Introduction to Right to Information for NSS

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Information about Introduction to Right to Information for NSS
News & Politics

Published on February 19, 2014

Author: gauravrajanand1


Gaurav Raj Anand BE/15067/12 NSS

Salient Features of the Act  Central legislation; extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.  Grants access to information held by a public authority.  Flows from two Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution  Article 19-Freedom of speech and expression: Information is necessary to form and express opinions, dissent or support on any matter. It is therefore a part of Article 19 (1)(a)  Article 21-Right to life and liberty: Information is necessary for protection of the right to life and liberty. It is therefore a part of Article 21  Enacted : 15 June 2005  Enforced : 12 October 2005  The Freedom of Information Act, 2002 has been repealed with this act.

Objectives To set out a practical regime of right to information for citizens To secure access to information under the control of public authorities To promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority To contain corruption To increase citizens’ awareness and ability to exercise their other rights To equip them to participate meaningfully in the development process

What is information? any material in any form: records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material in any electronic form, information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority File notings: are accessible unless they fall under the exempted category [Section 2 (f), (i) and (j)]

Right to information means the right to: Inspect works, documents, records Take notes, extracts, certified copies documents and records Take certified samples of material Access information in the following forms: of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, videocassettes and other electronic mode [Section 2 (j)]

Preamble 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. AND WHEREAS democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold Governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed.

Who can you demand information from? Public Authority: Any institution/authority/body of self-government established or constituted: By or under the Constitution By any law made by Parliament By any law made by State Legislature Body owned/controlled/substantially financed; NGO substantially financed by government [Section 2 (h)]

Electronic Management of Records Every public authority shall – maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act and ensure that all records that are appropriate to be computerized are, within a reasonable time and subject to availability of resources, computerized and connected through a network all over the country on different systems so that access to such records is facilitated [ Section 4 (1)]

Section 4: the spirit of RTI 2005 “It shall be the endeavour of every public authority…to provide as much information suo moto to the public at regular intervals through various means of communication…so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information” [Section 4 (1)]

Exemptions  Affects the sovereignty and integrity of India.  Forbidden by any court of law or tribunal.  Breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature  Commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property.  Information held in fiduciary relation.  Information from a foreign government.  Information that endangers life.  Information which impedes the process of investigation or prosecution.  Cabinet papers.  Information which relates to personal matters, the disclosure of which has no bearing on any public activity or interest.  Information related to agencies mentioned in the Second Schedule of the Act. (Public interest in disclosure overrides restricting these information) (Information dating to event/matter twenty years back shall be provided)

PIOs: Who are they and what are their obligations? Public Information Officers are designated in every public authority to provide information to requisitioners Their Duties: Respond to information requests Render all reasonable assistance including reducing requisition in written format If requested information is with another PA, the PIO will transfer the requisition within 5 days and inform the requisitioner immediately [Section 6]

Duties of PIO Respond to a requisition within 30 days: Provide information on payment of fee Reject the requisition with reasons If information concerns life or liberty of requisitioner, respond within 48 hours If the PIO fails to do any of the above within 30 days, s/he shall be deemed to have refused the request [Section 7]

When information is rejected: The PIO will have to communicate to the applicant: The reasons for the rejection The period within which the appeal should be made Particulars of the appellate authority [Section 7 (8)]

Can you ask for partial disclosure? In case of providing partial access to information:  Reasons  Names of PIOs who took the decision [Section 10 (1)] If information has been supplied by a third party/ third party treats the information as confidential, the PIO will:  Give a written notice to the third party within 5 days of date of request to make a representation  Third party will get 10 days to make a representation [Section 11]

How do you information? request for Keep the questions short and specific Details of IOs now available on website u/s 4(1) (b) Duty of PA to ensure that the application reaches the correct PIO No need to give reasons for making the requisition No prescribed application format: some PAs have their own form but cannot enforce compliance

Fee that you have to pay: Central Rs 10 has to be deposited along with the application form Rs 2 has to be paid for every page of information sought Actual cost price for any samples or models For inspection of records, no charge for the first hour: but a charge of Rs 5 for every 15 minutes thereafter Actual cost price for paper larger than A3 size Rs 50 for information provided on a diskette For information in printed form, the price fixed for the publication

Fee: Delhi Requisition to be accompanied by Rs 10 payable by cash/demand draft/banker’s cheque to the Accounts Officer: Rs 2 per page created or copied Actual cost or price for models or samples For inspection of records, no fee for the first hour; Rs 5 for each subsequent hour or fraction thereof Rs 50 for information on diskette or floppy For information in printed form, at price fixed for publication or Rs 2 per photocopied extract

Appeals and Penalties APPEALS: Internal First appeal to the officer immediately senior to Public Information Officer within 30 days of decision. Appeal to be disposed of within a period of 30 days extendable upto a total of 45 days . External Second appeal to CIC/SIC within 90 days of decision of Appellate Authority. (In both the appeals onus to justify denial of request shall be on the PIO. Decision of the CIC/SIC is final and binding.) PENALTIES: The CIC/SCIC shall impose a penalty of Rs. 250/- per day Total amount will not exceed Rs 25,000 for– Not furnishing information in 30 days Misleading the applicant Providing wrong information Not publishing information suo motu Not computerizing data and uploading on website CIC/SIC empowered to impose penalty on PIO. disciplinary action against an erring PIO. They can also recommend

1. Landmark Judgments 2. Website link: 3. RTI Anthem Link:

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