DEMOCRACY IS FOR THE PEOPLE
Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution recognises the right to information as a basic right.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court held in the Raj Narain vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1976, that the freedom to information is a fundamental right under Article 19. People are the controller in Indian democracy, and they have the right to know how the government actually operates.
As an outcome , in 2005, the government established the Right to Information Act, which establishes a framework for exercising this fundamental right.
The act is one of the most important pieces of legislation that allows citizens of the country to criticize the government’s actions. Citizens and the media have utilized it extensively to identify corruption, progress in government operations, and expense-related information, among other things.
This legislation covers all constitutional authorities, agencies, and organizations that are owned and controlled by the government, as well as those that are heavily sponsored by the government. The act also requires public authorities, whether federal or state, to respond to people’ requests for information in a timely manner.
Right to Information and good governance are also covered under our Constitution’s 73rd and 74th Amendments. The purpose of these two amendments was to decentralize power to the grassroots level of society. These two amendments have emphasized the concepts of the right to information, good governance, and democracy even more.
The act also prescribes fines if the authorities fail to react to the citizen within the time frame set forth in the act.
The main objectives of this act are:
- Citizens are able to question the government.
- The statute encourages the government to operate in a transparent and accountable manner.
- The act also aids in the restriction of government corruption and the enhancement of government’s, service to the people.
- The act aims to create better-informed citizens who will maintain required vigilance over the government’s operations.
Some important things to be kept in mind are as follows:
- Citizens have the right to request any information from government authorities that the government is willing to share with the parliament.
- Any citizen can file an RTI by submitting an application to the appropriate authority and paying Rupees ten.
- Citizens have the right to information, which allows them to question government officials and hold them accountable for their actions. The RTI Act of 2005 makes it easier to exercise this entitlement.
- Some information that could jeopardize India’s sovereignty and integrity is exempt from RTI’s reach.
- RTI does not apply to information about internal security, foreign relations, intellectual property rights (IPR), or cabinet meetings.
This law gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink governing procedures, particularly at the grassroots level, where citizens have the most contact.
The right to information is widely acknowledged as required, but not sufficient, for better governance. Much more has to be done to promote government accountability, including whistle-blower protection, decentralization of power, and the fusion of authority and accountability at all levels.
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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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge