As the name evinces, “Right to Information” any individual or person has the right to obtain information from a public authority (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within the time limit of thirty days. The basic target of the “Right to Information” Act is to empower the citizens, stimulate transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption or double-dealing, and make our democracy function for the people in a real sense.
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Right to Information also authorizes citizens to officially inspect any Government function or work or to take the sample of material used in any work. Right to Information is a segment of fundamental rights under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. Article 19 (1) declares that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. Even though RTI is a fundamental right, even now we need the RTI Act to give us this right. This is because if you go or went to any Government Department and told the officer there that sir, “Right to Information is my fundamental right, and that I am the master of this country. Therefore, please display all of your files to me”, he would not do that. In all probability, he would just throw you out of his cabin. Therefore, we need a proper procedure through which we can exercise this fundamental right. Right to Information Act 2005, which became in action on 13th October 2005, supply that machinery. Therefore, the Right to Information Act does not provide or give us any new rights. It simply lays down the procedure on how to apply for the information, where to apply, how much to pay for it, etc.
The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide propagation and to proactively disclose certain classification of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request information formally. This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came entirely into force on 12 October 2005.
Right to Information covers the right to: Inspect works, documents, records. Take validate samples of material.
The Central Right to Information(RTI) Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir because the state of Jammu and Kashmir is still being ruled by the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). All bodies, which are constituted under the Constitution of India or any law or under any Government notification or all bodies, including(Non-Government Organisation)NGOs, which are owned, controlled, or substantially financed by the Government are covered.
All private bodies, which are owned, controlled, or considerably financed by the Government are directly covered. Other bodies are indirectly covered. The point is if a government department can access information from any private body under any other Act, the same can be accessed by the citizen under the RTI Act through that government department.
RTI(Right to Information) is a success because, for the first time in the chronicle of independent India, there is a law that casts a direct accountability on the officer for non-performance. If the concerned officer does not provide information in time, a penance or penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay can be imposed by the Information Commissioner. If the information provided is incorrect, a penalty of a maximum of Rs 25,000/- can be imposed. A penalty can also be imposed for providing incomplete or inappropriate or for rejecting your application for malafide reasons. This fine is deducted from the officer’s earnings.
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