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ReadForeword
Salient Features of the Right to Information Act
   
1 The Right o Information Act, 2005 came into force on 12 th October 2005.
2 Every citizen has a right to request and obtain information from ‘public authorities', subject to specified restrictions
3 Public authorities have to supply information (or reject the request if restrictions apply) as early as possible. Maximum time allowed in normal circumstances is thirty days. Reasons have to be provided for rejecting request for information.
4 Public has to deal with Public Information Officer appointed by Public Authorities for making request and obtaining information.
5 Public Authorities to suo-motu disclose a large chunk of information about themselves. All this information is available free. For others, citizens have to apply and pay fee for obtaining information
6 A variety of fee have been prescribed. These have to be reasonable. Citizens below poverty line are exempt from most of the fee
7 All three organs of governance, the Executive, legislature and judiciary, including all their organs branches and offices, are subject to disclosure of information
8 Applicable to Constitutional bodies
9 Information of private bodies can also be obtained though, scope is limited.
10 Suitable checks imposed on the citizens' right to information in the form of ‘exemptions from disclosure'
11 Except three exemptions, all others lose their significance in public interest.
12 Any information can be obtained if dates back to period of more than twenty years
13 Third party defined as anyone other than citizen requesting information and the public authority from which information is requested
14 Third party has right of representation and appeal if information related to them is subject matter of disclosure by a public authority
15 Citizen requesting information has two tier appellate remedy for any grievance under the Act, including absence of response and rejection of request
16 Appeal possible for charging of unreasonable fee.
17 An apex autonomous organization, the Information Commission constituted in Centre and in every State
18 Apex statutory body is Central Information Commission at the centre headed by Central Chief Information Commissioner and manned by maximum 10 Information commissioners
19 Corresponding bodies in states are Information Commission headed by State Chief Information Commissioner and manned by maximum 10 Information commissioners
20 The Commission is the second stage appellate authority
21 Commission has CPC powers in respect of Inspection and Discovery and can even impose penalty upon erring officials and recommend disciplinary action on recurring defaults.
22 Citizens can file direct complaint to the Commission for any grievance under the Act
23 Decision of Commission is final and binding, but they can grant right of further appeal in their discretion
24 Jurisdiction of Lower Courts barred for any matter under the Act
25 Right to file writ can always be exercised

 

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