People who live in modern democracies have a right to information about the
activities of their government and the policies that impact their well-being. A
healthy democracy is built on informed citizens who participate in their
government. In a democratic government of the people, by the people, and for the
people, informed citizens are the foundation of a healthy democracy.
who are well-educated and intelligent make substantial contributions to the
preservation of a nation's democratic values. It is commonly recognized that
everyone has the right to information in a democratic society, and it is a
natural right that emerges from the fundamental principle of democracy. It is
impossible to have a democratic government without the concept of
accountability, and one of the most fundamental tenets of accountability is that
the public should be informed about how their government operates.
Following the enactment of a law creating the right to information in India, its
effectiveness can be expanded by good implementation, which would result in
improved public administration for the benefit of the general public.
Every coin has two sides, one helpful and the other not so beneficial but widely
misunderstood. The same goes for the Freedom of Information Act. It's tough to
explain because the law doesn't ask why information is exchanged, how it's used,
or what the aims are. These are basic questions that everyone asks, but no one
knows the answer to. The goal of gathering information is not simply to spread
information or enlighten the administrative machinery, but also to sabotage a
department or a high-ranking official.
As shown above, the Right to Information Act of 2005 has been exploited. The
State Information Commission was aware of the problem, but no plan exists to
monitor it. According to Bhaskar Patil, the State Material Commissioner in
Nagpur, the information gathered is sometimes misappropriated for suspected
blackmail purposes. No provision for asking for a rationale or justification to
be asked to RTI applicants means that information cannot be withheld.
many times the information sought violated an individual's privacy, he stated
that several faults in the process remain that must be addressed to prevent
entrenched interests from abusing the Act. The identical RTI information on a
ration card retailer has been requested ten times in nine distinct situations.
It's a clear sign that something is wrong. Even hotel owners' information was
gathered. Third parties have a vested interest in such applications. Providing
knowledge is vital because activists can transform it into a public cause. Hotel
owners may say they want to check for any anomalies in the hotel permit process.
Positive Use Of RTI:
The vast majority of applicants who file RTI applications on a regular basis are
referred to by public information officers as blackmailers, harassers, and
persons who abuse the RTI process. Those that filed a large number of RTI
applications would fall into one of the following categories, in my opinion:
- Participants in RTI requests who hoped to expose corruption or
arbitrariness in the government while also improving and correcting the system.
- Those who filed RTI petitions on multiple occasions in order to seek
redress for a perceived wrong that had been done to them. Their major purpose is
to obtain restitution for their own wrongs.
- Those who used the Right to Information Act to extract money from
others. This category is largely concerned with illegal buildings, mining,
and any other activity that is in violation of the law.
- It is those who use this to harass a public figure in order to obtain an
unfair advantage that should be condemned.
These categories together account for approximately Twenty percent of the total
number of appeals and complaints received by the Commission. These are RTI users
who have been using it for a lengthy period of time and who are generally
well-versed in the appeals and processes process.
Nobody can deny that the first
category deserves to be aided and assisted. Some members of the second group
have been successful in obtaining corrective action, while others' grievances
may still be unresolved. When faced with such applicants, public information
officers (PIOs) should communicate with the competent authorities to see whether
the situation can be resolved.
The third and fourth groups, which are those who
are attempting to turn it into a money-making plan or who are putting undue
pressure on others, are particularly despised by the majority of us. The last
two categories are unlikely to account for more than ten percent of all appeals
and complaints received by the government.
We should also notice that the vast
majority of ordinary people who do not obtain information are completely unaware
of the appeals process. More than 40% of persons who attempt to submit appeals
with CIC are discouraged by arrogant returns, according to the organization.
Therefore, it appears as though the third and fourth categories will receive
significantly fewer RTI applications than the 10 percent threshold.
I believe that in the course of enforcing most laws, some individuals will take
advantage of the provisions of those laws. The police frequently abuse their
authority in order to break the law, and criminals take advantage of our court
system in order to extend their cases. The misuse of any laws is mostly decided
by the types of people who live in a community, as well as the ability of the
legal system to punish those who break the law. Some people travel to places of
worship only with the goal of committing theft or other crimes while they are
However, these are not considered to be the most important aspects of
temples by the general public. There are several criminal behaviours that you
can engage in in order to blackmail an officer or someone who has engaged in an
illegal conduct. Different government officials are tasked with identifying and
combating these problems, and the average citizen is actually serving as a
Misuse Of RTI Act
"The Right to Information Act is a good law, but it is being abused
"- S H Kapadia, Chief Justice of India (2010-2012)
It has been observed that many petitioners are abusing the Right to Information
Act, owing to the non-applicability of the locus-standi rule in RTI proceedings
and the lack of a requirement to demonstrate justification for obtaining
information. This provides ample opportunity for non-serious information seekers
to exploit the system for their own personal advantage rather than the benefit
of the public.
Furthermore, this takes away time from public officials and has a negative
influence on their ability to do their duties. According to the RTI Act's terms,
as suggested by the Act's Statement of Objects and Reasons, the Act is intended
to ensure access to information under the control of public authorities in order
to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public
As a result, this Court believes that such a religious aim of the Act
is being abused by the petitioner, and that there is no public interest in
disclosure. Researchers have discovered that the Right to Information Act is
being abused by both casual and frequent information seekers for two distinct
reasons, which they have documented.
The State Information Commissionerate (SIC) has issued its 11th annual report,
which draws attention to suspected "misuse" of the Right to Information Act by
certain users. While the Public Information Officers (PIOs) and Appellate
Authorities (AAs) have been discussing the issue, this may be the first annual
report in which the Commissionerate admits to such a misuse
. The various
benches of the SIC have come across cases where a single individual has filed
In a similar vein, there have been instances of applicants who
fall below the poverty level abusing the financial flexibility provided to them.
According to studies:
Misuse of the RTI Act has been detected in some
situations, and it is the responsibility of social groups and activists to
recognize this and develop measures to put a stop to it.
The RTI Act makes the right to information a tool to control the abuse of
administrative discretion, yet it has significant flaws that impair the right to
information. The loopholes are:
- Section 2(h) does not provide a thorough and exclusive definition of
public authorities, which may cause uncertainty. Since some NGOs get funding
directly or indirectly from the public, the question arises as to whether
these NGOs are public authority. Although temples are sponsored by trusts,
the Supreme Court has deemed them public authorities in numerous
circumstances. The Act does not state whether temples are public authorities
- This Act also lacks contempt provisions, which means it cannot compel or
compliant the people to follow the regulations. No 'contempt of court' makes
non-compliance with the information commission order. This Act must have a
- According to Section 7(1) of the legislation, the applicant should get
the information requested in the RTI application within 30 days of receiving it.
If the time limit is exceeded or the work is not completed, then no proviso or
notion is introduced. It is required because otherwise the process would be
sluggish and wasteful.
- It specifies that even if a serviceman is unaware of the Act, he or she
may be assigned as a CPIO. However, the CPIO's qualifications are not disclosed
and are not mentioned anywhere in the RTI submission. Also, new employees and
appellate authorities should be trained and periodically reviewed on the
Other flaws in the Right to Information Act 2005 impede improved administration
and the achievement of the Act's goals. The RTI Act, 2005 mandates that
information be provided to the public within 30 days after application, or face
a fine. It is not feasible to collect all information accurately and timely for
each application. Elections, holidays, emergencies, disaster management, and
obsolete data from various branches can cause delays in information delivery.
The information provided to the applicant can be in soft or hard copy. It is
also not required that all public information offices in mountainous, rural, and
village areas have fax, phone, electricity, and internet access. Applicants may
be delayed in receiving information due to inadequate infrastructure. People are
now exploiting the data acquired by the Public Information Office. The main goal
is to inform the people. However, in today's world, the act has lost its purpose
and is used to harass and blackmail coworkers.
The RTI Act contains many
sections that impose obligations, duties, responsibilities, and penalties on
public officials, but none that recognize their efforts, which demotivates
personnel. The Act also offers no protection to the whistleblower. Basically,
whistleblowers obtain information from public information offices and report it
to the Civil Vigilance Commission (CVC) concerning corruption, unlawful
activities, and malpractices.
As of 2014, the government has established the
Whistleblower Protection Act, which has several loopholes and does not provide
adequate protection to those who speak out against injustice. Examples of
whistleblower murder cases include Poipynhun Majaw (2018), Nanjibhai Sondarva
(2018), Bhupendra Vira (2016), Nandi Singh (2012).
A weapon in the hands of citizens of a country, the right to information allows
them to learn about the functions performed by public authorities, the purpose
of a public transaction that is said to be done in the name of a public act, and
the source of funds that are used to carry out those functions.
The right to
information existed prior to the implementation of the Right to Information Act,
2005 because it is deemed to be one of the fundamental rights covered by Article
19(1) of the United Nations Charter. This right encourages transparency and
accountability in the performance of public functions by public authorities.
Despite the fact that the right to information is regarded as a significant
improvement in India, it has a number of shortcomings that must be added.