National Campaign for People’s Right to Information
The RTI Act 2005 - Coverage
- Comes into effect from October 2005.
- Covers Central, State and Local governments, and
- all bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed;
- non-government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government (2(h))
- Covers executive, judiciary and legislature (2(e))
- Covers central, state and local governments.
- Includes information relating to private bodies which can be accessed under any other law for the time being in force (2(f))
The RTI Act 2005 – Some Definitions
"Information" includes any material in any form, opinions, advices, and samples.
"Right to Information" includes inspection of work, records; taking certified samples of material
- The RTI Act 2005 - Processes
- Application with fee, to Public Information Officer (PIO).
- PIO in each office/PA. Assistant PIO at sub-district levels
- Information within 30 days. 48 hours where life or liberty is involved.
- No action on application for 30 days is a deemed refusal.
- No fee for delayed response
- Affecting sovereignty, integrity, security, strategic, scientific or economic, or other interests of the State, relation with foreign state or leading to incitement of an offence;
- Forbidden by courts;
- Affecting privilege of Parliament or Legislature;
- Commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, unless larger public interest so warrants;
- received in confidence from foreign government;
- endangers life or physical safety or identifies confidential source of information or assistance
- impedes the process of investigation or apprehension
- cabinet papers, till after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over:
- personal information which would cause invasion of the privacy unless larger public interest justifies it.
RTI Act 2005-Exemptions contd.
- Infringes copyright, except of the state.
- Intelligence and security agencies exempt – except for corruption and human rights violation charges
- Notice to third party
- Most exempt information released after 20 years.
- Notwithstanding anything a public authority may allow access to information, if public interests in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
RTI Act 2005 - Appeals
- First appeal with senior in the department
- Second appeal with Information Commission
- Appeals to be settled in 30-45 days
- Onus of proof on refuser/public authority
- Envisages an independent Information Commission at the Central and State level.
- To be appointed by a committee of PM/CM, leader of opposition and one minister.
RTI Act 2005 - Penalties
- Imposable by Information Commission on PIO or officer asked to assist PIO
- For unreasonable delay – Rs 250 per day up to Rs 25,000
- For illegitimate refusal to accept application, malafide denial, knowingly providing false information, destruction of information, etc. – up to Rs. 25,000 fine
- Recommendation for departmental action for persistent or serious violations
RTI Act 2005 - Access
- Universal Access – especially to the Poor
- Fee at a reasonable level. No fee for BPL.
- APIOs at sub-district levels.
- No need to specify reason for seeking information or other personal details
- Provision to reduce oral requests into writing
- Provision to provide all required assistance, including to sensorily disabled persons.
- Information to be provided in local languages
- Provision for damages
RTI Act 2005–Responsibilities of Public Authorities
- Publishing all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public (4(1)(c)).
- Providing reasons for its administrative or quasi judicial decisions to affected persons (4(1)(d)).
- Providing a large amount of information suo moto (4(2)).
- Providing information to Information Commission (25(2)).