RIGHT TO INFORMATION | Is it a Fundamental Right or Constitutional Right or Legal Right?

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) is a law enacted by the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens.” The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, – which is covered under a State-level law. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government) which is required to reply efficiency or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide circulation and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally. This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 13 October 2005. Information disclosure in India was restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.

“Right to Information” means the right to information available under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to inspection of documents, work, records, taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records, taking certified samples of material; obtaining information in the form of floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in computer or in any other device.

It is the right to obtain information from a public authority which is held or controlled by such authority. This right increase every piece of information which has a public nature. Such as :-

  • Taking notes: may mean noting down certain information from the documents inspected.
  • Certified samples of material: since it is to ensure transparency and to contain corruption, it authorizes the citizens to take samples from the material being purchased or used by the Public Authorities.
  • Inspection: means to see a work document or record closely, carefully and purposefully.[1]

Fundamental Right :- Fundamental Rights are provided in Part- III of The Constitution of India. An individual can approach the High Court and the Supreme Court for enforcement of such rights via Article 226 & 32, respectively.

Constitutional Right :- Constitutional Rights are those rights which are not provided in Part-III of The Constitution of India and an individual can approach the High Court and the Supreme Court for enforcement of such rights. Via Article 226 & 32, respectively.

Legal Right or Statutory Right :- Legal Right or Statutory Right those rights which are provided by a law made by the Parliament or the State Legislature

Objective of Right to Information

  • Provides a legal framework of citizens democratic right to access to information under the control of Public Authority.
  • To promote transpareny & accountability in the functioning of the Public Authorities.

The kind of Right it is

  • Fundamental Right as a part of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
  • Statutory Right under the Right to information Act, 2005.
  • Article 19(1)(a) – “ All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech & expression.”

Supreme Court on Right to Information (Case Law)

Raj Narain vs. Indira Nehru Gandhi[2]

  • Supreme Court held that “ The people of the country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries”.
  • The Right to Information forms the part of fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(a) as right to freedom of speech & expression.
  • Disclosure of Information About government & right to know about government directly flows from Article 19(1)(a) of the Contitution of India.
  • RTI is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

 

 

[1] Anubhav Pandey, All you know about about Right to information in India, 2017, https://blog.ipleaders.in/right-to-information-2/

[2] (1975 AIR 865, 1975 SCR (3) 333).

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