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RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT

Presented By

Presentation Flow
Chronology of the RTI Act & International Scenario The RTI Act, 2005 & its Scope Process of filing an RTI & Timeplan Cases, Exemptions & Penalties Problems and Possible Strategies Media & RTI Initiatives & General Awareness

Need For an RTI Act


Mahatma Gandhis vision of Real Swaraj Provision in the Constitution of India Enforcement of Right to information Time-Bound and Defined Process to Access Information

Chronology of RTI
FOI Law first enacted, Sweden, 1766 Raj Narain vs. State of UP, India, 1976 Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) movement in Rajasthan, India, 1990 Freedom of Information Act, India, 2002 Right to Information Act, India, 2005

International Scenario
Commonly known as right to information to public bodies 13 countries in 1990 70 countries by 2009 Under active consideration in 20-30 nations Access to Information Act, Canada

Federal Transparency and access to Information law, Mexico

Status in India prior to RTI Act

Right To Information Act, 2005


RTI Act - 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, in order to promote Transparency and Accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Scope of RTI Act


Whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir Bodies constituted under the Constitution or any law or any Government notification Bodies owned, controlled or financed substantially by Government.

Non-govt. organizations substantially financed by the government directly or indirectly

Public Information Officer (PIO)


As and when an RTI Bill is action in a State PIOs Designated in each Public Authority at Administration Levels Assistant PIOs - Designated at Sub-Divisional or SubDistrict Levels

Duties of a PIO
Accept applications for information Give information in the format requested within the time limit Transfer Application to Correct PIO within 5 days Inform citizen in writing if application was transferred Refuse or Grant Disclosure

Process For Filing RTI


Application may be in writing / electronic means English / Hindi or official language of area to be used No specific application format necessary Application may be sent by registered post /courier Meager Application Fee Apply to the Public Information Officer (PIO)

Time-limit for Receiving Information


30 days if application is filed with PIO 35 days if application is filed with Assistant PIO 35 Days if Application Transfer was involved 48 hours if information affects life and liberty of individual

40 days if interests of third party are involved

Appeal Mechanism
First Appeal to be made to Appellate authority Appeal to be made within 30 days Decision has to be given in next 30 days

Second Appeal to be made to CIC


Second appeal to be made within 90 days

Second Appeal leads to penalization of the PIOs

Penalties
Non-Performance of Officer Delay in providing information Providing incomplete or false information Rejecting application for malafide reasons The CIC imposes penalty of Rs 250 per day Maximum penalty is Rs 25,000

Partial Disclosure
In case of providing partial access to information: Reasons Names of PIOs who took the decision If third party treats information as confidential, then Give a written notice to the third party Third party gets 10 days to make a representation

Instances where RTI can be used


Seek information on certain Government activities Reasons for certain Government decisions Seek information to prevent wrongdoings Suggest improvements once you have the information When bribes are sought from you Your complaints or FIR go unheeded

Cases Exempt from Disclosure


Sovereignty, Integrity, Security of India in danger Forbidden by any court of law Received in confidence from Foreign Government Invasion of Individual Privacy Life of a person is put in danger Cabinet Papers

Power of RTI Act


Facilitates information on Government actions Helps preserve democratic ideals

Helps contain Corruption


Holds government accountable Harmonizes conflicting public interests

Growing Importance of RTI

Perceived Problems & Possible Strategies


Perceived Problems Frivolous applications Voluminous information Long process Bureaucracy Fears
Strategies Generate Mass Concern Digitalize the system

Actual Problems
Government records are not in proper shape
Pending cases at the Second appeal stage Mismanagement of the Application filed Indian missions abroad

Media and RTI


Giving voice to the citizens Narrowing the democratic deficit Encourage debate and discourse among stakeholders

Supplementing development activities in the context of RTI Catalyzing effective implementation of the Act

Obstacles Faced by Media


Institutions and processes are inadequate Skewed Information flow within Government

Bureaucratic delays in providing information


Largely illiterate population

Awareness
Several laws passed, but how many are aware? If aware, are we really using it? Implications of unawareness among the masses.

What can be done to make people aware?


How can the NGOs and private companies contribute?

Initiatives
Initiatives by RTI activists & Government Initiatives by NGOs & Private Companies

Initiatives by the media viz. TV, Radio and Print Initiatives by the movie world

Outcomes
Are always positive or negative Recognition of eminent RTI activist Victimization of whistle blowers Only 13% Rural and 33% Urban population aware

RTI Success Stories


To Pull up Fair Price Shops in Kalol, Gujarat Rajasthan villagers use RTI to end woes

Official fined Rs. 40,000 by CIC, Chattisgarh


RTI revives Panchayat Social Justice Committees in Gujarat Citizen uses RTI to get elusive pension

THANK YOU

Your RIGHT TO INFORMATION


Questions Invited !!