Right to Information in India

It tookIndia82 years to transition from an opaque system of governance, legitimized by the colonial Official Secrets Act, to one where citizens can demand the right to information. The enactment of the Right to Information Act 2005 marks a significant shift for Indian democracy, because the greater the access of citizens to information, the greater will be the responsiveness of the governments to community needs.

The date of 12th October, 2005 shall be remembered as a new era of empowerment for the common man inIndia. It is applicable every where except J&K.

Right to Information is derived from our fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution. If we do not have information on how our Government and Public Institutions function, we cannot express any informed opinion on it. Democracy revolves around the basic idea of Citizens being at the center of governance. And the freedom of the press is an essential element for a democracy to function. It is thus obvious that the main reason for a free press is to ensure that Citizens are informed. Thus, Citizens Right To Know is paramount.

As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),Indiais under an international obligation to effectively guarantee the Right to Information as per Article 19 of the ICCPR.

The formal recognition of a legal Right to Information inIndiaoccurred more than two decades before legislation was finally enacted, when the Supreme Court of India ruled in State ofU.P.v Raj Narain that the Right to Information is implicit in the right to freedom of speech and expression explicitly guaranteed in Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Subsequently, the Court has affirmed this decision in numerous cases, and has even linked the Right to Information with the right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.

Article 19 of the Constitution

This Right to Information (RTI) is basically a derivative of the Article 19 of the Constitution which deals with protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc. it says, “All the citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.” The right has existed since the timeIndia became a republic, but was difficult to enforce without going to court.

Thus, the Right to Information Act is a codification of this important fundamental right (Article 19) of citizens. The Act and its rules define a format for requisitioning information, a time period within which information must be provided, method of giving the information, some charges for applying, and list of organizations exempted from giving information.

You can read the full 21 page PDF report here:  RTI_ACT_2005

About Goodpal

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