Explain about The Right to Information Act of 2005 and its salient Features

The Right to Information Act of 2005

  • The act is one of the most important acts which empowers ordinary citizens to question the government and its working.
  • This has been widely used by citizens and media to uncover corruption, progress in government work, expenses related information, etc.

Objectives of the RTI Act

  • Empower citizens to question the government.
  • The act promotes transparency and accountability in the working of the government.
  • The act also helps in containing corruption in the government and work for the people in a better way.
  • The act envisages building better-informed citizens who would keep necessary vigil about the functioning of the government machinery.

Significance of the RTI Act

  • The RTI Act, 2005 empowers the citizen to question the secrecy and abuse of power practised in governance.
  • It is through the information commissions at the central and state levels that access to such information is provided.
  • RTI information can be regarded as a public good, for it is relevant to the interests of citizens and is a crucial pillar for the functioning of a transparent and vibrant democracy.
  • The information obtained not only helps in making government accountable but also useful for other purposes which would serve the overall interests of the society.
  • Every year, around six million applications are filed under the RTI Act, making it the most extensively used sunshine legislation globally.
  • These applications seek information on a range of issues, from holding the government accountable for the delivery of basic rights and entitlements to questioning the highest offices of the country.
  • Using the RTI Act, people have sought information that governments would not like to reveal as it may expose corruption, human rights violations, and wrongdoings by the state.
  • The access to information about policies, decisions and actions of the government that affect the lives of citizens is an instrument to ensure accountability.
  • The Supreme Court has, in several judgments, held that the RTI is a fundamental right flowing from Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution, which guarantee to citizens the freedom of speech and expression and the right to life, respectively.

 

Important provisions under the Right to Information Act, 2005

  • The civil societies that are substantially funded, directly or indirectly, by the public funds also fall within the ambit of RTI.
  • Government has to maintain and proactively disclose information.
  • Prescribes a simple procedure for securing information.
  • Prescribes a time frame for providing information(s) by PIOs.
  • Only minimum information exempted from disclosure.
  • mentions exemptions against furnishing information under the RTI Act.
  • Provides penalties in case of failure to provide information on time, incorrect, incomplete or misleading or distorted information.
  • Lower courts are barred from entertaining suits or applications. However, the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India and high courts under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution remains unaffected.
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