RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     30th April 2024        

Context: The High Court has held that a public authority cannot deny information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on the grounds that the information sought is “bulky”.

Right to Information Act

  • About: The RTI Act, enacted by the Parliament of India, delineates the regulations and protocols governing citizens' access to information. 
  • Replaced by: Freedom of Information Act, 2002.
  • Features
  • Time Limit for Providing Information: 30 days from the day of application.

o2 days for information concerning life or liberty of a person.

  • Penalties: 250/day up to a maximum of 25000 for:

oNot accepting an application.

oDelaying information without reasonable cause.

oKnowingly giving incomplete, incorrect or misleading information.

oDestroying the requested information.

  • Fundamental Right: RTI has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution.
  • Exemptions: The Act, although advocating transparency, incorporates exemptions to disclosure, encompassing categories such as data concerning national security, privacy of individuals, and information pertinent to ongoing investigations.
  • Fees: Public authorities are entitled to levy fees for furnishing information, with the fee framework established by the government, contingent on the information's nature and the mode of access, be it paper-based or electronic.
  • Power to impose penalty: The CIC and the State Information Commission.

Section 8(1)(j)

  • About:  According to this section, information that cannot be withheld from the Parliament or a State Legislature must not be denied to any individual under the RTI Act.
  • Specific Provision: Section 8(1)(j) addresses personal information not related to public activity or interest, which if disclosed, would invade privacy, unless there's a larger public interest justifying disclosure.
  • Criteria for Exemption: The decision to exempt information under Section 8(1)(j) rests with the CPIO, SPIO, or the Appellate Authority, based on whether disclosure would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy.
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