What is RTI (Right to Information) ?

To understand what comes under right to information act, we must have a clear understanding about what Right to Information means. Now, keeping the legal aspect aside, Right to Information simply means a common man’s claim over information, this right gives you a claim through which you can demand information. The next question that should come to your mind is that what type of information can we demand and from whom should we demand? Can we demand any information whatsoever or there are some restrictions? And can we only demand this information from government or also from private institutions? This is where the legal aspect comes in to answer all these questions. Here, author will try to give you the insight on Right to Information Act (RTI) which was enacted in 2005 in simple layman’s language.

Objective – To promote transpareny in government institutions in India.

Who all are obligated under this Act to provide Information ? –

All government institutions whether under state government or Centre government are covered under the scope of this act. The list is very detailed; it covers everything, your city corporation, gram panchayats, your electricity, water supplying companies, police etc. You can ask questions like how much money is invested in a particular sector. How much money is spent on the residence of ministers and government officials etc.? How much of the allocated money is used in development of your constituency, etc.? Through RTI you can get copies of government documents such as records, papers, etc.

Time limit – The organization is compelled to give information within 30 days. In case of any delay, you should be provided with a written statement about delay and the reason for the same, any omission can cause monetary fine to the concerned officer.

Are there any exceptions to some government departments?

Yes, there is. This exception is given to all those government organizations which are related to countries defense and Intelligence. Ex- RAW, BSF, CRPF, CISF, Intelligence Burearu, etc. Additional to this, there are some more situations where RTI cannot be exercised. For ex – if it is affecting national security, sovereignty, not allowed by the court, etc. But it is important to note here that any information that cannot be denied to Member of Parliament or state legislature cannot be denied to the citizens.

How can you request for information?

Request for information can be made in writing or through electronic medium through an application along with required application fee. The application can be made to Central or State Public Information officer, Central Assistant Public Information Officer, or State Assistant Public Officer depending on the case.

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