Right to Information is an act of the Parliament of India which sets the rules and regulations regarding citizens right to information. Any citizen of India may request information from a public authority, i.e., a body of government, which is required to reply within 30 days maximum. In case of a petitioner’s life and liberty, information possesses to be provided within 48 hours. Right to Information requires public authority to computerize their records and publish certain categories of information so that citizens need minimum time to request for information formally.
Right to Information promotes transparency and provides accountability within the working of each and every public authority.
Right to Information bill was passed on 15th June, 2005 by Parliament of India and came into force from 12th October, 2005. Over 4800 right to information applications are filed everyday.
Right to Information protects the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and right to life but it is not included as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India.
The authorities under right to Information act 2005 are called public authorities.
Public information officer performs quasi judicial function of deciding application and appeal.
Right to Information Act covers all the constitutional authorities, like, executive, judiciary and legislature, any institution or body established by an act of parliament or a State Legislature.
According to Central Information Commission (CIC), political parties are public authorities and are answerable to citizens under the Right to Information Act. Seven political parties which are funded by CIC are BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, BSP and BJD.
Right to Information Act in India is governed by two main bodies:
Central Information Commission (CIC): They are directly under the President of India.
State Information Commission: They are directly under the corresponding State Governor.
CIC and SIC are independent bodies and CIC has no jurisdiction over State Information Commission.
Any citizen who desires to seek the information under Right to Information Act is payable to Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee is prescribed to seek the information. If a citizen is from a disadvantaged community, he need not to pay. Applicant may also pay further fee towards the cost of providing information as prescribed by the RTI Act.
Right to Information has many controversies in India, asking for educational degrees of political rivals, or cases of blatant refusals to provide information on high-profile subjects.
There were many attacks on RTI activists. Commonwealth Human rights Initiative (CHRI) across India where people are attacked, murdered, physically or mentally harassed, due to the knowledge they sought under RTI. RTI Act 2005 applies to central and state governments. It covers the acts and functionaries of public authorities.
Mandatory registration of complaints of threats against RTI activists and placing FIRs before judge within 24 hours.
Conducting inquiry by Police Officer within 90 days.
Intellectual property rights
RTI denied by RBI on demonetization stating intellectual property laws.
RTI denied by UP irrigation department after more than 8 months.
Many RTIs are rejected because the bureaucratic requirements of filing are too legalistic for ordinary citizens and hence, difficult for them to complete the requirements correctly. Reasons of rejection also includes that appeals are not typed, not written in English, lack an index paper or list of date. Many citizens need to seek out NGOs, RTI activists or lawyers to file their RTIs.
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 also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
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