Right to Information (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information. It replaced the former Freedom of Information Act, 2002. Under the provisions of RTI Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. In case of matter involving a petitioner’s life and liberty, the information has to be provided within 48 hours. The Act also requires every public authority to computerize their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
The RTI Bill was passed by Parliament of India on 15 June 2005 and came into force with effect from 12 October 2005. Every day on an average, over 4800 RTI applications are filed. In the first ten years of the commencement of the act over 17,500,000 applications had been filed.
Although Right to Information is not included as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India, it protects the fundamental rights to Freedom of Expression and Speech under Article 19(1)(a) and Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 guaranteed by the Constitution. The authorities under RTI Act 2005 are called public authorities. The Public Information Officer (PIO) or the First Appellate Authority in the public authorities perform quasi judicial function of deciding on the application and appeal respectively. This act was enacted in order to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution ‘freedom of speech’. Since RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, it is an implied fundamental right.
Information disclosure in India had traditionally been restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act overrides . Right to Information codifies a fundamental right of the citizens of India. RTI has proven to be very useful, but is counteracted by the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to amend Sections 13, 16, and 27 of the RTI Act. Section 13 of the original Act: It sets the term of the central Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners at five years (or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier) Finally in ashwanee k. singh case on 20 September 2020, it is stabilised that right to information is a fundamental right

The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens,promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government, contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense. It goes without saying that an informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed. The Act is a big step towards making the citizens informed about the activities of the Government.


UPSC v. Angesh Kumar, AIR 2018

Facts of the case
Some unsuccessful candidates in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2010 approached the High Court for a direction to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to disclose the details of the marks (raw and scaled) awarded to them in Civil Service (Prelims) Examination, 2010. The information in the form of cut-off marks for every subject, scaling methodology, model answers and complete results of all candidates were also sought.
The Court read the inherent limitation in Sections 3 and 6 as pertaining to revelation of information that is likely to conflict with other public interests including efficient operations of the Governments, optimum use of limited fiscal resources and the preservation of confidentiality of sensitive information. UPSC was accordingly directed to disclose the raw marks as well as the model answers of the questions in the examination. The Supreme Court referred to the problems in showing evaluated answers sheets in the UPSC Civil Services Examination in

Prashant Ramesh Chakkarwar v. UPSC, 2013.
N N Dhumane v. PIO, Department of Post, 2018

Facts of the case

The order of CIC in the instant case is a remarkable one as it condemns the act of Department of Posts in denying payment of pension for want of Aadhaar Card. Other key observation made by the CIC in the case was that payment of pension is a matter of life or liberty under the RTI Act and applications relating to payment of Pension shall be disposed by the Public Information Officers within 48 hours. The Aadhaar card is required for pension has already provided under the RTI Act 2005 as per the Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act 2005, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual. The SSP Ahmednagar has not furnished the names of 55 pensioners and he has taken shelter of provisions of Section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act. The furnishing names of 55 pensioners does not amount to right to privacy. It is open fact and withholding the names 55 pensioners is a breach of RTI Act 2005.
The Court held that citizens cannot be forced to produce their Aadhaar card to receive government welfare scheme benefits. This Court had further clarified that such a compulsion couldn’t be made since that was in contravention of the citizens’ fundamental rights. Pension payment cannot be denied for want of Aadhaar card.

Union of India v. Chief Information Commissioner, 2017

Facts of the case
The petitioner in the case has challenged the order of CIC, whereby the CIC declared, “the Ministers in the Union Government and all State Governments as ‘public authorities’ under section 2(h) of RTI Act, 2005.
The Delhi High Court set aside the order of CIC and was the opinion that the directions issued by the CIC in the case was beyond the scope of CIC. Moreover the question need not arise at all in the first instance itself.

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