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Right to Information (RTI) Act & Information Commission

Right to Information Act - Ekam IAS
UPSC Current Affairs

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.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) ACT, 2005:
  • 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.
FUNCTIONING OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT:
  • 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.
INFORMATION COMMISSION:
  • 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.
COMPOSITION:
  • 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.
POWER AND FUNCTIONS:
  • 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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