RTI India -Development factors and the loopholes in it
RTI and its impact
What is 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
The Problem – undue secrecy “ Much of the common person’s
distress and helplessness is traceable to lack of access to
information and lack of knowledge of decision-making processes”
Good governance is a basic necessity for a country as it plays a
crucial role in its development. Factors that chiefly affect good
governance are transparency, accountability, legitimacy and
people's participation. The reasons which can be mainly attributed
to bad governance are corruption and secrecy. Both of these can
be knocked off by the Right to information act.
Causes of existence of RTI act:
RTI Act came into force on October 12th 2005.
It came into existence after revoking a weak Act on this matter called
as "Freedom of expression Act, 2002" and another Act which was in
conflict with this Act called as "Official secrets Act, 1923 which was
during the time of the British rule.
Some other reasons for the existence of RTI are
T.N. and Goa RTI Acts in 1997,
Karnataka, Rajasthan, UP RTI Acts in 2000
AP, Assam, Delhi RTI Acts in 2001
Kerala RTI Act in 2002 .
Official secrets Act(1923):
The Official Secrets Act 1923 is India’s anti espionage act held over from
British colonization. It states clearly that any action which involves
helping an enemy state against India will be taken into consideration.
The disclosure of any information that is likely to affect the
sovereignty and integrity of India
the security of the State
friendly relations with foreign States,
is punishable by this act.
This act continued even after the British rule ,allowing the government to
do secret things for which people couldn’t dare to question them.
Official Secrets Act , 1923 throws a veil of secrecy on Government
procedures – Abid Hussain, IAS (retd.) former Member, Planning
Commission of India.
Iftikar Gilani case:
In June 2002, journalist Iftikhar Gilani was, arrested for violating
the OSA 1923. The first military report suggested that the
information he was accused of holding was "secret" despite
being publicly available. The second military intelligence
report contradicted this, stating that there was no "official
secret". Even after this, the government denied the opinion of
the military and was on the verge of challenging it when the
contradictions were exposed in the press.
At last, it was proved that the information was collected from
open sources and Gilani was being released . This used to be
the fate of the people who tried to fight against the
government by releasing any information.
What are our Rights?
Right to Information act includes the right to:
Inspect works, documents, records.
Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.
Take certified samples of material.
Obtain information in form of
printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video , cassettes or in any other
electronic mode or through printouts.
Eligibility criteria ?
Every Indian citizen can ask for the information under these laws.
One has to know that this acts is not applicable for the state of
Jammu & Kashmir.
Citizens outside india – local Indian Embassy
A very remarkable step taken by the kolkata govt. is that the kolkata
high court has allowed usage of post box for filing RTI which shall
enable contact of a user with the authority without revealing
personal details of the information seeker.
According to estimates, during the last six years, about
150 RTI activists had become victims for seeking
information by giving their names and addresses:
Protection of RTI activists was also raised in Parliament several times during
2010. The Bombay High Court, when hearing the case of the murder of RTI
activist Satish Shetty in Maharashtra on 7 May 2010, ordered the state to
provide police protection to any person complaining of threats or the use of
force after filing RTI application.
A new initiative
There is a new online service website known as RTI anonymous
which was introduced by some RTI activists .
Web link: http://getup4change.org/rti/
They also have a facebook group :
Using this website one can claim any information anonymously and
thereby safely receive the information also.
All the information that has been claimed and the output of it will be
uploaded in the website for public reference.
Public information officer (PIO):
PIOs , are officers designated by the public authorities in all administrative units or offices
under it to provide information to the citizens requesting for information under the Act.
You may seek the information you need by writing or in electronic format with requisite
information accompanying fees.
Information officers hierarchy:
State information commission
Public Information Officer
State Public Information Officer
State Assistant Public Information Officer
First Appellate authority(FAA):
If an applicant is not supplied information within the prescribed time of thirty days
or 48 hours, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished
to him, he may prefer an appeal to the first appellate authority who is an officer
senior in rank to the Public Information Officer. Such an appeal, should be filed
within a period of thirty days from the date on which the limit of 30 days of supply
of information is expired or from the date on which the information or decision of
the Public Information Officer is received. The appellate authority of the public
authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of thirty days or in
exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal.
If the first appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the
prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first
appellate authority, he may prefer a second appeal with the Central Information
Commission within ninety days from the date on which the decision should have
been made by the first appellate authority or was actually received by the
Fee for Seeking Information?
What is the Fee for Seeking Information from Central Government
A person who desires to seek some information from a Central
Government Public Authority is required to send, along with the
application, a demand draft or a banker’s cheque or an Indian Postal
Order of Rs.10/- (Rupees ten), payable to the Accounts Officer of the
public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information.
The payment can also be made by cash . But the mode may vary
according the appropriate govt. or the competent authority.
A BPL(below poverty line ) applicant not required to pay the fee.
However, he needs to submit the corresponding proofs.
Time Period for Supply of Information?
In normal course, information to an applicant shall be supplied
within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public
authority. If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a
person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours. In case the application is
sent through the Assistant Public Information Officer or it is sent to a
wrong public authority, five days shall be added to the period of
thirty days or 48 hours, as the case may be.
public authorities that do not come under
Authorities like Central Intelligence and Security agencies Directorate of
Central Economic Intelligence Bureau
Directorate of Enforcement
Narcotics Control Bureau
Aviation Research Centre
Special Frontier Force, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG, Special Service
Bureau, Special Branch (CID)
Andaman and Nicobar, The Crime Branch-CID-CB, Dadra and Nagar Haveli
and Special Branch, Lakshadweep Police
Some agencies which are specified by the State Governments along with a
notification will also be excluded. However the exclusion is not that compulsory
and these organizations have an obligation to provide information related to
allegations of corruption and human rights violations.
Some Practical implementations:
Most questions in RTI applications are related to public distribution
system, Ration card, BPL card , Indira Awaas
Yojna, lands, irrigation, corruption in the welfare schemes and day
to day working of local village administration.
Sidhakahna Jot Keshav village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh is
one such example . Five inspired residents of the village filed RTI
applications and questioned the district administration about the
conditions of the village roads and drains. They also raised questions
as why there were no allotments under the Indira Awaas Yojna.
The administration immediately acted and the construction of the
roads and drains began in the village. Since then, 32 villagers have
been allotted the houses under the Indira Awaas Yojna and the
administration has displayed a list on the village wall, containing the
names of the villagers eligible for the allotments under the scheme.
Recommendations for indian govt.
Awareness programmes for villagers can be started so that they
come to know about RTI Act.
Procedure for application filing can be simplified and duration after
which information is provided can be reduced so that the
information can be easily transferred to those citizens who are
willing to have that information.
Introducing an online government website where the applications
filed as well as their responses will be visible to the public . If the
applications are rejected ,then the reason for their rejection needs
to be mentioned. This reduces inappropriate rejection of the
What is a good government ?
A good government encompasses some basic and essential features like
Transparency, Accountability, and Legitimacy.
Transparency is about exposing all the inner workings, current tasks taken up by the
government, its current expenditure, future budgets, and information about
development factors to mention a few. Govt should account for people’s funds.
Legitimacy is a trait which apprises about validity of all the above said information
by the government. The leaders should have a sense of responsibility towards
people and work for their betterment. A legitimate govt should refrain from
spending people’s money on futile purposes.
Accountability ensures power remains in the hand of the people. Leaders do their
job do enhance development of each and every action of officials should be
documented and made available to public. People should have power to speak
Why do we need a good
Government is the sole non-profit body which supports the
development of a country.
Its ensures availability of all services and resources to the people, like
health, education, food, transport and many more.
Laws created by government improve the standard and security of
Government supports small industries and organizations thereby
making them develop.
Provides support to minority groups by ensuring reservations in
jobs, colleges , schools etc
And numerous others which will be depicted in further slides….
How does RTI ensure good
RTI is an extremely powerful tool to monitor the governance in our
country. People don’t realize that the enquiries when framed properly
can be used to complain against commonly faced grievances.
Subsequent slides elucidate how each feature of a good government
is aggrandized by RTI (right to information act).
• RTI asserts that every government organization maintains duly
cataloged records about their day to day activities. These should
accessible to the citizens.
• People can enquire about the decision making processes. These
include file noting, records of recruitment, promotion of staff and
documents related to tenders outsourced by the government.
• New schemes like digitalizing and web dissemination of this data are
being taken up to improve the outreach. Videos of parliamentary
sessions are also released on the web.
• Providing information about any new initiatives enacted by
government for the people below poverty line. This enhances their
awareness and develops their life. Some common initiatives by govt
are subsidized schemes on food grains, water and electricity, shelter
for the poor, health insurance schemes.
• Information about expenditure during election
campaigning, working of electoral commission are also made
available to people.
An example of Transparency
1. Please provide the following details for all the works awarded during previous 2 years for this whole constituency
out of the MLA Constituency Development Fund:
a. Name of work
b. Brief Description of work
c. Amount sanctioned
d. Date of sanction
e. Status of completion
f. Name of agency
g. Date of start
h. Date of completion
i. Rate at which work awarded
j. Amount paid
k. Copy of sketch
l. How was the decision taken to carry out this work?
2. How much money was allotted to him during the current year and how much has been carried over from
3. Out of the above, projects worth how much money have already been sanctioned?
4. How many projects worth how much money are awaiting sanction?
• RTI goes a long way in curbing corruption in a country. Duplicate
documents and bills are drafted in the event of corruption. RTI exposes
these to public.
• The government officials are constantly worried about an enquiry from
the people related to their department. Hence they ensure that all the
paperwork pertaining to them are pristine.
• There are ample of untold stories of corruption and misuse of tax
payer´s money concealed in many government documents and
reports. With the help of RTI law, we can expose them as well. This sends
a message to the officials regarding the intolerance towards corruption
• RTI answers show that for every rupee given by government, only 15
paise reaches the public. This signifies the grave condition of corruption
in India. People who are fully aware of RTI capabilities are albe to
expose the corrupt officials.
3) Nurturing Citizen-government relationships:
• Public grievances like delay of paperwork, demand of exorbitant
bribes, absence of essential services like garbage collectors can be
brought to government’s notice. RTI rules do the rest of the job by
ensuring that answers are given.
• RTI spreads awareness about education and health programmes.
This increases people’s confidence and belief on the government.
• RTI also helps government in its decision process. Its provides
feedback about its decisions from the people. This vastly improves
the quality of decisions and laws that govern our country.
• RTI encompasses methods which enable people below poverty line
also to participate in the enquiry process. This greatly reduces the
difference between the rich and poor. This also indirectly reduces
the rural to urban migration which results in efficient distribution of
4) Accountability(power with the people):
Until the advent of RTI in 2005, the common people
were oblivious to matters pertaining policy
planning, supervising and assessment of schemes.
• Now the people can questions the government’s
decisions and the officials are bound to answer.
• Severe punishments to those who deny
• Power to people ensures that the policies and
rules are more people oriented
An example of accountability
Sidhakahna Jot Keshav village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh is one such
example. Five inspired residents of the village filed RTI applications and questioned
the district administration about the conditions of the village roads and drains. They
also raised questions as why there were no allotments under the Indira Awaas Yojna.
The administration immediately acted and the construction of the roads and drains
began in the village. Since then, 32 villagers have been allotted the houses under the
Indira Awaas Yojna and the administration has displayed a list on the village
wall, containing the names of the villagers eligible for the allotments under the
Reduction in corruption : In Chaibasa, the tribal village in Jharkhand
there was a complaint against the post master who didn’t come to the
post office regularly and there were charges of bribe against him also.
An RTI application was filed against him and he was immediately
Himal Khabarpatrika exercised the RTI law to reveal shocking misuse of
funds by the Investigation Commission formed to study the killing of J P
Joshi, a Kailali-based journalist. The funds were used for personal
purposes. A 485 page report full of solicited bills and vouchers were
produced to account for the funds.
Mrs. Bakshi Case
Another example on similar line is that of Mrs.bakshi. Mrs Bakshi had a
house in South Delhi. She rented a part of her house to someone, who was
using it for commercial purposes. When the tenant vacated the house, she
applied to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for converting water connection back to
domestic. She filed an RTI application regarding this: She framed the
questions as follows:
1) I made an application for conversion of commercial connection to
domestic on three months back. Please tell me the daily progress made on
my application so far. i.e . when did my application reach which officer,
for how long did it stay with that officer and what did he/she do during
2) Please give the names and designations of the officials who were
supposed to take action on my application and who have not done so?
3) What action would be taken against these officials for not doing their
work and for causing inconvenience to the public? By when would that
action be taken?
4) By when will my work be done now?
Consider this example of nilprakash, who is a daily wage earner living in
a slum inhabitation in east delhi. Having lost his ration card, he applied
for a new one. He had to frequently visit the food and civil supplies
department for 3 months enquiring about the status of his card, but the
clerks barely heeded him. Finally, he filed an application under the RTI
act Within a week, he received a notification asking him to collect his
He was given an extremely warm treatment by the food supply officer
and was asked to withdraw the application he filed under the RTI as his
work had been done. The exact questions he posed to the
Questions filed by Nilprakash
1) I filed an application for a duplicate ration card on 27th January
2004. Please tell me the daily progress made on my application so
far. i.e. when did my application reach which officer, for how long did
it stay with that officer and what did he/she do during that period?
2) According to the rules, my card should have been made in 10 days.
However, it is more than three months now. Please give the names and
designations of the officials who were supposed to take action on my
application and who have not done so?
3) What action would be taken against these officials for not doing
their work and for causing harassment to the public? By when would
that action be taken?
4) By when would I get my card now?
Viresh Malik Case
1) Please provide me with information on the Laws of India under which
legally registered motor vehicles operating in India under the MVA and
CMVR of the Govt. of India, which have already paid Central and State
road taxes, while passing through roads which lie within
Cantonments, are impeded from free passage and made to pay
additional “Vehicle Entry Tax” or “VET”.
2) Please provide me with information on how and why the motor vehicle
under my charge while driving through Pune was made to pay Rs 165/-
as VET under duress by the Cantonment Executive Officer, Pune, on 13th
of August, 2006 vide VET receipt No. 3816 signed by Shri Dinesh
Pawar, Cantonment Executive Officer, Pune with their reference Letter
No. 1/2/TAX/VET/2006-2007 dated 21st of April, 2006. (Copy enclosed for
your ready reference)
3) Please provide me with information on the system of cash flow of the
funds collected in this manner under “VET” by the Pune Cantonment
Board, and the break-up on how much of these funds for the FY 2004-
2005 and 2005-2006,collected as VET in the name of the Pune
Cantonment Board, actually reach Government coffers.
Live examples involving RTI
In Ghara Katara village of Shankar Garh block in
Allahabad, daily wagers had a tough time having a proper meal
as they were not receiving rations on their cards. On December
19, 2006, around 21 villagers prepared RTI applications and
questioned the administration. The very next day all the ration
card holders got their rations.
Consider the case of K Sarkar who filed a petition enquiring about
the lack of sanitary conditions aroung his house. These were the
questions which he proposed:
1) Please provide the list of all the sweepers and sanitation officials with
their addresses and contact nos working in my area.
2) Please provide copy of attendance register which records the
attendance of sweepers and cleaners.
3)Please mention against each sweeper, his geographical and
functional job responsibilities, for instance, which streets is a particular
sweeper supposed to be working everyday and what is he supposed
to be doing in those streets.
4) Please provide the names, addresses of offices and their contact
nos of the supervisory officials of the above sweepers in this beat right
upto the Sanitary Superintendent.
Day to Day benefits out of RTI
Enquiries about the number of doctors present in
the primary health clinic per day. This ensured that
the doctors actually turned up at the hospitals. A
large improvement in health care facilities was
observed especially in rural areas.
Opening the details about the supply and
distribution of food grains from ration shops ensured
that the entitlements reach the people. The sellers
and quantity of commodities are also subject to
scrutiny when complaints are received regarding
People can enquire about the income that they
should get per day under the employment
guarantee schemes. This restricts the corruption that
would ensue had RTI not been enacted.
RTI and its Impact on
Major Indicators of
Why do we need RTI ?..
Even though our constitution has equipped us with freedom of
expression and speech (u/s 19) we had no legal power to question
the government or look into the details of development
programmes intended for our development.
Access to information held by a public authority was not
possible until 2005. Lack of Information barred a person to realize
his socio – economic aspirations, because he had no basis to
participate in the debate or question the decision making process
even if it was harming him. Official Secret Act, 1923 acted as a relic
of colonial rule covering everything in secrecy. The common people
did not have any legal right to know about the public policies and
Why do we need RTI ?..
It was quite ironical that people who voted the persons
responsible for policy formation to power and contributed
towards the financing of huge costs of public activities
were denied access to the relevant information. This
culture of secrecy resulted in fertile growth of corruption.
In face of non- accountability of the public authorities
and lack of openness in the functioning of
government, abuse of power and corrupt diversion of the
public money was the order of the day.
It has been realized by most of the countries that greater
access of the citizens to information enhances the
responsiveness of government to community needs. In
turn, this facility provides a platform of public grievances
and thus improves feeling of goodwill towards the
RTI gives common man the power to seek information about their
entitlements and subsidies intended for them, accordingly, to take
informed actions in development issues affecting them so as to
ensure equity and justice for him.
If we look into the statistics of the number of people who are
exercising their RTI act we can see that at least 20% of the people
belong to BPL (below poverty line). If we analyse the present
information people sought for consists of the information about
services, subsidies and development projects meant for them and
the reasons as to why the services assured for them are not reaching
Education and Health Care
Education and health care are critical services for empowerment of
people, in general, and the poor, in particular.
The implementation of relevant policies and programmes in the past
has yielded less than desired results due mainly to lack of people’s
lack of information or participation in delivery of services that
empower the poor.
The use of RTI has contributed to improvements in quality and
quantity of services under the following flagship programmes.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
National Rural Health Mission
Aam Admi Insurance Scheme
Guarantee of Income and Food
The Central and State government have been launching various
schemes for providing wage employment to the poor, the services
of which have hardly reached the common man due to ineffective
implementation of programmes, including rampant corruption.
Most of the poverty alleviation programmes are made expecting
that a citizen looks into the policy or programme designed by
government and gives back the crucial feedback to the
government which plays a crucial role in restructuring the policy
such that the benefits assured to the people are maximized
Examples: Implementation of NREGA, Mid-Day Meals, Integrated
Child Development Scheme (ICDS), grant of Food Security and
Pension for the Poor Senior Citizens.
Basic Economic Infrastructure
Right to Information has armed the citizen with a right to demand
for his basic infrastructure like roads, drinking
water, electricity, sanitation.
Over two hundred fifty public enterprises under the Central Sector
have been engaged in development of infrastructure. All the
information regarding to the issues of these enterprises pertaining to
costs and pricing policies, use of resources, choice of
technologies, competition strategy, fairness and objectivity in
finalization of tenders, recruitment and promotion of staff is made
available to people.
Basic Economic Infrastructure
With a view to ensuring maximum disclosure of information regarding
government rules, regulations and decisions, every public authority is
mandated to `maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a
manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under the
In this regard, the following specific nature of cases may be mentioned:
Manipulations in tendering processes or outsourcing of various services have
been major source of corruption or diversion of funds for private purposes.
Scrutiny of the decision making processes have discouraged the Government
companies from their indulgence in corrupt practices;
People showed their interest in scrutinising the selection method of retail
enterprises such as domestic gas, etc. By this the black market of these goods
By the RTI act people started looking to into the environmental pollution
caused by the industries.
Basic Economic Infrastructure
Even the most backward sections are seeking information related to
Prime Minister’s Employment development scheme which include basic
infrastructure, Indira Awas Yojna, ration card, midday meal, uniform
distribution in the schools and conditions and the conditions of village
Sidhakana jot keshav village in Uttar Pradesh is an example in which five
inspired residents of the village filed RTI applications and questioned the
authorities about the poor conditions of their village roads and drains.
With the help of RTI they got their basic infrastructure.
Empowerment of Weaker Sections
Coming to the empowerment of weaker sections the development
programmes are formed to assist socially and economically certain
targeted people who are vulnerable to discrimination.
The development initiatives have duly laid emphasis on protection
of vulnerable sections of the society, mainly women, SC/ST,
minorities and disabled persons
Any deficiencies in the formulation of development programme are
reported by people serves as crucial feedback which helps in
restructuring the policies.
The government is helping them by positive discrimination
Empowerment of Weaker Sections
Example: In Ghara Katra village of Shankar block in Allahabad daily
wagers had a tough tome arranging a proper meal as they were
not receiving rations. The frustrated villagers prepared RTI
application and questioned the authorities concerned. The
immediate day villagers were given their rations.
The environmental cleanliness is more or less depended on the
powers and rights of a citizen to be able to question the polluting
RTI induced people’s pressure on the public authorities has led to:
(a) closure of certain polluting units
(b) stoppage of projects having adverse impact on environment
(c) adherence to the norms and standards prescribed by the
(d)exposure and identification of officials who are responsible of
violation of environmental norms.
Role of Media
Media, the fourth pillar of democracy not only has an important
stake in what the RTI Act purports to provide and achieve, but also
in catalysing and entrenching the implementation and
enforcement of this significant piece of legislation.
Empowerment: Media gives people the information which is
crucial, it keeps updating about the working of government
Social Awareness & Action: The potential of media to be effectively
employed to enhance social awareness is unquestionable. . Media
plays a crucial role in building an inclusive Information Society
based on knowledge power and its distribution.
Media which plays a role in shaping the awareness among people
plays a crucial role in sustainable development.
We live in an age of information, in which the free flow of information
and ideas determines the pace of development and well being of the
people. The implementation of RTI Act is, therefore, an important
milestone in our quest for building an enlightened and at the same time,
a prosperous society. Therefore, the exercise of the Right to
Information cannot be the privilege of only a few.”
”Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India,
Valedictory Address at the National Convention on RTI, October 15, 2006
• According to an article of economic times (PTI Dec 5, 2012, 05.12PM IST)
Over 27,000 cases under Right to Information Act are pending for hearing
before the Central Information Commission even as each commissioner, on
an average, is disposing over 2,800 cases each year.
• The Government says that it has taken several steps like issue of guidelines for
the Central Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities
enabling them to supply information/dispose of first appeal effectively
resulting in less number of appeals to the Commission.
But according to me numbers don't reflect the present day scenario of India.
Even after 8 years and ten months since the RTI act was passed, the
common man's right to information is still incomplete, thanks to
loopholes in implementation and lack of accountability among some
public information officials.
Here is a list of a few loopholes in the RIGHT TO
INFORMATION act and a few Problems with RTI
and its implementation
First Appellate Authority
(FAA) is not accountable
for his/her wrong
judgment or undue delay.
There is no Penalty provision for
First Appellate Authority in RTI
Act,2005 ; so this is one of the
biggest loop hole in the RTI 2005
this is the reason why more &
more cases are pending with
Public Information Officer(PIO) do not provide any information
or provide incomplete information
The main purpose of the Act is to
ensure that Public Information Officer
(PIO) shall provide the information to
the applicant within stipulated time
and on failure he/she should be
suitably penalized (Rs. 250/day as per
central law). But what if he is not able
to provide the information within
Penalize FAA if case goes to CIC
without any proper explanation by
Time should limit imposed on CIC
If CIC fails to dispose of the case
then penalize with large amounts.
From a plain reading of Section 20(1) of the RTI Act, it appears that the
CIC, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal, must impose a
penalty only in the following circumstances:
Refusal to receive an application for information.
Not furnishing information within the time specified under Section
7(1) of the RTI Act.
denying the request for information or knowingly giving
incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroying
information, which was the subject of the request.
Obstructing in any manner in furnishing the information.
All the above are prefaced by the phrase, "without reasonable cause".
Often people are unaware of what should they do after getting information and this
leads to failure of law.
If people are aware of various modes to
obtain justice then there can be better
scenario. How should one act after
Asking for information and exploiting
the questionability of the government is
an important step which in itself solves
the problem in many cases.
But suppose you luckily expose some
corruption or wrongdoing using the RTI.
Then, you can complain to vigilance
agencies, CBI or even file an FIR, or
even take the platform of media or
social networking to muster support
for the cause.
People fear of being victimized on using the RTI act
they often act alone without support from anybody.
that human rights defenders receive media attention only when
killed or seriously injured.
police does not take appropriate action
RTI provides inadequate protection to whistleblowers
TO stop the victimization of activists, there is a need to amend the RTI Act
to provide for the protection of those seeking information under the RTI
Act. The Asian Centre for Human Rights proposes that a separate
chapter, “Protection of those seeking information under the RTI Act”, be
inserted into the Act. Protection measures should include
mandatory, immediate registration of complaints of threats or attacks
against RTI activists on the First Information Report and placing such
FIRs before the magistrate or judge of the area within 24 hours for
issuance of directions for protection of those under threats and their
family, and periodic review of such protection measures for insurance;
conducting inquiry into threats or attacks by a police officer, should be
completed within 90 days;
Trial of the accused within six months. Also, concerned Public
Information Officers (PIO), First Appellate Authorities (FAA) and those
directly related with the information sought under the RTI Act should be
presumed to have abetted the offenses against the RTI
activists unless evidence proves otherwise.
There is also an unconventional flaw with RTI that is people can misuse the RTI act to
obtain information and blackmail government officials.
once such sensitive information is obtained by someone, he/she
could go and blackmail that officer. But then arises the question
that why do we wish to protect the wrong officers?.
If an officer is blackmailed, he/she has been given the right by the
government under Indian Penal Code (IPC) to go register an FIR
against the blackmailer.
Generally, blackmailed officers have a fear that filing an FIR would
make their wrongdoings public
Situation can be solved, by putting all information, petitioned by
any applicant, on the website or any other public platform
AWARENESS:A large chunk of the population especially in the backward classes is
unaware of the RTI act and its uses.
Most of the state governments have made the procedures about
filing an appeal public but on means inaccessible by the poor, like
Educating the Public In order to harness the immense potential of
the Right to Information Act and for its effective implementation is
The State government and its public authorities were required under
the section 26(1) (a), (b) & (c) of the RTI act to organize educational
programs for public to promote understanding of RTI but very less
has been done.
UNIFORMITY IN RTI RULES
The provisions of Section 27 and 28 which empower the “State Governments” and
“Competent Authorities” to make their own rules are playing untold bedlam and
severely restricting the implementation of the RTI Act.
These provisions are being grossly misused by many “Competent authorities,” “State
Governments” and the corrupt bureaucracy/officers. Many States and Competent
authorities have prescribed fee as high as Rs. 500/- (Instead of Rs. 10/- as prescribed by
the Act) for seeking information. Complicated forms and payment methods to deposit
RTI fee has been prescribed which makes it nearly impossible for a common citizen
(Especially people living under poverty line or those illiterate) to seek information.
For example Delhi High Court prescribed a fee of 500 for seeking information (Rule 10 of
“Delhi High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2006”) and has reduced the fine on
delinquent official not furnishing information to Rs. 50/- per day (Instead of the
prescribed Rs. 250/- per day in the RTI Act).This reduced penalty is much less than the
National Floor Level of Minimum Wage allocated by Indian government that amounts to
Similarly the State of Himachal Pradesh which has a large population living in poverty
has prescribed two complicated forms “A” and “D” for seeking information and
inspecting files. Further Himachal Government accepts fee only if it be deposited in the
Himachal Government Treasury and three copies of the treasury receipt are deposited
along with the two forms. An ordinary citizen will not have the knowledge to go through
such a complicated process so RTI goes waste in such circumstances.
The power granted to the State Government and Competent Authorities under Section
27 and 28 to frame their own rules must be immediately recalled and uniform rules by
the Central Government must only be applicable. People from any part of the country
must be enabled to seek information from any other part of the country. “One India”
should have “One rule”.
APPOINTMENT & SELECTION OF THE CIC AND SIC
The present mode of appointment of the CENTRAL
INFORMATION COMMISSION (CIC) and the STATE INFORMATION
COMMISSION (SIC) as mentioned under Section 12 and 15 is not
proper and needs to be changed.
The three member recommendation committee for the CIC and
other Information Commissioners should include the “Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court” in place of “a Union Cabinet
Minister nominated by the Prime Minister,” as mentioned in
Section 12(3) (iii).
No person from the bureaucracy should be appointed as an
Information Commissioner unless at-least three years have
elapsed since his/her last assignment with the government.
As far as possible young people involved in social activities with
a proven track record and who are adequately qualified should
be considered for the position of Information Commissioners.
Most importantly:Exclusion of
political parties from Rti
In the original RTI act ; political
parties are considered
substantially funded indirectly by
the Union government and can
be considered public authorities
under the Act.
But now due to the amendment in
the act, parties are excluded from
the purview of RTI.
Political parties unite to amend RTI