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RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL 2004

 

WHAT IS RIGHT TO INFORMATION?

n       To provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for people to

n       Secure access to information under the control of public authorities. In order to

n       Promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority,

n       the constitution of a Central information Commission and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A RIGHT TO INFORMATION?

n       IT HELPS TO PROMOTE

         PRINCIPLE OF AACCOUNTABILITY

         PRINCIPLE OF PARTICIPATION

         PRINCIPLE OF TRANSPARENCY

WHAT IS THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL?

n       THE RIGHT TO EQUALITY – ARTICLE 19

n       THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH & EXPRESSION – ARTICLE 19 (1) (A)

n       THE RIGHT TO LIFE & PERSONAL LIBERTY – ARTICLE 19

n       THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHT ARTICLE – 19

n       CONSTITUTION OF INDIA- 1950

n       RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL OF 9 STATES

n       TAMIL NADU (1997), GOA (1997), RAJASTHAN, KARNATAKA, DELHI, MAHARASTRA (2002), MADHYA PRADESH, ASSAM, JAMMU & Kashmir (2004)

n       SUPREME COURT ORDER UNDER THE CASE 196/2001, PUCL Vs. UNION OF INDIA ON THE ISSUE OF FOOD RIGHTS AND RIGHT TO WORK.

n       FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL 2000.

WHY CENTRAL LAW ON RIGHT TO INFORMATION?

n       IT WILL SECURE

         UNIFORMITY

         CLARITY

         EASY ACCESS.

DEFINATION

n       "Government",

    In relation to a public authority established, constituted, Owned, substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly or controlled by the Central Government or a Union. Territory administration means the Central Government;

 

n       "Information"

    Means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;

"Public authority"
Means any authority or body established or constituted,
(i) by or under the Constitution;
(ii)
by any other 'law made by Parliament;
(iii) by notification issued or order made by the Government,
and includes any other body owned or controlled by the 'Government;


Right to Information” –
            Right to

Inspection of work, documents records.
Taking notes extracts or certified samples of material.
Obtaining information in the form of diskettes, fluffy, tapes, video cassettes, printouts etc.

 

Right to Information obligations of Public Authorities

n       Every Public authority shall maintain its records duly catalogued, indexed, which facilitates Right to Information?

 

n       Publish before the commencement of the Act

         The particulars of its organization, functions and duties;

         The powers and duties of its officers and employees;

         The procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability;

         The norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;

          The rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions;

         A statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control;

         The particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof;,’

         A statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting             of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advise, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes 'of such meetings are accessible for public;

         A directory of its officers and employees;

         The monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and
Employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

         The budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made;

         The manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the
Amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes;

         Particulars of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it;'

         Details in respect of the information, available to or held by it,

         Reduced in an electronic form;

         the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;

         the names, designations and other particulars of the Public
Information Officers;

         Such other information as may be prescribed;

         And thereafter update there publications within such intervals in each year as may be prescribed;

 

Before initiating any project, or formulating any policy, scheme, programme Or law, publish or communicate to the public in general or to the persons likely to be affected thereby in particular, the facts available to it or to which it has reasonable access which in its opinion should be known to them in the best interest of natural justice and promotion of democratic principles.

All materials shall be disseminated taking into consideration the cost. Effectiveness, local language and the most effective method of communication in that local, area and the information should be easily accessible, to the extent possible in electronic format with the Public Information Officer, available fee or at such cost of the medium or in print cost price may be prescribed.

 

"Disseminated”  Means

   Making known or communicated' the information to the public through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media broadcasts, the internet or any other means, including inspection of offices of any public authority.

 

Designation of Public Information Officer
Every Public authority shall designate an officer, within 100 days of enactment of the Act at each sub divisional or other sub district level.


Request for obtaining information

Any person can obtain any information shall make a request in writing or through electronic media means in English or in the official languages of the area in which application is being made, accompanying such fee as may be prescribed.

 

Disposal of request

n       Public information officer on receipt of request shall provide information in any case within 30 days of the receipt of the request or reject the request for any of the reasons.

n       Concerning the life and liberty of the person where information must be provided within 48 hours.

n       In case of rejection, public information officer has to communicate to the person- the reason for such rejection.

 

Exemption from disclosure of information

n       Information, which would    Affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, security, strategic, scientific and economic interest of the state, relation with foreign state. The cabinet paper, council of Ministers, secretaries and other officers, investigation, document, prosecution of offenders.

 

Constitution of Central Information Commission

n       Central government shall notify in the official gazette.

n       Commission shall consist of

         Information commissioners.

         Deputy Information Commissioner not exceeding ten.

         Information commissioner & deputy information commissioner shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of

         Prime Minister

         Leader of the Opposition

         Chief justice of India.

 

Term of Office and condition of Service

          • Five years
          • No information officer holds office after he/she attained the age of 65.

 

Penalties

n       If Public Information Officer has persistently failed to provide information without any reasonable cause within the period of 30 days, the commission may otherwise any officer of the central government to file a complaint against such public information officer before judicial Magistrate of First Class.

n       Fine may extend Rs.25000/- or a term of imprisonment which may extended to 5 years.

 

Other provisions

n       No suit, persecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person.

n       No court shall entertain any suit application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this act.

n       Act shall not apply to the intelligence & security organization.

n       Training to information officer of public authority or to produce relevant training material for use by the public authority.

n       Handbook to be produced for this act.

 

Action Points for transparent and accountable governance

n       Micro Initiative

         Training to be imparted at the grass root level on right to information to acquaint people with the rights integrated in the bill.

         Discussion at Gram Sabha on right to information to intensify awareness.

         Observation of information demand week on local issues.

         Alliance building at Panchayat level to ensure execution of the bill.

         Functionalization of information at the grass root level.

         Common letter design to be developed and proposed for asking the information from the block level in the form of application.

         Other organizations also need to be mobilized on the issue at the micro level.

         Information to be disseminated by linking the right to information with other programs / issues.

 

Policy level initiative

n       Preparation of alternative State right to information bill in line with the central act.

n       Media advocacy and awareness to highlight the issue of obstruction of information sharing by the officer to the gram sabha.

n       Focused study at any pocket to reveal that programs are failing due to denial attitude of the bureaucrats to disseminate related information to the people.

n       Focused programme at State level for pressure building to implement the right to information law in the state.

n       Alliance building with other networks on the issue to raise campaign at the state level.

 

Campaign Initiative

n       Publication of posters / pamphlets / manuals indicating building points of the right to information bill, which will be in simple language.

n       b)         Campaign linkages to be developed from Village to State in order to make the issue more visible in the state.

n       c)         MLA/MLC awareness programme to on the right to information bill needs to be undertaken pressurize for transparent governance in the state.

 

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