RTI ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     31st October 2023        

Context: The Supreme Court recently expressed concern about the Right to Information Act of 2005, which aimed to ensure transparency but is now facing issues due to vacancies in the Central Information Commission and state ICs, rendering it a "dead letter law."

Right to Information Act of 2005

  • The rules and procedures governing citizens' right to information are outlined by this legislation.
  • Establishment: The former Freedom of Information Act, 2002, was replaced by it.
  • Fundamental Right: RTI is a part of the fundamental right of Cnstitution.

o Article 19(1): Freedom of speech and expression.

o Article 21: Right to life and Personal liberty

  • Covered under RTI: All bodies, which are constituted under the Constitution or under any law or under any Government notification or all bodies, including NGOs, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are covered.
  • All private bodies, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are directly covered.

Objective of the Right to Information Act 

  • To empower the citizens
  • To promote transparency and accountability
  • To contain corruption
  • To enhance people’s participation in democratic process

Key Provisions

  • Section 4 of the RTI Act requires suo motu disclosure of information by each public authority.
  • Section 8 (1) enumerates exemptions from providing information under the RTI Act.
  • Section 8 (2) allows for the disclosure of information that is exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, if it serves a larger public interest.