History and Analysis of Right to Information Act

Information means any material in any form including records, documents, memos, email, opinions, advice, press release, circulars, orders, logbook, contracts, reports, papers, 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 time being in force.

History of Right to Information:-

In 1776, Sweden passed a convention of granting RTI to all its Citizens. Sweden tops the list of nations to be the least corrupt country as per transparency international’s index. The UN general Assembly passed a resolution in 1948 declaring freedom of information as Fundamental Right. Fifty six countries in the world have already enacted acts providing right to information including countries from North America, most of the Europe , Colombia, Peru, South Africa, India, Austria, New Zealand. Over 25 Countries have initiated the process to enact the RTI law most of which are from South America, East Africa, South East Asian some from Russian Federation. In the US, The RTI Act of 1966 was amended in 1974 after the ‘Watergate scandal’.

In 1986, the Supreme Court of India gave clear cut directive that freedom of speech and Expression provided under article 19 of the constitution clearly implies RTI as without information the freedom of speech and expression cannot be fully used by the citizens. First grass root campaign for the introduction of RTI Started by the Mazdoor Kissan Shakti Sangthan movement of Rajasthan in May 1990 led by Smt. Aruna Roy. Shri Harsh mander the then Divisional Commissioner of Bilaspur (MP) in 1996 to throw open the registers of Employment Exchange and the records of public distribution system to the citizens. In 1997,TamilNadu became the first state in India to have passed a law on RTI. The MP Govt. issued executive order to 36 departments to implement RTI which later increased to more than the 50 Departments. The working Group, under chairmanship of HD Shourie, appointed by the United Front Govt., drafted the Freedom of Information Bill, 1997. In 1997, Goa legislature enacted a law on RTI.

In 1998, The Govt. of MP tabled a Bill on RTI which was passed by the legislature. The Bill didn’t became law because the Governor Denied assent when the NDA came to power, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee assured the nation that a law on RTI shall be enacted soon. In 1999, Govt. restrained Ministers. PIL was filed before SC to lift restraint on Ministers Declare Section 5 of the Official Secret Act, 1923 unconstitutional ask Govt. of India to issue suitable instructions for RTI, pending legislation. In 1999, Union Urban Affair Minister passed an administrative order on transparency in the urban affair Ministry.

In 2000, Freedom of Information Bill 2000 was introduced in Parliament and was referred to select committee of Parliament. In 2001, NCT Delhi assembly passed a law on RTI. In 2002, Report of select committee in the early. Freedom of information Bill, 2000 was passed in both the houses of Parliament in Dec 2002. This was a watered down version of the bill proposed NCPRI and other organization. In September, 2002 Maharashtra Govt. passed RTI ordinance that overwrote the Maharashtra RTI Act, 2000. The Hon’ble SC of India, by its order dated 2nd May, 2002 in civil appeal No.7178 of 2001 ( Union of India vs. Association for democratic reforms and other) directed the election Commission to call for information on affidavit by issuing necessary order in exercise of its power under article 324 of the Constitution of India from each candidate seeking election to parliament or a sate legislature as a necessary part of his nomination paper.

In 2003, Freedom of Information Bill received the assent of the President of India on 6th Jan 2003 and became law known as freedom of Information Act, 2002 Act No. 5 of 2003. On 31st January MP Govt. passed MP RTI Act. In August, Maharashtra Govt. converted its ordinance into new RTI Act, 2004. UPA Govt. came to the power in 2004. the National Advisory Council, also known as the shadow government, was formed under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. The main objective of the Council was to monitor implementation of Govt. schemes and advice govt. on policy and law. On 23rd December 2004, UPA Govt. tabled the RTI Bill 2004 applicable only to the Union Govt. The Civil society was not happy with this. Most of the information required by the common man was from state govt. The Bill did not serve the purpose of the common man. Some members of NAC too were unhappy with this. After heavy lobbying by NCPRI and other organizations the RTI Act, 2005 was passed with 150 amendments. Bill is now applicable to States also.

Finally, RTI Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 11th may 2005, and in Rajya Sabha on 12th May 2005. it received assent of President of India on 15th June 2005, and was published in the Gazette of India on 21st September 2005. RTI Act, 2005 came into force with effect from 12th October 2005 and known as Right To Information Act, 2005.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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