Why in News?
The Supreme Court has asked all the states to file status report of all vacancies in offices under 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 daysfrom 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 RTIe.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”.