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  1. 1. H I ST OR Y The earliest reference to right to information is in 1776, from Sweden, where a convention granting right to information to all its citizens was passed. After the United Nations was formed, the U.N. passed a resolution in 1946 recognizing right to information as a fundamental right. In 1960, UNESCO adopted a Declaration of Freedom of Information, and Sweden became the first country in the world to enact a provision for access to government information. It took India another 45 years to legislate this right. At least 56 countries in the world have enacted their own right to information in their statutes. The following Act of Parliament received the assent of the President on the 15th June, 2005, and is hereby published for general information:— THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005 No. 22 of 2005 [15th June, 2005.] AND WHEREAS revelation of information in actual practice is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information; 1. (1) This Act may be called the Right to Information Act, 2005. (2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. (3) The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 4, sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 5, sections 12, 13, 15,16, 24, 27 and 28 shall come into force at once, and the remaining provisions of this Act shall come into force on the one hundred and twentieth day of its enactment.
  2. 2. The Right to Information Act (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India "to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens" and replaces the erstwhile Freedom of Information Act, 2002. The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir has its own act called Jammu & Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to pro-actively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally. This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. Information disclosure in India was hitherto restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act relaxes. INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. The Indian Constitution has an impressive array of basic and inalienable rights termed as fundamental rights contained in Chapter III. These include the Right to Equal Protection of the Laws and the Right to Equality before the Law (Article 14), the Right to Freedom Speech and Expression [Article 19(1) (a)] and the Right to Life "Personal Liberty (Article 21). These are backed by the Right Constitutional Remedies in Article 32, i.e., the Right to approach the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, or the High Court in case of infringement of any of fundamental rights. The State is not only under an obligation to respect the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, but also equally under an obligation to ensure conditions under which the Right can be meaningfully and effectively enjoyed by all. However, the Constitution does not specifically mention about the right to information or even right to freedom of the press. Constitutional Aspect of the Right to Information
  4. 4. • Universal access to information held by the public authorities- all citizens have access to information, pertaining to any period, in any form, in official language • Right to information includes inspection of records , works and taking certified samples of material • 'Information' broadly defined-includes: records, e-mails, samples and models • Applies to all public authorities ,NGOs, private bodies subject to provisions • Voluntary disclosure of maximum (17 categories of) information on nation- wide network • Public Information Officers (“PIO”) to provide information PIO has the duty to assist requesters and transfer the request to proper public authority, if necessary • No prescribed form • Reasonable fees: No fees for persons below poverty line SALIENT FEATURES
  5. 5. RTI unlocks the door to government files where all the information pertaining to your applications for passport, license, pension, etc. is kept and processed. It also allows you inspect government offices, properties, works, documents, registers, and obtain samples of material. You can ask for the date wise work done on any of your matter pending with a department. In other words, RTI helps you go deep into the government's lair and pull out exactly what you need. But why would you do that? Let us give you a broader view of how the RTI can help. You face a variety of problems with the government departments, police, educational institutions, passport offices, PWD, municipality, etc. •You have some pending work with a department and they are not doing it. •They are expecting or demanding a bribe. •You submitted a grievance but they are simply not acting on it. •You made a complaint against any wrongdoing, but without any result. A decision was taken that affected you but you were not given the reasons How is RTI useful
  6. 6. Under the Act, all authorities covered must appoint their Public Information Officer (PIO). Any person may submit a request to the PIO for information in writing. It is the PIO's obligation to provide information to citizens of India who request information under the Act. If the request pertains to another public authority (in whole or part), it is the PIO's responsibility to transfer/forward the concerned portions of the request to a PIO of the other within 5 working days. In addition, every public authority is required to designate Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) to receive RTI requests and appeals for forwarding to the PIOs of their public authority. The applicant is not required to disclose any information or reasons other than his name and contact particulars to seek the information. The Central Information Commission (CIC) acts upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information PROCESS
  7. 7. Country Bangladesh Pakistan India Constitutional Protection Protected (by interpreting) Protected Protected (by interpreting) Legislation RTI Act, 2009 FOI Ordinance, 2002 RTI, 2005 Information about Private bodies Private organisation running on foreign or government funding/ exchequer; organisation undertaking public functions under contract withal government or public organization No provisions Body owned, controlled or substantially financed and NGO funded directly or indirectly by the government; private bodies regulated by public authorities Proactive Disclosure Too limited. Allows only four kinds of information voluntarily Too limited. Provides only five kinds of information voluntarily Provides for 17 kinds of information voluntarily Public Interest Disclosure No provision No public interest override. Government can refuse to disclose in public interest Exempted information. can be disclosed if public interest outweighs harm to protected interests Fee Exceptions Government in consultation with ICs may exempt from paying fee Fee as it may be prescribed but with aim of providing information promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost Exempted for those below poverty line. Also free if the public authority fails to comply with time limits Urgent Request Relating to life and death, arrest and release from jail. Within 24 hours No Provision Relating to life and liberty of a person. Within 48 hours RTI Legislations. A Comparison
  8. 8. Date:……. To, The Appellate Officer (Name of the Public Authority) (Address of the Public Authority) An appeal under Section 19 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 Ref: [PIO/Appellate Officers’ Decision Reference No. & Date, received on ……. (Date) / Date of Deemed Refusal] Dear Sir / Madam: [Please describe the details about Appeal and Grounds why Appeal is preferred: Date & Description of the Application: Name and Address of the PIO: Details of Decision of the PIO: Grounds of Appeal: Decision Requested: Sincerely, (Appellant’s signature) Appellant’s Name: Appellant’s Address: Appellant’s Phone Number / e-Mail Address (optional): Place: Date : A Model Letter of Appeal
  9. 9. The Government of India has prescribed the following fees in respect of information requested from Government of India departments To submit your request Rs. 10-00 To receive information: For each page created / copied (in A-4 or A-3 size paper) Rs. 2-00 If the paper is in larger size Actual charge / cost price Diskette / floppy Rs. 50 Samples / Models Actual charge / cost price Printed matter Price fixed / Rs. 2 for page of photocopy For Inspection of records : First hour Free Each subsequent hour Rs. 5-00 FEES STRUCTURE
  10. 10. The Act itself is self-restrictive in nature. The Act does not make the Right to Information an absolute right but imposes restriction on this right. Section 8(1) of the Actdeals with exemption from disclosure of information. The section says that “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give anycitizen, – (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect 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; (b) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court ; (c) information disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature ; (d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information ; (e) information available to a person is his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information ; (f) information received in confidence from foreign Government ; (g) information, disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes ; (h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders ; Restrictions Imposed by the Act
  11. 11. To make the government accountable, we need information regarding government decisions and how exactly it functions. The Right to Information Act empowers us to do just that. It gives us the right to obtain information from the government about matters that affect us in thousands of ways. Used innovatively, such information could lead to exposure of corruption and inaction, and make the government responsive and accountable. The government spends so much money on various works in your area. You should ask for the details of all the works carried out by the municipal body in your area. How much money was spent? On what works was it spent? Similar information was asked by people all over the country since October 2005. When the information was physically verified, it turned out that a number of works existed only on paper. Won’t you like to hold the government similarly accountable in your area, city and state? So it is only possible with rti act Hold The Government Accountable & Challenges
  12. 12. The Right to Information Act is a social legislation enacted for the benefit of the society at large. It is a special law having some overriding effect on general laws. Though the Act contains restrictive provisions and above all there are reasonable restrictions under the Constitution, we hope the Act will be exploited for the benefit of the society. The Official Secrets Act continued to govern the country for years. There were recommendations for amendment, even repeal of the Act. With the advent of the Right to Information Act, it has been repealed indirectly. Section 22 of the Right to Information Act gives overriding effect on anything inconsistent contained in any other law for the time being in force or in contradictory provisions of the Official Secrets Act. The Right to Information Act, 2005 is a complete code. The public has a fundamental right to know what the government has done or is been doing in its name. The Statute is enacted to make the state affairs more fair, transparent and obviously to check corruption. CONCLUSION
  13. 13. QUESTION PLEASE…….