Increasing openness and transparency in governance: role of Right to Information Act, 2005 Presentation by Dr. S.K. Sarkar Joint secretary, Govt. of India, Dept. of Personnel and Training January 25, 2008 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Increasing openness and transparency in governance: role of Right to Information Act, 2005 Presentation by Dr. S.K. Sarkar Joint secretary, Govt. of India, Dept. of Personnel and Training January 25, 2008

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Title: Increasing openness and transparency in governance: role of Right to Information Act, 2005 Presentation by Dr. S.K. Sarkar Joint secretary, Govt. of India, Dept. of Personnel and Training January 25, 2008


1
Increasing openness and transparency in
governance role of Right to Information Act,
2005Presentation by Dr. S.K. Sarkar Joint
secretary, Govt. of India, Dept. of Personnel and
TrainingJanuary 25, 2008
2
Why access to information
  • Information gathered by public officials at
    public expense is owned by publicThe information
    produced, gathered and procured by public
    official is the intellectual property, no less
    than a patentable innovation would be. To use
    that intellectual property for private is just as
    an offence against public as any other
    appropriations of public property for private
    purposes
  • Joseph E Stiglitz (1999)

3
Information access international experiences
  • Invention of printing press in 1430 by Gutenberg,
    change from single manuscript to multiple printed
    copies
  • This was opposed in France through Law of
    Silence in 1764
  • Pioneering legislation in Sweden in 1766 called
    Freedom of Press Act
  • 1966 Freedom of Information Act in US
  • Till 1980s, not much progress in other countries
  • By now, about 70 countries have legislation on
    freedom of information

4
RTI responses from different states
  • 1996 Tamil Nadu
  • 1997 Goa
  • 2000/02 Karnataka
  • 2000 Maharashtra, Rajasthan
  • 2001 Delhi Assam
  • 2002 MP
  • 2004 JK

5
RTI evolution at central level
  • 1997 working Group on RTI Transparency chaired
    by SDShourie
  • 1997 Freedom of Information Bill
  • January 2003 Freedom of Information Act received
    Presidents assent, but could not be made
    operational
  • NCMP of UPA Government mandated RTI Act enactment
  • RTI Act 2005 effective from October 12, 2005

6
RTI Act 2005 Extract of Parliament debate
  • I believe that the passage of this Bill will
    see the dawn of a new era in our process of
    governance, an era of performance and efficiency,
    an era which will ensure that benefits of growth
    flow to other sections of people, an era which
    will eliminate the scourge of corruption, an era
    which will bring the common mans concern to the
    heart of process of governance, an era which will
    truly fulfill the hope of the Founding Father of
    our Republic
  • Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India (2005)

7
Objectives
  • To set out a practical regime of right to
    information for citizens
  • To secure access to information under the control
    of public authorities
  • To promote transparency and accountability in the
    working of every public authority
  • To contain corruption
  • To increase citizens awareness and ability to
    exercise their other rights
  • To equip them to participate meaningfully in the
    development process

8
Coverage
  • Covers all PUBLIC AUTHORITIES which means
  • Any body constituted under the Constitution or a
    law made by Parliament or State Legislatures.
  • Any body constituted by a notification or order
    issued by the Central and State Governments.
  • Any body owned, controlled or substantially
    financed by the Central Government or the State
    Government.

9
Exclusions
  • Intelligence and security organisations
    established by the Central or State Governments
    as notified from time to time. However,
    information relating to alleged corruption or
    human rights violations is not exempted from
    disclosure.

10
Scope of the Right to Information
  • Right to information includes the right to 
  •  
  • inspection of work, documents, records 
  • taking notes, extracts or certified copies
    thereof 
  •  
  • taking certified samples of material 
  •  
  • obtaining information in the form of diskettes,
    floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other
    electronic mode or through printouts where such
    information is stored in a computer or in any
    other device

11
Exemptions
  • Information which would prejudicially affect
  • sovereignty and integrity of India
  • security/strategic/scientific/economic interests
    of the State
  • relation with foreign State
  • Information which might incite an offence
  • Information which
  • is forbidden by a court
  • that causes a breach of privilege of the
    Legislature
  • would harm the competitive position of a third
    party

12
Exemptions
  • is held in fiduciary relationship, unless larger
    public interest warrants disclosure
  • received in confidence from foreign Government
  • would endanger the life of any person
  • would impede the process of investigation
  • would involve an infringement of copy right.
  • Personal information which has no relationship to
    any public activity or interest
  • Cabinet papers including records of deliberations
    of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and
    officers 

13
Overriding effectSec.22
  • The provisions of the Act have an overriding
    effect over anything inconsistent contained in
    the Official Secrets Act, 1923 or any other law
    or instrument

14
Obligations of Appropriate Government
  • Constitution of Information Commission (S/12,15)
  • Constitution of Central or State Information
    Commission by the appropriate Government
  • Framing Rules (Section 27)
  • Appropriate Government to make rules to carry out
    the provisions of this Act
  • Review of existing Acts/Rules
  • Act has over-riding effect on any other
    Act/Rule/Order (Sec 22)
  • Necessary to review all Acts/Rules etc. to remove
    points of conflict with this Act

15
Obligations of Appropriate Government
  • Spread Awareness
  • develop and organise educational programmes to
    advance the understanding of the public, in
    particular of disadvantaged communities regarding
    the exercise of the right.
  • encourage public authorities to participate in
    the development and organisation of such
    programmes and to undertake such programmes
    themselves.

16
Obligations of Appropriate Government
  • Training
  • - train Central Public Information Officers or
    State Public Information Officers, as the case
    may be, of public authorities and produce
    relevant training materials for use by the
    public authorities themselves.

17
Action taken by the Central Government
  • CIC constituted
  • Rules of procedure, fee etc. notified
  • Conduct rules for public servants brought in line
    with the Act
  • A Guide for the information seekers published
  • Training institutes requested to include the Act
    in their training modules. Some of its training
    institutes, notably ISTM, YASHADA, CGG are
    conducting training on pilot basis

18
Obligations of Public Authorities
  • Proactive disclosure (Sec 4)
  • Particulars of the organisation, its functions
    and duties
  • Procedure followed in its decision making process
  • Norms set out for the discharge of its functions
  • Rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and
    records used by its employees for the discharge
    of its functions,
  • Arrangement for consultation with or
    representation by the public, in policy
    formulation/implementation

19
Obligations of Public Authorities
  • Proactive disclosure (Sec 4)
  • Advice given by the boards, councils, committees
    etc.
  • Directory of its officers and employees
  • Budget allocated
  • Details of the implementation of subsidy
    programmes
  • Particulars of recipients of concessions, permits
    etc.
  • Such information as may be prescribed

20
Obligations of Public Authorities
  • Designation of PIOs etc.
  • Designate Public Information Officer to provide
    information to applicants
  • Also to designate APIOs at sub-divisional/district
    level
  • No bar on the number of such PIOs/APIOs
  • Designate appellate authority for the first
    appeal within the public authority

21
Obligations of Public Authorities
  • Publication of all relevant facts relating to
    important policies and decisions
  • Provide reasons for administrative or
    quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons

22
Procedure for seeking informationSec. 6
  • Application can be made in writing including
    through electronic mediums in English or Hindi or
    local official language of the area.
  • Where request is not in writing, PIO to provide
    assistance to reduce it to writing.
  • Reasons for seeking information need not be
    given.

23
Fees Section 7
  • Prescribed Fees to be paid along with the
    application. No fee for persons below the
    poverty line. Application fees, to be prescribed
    in the rules, shall be reasonable.
  • Further fees, towards cost of providing
    information, to be intimated by the PIO.
  • Applicant can seek a review of the fees through
    an appeal to the prescribed Appellate Authority.
  • Applicant to be provided information free of cost
    in case of failure to comply with the response
    time-limit.

24
Fees Section 7
  • Fees prescribed by the Central Government
  • For supply of information
  •        Application fee Rs.10.
  • Cost of stationery Rs. 2/each page of the
    information in A4/A3 size of paper and
    actual cost in case of larger size of paper.
  • Cost per floppy/CD Rs. 50.
  •        
  • For inspection of records        
  • No fee for first hour.
  • Rs.5 for each subsequent hour and fraction
    thereof.

25
Response Time Section 7
  • 30 days from the date of application.
  • 48 hours if involves the life or liberty of a
    person.
  • 40 days if involves the interests of a third
    party.
  • No response on application within the time limit
    is deemed refusal.

26
Appeals Section 19
  • Internal
  • First appeal to the officer immediately senior to
    Public Information Officer within 30 days of
    decision.
  • Appeal to be disposed of within a period of 30
    days extendable upto a total of 45 days.
  • External
  • Second appeal to CIC/SIC within 90 days of
    decision of Appellate Authority.
  • In both the appeals onus to justify denial of
    request shall be on the PIO. Decision of the
    CIC/SIC is final and binding.

27
Penalty ProvisionsSec. 20
  • PIO liable to a fine of Rs. 250 per day up to a
    maximum of Rs. 25,000/- for
  • not accepting an application
  • delaying information release without reasonable
    cause
  • malafidely denying information
  • knowingly giving incomplete, incorrect or
    misleading information
  • destroying information that has been requested
    and
  • obstructing furnishing of information in any
    manner.
  • CIC/SIC empowered to impose penalty on PIO.
    They can also recommend disciplinary action
    against an erring PIO.

28
CIC/SIC-Functions Sec.18
  • Besides appeals, CIC/SIC also authorised to
    enquire into complaints regarding-
  • Inability to submit an request for information
    because a PIO has not been appointed
  • Refusal/deemed refusal of information.
  • Allegation that the fees charged are
    unreasonable.
  • Allegedly incomplete or false or misleading
    information.

29
CIC/SIC-Powers Sec.18
  • CIC/SIC granted powers of Civil Court such as
  • summoning and enforcing attendance of witnesses,
    compelling evidence on oath and production of
    documents
  • requisitioning public records from any court or
    office
  • Any other matter which may be prescribed

30
CIC/SIC-Powers Sec.19 contd.
  • CIC/SIC can require Public Authorities to
    interalia take the following steps
  • Appoint a PIO.
  • Publish certain information or categories of
    information
  • Make necessary changes to the records management,
    maintenance and destruction procedures.
  • Enhance the training provision for officials on
    RTI.
  • Seek an annual report from the Public Authority.
  • Compensate for any loss or other detriment
    suffered by the requestor.

31
Removal of difficulties
  • Central Government empowered to issue orders to
    remove difficulties in the implementation of the
    Act.(Sec. 30)

32
  • Thank You

33
What is Information
  • Information is any material in any form.
  • It includes records, documents, memos, e-mails,
    opinions, advices, press releases, circulars,
    orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers,
    samples, models, data material held in any
    electronic form.
  • It also includes information relating to any
    private body which can be accessed by the public
    authority under any law for the time being in
    force.

34
What Right a citizen has under the Act
  • A citizen has right to information at par with
    the Members of Parliament.
  • A citizen has a right to seek information from
    a public authority which already exists and is
    held by the public authority.
  • The CPIO is not supposed to
  • create information
  • to interpret information
  • to solve the problems raised by the applicants
  • to furnish replies to hypothetical questions.
  • The right includes
  • inspection of work, documents and records
  • taking notes, extracts or certified copies of
    documents or records and
  • taking certified samples of material.

35
Format For Information
  • The information shall ordinarily be provided in
    the form in which it is sought.
  • Supply of information in a particular form may be
    denied
  • if it results into disproportionate diversion
    of the resources
  • if it may cause harm to the safety or
    preservation of the records.
  • Information may be had in the form of
  • Diskettes
  • Floppies
  • Tapes
  • Video cassettes
  • Any other electronic mode.
  • Through print-outs
  • Information in the form of diskettes etc. may be
    denied if it is not stored in a computer or in
    any other device.

36
Rendering Assistance to Applicants
  • The Central Public Information Officer shall
    render reasonable assistance to the applicants.
  • Such assistance would include
  • Help in writing application
  • Help to sensorily disabled persons.

37
Assistance Available to CPIO
  • Central Public Information Officer may seek the
    assistance of any other officer.
  • The officer, whose assistance is so sought shall
    be deemed to be a Central Public Information
    Officer.
  • Such officer would be liable for contravention of
    any provisions of the Act like a Central Public
    Information Officer.

38
Fee for Seeking Information
  • Application fee Rs. 10/-
  • Additional fee
  • A4 or A3 size paper Rs. 2/- each page
  • Larger size paper Actual cost involved.
  • Samples or models Actual cost involved.
  • Diskettes or floppy Rs.50/-
  • Publications As price fixed for it.
  • Inspection of records Free for one hour

  • Rs. 5/- for subsequent hour
  • No fee for BPL families.
  • Mode of payment of fee
  • Cash
  • Demand draft
  • Bankers cheque
  • Indian Postal Order

39
Scrutiny of Application
  • CPIO should check
  • Whether application if accompanied by fee
  • Whether application is accompanied by BPL
    certificate
  • Whether the subject matter concerns other Public
    Authority
  • Whether the application involves third party
  • Whether application relates to exempted
    information.

40
Supply of Information
  • If the information sought is exempt from
    disclosure, request may be rejected
  • Information which is not exempted should be
    provided
  • If the request is rejected, the applicant should
    be informed
  •   (i) the reasons for such rejection
  • (ii)   the period within which an appeal may be
    preferred and
  • (iii)  the particulars of the appellate
    authority.
  • If additional fee is required to be paid, the
    applicant should be informed
  • (i)    the details of further fees
  • (ii)   the calculations made to arrive at the
    amount of fees
  • (iii)  about the right to appeal against the
    demand
  • (iv) the particulars of the appellate authority
    and
  • (v) the time limit within which the appeal can
    be made.

41
Time Period for Supply of Information
  • Supply of information in normal course 30 days
  • Supply of information concerning the life or
    liberty 48 hours
  • Supply of information if request received through
    CAPIO plus 5 days
  • Supply of information on transferred
    applications
  • In normal course 30 days
  • If the information concerns the life or the
    liberty 48 hours
  • Supply of information by exempted organizations
  • If information relates to allegation of violation
    of human rights 45 days
  • In case information relates to allegations of
    corruption 30 days
  • Supply of information if it relates to third
    party As per prescribed procedure
  • Supply of information if additional fee is
    involved Exclude the period
    intervening between
    information about fee and
    receipt of fee.

42
Exclusions
  • Intelligence and security organisations
    established by the Central or State Governments
    as notified from time to time. However,
    information relating to alleged corruption or
    human rights violations is not exempted from
    disclosure.

43
Exemptions
  • Information which would prejudicially affect
  • sovereignty and integrity of India
  • security/strategic/scientific/economic interests
    of the State
  • relation with foreign State
  • Information which might incite an offence
  • Information which
  • is forbidden by a court
  • that causes a breach of privilege of the
    Legislature
  • would harm the competitive position of a third
    party

44
Exemptions
  • is held in fiduciary relationship, unless larger
    public interest warrants disclosure
  • received in confidence from foreign Government
  • would endanger the life of any person
  • would impede the process of investigation
  • would involve an infringement of copy right.
  • Personal information which has no relationship to
    any public activity or interest
  • Cabinet papers including records of deliberations
    of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and
    officers 

45
Overriding effectSec.22
  • The provisions of the Act have an overriding
    effect over anything inconsistent contained in
    the Official Secrets Act, 1923 or any other law
    or instrument

46
Penalty ProvisionsSec. 20
  • PIO liable to a fine of Rs. 250 per day up to a
    maximum of Rs. 25,000/- for
  • not accepting an application
  • delaying information release without reasonable
    cause
  • malafidely denying information
  • knowingly giving incomplete, incorrect or
    misleading information
  • destroying information that has been requested
    and
  • obstructing furnishing of information in any
    manner.
  • CIC/SIC empowered to impose penalty on PIO.
    They can also recommend disciplinary action
    against an erring PIO.
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