The Right to Information (RTI) Act is a law established by the Parliament of India to provide a medium for citizens to access information under the control of the public authorities. It was approved by the Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came into power on 13 October 2005. The RTI Act orders timely response to every citizen requests for government data. It applies to all States and Union Territories of India, apart from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is secured under a State-level law.
Accountable person to provide data
Under the Act, any citizen (excluding the citizens of J&K) can ask for data from a 'public authority' (a branch of Government or 'instrumentality of State') which is required to answer quickly or within 30 days. The Right to Information Act, likewise requires each public authority to modernize their records for widespread and to proactively distribute certain classifications of data as requested by an individual citizen.
Under the Right to Information Act, all public authorities must appoint Public Information Officer (PIO) in their Office. When any individual presents a request to the PIO for data in writing, it is the PIO's duty to give data. Further, if the request relates to another public authority (in entire or part) it is the PIO's obligation to transfer/forward the concerned segments of the request to other PIO within five days. Moreover, every public authority is required to assign Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) to get RTI requests and appeals for sending them to the PIOs in their Office.
The highest authority under the Act is the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), who shall accept and inquire complaints from any person. Toward the end of each year CIC is required to provide a report which contains: the number of requests made to every public authority; the number of cases where the applicants were not offered consent to access the records, the procurements of the Act under which these choices were made and number of times such procurements were documented; disciplinary actions taken against any officer who acted in violation of the Act; and the amount of charges gathered under the Right to Information Act.
Mode of data collection
The RTI Act determines that citizens have a privilege to request any data (as characterized);
- take duplicates of reports;
- review archives, works and records;
- take certified sample of materials of work; and
- acquire data as printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video tapes or in any other electronic mode.
In case of occurrence of data concerning corruption and Human Rights violations by planned Security offices, the time span is 45 days with the prior approval of the Central Information Commission. In any case, if life or liberty of any individual is included, the PIO is mandated to answer within 48 hours.
Right to Information Act promotes transparency and accountability in working of every public authority
It gives a solid backing to democracy and great governance, by engaging the citizen’s capacity to take his interest effectively and consider government authorities accountable.