Basic Elements of Right to Information Law

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Indeed, for the first time in the history of independent India, there is a law that imposes direct liability on the public servant in the event of non-compliance. If the official concerned does not provide timely information, the information officer may impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day of delay. If the information provided is incorrect, a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000/- may be imposed. A penalty may also be imposed for incomplete inaccuracies or rejection of your application on malicious grounds. This fine is deducted from the official`s personal salary. Citizens can obtain from government agencies any information that the government can disclose to Parliament. The right of access to official information is one of the cornerstones of representative democracy. In a system of representative government, representatives should be accountable to those who have entrusted them with their representation and the power to make decisions on public affairs. The right to information belongs to the person who has delegated the management of public affairs to his representatives.

Information that the state uses and produces with taxpayers` money. [17] “Exceptions to the right of access to information should be clear and narrow and subject to rigorous criteria of `harm` and `public good`. The principle of maximum disclosure summarises the basic idea of freedom of information legislation and is explicitly stated as an objective in a number of national laws. An important aspect of this principle, which is largely reflected in national legislation, is that the body wishing to refuse access to information has the burden of proving that it can legally be refused. [32] The fundamental purpose of the Right to Information Act is to empower citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the work of government, fight corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in the true sense. An informed population will be better equipped to maintain the necessary vigilance over government instruments and make the government more accountable to the governed. However, it is not legitimate to refuse to disclose information simply because it relates to one of those interests. According to the second part of the audit, the disclosure must present a real risk of serious interference with this interest. [38] [15] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No.

14 (2000): The right to the highest attainable standard of health (article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights); Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to attain the standard of physical and mental health, Mission to Japan, A/HRC/23/41/Add.3, 31 July 2013; Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation No. 24: Article 12 of the Convention (Women and Health) (1999) The principle of maximum disclosure states that all information held by public authorities is likely to be accessible and that this presumption can only be overcome in very limited circumstances. The OAS Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has often recognized that freedom of information is a fundamental right, including the right of access to information held by public authorities. In his 1999 annual report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, he stated: “The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and opinion have addressed the issue of freedom of information in each of their annual reports since 1997. After receiving his comments on the matter in 1997, the Commission on Human Rights requested the Special Rapporteur to “further develop his observations on the right to seek and receive information and to broaden his observations and recommendations arising from communications”. [6] “Individuals should not be deterred from making inquiries by excessive costs. In his 2013 annual report, the UN Special Rapporteur focused on the right of access to information and its interrelationships with the right to the truth. Frank La Rue pointed out that investigating past and present human rights violations often requires the disclosure of information held by various government agencies. Ultimately, ensuring access to information is a first step in promoting justice and reparation, especially after periods of authoritarianism. [7] Later in 2017, David Kaye called on the United Nations to adopt an access to information policy that applies to every ministry and specialized agency, highlighting the lack of ad hoc standards to respond to requests for information, and calling on all international organizations to adopt a robust freedom of information policy.

[8] The right to information is a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. In 1976, in raj narain v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to information is treated as a fundamental right under Article 19. The Supreme Court has ruled that in Indian democracy, the people are the master and have the right to know how government works. The Convention establishes a set of minimum standards and aims to encourage Parties to strengthen national provisions allowing for a fuller right of access to official documents, provided that the minimum core is nevertheless implemented. The Convention also provides for verification procedures for applicants for access to official documents if they are denied access. It also provides for restrictions on this right, but only in the narrowly defined cases provided for in the Convention. Protection against liability should also be afforded to persons who disclose information appropriately and in good faith in the exercise of the powers or obligations conferred by freedom of information legislation.

This effectively protects officials who have falsely published information, but in good faith. This protection is important for changing the culture of secrecy; Officials should not have to fear sanctions for leaking information, otherwise they tend to sin in favor of secrecy. RTI stands for Right to Information. The Right to Information Act 2005 requires a prompt response to citizens` requests for information. The right to information allows every citizen to obtain government information, consult government documents and request certified photocopies. The right to information also allows citizens to officially inspect any government work or take a sample of material used in a work. The general public must also be informed of their rights under the new legislation and how it is exercised. Public awareness campaigns are needed, including through the media. Another useful tool in many statutes is the publication of a simple and accessible guide to submitting a request for information.

As of 2021, 124 countries will have laws and 8 countries will have national decrees or regulations that grant individuals a general right of access to information held by public bodies and require public bodies to provide that information and proactively disclose important types of information. Finally, access to information laws can help facilitate effective business practices. Commercial investigators are one of the most important user groups of these laws in many countries. Public institutions have a large amount of information of all kinds, much of which concerns economic issues and which can be very useful for companies. The ability to increase business efficiency is an important benefit of access to information laws and helps address concerns in some governments about the cost of implementing such legislation. Open data is based on the premise that it facilitates both accountability and fosters innovation and business. The right to information is one of the fundamental rights set out in Article 19, paragraph 1, of the Constitution. Article 19, paragraph 1, stipulates that every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. An access to information law should protect individuals from legal, administrative or employment-related sanctions for disclosing information about misconduct.

[48] The protection of so-called whistleblowers is an important means for information security, ensuring that important information actually reaches the public.

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