In the absence of any question asked by the major stakeholders. having a corresponding share of 60 to 80%. ii) National Rural Health Mission: Healthcare services have largely remained on paper due to lack of accountability of staff. under the provisions of the RTI. conduct of examinations including disclosure of answer sheets. in effect.country. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: Under this scheme.
The RTI has thus created effective demand for improvement in quality of services provided by the hospitals. the Government provides financial support to the specified groups of the poor families. . namely. fairness and objectivity in finalization of tenders. choice of technologies. have not only been promoting participatory governance but also putting considerable pressure on the Government for effective implementation of flagship progranmes like Bharat Nirman. Issues relating to efficient management of such enterprises have been raised to seek accountability in terms of the stated objectives. maintenance 18of ecological balance. failing which penal action are initiated against the responsible persons.people’s pressure on improvement in health services in urban areas is even more pronounced as the Government hospitals as well as private hospitals have. banking and insurance services. in public domain has not only checked malpractices in the selection process but also controlled black-marketing of subsidized services. would create conducive conditions for improving quality of life. petrol. the following specific nature of cases may be mentioned: i) Manipulations in tendering processes or outsourcing of various services have been major source of corruption or diversion of funds for private purposes. water and sanitation for rural population. competition strategy. armed with information obtained under the provisions of Act. who are duly aware of their human rights than those in rural areas. In this regard. These include disclosure of details pertaining to costs and pricing policies. become somewhat more responsive to the needs of common man. of late. and (iii) People have sought to know the adherence of environmental norms by the manufacturing companies for checking water and air pollutions. power. the implementation agencies have been called upon to explain the reason for delay or denial of assistance to the poor. kerosene and cooking gas. use of resources. etc. This programme seeks to provide critical infrastructure like rural roads. Whenever there is perceived laxity or delay in extending the benefits to the beneficiaries.. resulting in desirable impact on sustainability of environment. An informed and enlightened citizenry has been able to create conditions for good governance through openness in functioning of public enterprises. etc. in turn. recruitment and promotion of staff. It is expected that the partnership between citizen and the Government would help create solid infrastructure. having been. Scrutiny of the decision making processes have discouraged the Government companies from their indulgence in corrupt practices. of late. which. electricity. Basic Economic Infrastructure An informed citizenry. Over two hundred fifty public enterprises under the Central Sector have been engaged in development of infrastructure as well as various utility services in the areas of transport and communication. iii) Aam Admi Insurance Scheme: Under the insurance scheme and family benefit scheme. (ii) The process of selection and award of retail outlets and domestic gas agencies.
the information seekers have sought for details of utilization of funds earmark for MPs/MLAs local area development so as to seek accountability of elected leaders. mainly women. all the public and private enterprises are required to adhere to specific norms and standards so as to ensure sustainability of environment. The NGOs and affected persons have made use of RTI as a tool to monitor the standards for environmental protection. In almost every policy and scheme for promotion of welfare and empowerment of deprived groups. Empowerment of Weaker Sections The development initiatives have duly laid emphasis on protection of vulnerable sections of the society. particularly the regulatory bodies. etc. and sought to know whether the prescribed standards for protection of environment are adhered to. SC/ST. if any. who seek accountability of service providers and the concerned departments. (c) Adherence to the norms and standards prescribed by the regulatory bodies. As the polluter has to pay for the damages. minorities and disabled persons. armed with information. have also been raised. and (d) Exposure and identification of officials who are responsible of violation of environmental norms. In carrying out their obligations. Environmental Protection A clean environment is closely associated with issues of human rights. scholarships. Finally. Having known the entitlements for reservations in employment and admissions in educational institutions. there are relevant components that assure the reach of specified benefits through the policy of preferential treatments and positive discrimination. have questioned the polluting units. The activities . The deficiencies in implementation of policies.A large number of public enterprises under the States’ sector have similarly been called upon to improve their performance and show results in terms of their accepted corporate social responsibilities. health insurance. The citizens. There are umpteen numbers of cases pertaining to human rights issues that have been raised by the affected persons and groups. the use of RTI has been effective in ensuring environmental sustainability. which provide necessary feedback for formulating sound policies for empowerment of weaker sections. old age pensions. the citizens have begun to effectively realize the entitlements through the use of RTI. (b) Stoppage of projects having adverse impact on environment. RTI induced people’s pressure on the public authorities has led to: (a) Closure of certain polluting units..
RTI has empowered people to 19take charge of development of the areas where they live in. effectively realize their entitlements through the exercise of their legal rights for access to essential services including protection of human rights that are critical for maintaining a decent standard of life. . thus. In effect. thus. which has begun to show positive sign for democratic governance of projects and efficient utilization of funds.and performance of people’s representatives. And. in matters of the development of local areas are considerably exposed. The relevant information is used for the purpose of political campaign to influence the outcome of election results in favor of honest and competent leaders.
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