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Right to Information Act 2005 by Dr. N.P.Ghadge.pptx

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Right to Information Act 2005 by Dr. N.P.Ghadge.pptx

  1. 1. Presented by Asst. Prof.Dr. Neeta Ghadge PDP law College Phaltan PhD,BSL,LLM,DLL,DCL,DCrL.
  2. 2. • Enacted by- Parliament of India • Enacted 15 June 2005 • Assented to 22 June 2005 • Commenced 12 October 2005 • Territorial extent- Whole of India Also Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 2019 after Article 30 revoked.
  3. 3.  Right available to the general public to demand information from the duty-bound Government and/or private bodies. Provided to citizens through the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005. Not constitutionally protected in direct expression, but has been read into various fundamental rights by the Supreme Court of India. Forms a crucial part of the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.  Finds place in various international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  Has gained phenomenal importance as a tool for ensuring and promoting transparency and accountability on a widespread level.
  4. 4.  First RTI law developed by Sweden in 1766. Followed after two decades by the US (1966), Norway (1970), France and Netherlands (1978), Australia, New Zealand and Canada (1982), Denmark (1985), Greece (1986), Austria (1987) and Italy (1990).  Idea of RTI in India brainchild of former PM, V.P. Singh in 1990. First grassroots campaign for the introduction of RTI started by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in 1994. National Campaign for People’s RTI – Formed in 1996; formulated initial draft of RTI law for the Government. Tamil Nadu became first Indian state to pass RTI law in 1997.  Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2002 passed. Could not be implemented.  Bill for current RTI Act passed on recommendations of National Advisory Council (NAC) in May 2005, and became fully operational on October 12, 2005.
  5. 5.  “Information” (§ 2(f)) – Any material in any form, including electronic form, accessible by a public authority under any law in force.  Easy procedure for filing of RTI application to Public Information Officer (PIO) of the concerned public authority (§§ 6, 7). Duty of public authority to comply with specified time period for disclosure of information (§ 7(6)). Penalty for non-disclosure of information - ₹ 250 per day till application is received or information is furnished, maximum penalty being ₹ 25000 (§ 20(1)).  Duties of public authorities: To maintain duly catalogued and indexed records relating to the requisite or concerned information, in computerised form within reasonable time (§ 4(1)(a)). Proactive disclosure of particular information of public authorities encouraged (§ 4(1)(b)).
  6. 6.  Certain types of information exempted from disclosure by public authorities, including information relating to trade secrets, commercial confidence, national integrity and sovereignty, and third party incidents (§ 8(1)). Can be declared open for disclosure if the public interest outweighs the harm to the protected interests (§ 8(2)). Opportunity to be given to third party about request for information related to it, as well as any objection raised in this regard (§ 11(1)).  Appeals to be made first to First Appellate Authority (FAA), and subsequently, to the Central Information Commission (CIC) for central authorities, or State Information Commission (SIC) for State ones (§ 19).  Alternative remedy – Direct complaint to CIC/SIC if decision passed by the PIO relating to concerned information not satisfactorily.
  7. 7.  Section 20 of the RTI Act requires the Commission to initiate penalty proceedings, in case of a violation of the provisions of the RTI Act. Thus, it performs the function of giving the law its teeth by acting as a deterrent from Public Information Officers (PIOs) violating the law. But the report found that the penalty imposed by ICs is in an extremely small fraction of the total cases in which penalty was imposable. It found that in a random sample of orders of ICs, 59% orders recorded one or more violations listed under section 20, leading to potentially imposable penalty in 40,860 cases out of 69,254 cases. However, penalties were imposed only in 4.9% cases.
  8. 8. Chandigarh – Smoke Free City  Hemant Ghosh – Head of NGO called ‘Burning Brain Society’.  Over 300 RTI queries sent to P&H Govt. relating to how the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 had been implemented in the shared capital of Chandigarh.  In response, around 1800 warning boards appeared through the city in 2007, with Chandigarh becoming the first smoke-free city in India. Fair Price Shops in Kalol  Kerosene supplied in Panchmahal district of Gujarat according to the whims and fancies of the ration-shop owners.  Application filed by one Mohanbhai directly before the District Supply Officer (DSO), who dismissed the complaint on wrong grounds.  Correct information gathered through answer to RTI application, with the amount of kerosene supplied getting increased, along with the time for distribution.
  9. 9. • OCTOBER 12, 2021 marked the 16th anniversary of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (the RTI Act). The foundations of the law were established by various Supreme Court judgments which held the right to information to be an integral aspect of the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19. • To mark the occasion, the citizens’ group Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS) prepared a report titled “Report Card on the Performance of Information Commissions in India, 2021”, primarily based on an analysis of information accessed under the RTI Act from 29 Information Commissions (ICs) across India under five broad parameters – i) number of appeals and complaints registered and disposed of by ICs, ii) backlog cases, iii) estimated waiting time for the disposal of an appeal/complaint filed in each commission, iv) penalties imposed by the commissions and v) transparency in their working.
  10. 10. Recent Case Law on RTI • Recently, in the case of Anjali Bhardwaj versus the Union of India (2019), the Supreme Court also observed relating to the ICs that “… in the entire scheme provided under the RTI Act, the existence of these institutions becomes imperative and they are vital for the smooth working of the RTI Act.” It found that 21 of the country’s 29 Commissions did not hold even a single hearing during the first three phases of the country-wide lockdown in 2020.
  11. 11. Survey on RTI • The states of Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Tripura are currently running without any Information Commissioner, thus depriving the people of their right to seek information from public authorities under the RTI Act and leaving no recourse for them if their right to information is violated. The assessment found that “currently, in 3 Information Commissions in the country all posts of Information Commissioners, including that of the Chief, are vacant and another three Commissions are functioning without a Chief Information Commissioner”.
  12. 12. Huge pendency backlog • The report calculated the time taken for disposal of complaints using the data on the backlog of cases in ICs and their monthly rate of disposal. The assessment found the number of appeals and complaints pending on June 30, 2021, in the 26 ICs at 2,55,602, with the Maharashtra State Information Commission (SIC) having the highest number of appeals/complaints at 74,240 as of June 30, 2021. • Shockingly, the report observed that the Odisha SIC is likely to take 6 years and 8 months to dispose a matter. It further showed that about 13 Commissions would take a year or more to dispose a matter, considerably higher than the figure from the 2020 assessment wherein it was found that nine Commissions would take more than a year. This trend is concerning to the very purpose of the RTI Act, i.e., time-bound access to information.
  13. 13. Failures of the act and recommendations  Poor record-keeping practices.  Lack of infrastructure.  Dilution of supplementary laws such as those for whistle-blower protection.  Extremely limited awareness among people.  Recommendations and suggestions:  Creation of RTI Implementation Cell by both Central and State Governments.  Reduction in scope of the information exempted from disclosure under § 8 of the Act, both by the Parliament as well as the Courts, the Supreme Court in particular.  Awareness of the availability as well as benefits of RTI to the public at large, through advertisements or mandatory trainings and workshops.
  14. 14. Need to fight back • However, citizens are also building their strength to get the law implemented. They have realized the power which the Act gives them. Even during Covid-19 times many different groups are discussing and promoting RTI through virtual platforms. • A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court to ensure all hearings by virtual platforms and also to get directions to the Information Commissions to dispose of all cases before them in a time-bound manner. Citizens have used e-platforms with great enthusiasm and connections are being made across the nation. • These may lead to the evolution of a common set of issues and strengthening the citizen’s fundamental right. They have been pointing out that constriction of RTI could lead to constraints on Article 19 (1)(a) and thus on free speech and right to publish. • A strong narrative is being built of misuse of fundamental rights and I believe this must be opposed
  15. 15. THANK YOU!

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