Why in News?
The Rajasthan State Information Commission has imposed fines on the government officials including Secretary level officers for showing negligence in providing information under the RTI Act.
About RTI Act, 2005
- The act sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information.
- This act was enacted to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution guaranteed under ‘freedom of speech and expression’.
- RTI is implicit FR in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
- Suo motu disclosure of information by each public authority.
- Some exemptions against furnishing information are also mentioned.
- The act also provides for disclosure of information exempted under Official Secrets Act, 1923 if larger public interest is served.
- The Act provides for appointment of Information Commissioners at Central and State level.
- Public authorities must designate some of its officers as Public Information Officer (PIO). They are responsible to give information to the person seeking information under the RTI Act.
- Time period of furnishing information:
- Normally, within 30 days from the receipt of application by the public authority.
- If information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be furnished within 48 hours.
Applicabilty of RTI Act:
- Private bodies: not within the Act’s ambit directly. However, CIC has held that privatised public utility companies fall within the purview of RTI e.g. Electricity DISCOMS.
- Political parties:
- CIC had held that the political parties are public authorities and are answerable to citizens under the RTI Act.
- However in 2013 the government by an Amendment removed political parties from the scope of the law.
- Chief Justice of India:
- Supreme Court upheld that the office of Chief Justice of India is under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Key Provisions of RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019:
- The GoIis given the power to set the salaries and service conditions of Information Commissioners at central as well as state levels.
- Term of the central CIC and ICs: Appointment will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.