Right to Information Act, 2005 mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It is an initiative taken by Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to provide a – RTI Portal Gateway to the citizens for quick search of information on the details of first Appellate Authorities, etc. amongst others, besides access to RTI related information / disclosures published on the web by various Public Authorities under the government of India as well as the State Governments.
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.
Important Cases In RTI –
Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal Mistry (Supreme Court, 2015)In this case, the interesting issue that was raised was whether all the information sought for under the Right to Information Act, 2005 can be denied by the Reserve Bank of India and other Banks to the public at large on the ground of economic interest, commercial confidence, fiduciary relationship with other Bank on the one hand and the public interest on the other.
The judgment – RBI ought to act with transparency and not hide information that might embarrass individual banks. It is duty bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and disclose the information sought by the respondents herein. If information is available with a regulatory agency not in fiduciary relationship, there is no reason to withhold the disclosure of the same.
Jiju Lukose v. State of Kerala (Kerala High Court, 2014)
In the case, a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to upload the copy of the FIR in the website of the police station and to make available copies of the FIR to the accused immediately on registration of the FIR was sought for. The Petitioner had alleged that in spite of the FIR being registered; the petitioner received its copy only after 2 months. Till the petitioner could obtain a copy of the FIR, the petitioner and his family members were in dark about the nature of the allegations leveled against the petitioner.
The judgment– The case held that FIR is a public document, however, where an FIR is covered by the provisions under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, it need not be disclosed to the citizens till investigation is completed. But it can be claimed by the Informant and the accused as per legal provisions under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as a matter of legal right.
Image Source: The Sentinel