Right_to_Information_overview

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  • State Public Information Officers (SPIO) to be designated in all administrative units or offices within 100 days [S. 5(1)] State Assistant Public Information Officer to be designated at each sub-divisional level or other sub-district level within 100 days. [S. 5(2)]
  • If the information is held by another public authority, the application shall be transferred to the appropriate public authority within five days [S. 6(3)] If the information is related to a third party, which considers it confidential, then the third party shall be invited to make a submission [S. 11(1)]
  • 48 hours – life or liberty [S. 7(1)] 30 days – Public Information Officer [S. 7(1)] 35 days – Asst. Public Information Officer [S. 5(2)] 40 days –third party [S. 11(3)] If the IO fails to give decision within the period specified, the IO shall be deemed to have refused the request [S. 7(3)]
  • Fee to be determined by appropriate the Government [S. 27(2)] If additional fee needs to be paid, the IO shall inform the applicant: the fee, calculations, rights with respect to review [S. 7 (3)] No fee to be paid by the citizen if the response is delayed beyond the stipulated time [S. 7(6)]
  • The SIC shall consist of State Chief Information Commissioner Such number of State Information Commissioners, not exceeding ten [S. 15(2)] The Governor shall appoint the SIC on the recommendation of a committee consisting of CM Leader of the Opposition A Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the CM [S. 15(3)]
  • The SIC is required to receive and enquire into a complaint when: A person has been unable to submit a request as no IO had been appointed IO has refused to accept the application Person has been refused access to any information Person has received no response Person has had to pay a fee which he or she considers unreasonable Person believes that he or she has been given incomplete, misleading or false information under this Act In respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining information [S. 18 (1)]
  • Right_to_Information_overview

    1. 1. Right To Information An Overview Originally made by K Rajasekharan Kerala Institute of Local Administration Modified by : AID RTI team for RTI presentation to NRIs on Nov 6 th , 2011
    2. 2. Purpose of the Act <ul><li>Ensure citizens right to information </li></ul><ul><li>Under the control public authorities </li></ul><ul><li>to promote transparency/accountability to the governed </li></ul><ul><li>to contain corruption </li></ul><ul><li>to have informed citizenry & democracy </li></ul><ul><li>while harmonizing the conflict between the RTI & efficient operation of the govt/optimum use of financial resources </li></ul>
    3. 3. The links RTI has with other fundamental rights <ul><li>RTI is directly linked to the </li></ul><ul><li>Right to Life which includes the </li></ul><ul><li>right to food, health, education, liberty, etc. and </li></ul><ul><li>the denial of information is a denial of these rights </li></ul>
    4. 4. Problems in flow of information <ul><li>Laws like the Official Secrets Act / Code of Conduct of Civil Servants </li></ul><ul><li>Culture of secrecy that prevailed in Government </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of accountability in public offices </li></ul><ul><li>Badly kept records </li></ul><ul><li>People do not know where to go for information </li></ul><ul><li>Illiteracy of people </li></ul>
    5. 5. Time line on Right to Information in India <ul><li>1975 Supreme Court declared the citizens right to know flows from the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in Art 19(1)(a) of the constitution </li></ul><ul><li>1990 - Prime Minister V.P Singh stressed the importance of Right to Information as a legislated right. </li></ul><ul><li>1994 – MKSS started a grassroots campaign for right to information which resulted in the enactment of a law in 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>1996 - Press Council of India under guidance of its Chairman Justice P.B Sawant drafted a law “Freedom of Information Act, 1997.” </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>1997 – The Working group appointed by the United Front Government under the Chairmanship of Mr H.D Shourie drafted a law called the Freedom of Information Bill, 1997. </li></ul><ul><li>1997- Tamilnadu became the first state in India to pass a law </li></ul><ul><li>1997 - The MP Govt issues executive orders to 36 departments to implement Right to Information later issued in more than 50 departments </li></ul><ul><li>1997- Goa legislature enacted a law on RTI </li></ul><ul><li>1998 – The Government of Madhya Pradesh passed a Bill on Right to Information. But the Governor denied assent. </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>1998 – The P M Shri Vajpayee announces that a Law on right to information shall be enacted soon. </li></ul><ul><li>2000 - Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra pass legislations and UP issued Code of Access to some depts. </li></ul><ul><li>2000 - Freedom of Information Bill, 2000, tabled in Parliament and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>2002- Maharashtra Govt. passed an RTI Ordinance overriding the Maharashtra RTI Act 2000. </li></ul><ul><li>2003- Parliament passed FOI Act and notified in 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>2003- On Jan 31 st MP Govt. passes MP RTI Act. </li></ul><ul><li>2003- In Aug. Maharashtra converted its Ordinance into new RTI Act. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Which is a Public Authority? <ul><li>Any authority, body or institution by or under the Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>By any law of Parliament/Legislature </li></ul><ul><li>By notification of Government </li></ul><ul><li>Body owned, controlled or substantially financed </li></ul><ul><li>NGO substantially financed directly or indirectly </li></ul>
    9. 9. What kinds of information need to be provided? [S.2(f)] <ul><li>Any material in any form including </li></ul><ul><li>records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, </li></ul><ul><li>samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force </li></ul>
    10. 10. Record includes [S. 2(i)] <ul><li>any document, manuscript and file </li></ul><ul><li>any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document </li></ul><ul><li>any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>any other material produced by a computer or any other device </li></ul>
    11. 11. What does the “right to information” mean ? [S. 2(j)] <ul><li>inspection of work, documents, records </li></ul><ul><li>taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records </li></ul><ul><li>certified samples of material </li></ul><ul><li>Obtain information in diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device </li></ul><ul><li>Held by /under the control of Public Authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination includes inspection of office </li></ul>
    12. 12. Obligations of Public Authorities [S.4] <ul><li>Catalogue, index, and computerize the records to a country wide network, to facilitate access to information [S. 4(1)] within a reasonable time </li></ul><ul><li>Publish Particulars of organization, powers and functions of officers and employees, rules regulations, instructions, manuals suo moto </li></ul><ul><li>Publish all facts, policies and decisions which affect the public </li></ul><ul><li>Provide reason for its decisions to affected persons </li></ul>
    13. 13. Suo-moto dissemination of information <ul><li>function/duties of organization/officers </li></ul><ul><li>decision making procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Norms, rules, manuals governing the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of records under its custody </li></ul><ul><li>procedure for public involvement in policy making </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of its committees </li></ul><ul><li>Directory and remuneration of officers </li></ul><ul><li>budget, subsidiary program, recipient of concessions </li></ul><ul><li>Details of electronic information </li></ul><ul><li>the manner of obtaining information & about PIO/APIO </li></ul>
    14. 14. Citizens Charter <ul><li>Citizens Charter </li></ul><ul><li>enlisting all services, </li></ul><ul><li>the conditions a citizen should follow to get those services and </li></ul><ul><li>the time limit for providing the service can be issued every year </li></ul>
    15. 15. Who should provide information? [S. 5(2)] <ul><li>State Public Information Officer </li></ul><ul><li>assisted by </li></ul><ul><li>State Assistant Public Information Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Other officers </li></ul>
    16. 16. What a Public information officer shall do? <ul><li>accept/reject the application </li></ul><ul><li>if application is oral reduce it to writing </li></ul><ul><li>provide information within 30 days (life &liberty 48 hours) on acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to provide information is deemed to denial of information. No fee for delayed response </li></ul><ul><li>If rejected, the onus of proving the rejection lies with PIO No action equals rejection </li></ul><ul><li>seek third party information </li></ul><ul><li>transfer application to other Pub Authority within 5 days & inform the applicant </li></ul>
    17. 17. Rejection order should state [S. 7(8)] <ul><li>The reasons for such a rejection </li></ul><ul><li>The period within which an appeal against the rejection is preferred </li></ul><ul><li>The particulars of the appellate authority </li></ul>
    18. 18. When to transfer the application ? <ul><li>If Information is with other public authorities [S. 6(3)] </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer the application to it & inform the applicant </li></ul>
    19. 19. Third Party Information <ul><li>Third party is a person/public authority other than the applicant for information </li></ul><ul><li>Any other private entity with its permission </li></ul><ul><li>Third party have a right to get notice and to be heard in RTI application /appeals </li></ul><ul><li>Notice to third party to include the appeal possibilities </li></ul>
    20. 20. Exemptions [S. 8] <ul><li>affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, scientific or economic interests of the State,relation with foreign State/ lead to incitement of an offence </li></ul><ul><li>forbidden by any court of law or tribunal </li></ul><ul><li>breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature </li></ul><ul><li>information related to agencies such as I B,Crime Branch etc listed in the Second Schedule of the Act </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>Commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property that harms competitive position of third party </li></ul><ul><li>Information from a foreign government </li></ul><ul><li>Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries or prosecution of offenders </li></ul><ul><li>That impedes investigation / apprehension / prosecution of offenders </li></ul><ul><li>Information relating to personal matters, the disclosure of which has no bearing on any public activity or interest </li></ul><ul><li>Corruption & human right violation not exempted </li></ul>
    22. 22. Appeals <ul><li>First appeal to be submitted within 30 days ( 19(1) ) ‏ </li></ul><ul><li>to be disposed of within 30 days but not to exceed 45 days, for reasons to be recorded </li></ul><ul><li>Second appeal to SIC within 90 days 19(3)) No time limit fixed for its dispensing right now </li></ul><ul><li>the onus to prove denial of information is on the public information officer </li></ul>
    23. 23. When to provide information ? <ul><li>48 hours [S. 7(1)] if application is concerned with the life & liberty of persons </li></ul><ul><li>30 days normally [S. 7(1)] </li></ul><ul><li>35 days [S. 5(2)] for application submitted through SAPIO </li></ul><ul><li>40 days, if Third Party information [S. 11(3)] </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to provide information in time is a deemed refusal </li></ul><ul><li>Corruption & human right violation in exempted organizations within 45 days </li></ul>
    24. 24. Types of Fees <ul><li>Application fee </li></ul><ul><li>Fee for providing information </li></ul><ul><li>Such further fee – cost of the document / sample etc </li></ul><ul><li>No fee for Below Poverty Line [S. 7(5)] </li></ul><ul><li>No fee when response is delayed [S. 7(6)] </li></ul><ul><li>Applicant can appeal on the decision regarding fees </li></ul>
    25. 25. Rate of Fees <ul><li>Rs 2/- for A4 size </li></ul><ul><li>For inspection, no fee for first hour </li></ul><ul><li>Rs 10/- for every thirty minutes further </li></ul><ul><li>For providing in floppy Rs 50/- </li></ul><ul><li>For others –Actual charges </li></ul>
    26. 26. Mode of Fees <ul><li>Court fee stamp </li></ul><ul><li>Remittance in Treasury </li></ul><ul><li>Cash remittance </li></ul><ul><li>By DD/bankers cheque/pay order in favour of SPIO / SAPIO </li></ul>
    27. 27. Information Officer - Hierarchy State Information Commission Appellate authority [ Officer senior in rank to the State Public Information Officer ] State Assistant Public Information Officer State Public Information Officer
    28. 28. State Information Commission <ul><li>State Chief Information Commissioner in each State - in the rank of a Central Election Commissioner </li></ul><ul><li>State Information Commissioner – Chief Secretary rank </li></ul><ul><li>Five year term/ attainment of 65 years of age </li></ul>
    29. 29. The SIC can penalise for <ul><li>refuse to receive application / access information </li></ul><ul><li>late furnishing of information </li></ul><ul><li>denying information with malafide intention </li></ul><ul><li>give incorrect information knowingly </li></ul><ul><li>destroying /obstructing furnishing information </li></ul><ul><li>SPIO will get reasonable opportunity for explanation before penalised by SIC </li></ul><ul><li>Disciplinary action to be recommended by SIC </li></ul><ul><li>Bonafide action not to bring in punishment </li></ul>
    30. 30. Penalty is <ul><li>SIC can impose penalty of Rs. 250 per day, but not to exceed Rs. 25,000- </li></ul><ul><li>Any officer denying or delaying information can get this penalty </li></ul><ul><li>SIC can recommend for disciplinary action in case of malafide denial of information </li></ul><ul><li>Burden of proof lies with the SPIO </li></ul>
    31. 31. SIC can direct Public Authorities <ul><li>in providing information in any form </li></ul><ul><li>appointing SPIO </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing information </li></ul><ul><li>maintenance of records </li></ul><ul><li>to provide training </li></ul><ul><li>to provide with an annual report </li></ul><ul><li>compensate any loss/detriment suffered </li></ul><ul><li>the steps to take to promote RTI </li></ul>
    32. 32. Other powers of the SIC <ul><li>receive & inquire into complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Receive and decide appeal from any citizen </li></ul><ul><li>exercise the powers of a civil court to summon </li></ul><ul><li>examine any records under the purview of this act </li></ul><ul><li>issue decision binding on Public Authorities on RTI </li></ul><ul><li>impose penalty under the act </li></ul><ul><li>reject any application </li></ul>
    33. 33. Documents to accompany appeals <ul><li>Appeals in the form /should have contents </li></ul><ul><li>Self-attested copy of the order relied on </li></ul><ul><li>Other documents to prove the request </li></ul><ul><li>An index of the documents referred to </li></ul>
    34. 34. Appeal procedure <ul><li>Take oral /written evidence/affidavit of concerned persons </li></ul><ul><li>Inspection of records or documents </li></ul><ul><li>Inquire through authorized officer </li></ul><ul><li>Hear SPIO/ third party </li></ul><ul><li>Affidavit of SPIO or others including the third party </li></ul>
    35. 35. Reasons for complaints to SIC[S. 18(1)] <ul><li>No Information officer appointed </li></ul><ul><li>Request refused </li></ul><ul><li>No response </li></ul><ul><li>Unreasonable fee </li></ul><ul><li>Incomplete, misleading or false information </li></ul><ul><li>Or similar violations of RTI act </li></ul>
    36. 36. RTI act override other acts <ul><li>provisions in official secrets act 1923 or </li></ul><ul><li>other acts/rules do not sustain, if they are in conflict with RTI act </li></ul>
    37. 37. Govt. can issue rules for <ul><li>print-cost price of materials to be disseminated -issued </li></ul><ul><li>fee for application -issued </li></ul><ul><li>fee for information -issued </li></ul><ul><li>procedure for appeals –not issued </li></ul>
    38. 38. The Government shall <ul><li>Issue a guide within 18 months in official language containing everything required to exercise the rights </li></ul>
    39. 39. Jurisdiction of courts <ul><li>lower courts are barred from entertaining suits </li></ul><ul><li>High/Supreme court can entertain writs under 32 / 225 </li></ul>
    40. 40. Take home message <ul><li>The act envisages proper upkeep of information </li></ul><ul><li>Proper dissemination of information to public </li></ul><ul><li>Giving information is the rule, not other way round </li></ul><ul><li>Bonafide actions will not bring punishment </li></ul><ul><li>But you should be able to justify it </li></ul>
    41. 41. Thank you !

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