Right to Information Act, 2005 for a Transparent Government

 RTI Act 2005 of India

Government information disclosure is conducive to the development of transparent government management, strict performance of responsibilities and obligations, and improvement of public participation. It is also conducive to the establishment of a more just and effective government governance model, which helps to enhance public confidence in the government.

However, the disclosure of government information is likely to conflict with other government events, such as how the government operates effectively, how to better use government financial resources, and how to strengthen the protection of sensitive and confidential information.

India’s RTI Act 2005 aka Right to Information Act, 2005 published in 2005 stipulates that the public has the right to obtain information, and public management agencies have the obligation to provide information, which provides legal protection for the Indian public to obtain government information and improve the transparency of government work.


India's Right to Information Act, 2005 was formally promulgated on June 21, 2005. Some provisions of the bill will be implemented from the date of approval, and other provisions will take effect on October 120, 2005, the 120th day after the promulgation of the law.

The introduction of the bill made India join the 55 countries that have enacted a bill to protect the right to public information.

The bill includes central and state government agencies, village councils, local groups, and some non-governmental organizations. All areas except Jammu and Kashmir must comply with the bill.

The Right to Information Act, 2005 is a revision based on the Freedom of Information Act 2002. The "Information Freedom Act 2002" is repealed from the date of promulgation of the "Information Rights Act 2005".

    I. Main provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005

    The "Information Rights Law 2005" addresses issues such as the management of government information disclosure, government information disclosure applications and application processing procedures, information exempt from disclosure and agencies that do not apply to the law, third-party agencies, and annual implementation summary and training. Regulations.


    (1) Management of government information disclosure

    The law stipulates that each public authority (PA, Public Authority) must establish its own directory of information resources within 120 days of the publication of the bill, including documents, notices, statements, and government civil servants.

    At the same time, public administration agencies should also consider transmitting government information to the public in the most effective way through local languages.

    Within 100 days after the promulgation of the bill, public management agencies should establish a public information officer (PIO), including a central government public information officer and a state government public information officer, responsible for processing public information requests and providing information to the public. Designate an auxiliary public information officer to assist the public information officer in carrying out his work.


    Another important provision in the Right to Information Act, 2005 is the establishment of information management committees, including the Central Information Management Committee and the State Information Management Committee.

    The responsibility of the Information Management Committee is to protect the public’s right to know and provide the public with access to information. At the same time, the Information Management Committee also has the power of a civil court.

    When the public’s right to know is violated, it can appeal to the Information Management Committee within 30 days after receiving the notice.


    RTI Act 2005 India. Right to Information Act, 2005

    The Central Information Management Committee is established by the Central Government, with its headquarters in New Delhi and branches in various regions of the country.

    At present, the Central Information Management Committee of India has been established, and appointed one chief information committee and four central information committees, and clarified their respective responsibilities and tasks.

    The establishment of information management committees of various states is also proceeding in an orderly manner in accordance with the provisions of the Information Rights Act 2005.


    (2) Government information disclosure application and application processing flow

    If the public needs information from a certain department (must be within the scope of the Act), it must submit an application to the department’s public information officer and pay the fee. After receiving the application and fee, the public information officer must respond within 30 days.

    If the application involves another government agency that controls the information, the response time is allowed to be extended for 15 days.

    But when it involves personal life and freedom, the public information officer must reply within 48 hours.

    If the application is determined to be approved, the public information officer will send the applicant more detailed information including information costs.

    If the application is rejected, the public information officer must inform the applicant of the reason for rejection, and the applicant can appeal if he is not satisfied with the treatment.

    The Act also stipulates that institutions that fail to provide information in a timely manner and refuse to process information applications, provide wrong, incomplete or misleading information, and destroy information should be penalized accordingly.


    At present, India has opened the "Information Rights Act 2005" portal website (www.rti.gov.in), which will collect information from public information officers of various government departments, information management committees, domestic information disclosure progress and foreign Information Rights Act 2005's views and related news, etc.

    At the same time provide links to various government departments, so that the public can more easily access government information.

    At present, various government agencies in India have begun to appoint their own information disclosure officials and set up related agencies, establish information databases or complaint databases, and answer questions raised by the public at any time.

    The same time, the website also provides an application processing process for government information disclosure.


    (3) Information exempted from disclosure and government agencies not applicable to the law

    Right to Information Act, 2005 clearly stipulates the information exemption clause, which aims to protect special types of information.


    Information exempted from disclosure includes:

    information whose disclosure may affect national sovereignty, security, strategy, scientific and technological and economic interests, etc., or lead to national defense security

    Iinformation restricted by any court and tribunal, or contempt of court information.

    Its public disclosure will Information that would undermine the interests of parliament or state legislature; information containing trade secrets, transaction secrets or intellectual property, whose disclosure would damage the rights and interests of third parties.

    Existing information on personal credit (unless guaranteed by a government agency)

    Information secretly obtained from foreign governments.

    Iinformation that poses a danger to personal life or physical safety and is used to help enforce law enforcement.

    Information that hinders the investigation, arrest, or prosecution of criminal acts.

    Cabinet documents, including the records of ministerial meetings and Opinions and suggestions made by or for government agencies and their ministers.

    Personal information that is not related to any public behavior and public interest, without the consent of the Central Public Information Officer and the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Body, once leaked will violate the personal information Right to privacy.

    If the public interest exceeds protector of the interests of the public body may allow viewing of information.


    Right to Information Act, 2005 Exemptions

    Although the Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulates information exemptions, it does not mean that all materials containing exempt information will not be disclosed by the government.

    If the public interest exceeds the interest of the protected person, the information will be made public. At the same time, the law also stipulates the principle of severability.

    The government should provide all publicly available information that can be separated from materials that are exempt from disclosure.


    The Information Rights Act 2005 also stipulates institutions and organizations that do not apply the law, mainly intelligence and security organizations established by the central government, including: Intelligence Bureau, Central Economic Intelligence Agency, World Security Agency, Central Reserve Police, National Security Forces , Special Service Bureau, Aerospace Research Center, Narcotics Control Bureau, etc.


    (4) Third-party organizations

    The Information Rights Act 2005 also stipulates that if the information to be disclosed involves a third-party organization or needs to be provided by a third-party organization, the Central Public Information Officer and State Public Information Officer must give the third-party organization within 5 days of receiving the request a written notice asking the third party to provide information, the third party will consider whether the information is made public.

    Under the premise that commercial confidential information is protected by law, if the public interest is higher than the interest of third parties, the information can be disclosed.

    The third party agency will respond to the notice within 10 days of receiving the notice.

    After the third-party organization determines whether the information can be disclosed, the Central Public Information Officer and the State Public Information Officer determine whether it will be disclosed within 40 days of receiving the request.


    (5) Annual summary and training

    India’s Right to Information Act, 2005 requires the Central Information Management Committee or State Information Management Committee to submit annual reports on the implementation of the law, including:

    The number of applications for information disclosure received by the department

    The number of applications processed, and the processing Time

    Tthe number of appeals filed with the Information Management Committee and the outcome of appeals

    The total fees charged by the department, and other management reforms.

    Information Management Committee

    Each public agency has the responsibility to collect information on the implementation of the law by the department for the Information Management Committee and assist the Information Management Committee in completing the report.


    At the same time, the law encourages the government to develop and carry out training projects to train public information officers for the government, and to raise the awareness of government officials and the public about government information disclosure.

    To train the regulations in the bill to improve public understanding and awareness of the bill.

    Government departments at all levels should participate in the development and organization of information disclosure projects in accordance with the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005:

    Encourage and supervise the provision of accurate information to the public

    Train public information officers and develop training materials

    Publish user guides to increase public awareness and understanding of government information disclosure.


    II. The Enlightenment of India's Right to Information Act, 2005

    (1) Promote government information disclosure in the form of legislation

    Information disclosure is an inevitable requirement of modern democratic politics for national administrative organs, and it is also a common practice of modern governments.

    The United States, the United Kingdom and other countries have formulated relevant laws and regulations in recent years, such as the Information Disclosure Law and the E-Government Law.

    Government information is public.

    The Chinese government has been discussing the issue of government information disclosure for a long time, and local governments in various regions have also issued their own "Information Disclosure Regulations".

    China should establish and improve the government information disclosure system as soon as possible, strictly implement it in the actual work of government departments at all levels, further promote government information disclosure, and expand the public’s right to know.


    (2) Designate special government agencies and government officials to be responsible for information disclosure

    India’s Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulates that the Information Management Committee and the Public Information Officer shall be responsible for matters related to information disclosure, and gives the Information Management Committee the power of civil courts, which provides institutional and legal guarantees for ensuring government information disclosure.

    China should further improve the corresponding government information disclosure management system on the basis of establishing and perfecting relevant systems, and regulate, supervise and restrict the management system to ensure that the public’s right to know information is not infringed.


    (3) Take public interest as the highest interest

    For information exempt from disclosure, India’s Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulates that if the public interest is greater than the interests of the protected person, the information should be disclosed. The law always regards "public interest" as the highest interest.

    In formulating information disclosure laws or systems, China should also take the interests of the people as the highest interest, clarify the principles of information disclosure and confidentiality, and delimit the scope of government information that can be disclosed.


    (4) Formulate strict government information disclosure process

    Disclosure of government information will involve different government departments, with many work contents and complicated work links. In order to ensure the smooth progress of information disclosure, government departments at all levels in our country should formulate a standard workflow for government information disclosure.


    In short, we should systematically analyze and learn from the laws and regulations on government information disclosure in countries around the world, actively promote and steadily promote government information disclosure on the premise of ensuring national secrets, business secrets and personal privacy, and gradually establish the government information disclosure system, including institutions and management systems, promotes the process of government information disclosure and maximizes the development and use of China's government information resources.


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