Equal rights for all citizens, freedom of expression, a fair trial, and
tolerance of minority viewpoints are all essential elements of a democratic
government. Similarly, because the government represents the interests of its
citizens, it is necessary for the government or its officials to openly express
their views in front of the public.
Transparency in government operations is required, and the free flow of
information is essential for raising public knowledge of citizens' rights in a
democratic society. As a result, the right to information, which is a component
of freedom of speech and expression, is critical for maintaining good governance
openness and accountability.
The Indian Parliament passed the "Freedom of Information Act, 2002
enhance openness and accountability in government. This Act was later abolished
by the new statute, "the Right to Information Act," enacted by the Indian
Parliament. Parliament enacted the Right to Information Act on June 15, 2005,
and it went into effect on October 12, 2005.
Under the new law, Indian individuals have the right to request any publicly
available information from a government agency, making the government and its
employees more accountable and responsible. This page is intended to help
laypeople understand RTI and how to register a request for any information from
a government agency.
Any democratic government's right to information is like a protective shield.
This right is required for the democratic machinery to work properly. The right
to information is inextricably linked to the freedom of speech and expression
enshrined in Article 19(1) (A) of the constitution, which is often regarded as
the most basic requirement of liberty.
Every person has the right to access information of public interest that is
under the custody of public authorities in order to guarantee openness,
accountability, and participation of the common man in government. Human people
require information in order to reach their full social, political, and economic
It comprises a wide range of knowledge on a variety of topics and involves a
variety of players, ranging from the market to the government. It is the key
that aids in decision-making. It is also a public resource that the government
collects and holds in trust for the people.
Access to information at all levels for the general public, without
discrimination, is necessary for a healthy democracy. Our constitution grants us
freedom of speech and expression under article 19(1)(a). The Right to
Information Act of 2005 was designed to satisfy the right to know and the right
to acquire information from public bodies. It is possible to ensure good
governance and get our rights by exercising this right.
Objective Of The Act
- To provide citizens with a legal framework for accessing information.
- To encourage public authorities to be more accountable, hence
- To reconcile competing interests and prioritise government operations
and resource allocation.
- To keep democracy's values alive.
Significance Of The Act
- The RTI Act of 2005 permits citizens to inquire about government secrecy
and misuse of authority
- Access to such material is offered by information commissioners at the
federal and state levels.
- RTI information can be considered a public benefit since it is relevant
to citizens' interests and is a necessary component of an open and dynamic
- The information gained is helpful not just for holding the government
responsible, but also for other objectives that benefit society as a whole.
- The RTI Act receives over six million applications each year, making it
the most widely utilised sunshine law in the world.
- These requests for information cover a wide variety of topics, from
holding the government accountable for the delivery of basic rights and
benefits to questioning the country's highest positions.
- People have used the RTI Act to get information that governments do not
want to release because it may expose corruption, human rights breaches, and
- Access to information regarding government policies, choices, and
actions that influence individuals' lives is a tool for ensuring
- In many decisions, the Supreme Court has found that the right to
information is a basic right arising from Articles 19 and 21 of the
Constitution, which protect citizens' freedom of speech and expression and
their right to life, respectively.
About The RTI Act
The Act is divided into six chapters and two schedules.
- Chapter I : Deals with preliminary aspects, definitions, scope and
extent of the Act.
- Chapter II : Deals with the right to information and obligations of
- Chapters III & IV: Deals with constitution of the Central Information
Commission and the State Information Commission.
- Chapter V : Deals with appeals and penalties.
- Chapter VI : Deals with Miscellaneous aspects.
Meaning Of Information And Right To Information
As per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005, 'Information' comprises all electronic
records, documents, memoranda, e-mails, views, advice, press releases,
circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, and
data material. It also includes information about any private body that can be
obtained by the government under any law now in effect.
Section 2(j) of the RTI Act defines "right to information," which means the
right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the
control of any public authority.
Public Authority Under RTI Act
Public Authority is defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. It states that
any authority or body or institution of self-government which is established or
- by or under the Constitution
- by any other law made by Parliament;
- by any other law made by the State legislature;
- by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government;
and includes any:
- body owned, controlled, or substantially financed;
- non-governmental organizations substantially financed, directly or
indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government.
Constitution Of Central And State Information Commissions
The Act calls for the establishment of both national and state information
commissions (Sec. 12 & Sec. 15). The Central Information Commission will be led
by a Chief Information Commissioner and staffed by as many Central Information
Commissioners as the President of India appoints. Similarly, the State
Information Commission will be led by a State Chief Information Commissioner,
with the Governor appointing a number of State Information Commissioners.
Powers Of The Commission
The Information Commission is required by the Act to receive and investigate
complaints from anyone:
While an Information Commission is inquiring into any matter, it shall
have the same powers as are vested in a civil court while trying a suit in the
- Who has been unable to submit a request for information to a public
authority because a PIO has not been appointed;
- who has been denied access to information;
- who has not received a response to his application for information
within the time frame specified by the Act;
- who believes the fee charged by the public authority to divulge
information is unreasonable;
- who believes he has been given incomplete, misleading, or false
information under the Act.
- Issuing witness summons;
- requiring discovery and examination of documents;
- receiving evidence on affidavits;
- requisitioning any public record or duplicates thereof from any court or
A two-tier appeal mechanism is provided under the Act for persons who do not
receive information from a PIO or who are aggrieved by a decision of the PIO.
A first appeal shall lie to an officer who is senior in rank to the PIO in the
concerned public authority within 30 days from the expiry of the prescribed time
limit or from the receipt of the decision of the PIUO.
An order passed by the first appellate authority is appealable under the Act.
The second appeal shall lie to the Central or the State Information Commission,
as the case may be. The second appeal shall lie within 90 days from the date of
decision of the first Appellate Authority.
Burden of proof:
Sec. 19 (5) provides that in any appeal proceedings, the onus to prove that a
denial of a request for information was justified shall be on the PIO who denied
In the following instances, the Act enables an Information Commission (Section
20) to impose a penalty of Rs.250/- per day (not exceeding Rs.25,000/-) until an
application requesting information is received or such information is accepted:
- Not accepting an information request;
- delaying disclosure of information without justifiable cause;
- malafide denial of information; knowingly providing incomplete,
- incorrect, or misleading information;
- destroying requested information
- Obstructing furnishing of an information in any manner.
By implementing the Right to Information Act, India has gone from an opaque and
arbitrary system of governance to the dawn of a new age of increased
transparency and citizen empowerment, making the citizen the true centre of
power. Any nation can only develop to greatness by empowering regular citizens,
and India has made a tiny but crucial step in that direction by implementing the
Right to Information Act of 2005.