RTI act in India
FLOW OF PRESENTATION
• ABOUT RTI.
• Bringing Information to the Citizens.
• Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response
to citizen requests for government information.
• It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and
Training,Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and
Pensions to provide a– RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens
for quick search of information on the details of first
Appellate Authorities,PIOs etc. amongst others, besides
access to RTI related information / disclosures published on
the web by various Public Authorities under the
government of India as well as the State Governments.
• It extends to the whole of India except the
State of Jammu and Kashmir.
• The provisions of sub-section (1) of section 4,
sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 5, sections
12, 13, 15,16, 24, 27 and 28 shall come into
force at once, and the remaining provisions of
this Act shall come into force on the one
hundred and twentieth day of its enactment.
• The RTI Laws were first successfully enacted by the state
governments of — Tamil Nadu (1997)Goa (1997), Rajasthan (2000),
Karnataka (2000), Delhi (2001), Maharashtra (2002), Assam (2002),
Madhya Pradesh (2003), and Jammu and Kashmir (2004).
• The Maharashtra and Delhi State level enactments are considered
to have been the most widely used.
• The Delhi RTI Act is still in force.
• Jammu & Kashmir, has its own Right to Information Act of 2009, the
successor to the repealed J&K Right to Information Act, 2004 and
its 2008 amendment.
• The Act specifies that citizens have a right to:
• request any information (as defined).
• take copies of documents.
• inspect documents, works and records.
• take certified samples of materials of work.
• obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes,
floppies, tapes, video cassettes 'or in any other
electronic mode' or through printouts.
• Under the Act, all authorities covered must appoint their Public
Information Officer (PIO).
• Any person may submit a request to the PIO for information in writing.
• It is the PIO's obligation to provide information to citizens of India who
request information under the Act.
• If the request pertains to another public authority (in whole or part) it is
the PIO's responsibility to transfer/forward the concerned portions of the
request to a PIO of the other within 5 days.
• In addition, every public authority is required to designate Assistant
Public Information Officers (APIOs) to receive RTI requests and appeals
for forwarding to the PIOs of their public authority.
• The citizen making the request is not obliged to disclose any information
except his name and contact particulars.
• The Act specifies time limits for replying to the request.
• If the request has been made to the PIO, the reply is to be given within 30 days of
• If the request has been made to an APIO, the reply is to be given within 35 days of
• If the PIO transfers the request to another public authority (better concerned with
the information requested), the time allowed to reply is 30 days but computed
from the day after it is received by the PIO of the transferee authority.
• Information concerning corruption and Human Rights violations by scheduled
Security agencies (those listed in the Second Schedule to the Act) is to be provided
within 45 days but with the prior approval of the Central Information Commission.
• However, if life or liberty of any person is involved, the PIO is expected to reply
within 48 hours.
• Since the information is to be paid for, the reply of the PIO is
necessarily limited to either denying the request (in whole or part)
and/or providing a computation of "further fees".
• The time between the reply of the PIO and the time taken to
deposit the further fees for information is excluded from the time
• If information is not provided within this period, it is treated as
• Refusal with or without reasons may be ground for appeal or
• Further, information not provided in the times prescribed is to be
provided free of charge.
INFO NOT TO BE DISCLOSED
• information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the
sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, "strategic, scientific or
economic" interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to
incitement of an offence.
• information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any
court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute
contempt of court.
• information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of
Parliament or the State Legislature.
• information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or
intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the
competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is
satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such
• information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is
satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
• information received in confidence from foreign Government.
• information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or
identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security
• information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of
• cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other
• information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to
any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the
individual (but it is also provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or
a State Legislature shall not be denied by this exemption).
• Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above, a public authority may allow access to
information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
Assets disclosure by judges
• The controversy relating to the disclosure of judges’ assets has achieved,
for the moment, a happy resolution. A vigorous debate among the public
former judges, leaders of the Bar, Bar Associations, High Court judges and
last but not the least the Chief Justice of India — is a sign of a vibrant
• The method and content of the disclosure are still opaque and may
require further debate.
• The contest was a thrilling and educative exercise, for every citizen. The
media, particularly the electronic media, were a force-multiplier and
reached many households across India.
• The debate will always remain a landmark and turning point in Indian
legal history and will be the stuff shared by law teachers with generations
of law students and citizens.
• The first shot was fired when an application was made by
one S.C. Agrawal under the Right to Information Act (RTI)
seeking information “whether judges declared their assets
as per the May 7, 1997 Resolution” — a resolution
unanimously passed by Supreme Court judges.
• The demand was not for a disclosure of assets.
• The redoubtable public interest crusader, Prashant
Bhushan, representing Agrawal, succeeded before the CIC.
This was a landmark order upholding the right of the citizen
to information, in furtherance of the principles of judicial
• The Chief Justice of India reacted: “We do not agree with what *the+ CIC has said —
we might appeal against it in Court” (Hindustan Times, 11.01.09).
• Former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma, who was instrumental in getting the 1997
Resolution passed unanimously, publicly opined that the assets of the Supreme
Court judges were very much in the public domain (The Indian Express, 19.01.09).
• Justice Ravindra Bhat of the Delhi High Court stayed the CIC’s decision on
19.01.2009 in a writ petition filed by the CPIO of the Supreme Court and appointed
F.S. Nariman as “Amicus Curiae” who declined since he had very clear views —
publicly expressed — that judges must disclose their assets.
• Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: “Judges of the higher judiciary should
also be subjected to accountability on issues like declaration of assets …” and
added “he had allowed access to information about MPs’ assets to anyone who
sought it.” (The Indian Express, 22.01.09)
• Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee cryptically said: “Whether legally bound or
not, in the fitness of things, judges should declare their assets.”