Indian Right To Information Act RTI

Published: 09th September 2011
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ABSTRACT



"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles by it." Information as a term has been derived from the latin words "formation" and "forma" which means giving shape to something and forming a pattern respectively.



The Right to Information Act 2005 is unique and one of its kind. The main aim of its enactment was to maintain transparency between the government working and the public who are the beneficiaries. It has been enacted for the convenience of the citizens of the country.



India is a democratic nation. Democracy revolves around the basic idea of citizens being at the centre of governance.



If we do not have information on how are governments and public institutions are functioning, we cannot express any informed opinion on it. It thus clearly flows from this that citizen’s right to know is of apex importance.



INTRODUCTION



Right to information is a fundamental right and guaranteed as per Article 19 and 21 of the constitution of India. The Right to Information Act,2005 is a law enacted by parliament of India giving citizens of India access to records of the Central and State governments.



The Act applies to all States and Union territories of India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.



Under the provisions of this Act, any citizen (including the citizen of J & K) may request information from a public authority (a body of Government or instrumentality of State) which is required to reply expeditiously or within 3o days.



The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens require minimum recourse to request for information formally.



HISTORICAL BACKGROUND



Before the enactment of Right to Information Act, the RTI laws were already into play.



The RTI laws were successfully enacted by the State Governments-Tamil Nadu (1997), Goa (1997), Rajasthan (2000), Karnataka (2000), Delhi (2001), Maharashtra (2002), Madhya Pradesh (2003) and Jammu and Kashmir (2004).

The Delhi and J & K enactments are still into force.



The first draft of right to information bill was presented to Parliament on 22nd December, 2004.

It came into full effect on 12th October, 2005.

It is applicable to all constitutional authorities including the executive, legislature and judiciary, any institution or body established or constituted by an act of Parliament or State legislature.



SAILENT FEATURES OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT



1. RTI empowers every citizen to:



a) Ask any question from the government or seek any information.

b) Take copies of any government document and inspect any document.

c) Inspect any government works.

d) Take samples of material of any government work.



2. One can seek information from any department of the central and state government, from panchayati raj institutions, and from any other institutions that is under the control of central or State government.



3. In each department at least one officer is designated as public information officer (PIO).He or she accepts the request forms and provides information sought by people.



4. In each sub-district/divisional level there are assistant public information officers (APIOs).



5. Any person seeking information should file an application in writing or through electronic means in Hindi or English along with applicable fees with the PIO or APIO.



HOW TO USE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT:



The full Act in Hindi and English is available on the website of Department of Personnel and Training- www.persmin.nic.in

The applications under the Act have to be filed with the PIOs & APIOs.



A person seeking information shall submit the application with the PIO or the APIO of the concerned department.

In case of Central government departments, 629 post offices have been designated as APIOs. This means that one can go to any of these post offices and submit your fees and application at the RTI counter in the post offices. They will issue you a receipt and acknowledgement and it is the responsibility of that post office to deliver it to the right PIO.



FORMAT OF APPLICATION FOR SEEKING INFORMATION

UNDER THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT-2005

Application ID No. : IITR/MS/RTI-

(For official use)

To

----------------------------------------------

The Public Information Officer/ Asstt. Public Information Officer,

Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee



1. Name of the Applicant: ___________________________________



2. Address ___________________________________

___________________________________



3. Particulars of information

(a) Concerned Office/Department :____________________________

(b) Particulars of information required _________________________

(i) Details of information required : _________________________

(ii) Period for which information asked for: _________________

(iii) Other details _________________________________________



4. Format in which information is required:



5. Mode of delivery expected (ordinary post, speed post, by courier, by hand, through internet or e-mail, by fax etc.). Additional fee may be charged to cover the cost of delivery.



6. The information can be furnished within 30 days as prescribed under Section 6 (1)/ the information sought for concerns my life and liberty, therefore the information may be furnished to me within 48 hours (Please delete the inapplicable portion).



7. Without prejudice to my rights under the RTI Act 2005, to facilitate faster retrieval of information, I would like to state that the information could be available in………………………(please indicate the name of concerned Office/Department of the Institute).



8. I state that the information sought does not fall within the restrictions contained in section 8 and 9 of the Act and to the best of my knowledge it pertains to your office.



9. I also state that I am a citizen of India and I am eligible to seek information under the Right to Information Act 2005.



10. (i) A fee of Rs.__________________ has been deposited in the Finance & Accounts Office of the Institute vide Receipt

No.________________ dated_______________, or

(ii) A Postal Order/Bank Draft No. _________________ dated _____________ is enclosed, or

(iii) The applicant is not liable to pay any fee because he/she is below the poverty line (proof is attached).

(Please tick one and delete the remaining two options)

Place:

Date:

(Name & Signature)

Postal Address: ____________________

____________________

____________________

E-mail address: ____________________

Tel No.____________________



CONCLUSION



The main long term aim of the Right to Information Act is to curb corruption. The Act gives power to an individual citizen to inspect government work or take samples of government work material.



It empowers a citizen to deal a severe blow to corrupt practices by unscrupulous officials.



A person can inspect an old work (which has been completed) or an ongoing work. Inspection of an old work may expose past corruption practices and inspection of current work may prevent any ongoing corruption practices.



Most of the corruption takes place in records. Initially it was very difficult for a citizen to get information regarding records but now due to the RTI Act this problem has been done away with. The only required action now to be taken is by the citizens, to get aware of their rights under the Act and implement the rights given to them.



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