(Page 1 of 7) RIGHT TO INFORMATION Why? Democracy requires an informed citizenry. Transparency of information vital to its functioning. To contain corruption. Redefine larger framework of Accountability, Democracy, Ethics and the language of the Rights. Under pins administrative reforms. Enables human rights to be realized. Harmonize conflicting interests.
RIGHT TO INFORMATIONWhat ?Setting Practical Regime of RTI for citizens.Secure access to information that is under control of Public Authorities.Promote Transparency and Accountability.Creation of Information Commission(s)
PARAMETERS OF GOOD, PEOPLE ORIENTEDTransparency Law Maximum Disclosures Reasonable fee Effective Mechanism for access to information Independent and Non-judicial appellate mechanism Stringent Penalty for defiance Suo motu and web based disclosures Override personal harm Empowerment of citizens
COVERAGE Comes into effect from 12 October, 2005. Covers central, state and local governments, all bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by government; Non-government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Govt.
COVERAGE (continued)Covers the executive, judiciary and legislatureIncludes information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.
INFORMATIONMeans any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form. 13
(Page 2 of 7) RECORDRecord includes – Any document, manuscript and file; Any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; Any reproduction of image or images; embodies in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not; and Any other material produced by a computer or any other device.
RIGHT TO INFORMATIONMeans 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:*Inspection of work, documents, records;*Taking notes, extracts, or certified copies of documents or records;
*Taking certified samples of material;*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.
Discernible Shifts Request Command Access to Privilege Open to Entire few population Opaque and Transparency, open and unaccountable accountable system system Part of constitutional guarantees under Part of Right to Fundamental Rules Freedom of Speech including Life and & expression Liberty
Shifts Legal entitlement Tool to fight corruption & Arbitrary use of power Arbitrariness Ethical & participative democracy From Information To accountability & beyond Outward (Citizens) Flow of communication Inward (Superiors)
(Page 3 of 7) Critical Linkages Improve Records Management Computerization Put more information suo motu in the Public Domain Demystification of Information Contextualize so that its significance is self evident Facilitating easy and relatively safe access for public
Linkages Provide quick relief and justice to whistle blowers Improve Decision Making process Critically examine the existing operating procedures including channels of supervision and accountability Develop standards of performance/norms Review operating Manuals Set up Documentation/Learning Resource Centers
PROCESSES Application to be submitted in writing or electronically, with prescribed fee, to Public Information Officer (PIO). Envisages PIO in each department/agency to receive requests and provide information. Assistant PIO at sub district levels to receive applications/appeals/complaints. Forward to appropriate PIO. These will be existing officers.
PROCESSES(continued)Information to be provided within 30 days, 48 hours where life or liberty is involved, 35 days where request is given to Assistant PIO, 40 days where third party is involved and 45 days for information about human rights violation from listed security/ intelligence agencies.
PROCESSES(continued)Time taken for calculation of fee for providing information will be included in the time limits. However time from intimation to requester till deposit of fees excluded from the time frame.No action on application for 30 days is a deemed refusal.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF PUBLICAUTHORITIESAppointing PIOs/Asstt.PIOs by 22 September, 2005.Maintaining, cataloguing, indexing, computerising and networking records.Publishing within 120 days of enactment a whole set of information and updating it periodically. 15
(Page 4 of 7)Publishing all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions that affect the public.Providing reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected persons.Providing information suo motu.
Providing information to Information Commission.Raising awareness, educating and training.Compiling in 18 months and updating regularly local language guide to information.
Central Information Commission - Functions Information Commission has a duty to receive complaints from any person- who has not been able to submit an information request because a PIO has not been appointed. who has been refused information that was requested. who has received no response to his/her information request within the specified time limits
Functions Contd….who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable.who thinks the information given is incomplete or false or misleading.and any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law.CIC may initiate inquiry in the above situations if there are reasonable grounds for so doing.
PowersCIC/SIC will have powers of Civil Court such as-a)summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or thingsb)requiring the discovery and inspection of documentsc)receiving evidence on affidavitd)requisitioning public records or copies from any court or officee)issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documentsf) Any other matter which may be prescribed.
Powers Contd…Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the Public Authority includes: appointing a PIO where none exists. publishing certain information or categories of information making necessary changes to the records management, maintenance and destruction procedures of the Public Authority. enhancing training provision for officials on RTI. 16
(Page 5 of 7) Powers contd…. Seeking an annual report from the Public Authority on compliance with this law. Require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment suffered by the requestor. Impose penalties under this law. Reject the appeal.
Reporting Procedure Central Information Commission(CIC) will send an annual report to the Central Government on the implementation of the provisions of this law at the end of the year. Each report will contain details of number of requests received by each Public Authority, number of rejections and appeals, particulars of any disciplinary action taken, amount of fees and charges collected etc.
Reporting Procedure contd… Each Ministry has a duty to collect and provide statistics of its Public Authorities and send them to the CIC. Central Government will table the CIC report before Parliament after the end of each year.
EXEMPTIONS Where disclosure prejudicially affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence. Release of which has been expressly forbidden by any court of tribunal or may be contempt of court.
EXEMPTIONS (continued)Where disclosure would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or Legislature.Commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual properly, where disclosure would harm competitive position, or become available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless larger public interest so warrants.
EXEMPTIONS (continued) Received in confidence from foreign government. Endangers life or physical safety or identifies confidential source of information or assistance. Impedes the process of investigation or apprehension. 17
(Page 6 of 7) EXEMPTIONS (continued) Cabinet papers, including records of deliberations of the council of ministers, secretaries and other officers:* provided that the decisions of council of ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decision were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over.
EXEMPTIONS (continued)Personal information which would cause invasion of privacy unless larger public interest justifies it.Infringes copyright, except of the state.
EXEMPTIONS (continued)Where practicable, part of record can be released.Intelligence and security agencies exempt – except for corruption and human rights violation charges.Third party information to be released after giving notice to, and hearing, third party.
EXEMPTIONS (continued)Most exempt information to be released after 20 years.Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a state legislature shall not be denied to any person.
EXEMPTIONS (continued)Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions, a public authority may allow access to information, if public interests in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
APPEALS First appeal with senior in the Department. Second appeal with Information Commission. Envisages an independent Information Commission at the central and state level to be an appellate authority and to oversee the functioning of the act. Has various powers under the act. 18
(Page 7 of 7) PENALTIES Penalties imposable by Information Commission on PIO or officer asked to assist PIO -for illegitimate refusal to accept application, malafide denial, knowingly providing false information, etc fine up to Rs. 25,000; -recommendation for departmental action for persistent or serious violations. Immunity for actions done in good faith.
Suggestions for operationalization(Implementation & Harmonisation)National Conference -To disseminate knowledge of new law and to work through implementation and harmonisation.Establish an empowered Committee to look into creating easy to use common modalities.
Design an inclusive implementation process in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Develop an Action Plan for implementation - Identify systems and tools need to be developed /produced. - Guidance notes for officials, Process Manuals, IT Monitoring Systems, Forms, Template Responses, etc.
Develop participatory Rules and open for full Public Comment. Identify and Train PIOs and appellate authorities. Publish Directory of PIOs and other key officials Review and improve Records Management Process Reengineering Guidelines on content and methods of Publication of Proactive Disclosure obligation.
Clarify the application process. Develop Training Strategy. Clarify responsibility for managing, monitoring and Interfacing with Information Commission and nodal agency. Set in place application & appeal monitoring system. Design out reach strategy. 19