UPSC Current Affairs

Right to Information (RTI) Act & Information Commission

Right to Information Act - Ekam IAS

Right to Information (RTI) Act & Information Commission

  • On the 17th anniversary of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, nearly 15 lakh complaints or appeals pending with 26 information commissions across India.
  • According to a report by the Satark Nagrik Sangathan, the backlog of appeals or complaints is steadily increasing in commissions every year.
  • The highest number of pending cases were in Maharashtra at 99,722 followed by Uttar Pradesh at 44,482, Karnataka at 30,358, the Central Information Commission at 26,724 and Bihar at 21,346.
  • The Right to Information (RTI) Act was enacted by Parliament in 2005 to empower citizens, promote accountability and transparency in the working of the government and contain corruption.
  • Recently, the Parliament passed the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
  • As per the act, the CIC and ICs will hold office for a term of five years. The Amendment removes this provision and states that the central government will notify the term of office for the CIC and the ICs.
  • A three-tier structure for enforcing the right to information has been set up under the RTI Act 2005.
  • Public Information Officers: The first request for information goes to the Assistant Public Information Officer and Public Information Officer, designated by the Public Authorities.
  • These Officers are required to provide information to an RTI applicant within 30 days of the request.
  • Appellate Authority: It caters to the appeals against decisions of the Public Information Officer.
  • State Information Commission or the Central Information Commission (CIC): they are the final appellate authority and are mandated to safeguard and facilitate people’s fundamental right to information.
  • There are Central Information Commission at the Union level and State Information Commission at the state level.
  • They were established under the Right to Information Act, 2005. Hence it is not a constitutional body.
  • The commission consists of the chief information commissioner and not more than 10 information commissioners.
  • The Central Information Commission is appointed by the President of India, whereas the State Information Commission is appointed by the Governor of the State concerned.
  • To receive and inquire into a complaint from any person regarding information requested under RTI, 2005.
  • It can order an inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable grounds (suo-moto power).
  • While inquiring, the Commission has the powers of a civil court in respect of summoning, requiring documents etc.
UPSC Prelims Model Question

Q. Consider the following statements :

  1. The Central Information Commission is a constitutional body.
  2. Proved misbehaviour or incapacity is the ground for the removal of the Chief Information Commission.

Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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