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The Right to Information Act, 2005, is often termed as one of the most ground-breaking legislation passed in Independent India. It has come out to be very powerful legislation in the hands of citizens of India. The main objective of this Right to information (RTI) was to provide the Indian citizens with the facility of securing information which is under the control of public authorities. The purpose of giving this right to the citizens was the promotion of transparency and responsibility in the workings of all the public authorities. In this article we will discuss Background and Typical Obstacles Faced in Filing RTI.
Table of Contents
Section 6 of the RTI Act states the detailed procedure that
has to be undertaken by the applicant in order to get the desired information
of a public authority. The procedure for making this request is as
In case the applicant is unable to
make the request in writing, the concerned officer shall provide relevant
assistance to the applicant, who has provided the information orally to reduce
the same in writing.
The following obstacles are faced by the people when filing an RTI application:
Lack of Public
Majority of the population in India lacks knowledge on where
to apply for information and how to apply for information. The whole objective
of the Act becomes a failure if the required information does not come handy to
a person in need of it. Steps need to be taken by the Government to spread
awareness as to right of people for demanding information from the public
Bad quality of
The Supreme Court has pointed out in numerous RTI (Right to
information) cases that the adjudicators tend to give unreasoned and ambiguous
orders. A lot many times, the information that is given out does not contain
the critical facts or the actual information that is required. It has also been
noticed that sometimes even the public authorities are unaware as to which
information has to be given out. This is so because there are no set standards
or rationale, with which the decisions of CIC or the information being given
out can be compared.
The right to information of people is violated if the
decisions of IC are only recorded and are not backed up with proper reasons and
details. This also disrupts the fundamental principle of transparency. Due to
deficient orders, the answerability and the public scrutiny of the information
commission and commissioners are prevented.
The information commissions have a backlog of a large number
of cases. The amount of pending cases is so large that it could even take years
for cases to be heard. This a big problem since some of the cases need
immediate hearing like cases involving minimum wages, old age pensions, medical
facilities, etc. The whole concept of getting the information via RTI would go
meaningless if the delay in hearing of cases continues as the grievances of the
applicants would not be redressed.
As per a study on 16 information commission, as on December
31, 2015, the total number of pending caseswas 187,974. This clearly shows the
plight of the cases lying with information commissions. Therefore, the whole
system of RTI needs to get stricter and more effective by setting out the
number of cases an information officer should attend to every month
mandatorily. This way even the public would know when to expect the hearing of
It has been found out in a study that there is insufficient information
in regards to their functioning on the websites of most of the information
commissions. The websites do not give information about annual reports are not
even updated frequently. The websites of some of the information commissions
are not even accessible. This is an astounding state of the information
commissions since they are legally required to submit the annual reports to the
The other major problem that violates the right of
transparency of the people is the tendency of the PIOs to exclude information
stating that it is exempt from being disclosed, even when such exemption has
not been given under the Act. The information to which people have a legal
right is straight away denied to them, by the authorities.
A penalty of INR 25,000 can be imposed on an erring PIO. However,
the same is either not imposed or very rarely imposed as compared to the total
number of cases where the penalty was imposable. The essence of including a penalty
in the Act thus gets violated as the same was included so that the cases do not
get delayed and transparency pertaining to required information is upheld.
However, all these provisions are being violated continuously.
The grievances under the act are not just limited to the
people. The authorities also have their side of the story where they explain
their position. The authorities state that there is not enough staff to deal
with the rising number of RTI cases. Besides, people are mostly unaware of the
procedures to be taken under the act. The enter multiple queries in one form
whereas only one query can be taken perform. Also, there are too many personal
queries that are asked by the departments.
With such conditions of cases related to the RTI Act, it becomes questionable as to
whether the Act is serving its purpose. People have to wait for years to get
their case heard and on top of it, they are denied information to which they
have right – partly or wholly. The question, therefore, arises – where is the
system lacking? Is it the legislation or the authorities? The facts clearly
state that the authorities need to come in form and more stringency in their
working needs to be applied. The websites of the information commissions need
to be updated and transparency should be upheld in the cases that they take. The
people also need to stay updated with the various procedures under the Act.
For more information on applications under the RTI Act, the
format of the application, the office where the request is to be made, contact
us at https://enterslice.com.
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