Right to Information Act - RTI governance, process and fee

Right to Information Act - RTI governance, process and fee

🛑Right to Information Act, 2005🛑

◾️Right to Information (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens' right to information. It replaced the former Freedom of Information Act, 2002. Under the provisions of the RTI Act, any citizen of India may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. In case of the matter involving a petitioner's life and liberty, the information has to be provided within 48 hours. The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request information formally.

◾️This law was passed by the Parliament of India on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. Every day on average, over 4800 RTI applications are filed. In the first ten years of the commencement of the act over 17,500,000 applications had been filed.

◾️Although the Right to Information is not included as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India, it protects the fundamental rights to Freedom of Expression and Speech under Article 19(1)(a) and the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 guaranteed by the Constitution. The authorities under RTI Act 2005 are called public authorities. The Public Information Officer (PIO) or the First Appellate Authority in the public authorities perform the quasi-judicial function of deciding on the application and appeal respectively. This act was enacted in order to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution 'freedom of speech. Since RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, it is an implied fundamental right.

◾️The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to amend Sections 13, 16, and 27 of the RTI Act. Section 13 of the original Act: It sets the term of the central Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners at five years (or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier). Finally in Ashwanee k. Singh case on 20 September 2020, it is stabilized that right to information is a fundamental right.

➖Citation: Act No. 22 of 2005

➖Enacted by Parliament of India

➖Enacted on 15-June-2005

➖Commenced on 12-October-2005

🔸Governance and process of RTI

The Right to information in India is governed by two major bodies:

➖Central Information Commission (CIC) – Chief Information commissioner who heads all the central departments and ministries- with their own public information officers (PIO)s. CICs are directly under the President of India.

➖State Information Commissions – State Public Information Officers or SPIOs head over all the state departments and ministries. The SPIO office is directly under the corresponding State Governor.

➖State and Central Information Commissions are independent bodies and Central Information Commission have no jurisdiction over the State Information Commission.

🔸Fees related to RTI Act

A citizen who desires to seek some information from a public authority is required to send, along with the application (a Postal order or DD (Demand draft) or a bankers cheque) payable to the Accounts Officer of the public authority as fee prescribed for seeking information. If the person is from a disadvantaged community, he/she need not pay. The applicant may also be required to pay further fees towards the cost of providing the information, details of which shall be intimated to the applicant by the PIO (Public Information Officer) as prescribed by the RTI ACT.

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