Right To Information : An Over View
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Right To Information : An Over View

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A Presentation on Right to Information Act 2005 by K Rajsekharan Kerala Institute of Local Administration ( KILA), Mulagunnathukavu.

A Presentation on Right to Information Act 2005 by K Rajsekharan Kerala Institute of Local Administration ( KILA), Mulagunnathukavu.

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Right To Information : An Over View Right To Information : An Over View Presentation Transcript

  • Right To Information An Overview by K Rajasekharan Kerala Institute of Local Administration
  • Purpose of the Act
    • Ensure citizens right to information
    • Under the control public authorities
    • to promote transparency/accountability to the governed
    • to contain corruption
    • to have informed citizenry & democracy
    • while harmonizing the conflict between the RTI & efficient operation of the govt/optimum use of financial resources
  • Supreme court on RTI in 1975
    • K K Mathew J. (SC) declared that
    • the citizens right to know flow's directly from the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in article 19(1) (a)
    • ( State of UP Vs Raja Narain )‏
  • The links RTI has with other fundamental rights
    • RTI is directly linked to the
    • Right to Life which includes the
    • right to food, health, education, liberty, etc. and
    • the denial of information is a denial of these rights
  • Problems in flow of information
    • Laws like the Official Secrets Act / Code of Conduct of Civil Servants
    • Culture of secrecy that prevailed in Government
    • Lack of accountability in public offices
    • Badly kept records
    • People do not know where to go for information
    • Illiteracy of people
  • The States enacted Acts earlier
    • Tamilnadu (1997)‏
    • Goa (1997)‏
    • Rajasthan (2000)‏
    • Karnataka (2000)-law come into effect in 2002
    • Delhi (2001)‏
    • Maharashtra (2002)‏
    • Assam (2002)‏
    • Madhya Pradesh (2003)‏
    • J & K (2004)‏
    • Chattisgarh no law but issued executive orders
    • Orissa (draft bill). Executive order with respect to Panchayat matters on freedom of information
  • Time line on Right to Information in India
    • 1975 Supreme Court declared the citizens right to know flows from the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in Art 19(1)(a) of the constitution
    • 1990 - Prime Minister V.P Singh stressed the importance of Right to Information as a legislated right.
    • 1994 – MKSS started a grassroots campaign for right to information which resulted in the enactment of a law in 2000
    • 1996 - Press Council of India under guidance of its Chairman Justice P.B Sawant drafted a law “Freedom of Information Act, 1997.”
    • 1997 – The Working group appointed by the United Front Government under the Chairmanship of Mr H.D Shourie drafted a law called the Freedom of Information Bill, 1997.
    • 1997- Tamilnadu became the first state in India to pass a law
    • 1997 - The MP Govt issues executive orders to 36 departments to implement Right to Information later issued in more than 50 departments
    • 1997- Goa legislature enacted a law on RTI
    • 1998 – The Government of Madhya Pradesh passed a Bill on Right to Information. But the Governor denied assent.
    • 1998 – The P M Shri Vajpayee announces that a Law on right to information shall be enacted soon.
    • 2000 - Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra pass legislations and UP issued Code of Access to some depts.
    • 2000 - Freedom of Information Bill, 2000, tabled in Parliament and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs
    • 2002- Maharashtra Govt. passed an RTI Ordinance overriding the Maharashtra RTI Act 2000.
    • 2003- Parliament passed FOI Act and notified in 2003
    • 2003- On Jan 31 st MP Govt. passes MP RTI Act.
    • 2003- In Aug. Maharashtra converted its Ordinance into new RTI Act.
  • Which is a Public Authority?
    • Any authority, body or institution by or under the Constitution
    • By any law of Parliament/Legislature
    • By notification of Government
    • Body owned, controlled or substantially financed
    • NGO substantially financed directly or indirectly
  • What kinds of information need to be provided? [S.2(f)]
    • 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
  • Record includes [S. 2(i)]
    • any document, manuscript and file
    • any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document
    • any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not)‏
    • any other material produced by a computer or any other device
  • What does the “right to information” mean ? [S. 2(j)]
    • inspection of work, documents, records
    • taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records
    • certified samples of material
    • Obtain information in 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
    • Held by /under the control of Public Authorities
    • Dissemination includes inspection of office
  • Obligations of Public Authorities [S.4]
    • Catalogue, index, and computerize the records to a country wide network, to facilitate access to information [S. 4(1)] within a reasonable time
    • Publish Particulars of organization, powers and functions of officers and employees, rules regulations, instructions, manuals suo moto
    • Publish all facts, policies and decisions which affect the public
    • Provide reason for its decisions to affected persons
  • Suo-moto dissemination of information
    • function/duties of organization/officers
    • decision making procedures
    • Norms, rules, manuals governing the organization
    • Statement of records under its custody
    • procedure for public involvement in policy making
    • Statement of its committees
    • Directory and remuneration of officers
    • budget, subsidiary program, recipient of concessions
    • Details of electronic information
    • the manner of obtaining information & about PIO/APIO
  • Citizens Charter
    • Citizens Charter
    • enlisting all services,
    • the conditions a citizen should follow to get those services and
    • the time limit for providing the service can be issued every year
  • Who should provide information? [S. 5(2)]
    • State Public Information Officer
    • assisted by
    • State Assistant Public Information Officer
    • Other officers
  • What a Public information officer shall do?
    • accept/reject the application
    • if application is oral reduce it to writing
    • provide information within 30 days (life &liberty 48 hours) on acceptance
    • Failure to provide information is deemed to denial of information. No fee for delayed response
    • If rejected, the onus of proving the rejection lies with PIO No action equals rejection
    • seek third party information
    • transfer application to other Pub Authority within 5 days & inform the applicant
  • Rejection order should state [S. 7(8)]
    • The reasons for such a rejection
    • The period within which an appeal against the rejection is preferred
    • The particulars of the appellate authority
  • When to transfer the application ?
    • If Information is with other public authorities [S. 6(3)]
    • Transfer the application to it & inform the applicant
  • Third Party Information
    • Third party is a person/public authority other than the applicant for information
    • Any other private entity with its permission
    • Third party have a right to get notice and to be heard in RTI application /appeals
    • Notice to third party to include the appeal possibilities
  • Exemptions [S. 8]
    • affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, scientific or economic interests of the State,relation with foreign State/ lead to incitement of an offence
    • forbidden by any court of law or tribunal
    • breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature
    • information related to agencies such as I B,Crime Branch etc listed in the Second Schedule of the Act
    • Commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property that harms competitive position of third party
    • Information from a foreign government
    • Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries or prosecution of offenders
    • That impedes investigation / apprehension / prosecution of offenders
    • Information relating to personal matters, the disclosure of which has no bearing on any public activity or interest
    • Corruption & human right violation not exempted
  • Can partial information be given? [S. 10]
    • Partial information can be given along with
    • The reasons for the decision
    • The name and designation of the officer giving the decision
    • Details of the fees calculated
    • Right of the petitioner w.r.t. review of the decision
  • Appeals
    • First appeal to be submitted within 30 days ( 19(1) )‏
    • to be disposed of within 30 days but not to exceed 45 days, for reasons to be recorded
    • Second appeal to SIC within 90 days 19(3)) No time limit fixed for its dispensing right now
    • the onus to prove denial of information is on the public information officer
  • When to provide information ?
    • 48 hours [S. 7(1)] if application is concerned with the life & liberty of persons
    • 30 days normally [S. 7(1)]
    • 35 days [S. 5(2)] for application submitted through SAPIO
    • 40 days, if Third Party information [S. 11(3)]
    • Failure to provide information in time is a deemed refusal
    • Corruption & human right violation in exempted organizations within 45 days
  • Types of Fees
    • Application fee
    • Fee for providing information
    • Such further fee – cost of the document / sample etc
    • No fee for Below Poverty Line [S. 7(5)]
    • No fee when response is delayed [S. 7(6)]
    • Applicant can appeal on the decision regarding fees
  • Rate of Fees
    • Rs 2/- for A4 size
    • For inspection, no fee for first hour
    • Rs 10/- for every thirty minutes further
    • For providing in floppy Rs 50/-
    • For others –Actual charges
  • Mode of Fees
    • Court fee stamp
    • Remittance in Treasury
    • Cash remittance
    • By DD/bankers cheque/pay order in favour of SPIO / SAPIO
  • Information Officer - Hierarchy State Information Commission Officer senior in rank to the State Public Information Officer State Assistant Public Information Officer State Public Information Officer
  • State Information Commission
    • State Chief Information Commissioner in each State - in the rank of a Central Election Commissioner
    • State Information Commissioner – Chief Secretary rank
    • Five year term/ attainment of 65 years of age
  • The SIC can penalise for
    • refuse to receive application / access information
    • late furnishing of information
    • denying information with malafide intention
    • give incorrect information knowingly
    • destroying /obstructing furnishing information
    • SPIO will get reasonable opportunity for explanation before penalised by SIC
    • Disciplinary action to be recommended by SIC
    • Bonafide action not to bring in punishment
  • Penalty is
    • SIC can impose penalty of Rs. 250 per day, but not to exceed Rs. 25,000-
    • Any officer denying or delaying information can get this penalty
    • SIC can recommend for disciplinary action in case of malafide denial of information
    • Burden of proof lies with the SPIO
  • SIC can direct Public Authorities
    • in providing information in any form
    • appointing SPIO
    • Publishing information
    • maintenance of records
    • to provide training
    • to provide with an annual report
    • compensate any loss/detriment suffered
    • the steps to take to promote RTI
  • Other powers of the SIC
    • receive & inquire into complaints
    • Receive and decide appeal from any citizen
    • exercise the powers of a civil court to summon
    • examine any records under the purview of this act
    • issue decision binding on Public Authorities on RTI
    • impose penalty under the act
    • reject any application
  • Documents to accompany appeals
    • Appeals in the form /should have contents
    • Self-attested copy of the order relied on
    • Other documents to prove the request
    • An index of the documents referred to
  • Appeal procedure
    • Take oral /written evidence/affidavit of concerned persons
    • Inspection of records or documents
    • Inquire through authorized officer
    • Hear SPIO/ third party
    • Affidavit of SPIO or others including the third party
  • Reasons for complaints to SIC[S. 18(1)]
    • No Information officer appointed
    • Request refused
    • No response
    • Unreasonable fee
    • Incomplete, misleading or false information
    • Or similar violations of RTI act
  • RTI act override other acts
    • provisions in official secrets act 1923 or
    • other acts/rules do not sustain, if they are in conflict with RTI act
  • Govt. can issue rules for
    • print-cost price of materials to be disseminated -issued
    • fee for application -issued
    • fee for information -issued
    • procedure for appeals –not issued
  • The Government shall
    • Issue a guide within 18 months in official language containing everything required to exercise the rights
  • Jurisdiction of courts
    • lower courts are barred from entertaining suits
    • High/Supreme court can entertain writs under 32 / 225
  • Take home message
    • The act envisages proper upkeep of information
    • Proper dissemination of information to public
    • Giving information is the rule, not other way round
    • Bonafide actions will not bring punishment
    • But you should be able to justify it
  • Thank you !