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RTI India -Development factors and the loopholes in it


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This presentation includes the details about the development in india using RTI , the drawbacks of it and some suggestions for the improvement of the act.

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RTI India -Development factors and the loopholes in it

  1. 1. RTI and its impact on Development INTRODUCTION
  2. 2. RTI  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 incidental thereto.
  3. 3. Why RTI?  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.
  4. 4. 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 .
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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.
  9. 9. 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. Killed 24 Assaulted 52 Harassed 74
  10. 10. A new initiative  There is a new online service website known as RTI anonymous which was introduced by some RTI activists .  Web link:  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.
  11. 11.  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
  12. 12. 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.  Second 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 appellant.
  13. 13. Fee for Seeking Information? What is the Fee for Seeking Information from Central Government Public Authorities? 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.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. public authorities that do not come under this act:  Authorities like Central Intelligence and Security agencies Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,  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.
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17.  Response: 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.
  18. 18. 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 applications .
  19. 19. Role of RTI in governance
  20. 20. 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 out openly.
  21. 21. Why do we need a good government?  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 the people.  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….
  22. 22. How does RTI ensure good governance? 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). 1) Transparency: • 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.
  23. 23. • 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.
  24. 24. 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 previous years? 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?
  25. 25. 2) Legitimacy: • 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 in India. • 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.
  26. 26. 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 resources
  27. 27. 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 information. • Power to people ensures that the policies and rules are more people oriented
  28. 28. 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 scheme.
  29. 29. 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 sacked. 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.
  30. 30. 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 that period? 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?
  31. 31. Nilprakash case 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 card. 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 government were:
  32. 32. 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?
  33. 33. 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.
  34. 34. 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:
  35. 35. 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.
  36. 36. 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 the matter.  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.
  37. 37. RTI and its Impact on Major Indicators of Development
  38. 38. 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 expenditures.
  39. 39. 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 government.
  40. 40. Poverty Alleviation  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 them.
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. Guarantee of Income and Food Security  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.
  43. 43. 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.
  44. 44. 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 Act’.  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 is eradicated  By the RTI act people started looking to into the environmental pollution caused by the industries.
  45. 45. 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 roads.  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.
  46. 46. 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 (reservations, subsidies).
  47. 47. 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.
  48. 48. Environmental Protection  The environmental cleanliness is more or less depended on the powers and rights of a citizen to be able to question the polluting units.  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 regulatory bodies (d)exposure and identification of officials who are responsible of violation of environmental norms.
  49. 49. 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.
  50. 50. 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
  52. 52. • 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.
  53. 53. 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.
  54. 54. 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 SIC/CIC.
  55. 55. 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 stipulated time?  Penalize FAA if case goes to CIC without any proper explanation by FAA.  Time should limit imposed on CIC  If CIC fails to dispose of the case then penalize with large amounts.
  56. 56. 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".
  57. 57. 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 getting information? 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.
  58. 58. 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
  59. 59. 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.
  60. 60. 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
  61. 61. 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 the Internet.  Educating the Public In order to harness the immense potential of the Right to Information Act and for its effective implementation is very important.  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.
  62. 62. 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 around Rs.115/-.  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”.
  63. 63. 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.
  64. 64. 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 act