Right to Information (RTI) Act - Need, Application process, Advantages
Right to Information (RTI) Act - Need, application process, advantages
Question - Write a short note on Right to Information Act. Did it empower the media and common man in accessing the information?
Right to Information Act – The act states that a citizen has the right to access any information from the public authorities which is withheld by them.
Information in the Act is defined as any material in any form including records, documents, e-mails, opinions, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, reports, papers, samples, models and data materials held in any electronic form.
Background- The act replaces the old “Freedom of Information Act, 2002”. The Right to Information Act was enacted by the Parliament of India on 15 June, 2005.
The act extends to the whole of India except to the state of Jammu and Kashmir where the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act is in force.
The first RTI application was submitted by Shahid Raza Burney to the Pune police station on the 12th of October, 2005.
The need for the Right to Information Act :
Corruption was increasing in our country rapidly. People were not aware of the ways in which the public funds were being utilized. Thus, it was necessary to pass the Right to Information Act to help the common man gain information from the central or state government. The Act is also applicable to corporate organizations wherein the employees have the right to know of an information related to them.
State governments which successfully enacted the state level RTIs first– Assam, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu
- IB, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau
- Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement, Aviation Research Center
- Special Frontier Force, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG
- Assam Rifles, Special Service Bureau, Special Branch (CID)
- Crime Branch – CID-CB, Lakshadweep police
Application procedure to request for any information:
- Apply to the Public Information Officer in writing or through any electronic means (in Hindi, English or any regional language) specifying the particulars of the required information.
- Stating the reasons to obtain the information is not required.
- If you are not below the poverty line, you have to pay the prescribed fees.
Time limit to obtain the information:
- It should come within 30 days from the date of application
- It should take 48 hours to obtain the information if it concerns the life and liberty of a person
- If the application to obtain information is given to the Assistant public Information Officer, 5 days will be added to the above mentioned response time.
- If the interests of a third party are taken into consideration, it will take 40 days (5 days added to the maximum time period)
- If the information is not obtained within the specified period, it means that the message is on hold.
Grounds of rejection:
- If it is covered by exemption from disclosure.
- If it infringes the copyright of any person other than the state.
Meaning of RTI for a corporate communication practitioner:
For a corporate communication practitioner, it means that apart from the NGOs, vendors, contractors and general public, there would be requests from the media to access the information for filing up their stories, directly. It would help the media people publish factual information. It would also help a corporate communication practitioner convey a message to the public more effectively.
Role of media in spreading awareness about RTI
Many media organizations started spreading the knowledge about the RTI Act among the general public.
Doordarshan launched a weekly half–hour program on the RTI Act. It gave examples of how common men have used the RTI facility.
NDTV launched a nationwide campaign to create awareness about RTI. It encouraged people not to bribe but to obtain information through the RTI to get their grievances readdressed.
A lot of newspapers carrying information about RTI were circulated across the nation to educate people. Banners and hoardings also played important roles in creating awareness.
Yes, the Right to information Act gifted the media and the common man the access to information.
- It helps to reduce the corruption taking place in various departments of private and government organizations.
- It strengthens the democracy and governance.
- It is used as a tool for bringing transparency in the Indian administrative system.
- It is an easy mode to spread the information in a right way among the common men.
The Act has been under a strong debate for years in the public domain since 2005. The passing of the Act means that all the documents under the government and public funded domains are accessible to the general public on request. The Act will help our country grow as a strong democracy in the near future.