Right to Information (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of the right to information for citizens and replaces the erstwhile ‘Freedom of information Act, 2002’. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “institution of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
Information disclosure in India is restricted by the ‘Official Secrets Act 1923’ and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act relaxes. Right to Information codifies a fundamental right of the citizens of India.
The Right to information in India is governed by two major bodies:
- Central Information Commission (CIC) – Chief Information commissioner who heads all the central departments and ministries- with their own public Information officers (PIO)s. CICs are directly under the President of India.
- State Information Commissions-State Public Information Officers or SPIOs – Heading over all the state department and ministries the SPIO office is directly under the State Governor.
State and Central Information Commissions are independent bodies and Central Information Commission has no jurisdiction over the State Information Commission