A country like India which is democratic needs features of good governance. Good governance provides participation, legitimacy, accountability and transparency to the citizen of India. It’s the right of people to know about the policies formulated by the government. To promote good governance we have the Right To Information Act. RTI stands for Right to Information, it is considered as a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution of India, held in the case Raj Narain v. State of UP. This right empowers the citizen to ask anything to an official worker of the government or even ask anything to an official worker of the government or even ask them to produce any file related to their work. But it is not that strictly followed so, we have the RTI Act, 2005, which is nothing but simply lays down the process on how to apply for information, when to apply, how many fees, etc. Its main objective is to empower the citizen, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the government.
The first time RTI law draft was proposed in 1993 by the consumer education and research council, Ahmedabad. And in 1996 Justice P.B. Sawant introduced a draft model law on the Right to Information at the press council of India which he was heading. After being passed by the president, the legislation enacted the ‘Freedom of Information Act 2002’, but this act was unsuccessful to fulfill the needs of the society and the basic structure of justice.
Thus, ‘The Freedom of Information Act’, 2002 was repealed and replaced by new legislation, ‘the RTI bill, 2005’. It was first introduced in Lok Shaba and then after receiving assent from the president ‘RTI Act, 2005’ enacted and came into form on 12th October 2005.
Important provisions underneath the Right to Information Act, 2005
1. Section 2(h): Public authorities mean all authorities and bodies underneath the union government, regime or native bodies. The civil societies that square measure considerably funded, directly or indirectly, by the general public funds conjointly fall inside the extent of RTI.
2. Section 4 (1) (b): Government needs to maintain and proactively disclose data.
3. Section 6: Prescribes a straightforward procedure for securing data.
4. Section 7: Prescribes a timeframe for providing information(s) by PIOs.
5. Section 8: solely minimum data exempted from revelation.
6. Section 8 (1): mentions exemptions against furnishing data underneath the RTI Act.
7. Section 8 (2): provides for the revelation of data exempted underneath the Official Secrets Act, 1923 if the larger public interest is served.
8. Section 19: Two-tier mechanism for charm.
9. Section 20: Provides penalties just in case of failure to produce data on time, incorrect, incomplete or dishonorable or distorted data.
10. Section 23: Lower courts square measure barred from entertaining suits or applications. However, the legal document jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Republic of India and high courts underneath Articles thirty-two and 226 of the Constitution remains unaffected.
Recent Amendments under RTI Act
1. The RTI modification Bill 2013 removes political parties from the extent of the definition of public authorities and thus from the range of the RTI Act.
2. The draft provision 2017 that provides for closure of case just in case of death of applier will result in a lot of attacks on the lives of whistleblowers. The planned RTI modification Act 2018 is geared toward giving the Centre the ability to repair the tenures and salaries of state and central data commissioners, that square measure statutorily protected underneath the RTI Act. The move can dilute the autonomy and independence of CIC.
3. The Act proposes to switch the mounted 5-year tenure with the maximum amount prescribed by the government.
The Relation between Right To Information and Good Governance
1. Right To Information and Good Governance are closely related, one is incomplete without the other. RTI fulfills all the conditions of Good Governance offered. People pay taxes which are used for the development of the nation and RTI allows a citizen to know how their tax money is utilized by the government.
2. Good Governance which promotes transparency is also followed by the Right To Information Act. According to Section 2(j) of the RTI Act, the people have the right to access all the documents and Section 4 of the RTI act imposes a duty on the authorities to provide a reason behind their administrative decision.
3. The next exponent of Good Governance is the participation of the common people and Right To Information provides this feature. Before the RTI Act, 2005 people didn’t have voices to ask the government about the policies which were implemented for them but after the RTI act, 2005, people can participate and ask the government about their decisions and policies. RTI treats everyone equally, no matter what’s their status.
4. Participation allows common people to include in their governance. They can use their voices to ask about the implementation of the policies. People also like to know how the government is working, how their money is utilized and everything that government does. So, transparency is also important.
5. Accountability is what completes the requisites of good governance, without it is impossible to trace the failure of policies, be it policies of the public sphere pr private sphere.
Instances, wherever the Right To Information Act has helped, promote Good Governance
The RTI tested to be eminent in facilitating bigger transparency and responsibility.
1. Adarsh Scam
In a prime land space, Colaba, Mumbai a 31-story building was erected. Originally this land was alleged to have a 6-storeyed building for the widows and war heroes of the 1999 Kargil War. 2 activists filed associate degree applications that were later disclosed however the land failed to belong to the government of the geographical region however to the Ministry of defense. This happened within the period of the introduction of the RTI Act. It created the government officers frigid.
2. 2G Scam
The 2G scam concerned the telecommunication ministry LED by Adimuthu Raja. It took months for this scam to unfold however slowly it disclosed a lot of corruption unfolds within the Congress Party. It brought into light-weight the graft taken by some officers that finished up cost accounting the government over Rupees 1, 50,000 crores.
3. Commonwealth Games Scam (The Diversion of Dalit funds)
Shortly when the 2G scam came into light-weight, the Commonwealth Games scam originated the Republic of India for international humiliation. Suresh Kalmadi was liable for the corrupt deals created throughout the CWG. The accommodation of the athletes was filthy. RTI Application disclosed that he created the Republic of India to suffer a loss of Rupees ninety-five crores by handing the contract to Swiss temporal order for Rupees 141 crores.
Another RTI disclosed that the metropolis government amused Rupees 744 large integer rupees from the funds allotted to the welfare of Dalits to CWG. The diversion of Dalit funds throughout the CWG triggered more investigations. mistreatment budget documents and RTI, the National Coalition For SCSP-TSP Legislation, an associate degree umbrella organization of Dalit and Adivasi teams, discovered that a staggering 5, 27, 723.72 crores price of funds had been denied to Dalits and Tribal from the seventh to twelfth five-year plans (till 2014-15) within the Union Budget.
4. Indian NGO Society Scam
Two months when the RTI Act was enforced associate degree RTI application was disclosed however public officers within the Indian NGO society amused several rupees from funds originated for Kargil War Relief and Rehabilitation (for those smitten by natural disasters). It was later disclosed that this cash was accustomed to purchase luxurious products by the IAS officers.
The list isn’t complete. RTI may be a commendable act that has created outstanding contributions within the fifteen years. It’s created it easier for individuals to uncover scams associate with the degreed place and finish to corruption. Curb corruption isn’t that straightforward however the Republic of India is on the correct path.
5. The manner forward
The 2019 Amendments created to the RTI square measure were heavily criticized by the voters. the foremost modification has been brought in Section thirteen of the RTI Act. The term and remuneration of the knowledge Commissioners are currently to be set by the central government. By dominant the tenure and salaries of the knowledge Commissioners, the BJP Government has radically altered the character of the RTI Act. It’s disempowered the individuals and authorized the central government.
The success of RTI is often judged by the fact that within the initial 10 years when its enactment virtually 5000 applications were filed on each day. However, with the recent amendments, there’s a fall of 6 June 1944 within the applications submitted. It’s believed that the recent amendments challenge the independence of the RTI Act.
The RTI Act may be a powerful tool if employed in the right approach. The effective implementation of this Act is required. RTI isn’t a mere info supplier, it’s a tool that empowers the people to require half within the method process. It strengthens our democracy. It’s the true essence of excellent governance. The abuse of authority is controlled by the Act. The government ought to give the knowledge voluntarily to the folks it governs. This may encourage trust between the folks and therefore the government. It’ll conjointly save time and potency of the officers UN agency got to give similar info in numerous repetitive applications.
 1975 AIR 865.
This article has been written by Rupali Gupta, 3rd year B.A.LL.B(Hons.) student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University
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