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Introduction to RTI Act 2005

July 14, 2013
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RTI_Logo

Most of us have heard about the Right to Information Act 2005 popularly known as RTI Act, but not many are well aware of the basics of it and the provisions it has.

Through this series of my blog posts I will try to explain the RTI Act and how it can be used by a citizen to get required information from the Govt. authorities and public sector organizations.

The law was passed in the parliament in June 2005 and was fully enacted in all states of India with effect from 13 October 2005 except in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

The RTI Act gives power to a citizen to secure access to information about the working of the Govt. authorities, bodies and public sector units and inspect their records thereof. In fact, under the RTI Act these authorities are bound to have suo motu disclosure of a set of information on their websites for a greater transparency and accountability with regard to their functioning. This information needs to be updated at regular intervals by the concerned authorities.

There are, of course, certain exclusions and exceptions under clause 8 of the law where the information asked for can be denied by these authorities. These are mainly related to the security of the country, or that may infringe on the private, intellectual and business interests of the other party, or has been forbidden by the court of law to be made public etc.

In fact, the RTI is a very powerful tool that one, individually or collectively, can use to get the information that otherwise would not have been easily available and accessible.

If used in the right way, it helps to get information about the governance of the various public bodies/units and can force these bodies to adopt good governance practices. We, as citizens of this country, must be thankful to the activists who worked towards the enactment of this law.

Words explained:
Suo motu – on its own

Additional Information in Collins Dictionary says:
“Suo motu, meaning “on its own motion,” is a Latin legal term, approximately equivalent to the term sua sponte. For example, it is used where a government agency acts on its own cognizance, as in “the Commission took suo motu control over the matter.” Example – “there is no requirement that a court suo motu instruct a jury upon these defenses.” State v. Pierson.”

Sangita Passey
07 July 2013

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