Right to Information Act

Lalit Kumar, New Delhi, India


In recognition of the need for transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the Indian Parlia ment enacted the Right to Information Act in 2005. The Act provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. The Act extend s to the entire country except State of Jammu and Kashmir. Under the Act the Public Authorities are required to designate Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, in all administrative units or offices to provide information to persons requesting for the same under this Act. The public authorities are also required to designate authority (ies) senior in rank to CPIO, as Appellate Authorities, who will entertain and dispose off appeals against the decision of the CPIO as required under the Act. A person who desires to obtain any information under this Act has to make a request in writing accompanying a fee of Rs. 10/- by way of (a) cash against proper receipt, or (b) demand draft bankers’ cheque payable to the Account Officer of the Public authority concerned to the Central Public Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, specifying the particulars of the information sought by him or her. However, the information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategi c, scientific or economic interests of the State, etc, are not open to disclosure.

2. On receipt of the request, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer shall as expeditious as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the requisite information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed (Rs. 50/- per diskette or floppy and for

 

nformation provided in printed form at the price fixed for such publication or Rs. 2/- per page of photocopy for extracts from the publication) or reject the request for any of the reasons specified under the Act. Where the information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person the same has to be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request. Any person who does not receive the decision from CPIO either by way of information or rejection within the time frame, may within 30 days from the expiry of period prescribed for furnishing the information or 30 days from the date of receipt of the decisions, prefer an appeal to the Appellate Authority.
3. Under the Act, the Central Government and all the State Government were required to constitute Central Information Commission (CIC) and State Information Commissions (SICs). Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer has without any reasonable cause refused to received an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request for obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose penalty of Rs . 250/- each day till application is received or information is furnished, subject to maximum of Rs. 25,000/.
About the Author : Mr. Lalit Kumar is by profession an IT Professional working at New Delhi based company. Email: mishra_lal@yahoo.co.in

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