Thursday, 18 October 2018

Essay on Right To Information Act, 2005 – Implementation and challenges

Essay on Right To Information Act, 2005 – Implementation and challenges

Essay on Right To Information Act, 2005
The Right to Information Act (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India that was passed on 15 June 2005 and came into action on 13 October 2005. Replacing the erstwhile Freedom of Information Act, the RTI act applies to all states and union territories of India except Jammu 8c Kashmir. The act under its provisions guarantees to any citizen the freedom to request information from a public authority which needs to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. It also requires every public authority to computerize their records to smoothen the wide dissemination. The act relaxes the Official Secrets Act 1923, under which the disclosure of information in India was restricted. 

The RTI act holds two key concepts to its heart. One the right of the public to request access to information and other the conformable duty of the government to meet the request unless specific defined exemptions apply. 

Thus, both the government and the citizens are duty bound by the RTI. For the citizens, especially when a decision concerns them primarily; the Act entails asking information and using it effectively in the decision- making process. The right to freedom and expression as dictated by the Supreme Court includes: 

  • Right to receive, seek and impact ideas and information 
  • Right to disseminate and circulate one's ideas and views 
  • Right to inform and be informed
  • Right to know 
  • Right to reply  
  • Right to commercial speech and commercial information 

Matters of public interest require authentic information, absence of which may encourage wild rumors and speculations. Thus Right to in acting as a constitutional right becomes the aspect of the right to free speech and expression which includes the right to receive and collect information. A fully informed citizen is certainly well equipped and all set to perform his duties well It not just facilitates the participation of people in matters of public affairs by leading them access to relevant information but also empowers them for making choices that are wise and practical and logical in running the democracy.

By improving the decision-making it also enhances the government's accountability and credibility. It is a common person's right. Any individual whether poor or illiterate has the right to know if the government is fulfilling its policies or responsibilities or not. This way power is being placed in people's hands. Information acts as a tool to benefit the people's cause, even to those who are oppressed and vulnerable. Especially when in a developing economy like India, where new economic policies of liberalization, privatization and globalization are being adopted; people should be informed about such issues related to democracy. This helps in its smooth functioning.

Other basic rights like freedom of speech and expression and right to education are closely allied with the Right to know. To achieve accountable, transparent and participatory governance, citizens must utilize their right to information. It helps them achieve people-centered development by empowering them and enhancing their control over political processes. It also acts as a deterrent against arbitrary exercise of any official power. 

There are some exemptions too which are stated as general rules for refusing a request for information in case of legitimate public interest. Release of information in such cases may lead to violation of personal privacy and affect confidentiality It may also endanger the safety of the public or an individual. It is also detrimental to the pursued of a criminal case or law enforcement. It may happen to constitute a threat to national security. Disclosure of certain information may threaten to cause substantial harm and uncle the effectiveness and integrity of government decision- making processes. 

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