Document

Report
Right to Information
A Powerful Tool for
Strengthening Democracy and
Enhancing Good Governance
The Problem – undue secrecy
“Much of the common person’s distress and
helplessness is traceable to lack of access to
information and lack of knowledge of decisionmaking processes”
Official Secrets Act, 1923 throws a veil of secrecy
on Government procedures
– Abid Hussain, IAS (retd.)
former Member, Planning Commission of India
Good Governance – Key Attributes

Transparency

Responsibility

Accountability

Participation and

Responsiveness (to the needs of the
people)
“Good governance creates an enabling environment
conducive to the enjoyment of human rights and
prompts
growth
and
sustainable
human
development.”
(UN Commission on Human Rights – Charter Body attached to
ECOSOC that monitors human rights situation in all member
countries of the UN)
What is Good Governance?
“Formulation and implementation of policies and
programmes that are equitable, transparent, nondiscriminatory, socially sensitive, participatory
and above all accountable to the people at large.
Good governance can help secure human well
being and sustainable development
Poor
governance
could
erode
individual
capabilities as well as institutional and community
capacities to meet sustenance needs.”
(Excerpted from the 10th Five Year Plan Document)
Right to Information & Good Governance
“Good Governance –
crucial to the achievement of Plan targets
People’s participation at all stages of planning,
implementation and monitoring is a pre-requisite of
good governance
Policy and procedural reforms will be effective only
when people know that such changes have been
made
Task of development administration will become
easier if steps are taken to make information
available as a matter of right to the citizens
(Excerpted from the 10th Five Year Plan Document)
What is Right to Information?
 Asking for and being given information as a matter
of right is called “Right to Information”
 The Right to Information is a fundamental right
under the Constitution of India
 Information is necessary for protection of the right
to life and liberty. It is therefore a part of Article 21
 Information is necessary to form and express
opinions, dissent or support on any matter. It is
therefore a part of Article 19 (1)(a)
 The Right to Information Act –
 Establishes a process for accessing information held by public authorities
 Ordinarily places an obligation on them to give information
 Provides a grievance redressal mechanism for citizens who have been
denied information in an unreasonable manner
What is Right to Information?
The Right to Information Act –
 Establishes a process for accessing
information held by public authorities
 Ordinarily places an obligation on
them to give information
 Provides
a
grievance
redressal
mechanism for citizens who have
been denied information in an
unreasonable manner
Status of RTI Laws on the Planet
Status of RTI Laws in India
The Right to Information Act, 2005
(Passed by the Indian Parliament in May 2005)
An Introduction
Coverage and Entry into Force
 Covers all of India
except Jammu and
Kashmir
(J&K passed its own
Freedom of
Information Act in
2004)
 Covers offices owned, established, or financed
by the Central, State Govts. and the Union
Territories
(9 states have their own information access laws)
any body owned, controlled or substantially
financed by them directly or indirectly
(Chapter 1)
Coverage and Entry into Force
 non-govt.
organisations
substantially
financed with funds provided by them
directly or indirectly
 Central Freedom of Information Act,
2002 has been repealed
 Entry into force within 4 months. But
some provisions – with immediate effect
(Chapter 1)
‘information’ and ‘right’ - Definitions
Information









Records,
documents,
memos,
e-mails,
opinions,
advice,
press releases,
circulars,
orders,







logbooks,
contracts,
reports,
papers,
samples,
models,
data material
held in electronic
form
information about private bodies that can
be accessed under existing laws by a public
authority
(Sec. 2)
‘information’ and ‘right’ - Definitions
Right
to inspect works, documents, records
to take notes, extracts or certified
copies
to information whose disclosure is
in the public interest
to obtain information in electronic
form
to take samples
(Sec. 2)
‘record’ - Definitions
Any document, manuscript and file
Any
microfilm,
microfiche
facsimile copy of a document
and
Any reproduction of image or
images embodied in such microfilm
(whether enlarged or not)
Any other material produced by a
computer or any other device
(Sec. 2)
Competent Authority
 Speaker Lok Sabha / Vidhana Sabha
 Chairman of the Rajya Sabha /
Legislative Council
 Supreme Court and High Courts – Chief
Justices
 President of India or the Governor for
all other authorities created by or under
the Constitution
 For UTs – Administrator (Lt. Governor)
[Sec. 2]
Public Authority
 Any
body
constituted
under
the
Constitution or law made by Parliament
/ State Legislature
 Any body constituted by notification
issued by Central /State Govts.
 Any other body owned or controlled by
the Central / State Govts.
[Sec. 2]
Public Authority
Duty of Proactive Disclosure
Every Public Authority must publish these on a
regular basis -
1. Particulars of its organisation, duties
and functions
2. Powers and duties of its officers and
employees
3. Procedure to be followed in its decisionmaking process, including channels of
supervision and accountability
4. Norms set out by it for discharge of its
functions
(Came into force on 15th June 2005
[Sec. 4]
Public Authority
Duty of Proactive Disclosure
Every Public Authority must publish these on a regular basis -
5.
Information
about
rules,
regulations,
instructions, manuals & records used by its
employees for discharging its functions
6. Statement of the categories of documents held
by it or under its control
7. Details of any arrangement for consultation or
representation by members of public in relation
to policy formulation and implementation
(Came into force on 15th June 2005)
[Sec. 4]
Public Authority
Duty of Proactive Disclosure
8.
List of boards, councils committees and other
bodies consisting of 2 or more persons for
getting advice including whether their meetings
are open to the public or if minutes of meetings
are accessible to them
9.
Directory of its officers and employees
10.
Monthly renumeration received including the
system of
compensation as provided in its
regulations
11. Budget allocated to each of its agencies,
indicating particulars of all plans, proposed
expenditure and reports of disbursements
(Came into force on 15th June 2005)
[Sec. 4]
Public Authority
Duty of Proactive Disclosure
Every Public Authority must publish these on a regular basis -
12.
Manner
of
implementation
of
subsidy
programmes including the amounts allocated,
the beneficiaries and other details
13.
Details of any concessions,
authorisations granted
permits
or
14. Details of information held by it which is in
electronic form
(Came into force on 15th June 2005)
[Sec. 4]
Public Authority
Duty of Proactive Disclosure
Every Public Authority must publish these on a regular basis -
15. Particulars about facilities available to citizens.
including working hours
16. Names, designation, and other particulars of
the PIOs
17. Any other information of public use
(Came into force on 15th June 2005)
[Sec. 4]
Public Authority – Other Duties
Every Public Authority must –
 Publish all relevant facts while
formulating important policies or
announcing decisions which affect
the public
 Provide
reasons
for
its
administrative
or
quasi-judicial
decisions to affected persons.
[Sec. 4]
Public Information Officer (PIO)
As soon as the RTI Bill is enacted–
• PIOs must be designated in each
Public Authority at the level of its
administrative units or offices under
it and
• Asst. PIOs must be designated at
sub-divisional or sub-district level
[Sec. 5,6,7,11]
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Duties
 Accept requests and give information within time
limit
 Assist those who cannot read and write to fill up
application
 Give information in the format requested as far
as possible
 If granting partial access give reasons why and
the materials on the basis of which this decision
was taken
[Sec. 5,6,7,11]
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Duties
 If information is held by another public
authority, transfer the application within 5 days
and inform the citizen in writing
 If information is received from third party
(includes any other public authority) then give
10 days to file representation against disclosure
 If refusing to give information, give reasons in
writing and inform requestor about Appellate
Authority and time limit for filing appeals
[Sec. 5,6,7,11]
Appellate Authority (AA)
[Sec. 12-19]
First Appeal
(Internal)
to the officer senior in rank to the
PIO in the concerned public authority
(within 30 days from the date of refusal
letter but delay may be condoned if
sufficient cause is shown)
Time limit = 30 days
Appellate Authority (AA)
[Sec. 12-19]
Second appeal
(External)
to Central/State Information Commission
(within 90 days from the date of decision of first AA but
delay may be condoned if sufficient cause is shown)
No time limit for CIC/SIC to decide on appeals
Decision of CIC/SIC
is binding
Burden of proof lies on PIO
for justifying denial of
information
Appeal against IC’s decision can be filed in High
Courts/Supreme Court, not lower courts
(Sec. 8)
What is not open ?
No obligation to give any citizen information –
 that would prejudicially affect the sovereignty,
integrity, security, scientific or economic interest
and relation with a foreign state
 that would lead to the commission of an offence
 whose release is forbidden by a court or tribunal
or if disclosure might constitute contempt of
court
(Sec. 8)
What is not open ?
No obligation to give any citizen information –
 whose disclosure may lead to breach of privileges
of Parliament or State Legislatures
 whose release is likely to impede investigation or
prosecution process
 from foreign govt. received in confidence
 if it is available to a person in his fiduciary
relationship – except in public interest
 whose disclosure may endanger life and safety of a
person
(Sec. 8)
What is not open ?
Information –
 such as commercial and trade secrets, IPRs etc.
except in public interest
 if it is about source of information or assistance
given in confidence for law enforcement or
security purposes
 of a personal and private nature unless required
in the larger public interest except in public
interest
 Cabinet papers including deliberations of Council
of Ministers, Secretaries and other Officers
(But decisions of Council of Ministers and materials based on
which they are taken must be made public after the decision
is taken and the matter is completely over)
Guiding principles for disclosure
 Information which cannot be denied to Parliament
or Legislature of a State shall not be denied to any
person
[Sec. 8(l)]
 All exemptions subject to public interest over ride
• access must be allowed if public interest
outweighs harm to the protected interests – to
be decided by PIO or appellate body
[Sec. 8(2)]
 Partial Disclosure
• Entire file/record is not exempt even if it
contains
exempt
information.
Non-exempt
portions may be released after severing exempt
parts
[Sec. 10(1)]
Guiding principles for disclosure
 Time bound disclosure
• All information about any event, occurrence or matter
must be given after 20 years
Except…
• information relating to sovereignty, security, integrity,
scientific and economic interest of the State
• information that may lead to commission of an offence
• Cabinet papers and records of deliberations of Council
of Ministers , Secretaries and other officers
• information that may lead to breach of privileges of
Parliament and State Legislatures
[Sec. 8(3)]
[Sec. 6 & 7]
Application Process
 Apply in person
electronically
 Time limit
information
for
or
giving
request in English or
local official language
30 days
 If information concerns
life and liberty of a
person
must be given within
48 hrs
 If information is given by
third party then invite
objections if any
add 10 extra days
 No action on application
for 30 days
deemed refusal
(Reasons for seeking information shall not be asked)
[Sec. 6, 7]
Fees payable
 Must be reasonable. No fees for Below Poverty Line applicant
 Application fees prescribed by appropriate Govt. (Rs.10/-)
 Cost of giving information may be charged on the requestor
(Details of fees and how the figure was arrived at must be given in writing)
 Rs. 2/- per page; Rs. 50/- per floppy, others and samples - actual
cost; inspection – 1st hour free, Rs. 5/ - every subsequent 15min
 Requestor may seek review of the fees from the Appellate
Authority if it is unreasonable
 Time between date of dispatch of intimation about fees and
actual payment excluded while calculating 30 day time limit
If information is not given within time
limit it must be given free of cost
Central Information Commission
[Sec. 12-14]
 1 Chief Information Commissioner (5 yr term) and max.
10 Information Commissioners (ICs) ( one 5 yr term)
 Central Information Commission to be based in Delhi
 Chief Information Commissioner to be in Delhi but ICs
could be based in other parts
 Commission will be independent of Govt. control
 CIC and ICs to be appointed by President with immediate
effect
 Names recommended by committee - PM (Chair), Leader
of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and 1 Cabinet Minister
nominated by PM
Central Information Commission
[Sec. 12-14]
 CIC’s salary equal to Chief Election Commissioner’s
 IC’s salary equal to Election Commissioner’s
 Candidate should be eminent person in public life with
knowledge and experience in law, science, technology,
social service, management, journalism, mass media or
administration and governance
 CIC and retiring ICs will be eligible for appointment to
any other public office
 Can be removed after Presidential reference
Supreme Court for misbehaviour and incapacity
to
misbehaviour = profiting from govt. or private contract during term
 President can remove without reference to SC for –
insolvency, conviction of offence for moral turpitude; taking up paid
job outside office during term; infirmity of body or mind or having
acquired financial or other interest detrimental to functioning in CIC
State Information Commission
[Sec. 15-17]
 1 State Chief Information Commissioner (5 yr term) and max.
10 State Information Commissioners (SICs) (one 5 yr term)
 State Information Commission could be in any part of the
State – to be decided by the States
 Commission will be independent of State Govt. control
 SCIC and SICs to be appointed by Governor with immediate
effect
 Names recommended by committee - CM (Chair), Leader of
Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha and 1 Cabinet Minister
nominated by CM
 Similar powers
Commission
and
functions
as
Central
Information
State Information Commission
[Sec. 15-17]
 SCIC’s salary equal to Election Commissioner’s
 State Information Commissioner’s salary equal to State Chief
Secretary’s
 Candidate should be eminent person in public life with
knowledge and experience in law, science, technology, social
service,
management,
journalism,
mass
media
or
administration and governance
 SCIC and retiring SICs will be eligible for appointment to any
other public office
 Can be removed after Governor’s reference to Supreme Court
for misbehaviour and incapacity
misbehaviour = profiting from govt. or private contract during term
 Governor can remove without reference to SC for –
insolvency, conviction of offence for moral turpitude; taking up paid job
outside office during term; infirmity of body or mind or having acquired
financial or other interest detrimental to functioning in CIC
Information Commission (Central and State)
Powers & Functions
 Duty to receive complaints –
 If requests cannot be filed because PIO is not appointed
 If APIO refuses to receive/forward information requests/appeals
 When first AA upholds PIO’s decision of refusal
 If there is no response on request within time limit
 If requestor thinks fees charged are unreasonable
 If requestor thinks information given by PIO is incomplete, false
or misleading
 Any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law
 ICs have powers of Civil Court to conduct inquiry
All records (including those covered by exemptions)
must be given to IC during inquiry for examination
[Sec. 18]
Information Commission (Central and State)
 Power to secure compliance from Public Authority includes  To appoint PIO in a Public Authority if none exists
 Require Public Authority to compensate for any loss suffered by
requestor due to unreasonable denial
 Seek annual report from Public Authority of compliance with this law
 Get the Public Authority to publish all information it is required to
publish under this law
 Enhance training provisions for officials on RTI
 Get Public Authority to make necessary changes to records,
management, maintenance and destruction procedures
 Impose penalties as stipulated in this law
ICs to submit annual report to Parliament / Vidhan Sabha
through Central / State Govt. about its work and
implementation of this law
[Sec. 19]
Penalty Provisions
[Sec. 20-21]
 IC can penalise PIO Rs. 250/- per day up to a maximum of
Rs. 25,000/- for • Refusal to receive application
• Not furnishing information
within time limit
Without
reasonable
cause
• Malafidely denying information
• Knowingly giving incorrect,
incomplete, misleading
information
• Destroying information which
was the subject of request
• Obstructing furnishing of
information in any manner
For persistent
violation of the law IC
can recommend
disciplinary action
Who is not covered?
• IB & RAW
• Directorate of Revenue
Intelligence
• Central Economic
Intelligence Bureau
• Directorate of Enforcement
• Narcotics Control Bureau
• Aviation Research Centre
• Special Frontier Force
• CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG
• Special Service Bureau
• Assam Rifles
[Sec. 24(1) and Schedule 2]
and any other intelligence
or security organisation
established by State govts.
Matters
relating
to
corruption and human
rights violations covered
by law
must be given
Information can be given
only
if
concerned
IC
approves
Time limit – 45 days
• Special Branch (CID) Andaman and Nicobar
• Crime Branch (CID) Dadra and Nagar Haveli
• Special Branch Lakshadweep Police
Third Party
[Sec. 2&11]
 A person other than the person making a request for
information and includes a public authority
 If information requested is given by third party and treated
as confidential by the third party then PIO must give it
written notice inviting objections
 Third party must be given notice within 5 days of receiving
information request
 Third party may give verbal or written submissions to PIO
within 10 days of receiving notice
 Third party can appeal to First Appeal body within 30 days
and to IC within 90 days
Other Duties of Central / State Govts.
Subject to availability of resources govts. must  Develop educational programmes for the public
especially for the disadvantaged communities to exercise
their RTI
 Encourage public authorities to participate in the
development and organisation of these programmes
 Train PIOs and produce relevant training materials for
them
 Promote timely and effective dissemination of accurate
information about the activities of the public authorities
 Within 18 months compile a User Guide in the official
language for the benefit of citizens
[Sec. 26]
Role of Government – ‘to do’ list
 Formulate an Action Plan
with specific time line
for implementation
 Identify public authorities
in all departments
Secretariat to field level
 Identify public authorities
in other bodies –
constituted, established,
owned, controlled or
substantially financed directly
or indirectly
 Designate PIOs, APIOs
and DAAs
in every public authority
 Constitute the
Information Commission
appoint CIC/SCIC and ICs and
provide funds and staff
 Compile Public
Information Directory/
Handbook
for every public authority –
Sec. 4 : proactive disclosure
Role of Government – ‘to do’ list
 Notify rules
>
Stipulate application fee
>
Stipulate rates for calculating
additional fees
>
Determine mode and cost of
dissemination of Public
Information Directory/Handbook
>
Determine procedure for IC to
decide on appeals
 Open budget heads
for monies received and spent
under RTI Act
 Prescribe formats (optional)
and registers
for applications, receipt, fee
intimation, rejection order,
appeals etc.
 Notify exempt
organisations
Intelligence and security agencies
under Sec. 24(4)
 Lay down procedures
 for inspection
 for collection of samples
Role of Government – ‘to do’ list
 Develop basic
practice manuals
for APIOs, PIOs and DAAs
 Lay down procedures
for deciding ‘partial access’ under
Sec. 10 & 11
 Develop basic guidelines
for interpreting exemptions and
‘public interest’ under Sec. 8
 Undertake sensitisation
and training programmes
for APIOs, PIOs, DAAs and
IC staff first (later for all officials)
 Develop a User Guide
for the benefit of citizens
in the official language within
18 months
 Undertake programmes
for public education
for
citizens,
with
particular
attention to the disadvantaged
communities
Role of Government – ‘to do’ list
 Overhaul records
maintenance and
management
Identify and adopt E-solutions
Operationalise The Public Records Act, 1993
Perils of Ignorance
“ suffering that ignorant
The
men inflict upon themselves
can hardly be caused
even by their enemies
”
Dearth of knowledge is dire
“
destitution. Other forms of
poverty, the world deems less
impoverishing
”
(Thiruvalluvar)
(Thirukkural verses 843, 841)
Knowledge, Truth and Action
“
”
“Truth about the ACTION must be known
Truth about the INACTION must be known;
Truth about the PROHIBITED ACTION
must be known
Mysterious are the ways of ACTION”
(Bhagavadgita Chap. 4)
The Almighty and Openness
“Ask,
and it shall be given to you;
seek,
and you shall find;
knock,
and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh
receiveth;
and he that seeketh
findeth;
and to him that knocketh
it shall be opened ”
(William Blake – early 19th Cent.)
(Matthew 7:7-8)
State Public Information Officer
Dr. Prakash Bhati
Name :
Address : Dy. Director, Extension & P.R
Directorate, Department of Animal
Husbandry, Tonk Road, Jaipur
Email
:
[email protected]
Tel
: 0141-2743192, 27432243
Fax
:
0141-2743267
Website :animalhusbandry.raj.org
Appellate Officer
Dr. U.K. Thanvi
Name :
Address : Director,
Directorate,
Department of Animal Husbandry,
Tonk Road, Jaipur
Email
:
[email protected]
Tel
: 0141-2743331, 27432243, 2743192
Fax
:
0141-2743267
Website :animalhusbandry.raj.org

similar documents