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Provisions of RTI Act, 2005

1. Every public authority has to provide to the citizen the right to


information within a prescribed time limit. Public Authorities has been
ascertained by the Act itself, which includes the office of the President,
Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, the Parliament,
State Legislatures, the Supreme Court, High Courts, constitutional
bodies such as CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General), Election
Commission etc. It also includes all the departments, Ministries, Boards,
PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings), Agencies of Central Government,
State Governments & Local Governments.

2. It is mandatory for a public authority to create a separate office called


as PIO (Public Information Officer), with an objective to provide
information within a prescribed time limit of 30 days. If the information
is related to life and personal liberty than the information should be
provided within 48 hours.

3. If any citizen is not satisfied with the content, context or subject


matter of any information or the information is not provided within a
prescribed time limit of 30 days than an appeal can be filled before 1st
level Appellate Authority (i.e. the Joint Secretary of the respective
department) and against the adjudication of 1st level Appellate Authority
the appeal can be filed before the 2nd Appellate Authority (i.e. CIC-
Central Information Committee & SIC- State Information Committee).

4. This Act also prescribes/describes the term Information in a


comprehensive manner. Information means any material in any form
including records, documents, e-mails, opinions, advices, orders, law
books, contracts, samples etc.
5. RTI Act also determines some exceptions under which the public
authorities have no obligation to give any official information to any
citizen. These exceptions are as follows:-

a. Information relating to integrity, security, sovereignty and strategic,


economic & scientific interest if the State.
b. Information which has been expressly restricted by any court of law
to be published.
c. If disclosure will cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or State
Legislature.
d. Information including IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) & trade
secrets.
e. Information received in confidence from any foreign government.
f. Information the disclosure of which would endanger the life or
physical safety of any person.
g. Information related to the process of investigation and prosecution.
h. Cabinet papers including records of deliberation of Council of
Ministers and other high level officials.
i. Personal information, disclosure of which has no relationship with nay
public activity or interest.

Recently a study was performed by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers - a


multinational professional services firm) to identify issues and
constraints in the implementation of the Act. According to the study
main emphasis needed to be given to the Supply Side Issues & the
Demand Side Issues. The Supply Side Issues listed by PWC were as
follows:-

1. Purpose Clause: Under RTI Act it is being provided that without any
purpose, qualification or objective a citizen can take any information
from a public authority. Apart from this free of cost information is
provided to persons who are Below Poverty Line. According to PWC
survey because of both these clauses government spend approximately
Rs 10,000 in the disposal of one case and on an average Rs 25,000
petitions are filed in different PIOs working at different levels of
government.

2. 30 Days Clause: This clause does not include administrative


exceptions such as public holidays, staff leave and administrative
assignments like election, census, disaster management etc. Situation
becomes much more impractical when information is as old as 20 years.

3. Appeal & Complaint Clause: It has been observed that citizen


groups & media are directly filing complaints in spite of appeal, it leads
to extraneous pressure on public functionaries and affect the motivation
of public servant and motive of this Act.

4. Any PIO Clause: Under this clause a citizen can ask any information
from any PIO whether the PIO is possessor of that information or not. In
the disposal of such cases lots of time and energy is wasted due to
administrative hierarchy. Situations becomes much more difficult when
30 Days Clause is enforced with Any PIO Clause.

The Demand Side Issues can be listed as follows:-

1. Language Clause: Under this clause the PIO should provide


information to the appellant in administrative language. It should be
noted that administrative language has its own terminology,
abbreviations and complexity which is not possible for a citizen to
understand.

2. Designation Clause: It has been observed that the designation of the


PIO and public authority of similar types of departments is different in
different States. Apart from this the process by which a petition can be
filed and the procedure by which adjudication is done also differ in
different States.

3. Issues related to Legal & Political Rights: In our education system


there is no separate curriculum which makes people aware about their
legal and political rights. Awareness of rights such as Environment
Protection Act, Forest Conservation Act, Consumer Protection Act,
Domestic Violence Act and RTI Act is required for every citizen to make
the administration or government more accountable and responsible.

In India we don't have any academic framework to make people aware


of the government's initiatives.

The Right to Information Act, 2005, is now available in a digitally


readable format on your Android devices >> Go to play.google.com to
download