Right to Information Act

20/04/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

Right to Information Act (RTI) is a significant statute in Indian law that was enacted in 2005 to promote transparency and accountability in government operations by empowering citizens to access information held by public authorities. Before the RTI Act came into effect on October 12, 2005, access to government information was limited and often marred by red tape and bureaucratic secrecy.

Objectives of the Right to Information Act:

The RTI Act aims to:

  • Empower the citizens of India.
  • Promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government.
  • Contain corruption and make the workings of the government more open and accountable to the public.
  • Enhance public participation in democratic processes.

Key Provisions of the RTI Act:

  1. Right to Information:

The Act provides every citizen the right to request information from a public authority, which is obliged to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. If the information sought concerns the life or liberty of a person, the information must be provided within forty-eight hours.

  1. Public Authorities:

The definition of “public authorities” under the RTI Act is broad and includes any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted:

  • By the Constitution.
  • By any other law made by Parliament.
  • By any other law made by State Legislature.
  • By notification issued or order made by the Government.
  1. Information Disclosure:

Public authorities are required to disclose a wide range of information proactively through various means of communications, including the internet, so that the public need minimal recourse to request information formally.

  1. Exemptions:

Certain categories of information are exempt from disclosure under Section 8 of the Act. This includes information that affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific, or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State, or leads to incitement of an offense, information received in confidence from foreign Government, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders, etc.

  1. Appeals:

If a person does not receive a response to their request for information or is aggrieved by a response received, they may file an appeal to the “First Appellate Authority”. If they are still not satisfied with the response, they can appeal to the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission.

  1. Penalties:

The RTI Act provides for penalties for non-compliance with the request for information. An official who has denied the information without reasonable cause, knowingly given incorrect information, or delayed providing the information can be penalized with a fine.

Impact of the RTI Act

The enactment of the RTI Act has had a profound impact on governance in India. It has been used as a tool by activists, citizens, journalists, and others to fight corruption, improve service delivery, and enhance democratic governance. The Act has made the workings of the government more transparent, giving ordinary citizens the power to scrutinize government decisions and hold public officials accountable.


  • Lack of awareness among citizens about their rights under the Act.
  • Resistance from within bureaucracy to disclose information.
  • Inadequate infrastructure and training for effective implementation of the Act.
  • Issues related to the functioning of Information Commissions, including understaffing and high pendency of appeals.