The Right to Information(RTI) is an act of the Parliament, which was enacted in the year 2005. This act is the replacement of the Act called as ‘The freedom of Information Act of 2002’. The Right to Information(RTI) was passed by the Parliament on 15th June 2005 and came into force on 12th October 2005. The Pune Police Station was the first to receive the First Application.
The Citation of the 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.
Objective of the RTI Act
The objective of the act is to empower the citizens with the right in order to promote the transparency and accountability in the working of the Government and to eradicate corruption. The Act aims to enhance people’s participation in democratic process thus making democracy work for the people in a true sense.
Features of the RTI Act
There are several salient Features of the Act which are worth mentioning here. These are as follows:
• It Mandates the Timely response to citizen requests for government information.
• It is applicable to all the states and Union Territories of the country except Jammu and Kashmir.
• Under this Act, any citizen may request information from a Public Authority, which is in fact a body of Government or an instrumentality of the State, which is bound to reply within thirty days.
• Under this Act, a citizen has a right to seek any piece of information from a public authority which is held by it or which is held under its control.
• A citizen has a right to obtain information from any public authority in the form of tapes, diskettes, floppies, video cassettes or in any other electronic form or through any printouts with the condition that that information is already stored in a computer or in any other device.
• However, Private bodies are not within the range of the Acts in a direct way.
• Privatized Public utility Companies continue to be within the RTI Act- their privatization not withstanding.
Process of the Right to Information(RTI)
The Process of the right can be described as follows. The RTI process involves reactive disclosure of information by the authorities. An RTI request initiates the process. Each Authority, which is covered under the RTI Act has to appoint their Public Information Officer or PIO. Whenever a person submits a written request to the PIO for information, it becomes PIO’s obligation to provide information to the person who had requested the information under the Act. In the condition when the request pertains to another public authority either partially or fully, it is the PIO’s responsibility to transfer or forward that concerned portions of the request to a PIO of the that authority within 5 working days. In addition, every public authority has to designate Assistant Public Information Officers or APIOs to receive RTI requests and appeals for forwarding to the PIOs of their Concerned Public Authority. The applicant needs to disclose his/her name and contact details, but however is not bound to furnish any other reasons or justification for seeking the piece of information.
Time limit of the reply to the Request
The act also states a particular time limit for the request made by the people. And this time limit is different according to the nature of the information and the request made, which can be described as follows:
• During the condition when a request has been made to the PIO, the reply needs to be given within 30 days of receipt of the request.
• However, if the request has been made to an APIO, the reply must be given within 35 days of receipt of the request.
• In case, the PIO transfers the request to another Public Authority, which holds the better concerned status as according to the nature of the information requested, the time allowed to reply is 30 days, but computed from the day after it is received by the PIO of the transferee authority.
• The Information related to the corruption and Human Rights violations by scheduled Security Agencies those listed in the Second Schedule to the Act is to be provided within 45 days but is done with the prior approval of the Central Information Commission.
• However, in the condition of extremity, where the life or liberty of any person is involved, the PIO has to furnish the information or reply within 48 hours.
The Right to Information Act 2005 is the right which brings a system into the Fundamental rights of the people of India.