We Indians always live and look up forward to be the most successful as a democratic nation & as a whole always seek for ‘Right of Righteousness’ in every sphere of life. ‘Democracy’ is not defined anywhere but in short all can be said is that democracy is a form of Government which is indirectly run by citizens, this being the most fundamental definition seen in the civics textbooks, although quite meaningful. Well there might be bit surprise as to why Democracy is being defined, if yes then there’s a simple answer that with every issue we face in India, we bring democracy into picture.
Why was it needed?
There in backyard lies the way to achieve this right of righteousness. To seek this, constitution laid down many fundamental rights for citizens and made it suited for people from the most diverse culture. The primary aim was to setup a People’s Government, although practical stories are rather lunatic and nowhere close, but anyways any elaboration on that part being fruitless.
There is a long chain of problems in India prevailing among masses. I found this chain of problems the most logical way to express the hierarchy of problems. Each problem depending on the predecessor and giving birth to a new problem.
Population à Masses Illiterate à Rich and poor difference/fissure à A mass competitive world àRat Race à Crime à Corruption à Ambiguous system à Frauds à & many more.
This is not the complete chain. On the contrary this all led to a sense of insecurity, injustice, & corrupted the minds of the common man. Then there emerged this fundamental right, though entrusted quite late, Right to information act, 2005.
Back to the topic again
RTI, the acronym for Right to Information is one of the indispensable acts passed by the Parliament and approved by the then Hon President of India in 2005. June 15th, 2005 was date when this was given the approval. The aspect here is to 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 constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information commissions and those all related matters.
It falls in the 56th year of our nation being republic. All lies in the vested interest of the general public and boon in the process of harmonising the democracy and nation building. Successively this led to win people’s heart and confidence in the system was reinstated once again.
However the act does not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir unless endorsed by the State’s Legislature. Now as per the act General Public has the right to get the information of almost every ministry affairs, appellate affairs, those all falling under the Union Government i.e. Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha, the Indian embassies over the worldwide, Indian Parliament.
Hereby for the General Public, PIO’s(Public information officers), APIO’s(Assistant Public information officers), CIC(Central information Commission), SIC(State information Commission) acts as a interface and are appointed to help cordially and provide the needed information.
Who all are these people? A brief description:
PIO(Public information officers):
PIOs are the officers appointed by the public authorities appointed in administrative units or offices under it to provide the information the citizens who requested for it. PIO seeking for the needful information must get all the kind attention and also the concerned officer whose assistance is sought should render his/her duties, as per the act. The officer entrusted with this duty is recognized as a PIO.
APIO(Assistant information officers)
Every PIO is essentially designated with a APIO and forwarding the requisition are some of the duties entrusted upon him/her.
CIC(Central information commission)
This appeal is made through a Gazette Notification (Leading Newspapers do publish this). On the appointment of the Commission every time a Chief of information commissioner is appointed by the President of India and not more than 10 information commissioner’s are appointed at the same time. The eligibility to get appointed is to have an intellect in various fields of administration, commerce, economics, Science and Technology, Law and Government affairs. The office is centrally located in New Delhi but other offices for IC’s are sorted out with the permission of Central Government.
SIC(State information commission)
The same way as CIC, the appeal for SIC is made through a Gazette Entry. The Chief of Commissioner is appointed by the Governor of the State. Along with that several IC’s are also appointed, the number not exceeding than 10. The same way, office locations are decided by the State Government.
The Common rules are set for both the commissions.
An Eligibility criterion is set, and is same for officers of both the Commissions.
Term of office is for 5Years and no officer is entitled to get re-elected.
The salary in case of CIC is the same as that of Chief of Election Commissioner.
In case of SIC, the salary is same as that of the Chief Secretary of the State Government.
The CIC/SIC hold due powers of governance:
1. The Central Information Commission/State Information Commission has a duty to receive complaints from any person –
who has not been able to submit an information request because a PIO has not been appointed;
who has been refused information that was requested;
who has received no response to his/her information request within the specified time limits ;
who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable ;
who thinks information given is incomplete or false or misleading ;and
Any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law.
2. Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds.
3. CIC/SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as –
summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;
requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;
receiving evidence on affidavit ;
requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office
issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents
Any other matter which may be prescribed.
4. Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the Public Authority includes-
providing access to information in a particular form;
directing the public authority to appoint a PIO/APIO where none exists;
publishing information or categories of information;
making necessary changes to the practices relating to management, maintenance and destruction of records ;
enhancing training provision for officials on RTI;
seeking an annual report from the public authority on compliance with this law;
require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment suffered by the applicant ;
impose penalties under this law; or
Reject the application.
Well, let’s summarize and take it cut-short way.
Ø The application procedure is also simple and can be taken in stride by almost anyone.
Ø The application is to be made on a Plain Paper writing the details of the information that is needed, however it is not mandatory to explain the reason for seeking the information.
Ø A subscribed fee is to be submitted. Usually it ranged around Rs 2, Rs 3-5 as per the medium of information reception requested.
Ø It may include almost every type of information transmission, electronic, prints and almost every document can be scrutinized.
Such is the significant act passed by our Parliament. As per internet source, around 42000 people have applied in 2005 and requested for the information covering various areas of ministry.
Lastly, this blog-entry is meant to provide some inputs about the act and also make the general people aware about our rights.
People should approach the authorities and make the system transparent and apparently reduce the flaws to put our nation at a Stead-fast growth.
For more on the Act and regulations visit http://rti.gov.in/