India is top 4th in the world
Time to cheer on Right to Information Day when it has come to notice that India has 4th Strongest RTI laws in the world. This report is available on 28th September which has been declared by UNESCO to be celebrated all over the world as “International Day for Universal Access to Information”. India as been ranked 4th in the world having strongest RTI Act. This has been done by a website rti-rating.org.
The website however states
India has long been recognized as one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to access to information, but its failure to top this ranking is demonstrative that global standards of the right to access have advanced considerably since India’s law was first passed.
The top two reasons for India considered as lower in ranking are due to “blanket exceptions in Schedule 2 for various security, intelligence, research and economic institutes” and “not allowing access to information held by private entities which perform a public function“.
On analysis of the details it is also found that India has scored less on not only exemption reasons, but also on imposing less sanction. Here are the other major factors which are matter of concern in so far as RTI Act is concerned. In these matters India has scored lesser.
There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).
There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).
A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is only given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information.
A system is not in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied.
There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).
Do you have any suggestion for improvement on RTI Act, do join the discussion here at our forum:
The popular myth – “RTI is meant for developed countries while developing countries have other urgent issues of poverty, hunger, poor levels of basic services like education and health” stands disproved once again. – States The Governance Now
Central Information Commission warned the Central Public Information Officer for asking for the applicants citizenship proof under RTI who held the reply stating that furnishing of citizenship proof is a pre-requisite for providing the information.
CIC said that Read more ›
In a significant decision of Dr. Nazrul Islam vs State Of West Bengal & Ors on 31 August, 2016, Calcutta high court has ruled that “It is the Department who has to compensate a citizen for any loss, detriment or harassment suffered by him by reason of failure of its officers to perform their duty.”. The Department cannot claim that “responsibility and liability should be fixed only on its officers”.
The court further added that “In fact, the Department should recover from its concerned officers the compensation that the Department has to pay to the affected citizen.” Read more ›
The information about his wife income tax documents probing for the alleged income and expenditure during the wedding was denied under RTI. However, as his wife has filed FIR under section 498A/406 IPC, Delhi High court allowed access to the document considering that as the criminal proceeding filed by the wife is still pending and her cross-examination is not complete, the husband can cross examine her with regard to her income-tax returns and/or the husband can file an appropriate application for production of the relevant income tax records.
The information sought by the Husband in reference to wife income tax documents regarding action taken report in reference to his letter was rejected on the ground that information sought is exempt under Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (for short ‘RTI Act, 2005’).
The decision of the high court can be read from our wiki segment here! Read more ›
In on the decision Appellate Authority of Central Information Commission has decided that a citizen is obliged to make an application under the RTI Act only before the CPIO of the concerned Public Authority.
The provision under Section 6(3) has to be read in the context of Section 6(1) of the RTI Act. In other words, Section 6(1) lays down a rule while Section 6(3) is an exception. If every applicant is allowed to submit all petitions concerning various Public Authorities to one single Public Authority, then virtually every Public Authority would be rendered into a Post Office, whose only task would be to transfer a RTI application to the concerned CPIOs. This will put the whole system unworkable. This could not have been the intention of the Legislature while enacting Section 6(3) that each and every person can submit applications seeking information wherever he likes. Read more ›