The right to information gained power when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 providing everyone with the right to hunt, receive, information, and ideas through any media and irrespective of frontiers.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political rights 1966 states that everybody shall have the correct to freedom of expression, the liberty to hunt, and impart information and concepts of all types.
According to Chief Executive “Information is that the currency of democracy,” and demanding the emergence and development of a vibrant civil society. However, for enforcing a practical safeguard for the citizens to secure information as a matter of their rights, the Indian Parliament enacted the Right to Information Act, 2005.
In India, the genesis of RTI law was introduced in 1986, by Supreme Court in Mr. Kulwal v. Jaipur Municipal Corporation, where court observed that better implementation of liberty of speech and expression is incomplete without the Right to Information. The court also stated that the freedom of speech and expression provided under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution clearly implies Right to Information.
Objectives of the Act:
- To empower the citizens
- To promote transparency and accountability
- To contain corruption and
- For enhance the participation of people in the democratic process.
Need for Adoption of Information Act:
- Corruption and scandals
- International pressure and activism
- Modernization and also the information society.
The RTI Act, 2005 does not replace bureaucracy for implementing the law. Instead, it spread awareness and mandated personnel in every office to alter their attitude and to perform their duty with carefulness.
It carefully and consciously empowered the Central Information Commission to be one of the best authorities within the country with the obligation to order any office within the country to provide with the information asked as per the provisions of the Act. And it also empowers the Commission to penalize any official/personnel who failed to do so.
Right to information is sought to strengthen the participatory democracy and introduced people oriented governance.
Access to information can give the power to the weaker and neglected sections of society to inquire and obtain data about public oriented Govt. policies and govt. actions, thereby resulting in their welfare and demanding transparency.
Right to information reveal government’s records to public, thereby providing citizens with an important tool to make them aware about what the govt. does and the mode of the same effectively, thus making the govt. more accountable.
It also improves deciding by public authority by removing unnecessary secrecy.
RTI vs Legislations for Non Disclosure of informtion
- Some provisions of Indian Evidence Act (Sections 123, 124, and 162) provide to carry the disclosure of documents. Under these provisions, head of department may refuse to produce the information on affairs of state and only swearing that it is a state secret and were entitled not to disclose the data.
- Similarly, no public officer shall be compelled to disclose any communications made to him in official confidence.
- The nuclear energy Act, 1912 prevents officials from not disclosing any information which is restricted/prohibited by the Central Government.
- The Central Civil Services Act restricts a government servant from giving any official document or communicating any confidential information unless it is done in accordance with the order of state.
- The Official Secrets Act, 1923 provides the way to prevent any document from being published i.e. by marking confidential on it.
RTI vs Right to Privacy
Conceptually, RTI and also the right to privacy are both complementary in addition as in conflict to every other. While RTI increases access to information, the correct to privacy protects it instead. At the identical time they both function, as citizen rights safeguarding liberty, against state’s overreach.
When the question of harmonizing the contradicting rights arises, it should:
- give justice to the larger public interest,
- advance the general public morality.
RTI vs OSA
The Official Secrets Act was enacted in year 1923 by country to keep certain sorts of information confidential from any publication or from unauthorized access to such information including information the affairs of state, diplomacy, national security, and other state secrets. In case of a conflict between Right to Information and OSA, the provisions of RTI will prevail.
- Section 22 of the RTI Act states that its provisions will have effect notwithstanding anything that is inconsistent within the OSA.
- Similarly, under Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, a public authority is allowed to access the information protected under the OSA in the case, “if the disclosure of public interest outweighs the harm of the protected interest”.
A system providing access to information gives society the chance to put further the aim of democracy and lead to an open and fair society. India is amongst such powerful countries where Law is supreme and where people live, support and empower every community, caste, race, religion irrespective of such diversity in the country. To maintain this vision of empowerment and growth individuals along with the Government must move in a direction where each and every citizen can live with dignity and without fear of any unnecessary defamation, the preamble and significance of RTI should be abided by each and every individual and Authority of this country.
By:- SAMPADA SHARMA
5th year, BBA-LLB
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