Do you have any pending work in the government departments ?
But.are they not responding ?
Are they demanding bribe ?
Did you file any grievances petition ?
They aren’t acting on it ?
As an common man what can you do ? Yes , we can ask questions directly to the government and government is bound to answers those .By using the RTI Act, it is possible that you can seek information from any government authority from panchayat to prime minister office.
What you have to do that write an application on plain paper with the public information officer of that department from whom you are seeking information. Submit your application with your application fees, But by law all bellow property line families are exempted from paying any fee.
But don’t forget to get a dated and stamped receipt for your RTI application, as well as a dated receipt for your payment, where a fee is paid. You should get the information asked for within the prescribed periods usually 30 days.
India is a democratic country and every person has the right to ask questions directly to Government of India .The Right to Information or RTI act was passed on 15 June 2005.The RTI Act provides information to the public. It is a source which provides transparency and accountability in the working of government authorities.
The basic aim of this act is to provide information to all the citizens of India
from any public authority relating to the administration, operation and decisions, to maintain the transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities expeditiously or within 30 days.
But some information which can be disclosed and which is exempted
or can’t be disclosed under Right to Information Act 2005.
What will be treated as the information under this act ?
It that can be exempted under the act
and section 2(f), 2(i) and 2(j) which defines the information that can be provided under the Act.
Since British times, there are several laws that prohibited implementation of right to informationwhich includes:
Section 123 of the Indian evidence Act 1872: “No one shall be permitted to give any evidence derived from unpublished official records relating to any affairs of State, except with the permission of the officer at the head of the department concerned, who shall give or withhold such permission as he thinks fit.”
The Official Secrets Act, 1923: The Official secret Act 1923 is India’s anti undercover work act control over from British colonisation. It states clearly that action that involves serving to an enemy state against India. It conjointly states that one cannot approach, inspect, or maybe jump over a prohibited government web site or space.
Consistent with this Act, serving to the enemy state are often within the sort of human action a sketch, plan, model of a politician secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy. This law was the most important challenge in the history of RTI Act 2005 in India because it prohibited all public servants from disclosing any information to the public.2
Rule 11 of The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964: “No Government
servant shall, except in accordance with any general or special order of the Government or in the performance in good faith of the duties assigned to him, communicate, directly or indirectly, any official document or any part thereof or information to any Government servant or any other person to whom he is not authorised to communicate
such document or information.”
Oath by the Public Servant: Before joining duty, public servant swears that the
information is a state secret.
Archives Policy Resolution of 22 December 1972: States that each
one document is classified for thirty years and thenceforth solely non-confidential
material is obtainable to a restricted vary of individuals. Even unclassified material can’t be communicated to anyone outside the govt. without permission.
Rule 9 of The All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968: “No member of the Service
shall except in accordance with any general or special order of the Government or in the performance in good faith of duties assigned to him, communicate directly or indirectly any official document or part thereof or information to any Government servant or any ther person to whom he is not authorised to communicate such document or information.”
The above specified laws are contradictory with the Right to Information Act 2005. In 1986 the Supreme court in the case of Mr. Kulwal v/s Jaipur Municipal Corporation said that the Freedom of Speech
and Expression provided under Article 19 of the Constitution is useless without Right toInformation as without the information how one can use its freedom of speech .
In 1996 due to growing demand of the RTI a law was drafted by thr press council of
India under the guidance of its Chairman Justice P B Sawant which was later updated andchanged at a workshop and renamed “The Press Council–NIRD Freedom of Information Act,
In 1997 the Right to Information was first passed in Tamil nadu also in the same year
the MP Government also issued orders to implement the Right to Information in 36
departments which was further increased to more than 50 departments. Also in 1997 Right to
Information was also enacted in the Goa legislature. In 1998 the MP Government proposed
the bill on the Right to Information which was passed by the legislature but it didn’t becomelaw because the governor didn’t give his assent. In 1999 the Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
was filed before Supreme Court to lift ban on Ministers and to declare Section 5 of Official
Secret Act, 1923 unconstitutional. In the urban Affairs Ministry an administrative order was
passed on the transparency. In 2000, in parliament the Freedom of Information Bill, 2000 was introduced which was further referred as a Select Committee of Parliament. A law on the
Right to Information was passed in 2001 by the NCT Delhi. In both the house of the
parliament Freedom of Information Bill, 2000 was passed in December 2002. RTI ordinance
was passed by the Maharashtra Government in September 2002 that overwrote the Maharashtra RTI Act, 2000.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in the case of Union of India vs. Association for Democratic reforms and another by its order dated 2nd May, 2002 directed “the Election Commission to call for information on affidavit by issuing necessaryorder in exercise of its power under Article 324 of the Constitution of India from eachcandidate seeking election to Parliament or a state legislature as a necessary part of his nomination paper.”
On 6 th January 2003 President of India give his assent to the Freedom of
Information Bill and become a law called as Freedom of Information Act, 2002. On 31stJanuary 2003 MP Government passed MP RTI Act and in August, Maharashtra Governmentconverted its Ordinance into new RTI Act. In 2004 when UPA Government came in power.
So finally in 2005 the RTI Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 11th May 2005 and in Rajya Sabha on 12th May 2005. The
President gives his assent on 15th June 2005 which was published in the Gazette of India on 21st June 2005. Finally RTI Act, 2005 came in force from 12th October 2005 which is known as Right to Information Act, 2005 (Act No. 22 of 2005).
bodies or authorities established or constituted by order or notification of appropriate government including bodies “owned, controlled or substantially financed” by government, or non-Government organizations “substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds”.
In a democracy, we begin with the premise that people are supreme and governments work on behalf of the people.
Constitutionally, government gets the mandate and power to administer the affairs of the country from the people who are the sovereign and source of power. People have every right to know what the dispensation is doing in their name so as to adjudge the performance of the
government by getting information on each and every decision being taken by the
government. These exemptions from disclosure of information should not go beyond the restriction provided under Article 19(2) of the constitution.
In other words, information has to exist. The PIO has to give information from existing records. The PIO is neither expected to nor supposed to provide his opinion, justification or clarification which does not exist in any file or record. The PIO must provide the information
within 30 days of receiving the RTI application. Not giving the information without reasonable cause attracts the penal provisions of RTI Act.
If the requisition concerns the ‘life and liberty’ of a person talk to the appropriate people and provide the information immediately.
The information should be over 20 year old. If the information asked for is over 20 years old only exemption Clauses under Section 8 (1) (a), (c) or (i) apply. This means only thereof the ten exemption clauses apply, if the information is
over twenty years old. Thus seven of the exemption clauses do not apply to information
which is over 20 year old. Transparency was named the word of the year by Webster’s
Dictionary in 2003; transparency might well prove to be the word of the last decade and half.
Imagine that in two hundred and thirty years from 1766 when the first transparency law was
passed in Sweden, till 1995 less than 20 countries had such law. From 1995 to 2010, in the
last fifteen years around 60 additional countries have either passed transparency laws or set
up some instruments to facilitate public access to institutional information.
What type of information we may get –
The Right to Information Act 2005 has been probably the most discussed law of the recent times. To maintain
transparency the word information is defined under section 2(f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
This section helps in determining that which information can be provided to the
public.“Section 2(f) defines “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and
information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;”
“Section 2(i) defines “record” includes—
(i) Any document, manuscript and file;
(ii) Any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;
(iii) Any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and
(iv) Any other material produced by a computer or any other device;”
“Section 2(j) defines “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right
(i) Inspection of work, documents, records;
(ii) Taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) Taking certified samples of material;
(iv) Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device;”
This section implies that the information can be in any form so that the public can have access to it. A reference was made to the Hon’ble Supreme Court decision in Khanapuram Gandaiah v. Administrative Officer and Ors. and also in the High Court of Bombay in Dr. Celsa Pinto, Ex-Officio Joint Secretary (School Education) v. The Goa State Information on 3 April, also in the the Central Information Commission in the case of I.L. Kanaujia Vs. Respondent: CPIO, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (Civil) No. 34868 of 2009
11 2008 (110) Bom L R 1238
CIC/BBAUV/A/2017/102777-BJ has held
as under: Special Leave Petition had held as under: “Under the RTI Act “information” is defined under Section 2(f) which provides: “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, report, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”
In the High court of Madras in the case of The Public Information Officer And others v. The Central Information Commission decided on 17.9.2014 had also held the following: “right to information” under Section 2(j) as follows: “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to-
(i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
(iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes
or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.”
This definitions show that the public can get any
information under section 6 if the RTI Act which is available and which can be accessible by
the public from the public authority under the law. They have a right to have a copy of the
records, opinions, advices and circulars etc which have been passed. Under the law the public
can obtain that information which can be accessed by the public authority under the law but
he can’t ask for the information that why such advices, opinions, orders etc have been passed
as it was held in the case of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhyay, 2011 ( SCC 497wherein it was held as under: “It is also not required to provide ‘advice’ or
‘opinion’ to an applicant, nor required to obtain and furnish any ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ to an applicant.
The reference to ‘opinion’ or ‘advice’ in the definition of ‘information’ in section
2(f) of the Act, only refers to such material available in the records of the public authority.
Many public authorities have, as a public relation exercise, provided advice, guidance and opinion to the citizens. But that is purely voluntary and should not be confused with any obligation under the RTI Act.” The information sought should be easily accessible and can be in the electric format also.