Right to Information.
Right to Information. (Meaning)
Right to information means access to government information to the people. This means that citizens and non-governmental organizations should have reasonably free access to files and documents relating to government actions, decisions and their execution. In other words, there should be openness and transparency in government activities. This is in contrast to secrecy in public administration.
Paras Kuhad rightly said, “Secrecy as a component of executive prerogative or transparency through right to information – which of the following should be adopted as a paradigm of administration. Both argue public interest. Which of the following actually serves the public interest and can they be coordinated? ,
In 1992, the World Bank released a document titled ‘Governance and Development’. Seven aspects or elements of administration were mentioned in it. One of which was transparency and information.
Right to Information. Rationale
Right to Information is necessary for the following reasons:
1. It makes the administration more accountable to the public.
2. It bridges the distance between the administration and the public.
3. It informs the public about administrative decision making.
4. It helps in better delivery of products and services by public servants to the public.
5. It facilitates intelligent and positive criticism of administration.
6. It increases the participation of the people in the administration.
7. Promotes public interest by discouraging autocracy in administrative decision making.
8. It reduces the chances of corruption in public administration.
9. It furthers the ideology of democracy by promoting openness and transparency in administration.
10. It makes the administration more sensitive to the needs of the people.
11. It reduces the chances of misuse of power by public servants.
The importance of the right to information has been clarified by the eminent administrative thinkers and actors with these statements.
“I have a belief that the government should be completely outside (ie open) and not inside (ie closed). I, on my part, believe that there should be no place where everything can be done about which every The person knows nothing.” Everyone knows that corruption takes place in secret places and neglects public places.
“Those who wish to be their rulers must arm themselves with the power that imparts knowledge. Any popular government without information or the means to obtain it is a sham or a tragedy, or perhaps both. ,
“Nothing is safe that cannot stand discussion and publicity.”
The bureaucracy, because of the basic tendency of assured power, fights every effort that Parliament through its experts makes to obtain information. And “the bureaucracy will naturally welcome a parliament that is short of knowledge and incapacitated and at least ignorant enough to agree with the interests of the bureaucracy.”
Justice Douglas of the United States
“Secrecy in government is fundamentally anti-democratic which perpetuates bureaucratic mistakes. Open discussion based on thorough information and debate on public affairs is vital to our national health.
In the words of Paras Kuhad, the essence is that, “The privacy system is not so much concerned with the protection of public or national interest as it is to protect the prestige of the government, to bury its mistakes, to maximize its power, to cover up its corrupt deeds. by putting in and managing the citizens smartly.”
Right to Information. Global landscape
Sweden was the first country to enforce the right to information. In Sweden this right was entrusted to citizens in 1766 by direct constitutional provisions. Access to official documents is a right in this country and non-access is an exception. Applicable
After Sweden, among the Scandinavian countries, Finland enacted a law to provide the right to information after a long time in 1991. Denmark and Norway enacted similar laws in 1970.
The United States of America gave citizens the right to information through the Freedom of Information Act (1966). This Act was amended in 1974 for two purposes.
(i) to limit immunities (documents that the administration may keep confidential) and
(ii) to impose fines for not providing information.
France, the Netherlands and Austria enacted similar laws in the 1970s. Canada, Australia and New Zealand enacted laws necessary for the right to information in 1982.
Did. Thailand and Ireland enacted related laws in 1970 and Bulgaria in 2000.
The right to information in South Africa is guaranteed by the Constitution itself. This right has been further strengthened by a law made in 2000.
In Britain, the Fulton Committee (1966-68) found excessive secrecy in public administration. Therefore it made its recommendation to examine the Official Secrets Act 1911. In 1972, the Franks Committee also made similar recommendations. So in 1988 this act was amended and finally on 1 January 2005 the Freedom of Information Act came into existence in the UK.
Right to Information. Position in India
There is no such direct provision in the Constitution of India that provides the right to information to the citizens, but since 1975, the Supreme Court has been saying that the right to information is an integral part of the right to freedom of speech and expression, which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
(1) is given in (a). In India, various laws and regulations impose restrictions on the disclosure of government information to the public and thus
Advocates confidentiality in administration
(i) Official Secrets Act, 1923
(ii) Indian Evidence Act, 1872
(iii) Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952
(iv) All India Services Act, 1954
(v) Central Public Service (Conduct) Rules, 1955
(vi) Railway Services (Conduct) Rules, 1956
The Fifth Pay Commission (1994-97) had recommended that the Official Secrets Act should be abolished and the Right to Information Act should be brought in.
In 2005, the Parliament passed the ‘Right to Information Act’. Its various provisions are
1. It gives freedom to every citizen to obtain such information under government authorities which is in consonance with the public interest.
2. It aims to promote openness, transparency and accountability in administration by providing right to information to citizens.
3. It empowers the citizens to get information about various schemes, their implementation stage and other related details from the government system.
4. To process the applications of citizens
It declares an officer not below the rank of a sub-divisional magistrate. 5. It states that every person for obtaining any kind of information shall be the Program Officer.
shall fill up a specified form on which he
The reasons for collecting the information will be given in writing. 6. It is expected that the government will provide the information within 30 days of receipt of applications from citizens.
7. It binds every government official. To make available the information and maintain all records duly listed, indexed and published as per the requirement of the proceedings. 8. It declares that the following categories of
Information cannot be disclosed
(i) Information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India.
(ii) relating to cabinet papers
(iii) Internal working papers containing recommendations and correspondence.
(iv) the information from which the Parliament or the State Legislature breach of privilege.
(v) Information affecting the relationship between the Center and the States.
(vi) Information which has an adverse effect on the management and functions of government officials.
(vii) information relating to trade or commercial secrecy.
(viii) Information which is likely to prejudicially affect public safety and order.
Right to Information 2005
In 2005, an act was implemented mainly against corruption, which was called Right to Information (RTI). Under this, any citizen can take any information from any government department, the only condition is that the information asked under RTI should be based on facts. That is, we cannot ask any government department for its views. Like how much money has been spent for development works in your area and where has it been spent, when and how much ration came to the ration shop of your area, how much money has been spent in school, college and hospital, you can ask for information. You can find out under the Rights Act.
Uses and Benefits:
Any citizen can get information from any government department
This right is with a common citizen who works to bring more transparency in the work or administration of the government.
A big step against corruption.
We cannot use this right to know the opinion of any government department. We can use this to get information about facts. For example, “How many medicines come in the dispensary, how much was spent in the park and cleanliness, how many appointments were made in a government office?” Apart from this, “How much money came to build the road and where was it spent?”
All Government Department, Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Electricity Companies, Banks, Schools, Colleges, Hospitals, President, Police, Electricity Companies, come under RTI Act.
People have got many such information through the use of RTI, which has solved their everyday problems.
Information or confidential information related to the security of the government does not come under this right.
How to get information?
Every government department has a Public Information Officer. You can submit your application form to him.
You can download the application form format from the internet or you can write your application on a white paper in which Public Information Officer will help you.
You can give RTI application in any Indian language like Hindi, English or any local language.
You will get the reply within 30 days of submitting the application form.
If this is not the case then you can appeal in cart.
To get information from any government department, there is a fee of Rs 10/- along with the application form.
This fee is waived for the people below the poverty line.