RTI

RTI (Right to Information) Act, 2005, which was enacted on 15 July 2005 and was enforced and incorporated after 120 days from the date of enactment. Firstly, it recognises that the constitution of India has established a democratic republic and that a democracy requires an informed citizen. Secondly, it holds that to keep the citizen informed, there must exist, transparency of information in respect to the affairs and functioning of the Govt. and its Instrumentalities.

In the preamble of the RTI Act, 2005 it justifies the aforesaid assertions by stating that Informed Citizenry and Transparency of Information, are vital to its functioning, here the word “its” doesn’t refer specifically to the Legislative, Judiciary or the Executive or the elected Government of the day, but fundamentally to the democratic spirit of the nation as is enshrined in our constitution. The preamble also makes a distinction, between the right of the citizen to seek information and the actual disclosure of information, which is likely to conflict with other Public Interests of the Government- this includes three aspects. First, being the efficient operations of the Government. Second, making optimum use of limited financial resources and thirdly, preserving the confidentiality of the sensitive information. However, the preamble, more or less in the same breath, goes ahead to harmonise this conflicting interest by enacting the RTI Act, 2005.

METHOD OF SEEKING INFORMATION:

A citizen who desires to obtain any information under the Act should make an application to the Public Information Officer of the concerned authority in writing in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area in which the application is made. The application should be precise. He should make a payment of the application fee at the time of applying as prescribed in the Fee Rules. The applicant can send the application by post or through electronic means or can deliver it personally in the office of the Public Authority. The application can also be sent through an Assistant Public Information Officer.

The applicant should make an application to the concerned public authority. It is advised that he should make all efforts to ascertain as to which is the public authority concerned with the information and should send the application to the Public Information Officer of that public authority. It is observed that some applicants seek information in respect of many subjects by way of one application. It creates a problem for the Public Information Officer as well as the applicant. The applicant should, therefore, see to it that by way of one application, he seeks information in respect of one subject only.

There is no prescribed format of application for seeking information. The application can be made on plain paper. The application should, however, have the name and complete postal address of the applicant. Even in cases where the information is sought electronically, the application should contain the name and postal address of the applicant.

FILLING OF APPEAL:

An applicant can file an appeal to the first appellate authority if the information is not supplied to him within the prescribed time of 30 days or 48 hrs, as the case may be, or is not satisfied with the information furnished to him. Such an appeal should be filed within a period of 30 days from the date on which the information or decision of the Public Commission Officer is received. The appellate authority of the public authority shall dispose of the appeal within a period of 30 days or in exceptional cases within 45 days of the receipt of the appeal. If the appellate authority fails to pass an order on the appeal within the prescribed period or if the appellant is not satisfied with the order of the first appellate, he may prefer a second appeal with the Information Commission within 90 days from the date on which the decision should have been made by the first appellate authority or was received by the appellant.

A person can make a complaint to the Information Commission if he is unable namaste to submit a request to a Public Information Officer either by reason that such officer has not been appointed by the concerned public authority; or the Assistant Public Information Officer has refused to accept his or her application or appeal for forwarding the same to the Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be; or he has been refused access to any information requested by him under the RTI Act; or he believes that he has been given incomplete, misleading or false information.

CONCLUSION:

Deciding appeals under the RTI Act is a quasi-judicial function. It is, therefore, necessary that the appellate authority should see to it that the justice is not only done but it should appear to have been done. To do so, the order passed by the appellate authority should be a speaking order giving justification for the decision arrived at. If the RTI Act seeks to bring about a harmony between the Right to Know and the Right to Privacy, the RTI Act must show, how information created by an individual by virtue of his actions and decisions and brought by himself, voluntarily, in the public domain, by way of supplying the information to a given authority, to establish a claim. The right of an individual when affected by the violation of the decision of a public authority need not stand up to the test of larger public interest, as the RTI was not intended to protect larger public interest over and above individual interest.

REFERENCES:

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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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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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

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