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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT – 2005 (Central Act No.22 of 2005)

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT – 2005 (Central Act No.22 of 2005). K. Ambarish, IAS., (Retd.) Chief Consultant, AMR-APARD Rajendranagar, Hyderabad. Enacted on 15-06-2005. Came into force w.e.f. 13-10-2005 Contains 31 Sections and 2 Schedules.

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THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT – 2005(Central Act No.22 of 2005)

K. Ambarish, IAS., (Retd.)

Chief Consultant, AMR-APARD

Rajendranagar, Hyderabad

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Enacted on 15-06-2005.

  • Came into force w.e.f. 13-10-2005
  • Contains 31 Sections and 2 Schedules.
  • Rules are also made on the Regulation of Fees and Cost by Central and State Government for obtaining information by the citizens.
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Main Objectives :

  • To provide right to information to citizens
  • To secure access to information, inspect files, obtain copies of documents etc., from Public Authorities.
  • To promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities.
  • Constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commission to oversee the Act and hear apeals.
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Definitions :

  • “Information” means any material including records, documents, e-mails, advices, samples, models and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a Public Authority. (Section 2-f)
  • “Right to Information” means right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under control of any Public Authority. (Section 2-J)
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“Public Authority” - any authority or body or institution or Local self-Government body established or constituted under Law and includes :-

a) Any body owned, controlled or substantially

financed by Government.

b)Any Non-Government Organization substantially financed by Government. (Sec.2h)

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Obligations of Public Authorities(S– 4):

  • Maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and form, facilitating the right to information.
  • Publish information regarding structure, functions and duties, procedure followed, decision making process, directory of officers and employees, names and designations of public information officers etc.,
  • Provide information suo-motu to public at regular intervals through various means of communications.
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Designation of Public Information Officers (Section - 5):

  • Every Public Authority designate Public Information Officers for providing information to persons requesting for information.
  • Designate a Asst. Public Information Officer at Sub-Divisional level to receive applications or appeals and forward them to the Public Authority.
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Procedure for obtaining information (S-6) :

  • Persons to make request for information to Public Information Officer orally or in writing or through electronic means paying requisite fees :

At the Village Level – No fee; At Mandal Level Rs.5/- per application; for other areas Rs.10/- per application; No fee for persons below poverty line.

  • Information in Electronic format viz., Floppy,

CD or DVD:

  • Rs. 50/- for Floppy of 1.44 MB; Rs. 100/- for CD of 700 MB; Rs. 200/- for CD (DVD).

Contd.

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Samples and models – actual cost thereof;

  • Inspection of records – no fee for the first

hour; and a fee of rupees five for each fifteen

minutes (or fraction thereof) thereafter;

  • Actual postal charges for material to be sent

by post.

  • Applicant not required to give any reason or

any other personal details except those

necessary for contacting him.

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Disposal of Request (Section 7) :

  • Public Information Officer within 30 days to either provide information or reject with reasons indicating time allowed for appeal and details of appellate authority.
  • Information concerning life and liberty of a person to be provided within (48) hours of receipt of request.
exemption from disclosure of information section 8
Exemption from disclosure of information :(Section – 8)
  • Information - prejudicially affecting sovereignty and integrity of India or State.
  • Expressly forbidden by any Court or Tribunal.
  • Causing breach of privilege of Parliament or State Legislature.
  • Of a person’s fiduciary relationship.
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Received in confidence from foreign Government.
  • Endangering life or physical safety of any person.
  • Process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
  • Cabinet papers, deliberations of Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.
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Constitution of Commissions :

  • Appointment of Central Information Commission by the President of India. (Section 12)
  • Appointment of State Information Commission by the Governor. (Section 15)
  • Above Commissions shall consist of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners not exceeding 10.
  • Term 5 years.(Sections 13 & 16)

Or

65 years whichever is earlier

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Powers and Functions of Commissions (Section - 18):

  • To receive and enquire into a complaint from any person.
  • Disposal of Appeals against the orders of Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be.
  • To require the Public Authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered.
  • Impose any of the penalties provided under this Act.
  • Decisions of Commissions are binding.
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Appeal Provisions (Section 19):

  • Decision within 30 days, if not appeal to next higher authority.

OR

Prefer an appeal, if aggrieved by the decision

  • Second appeal lies within 90 days to the State Information Commission. [Section 19(3)]
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Penalties :

  • Public authority to compensate complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered.
  • Penalty of Rs.250/- each day not exceeding Rs.25,000/- till application is received or information furnished.
  • Also may recommend for disciplinary action.
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Miscellaneous :

  • Bar of jurisdiction of Courts. (Section 23)
  • Act not to apply to intelligence and security organisations as mentioned in Second Schedule. (Section 24)

Information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations not excluded.

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Monitoring and Reporting:

  • Central Information Commission/State Information Commission to prepare report on implementation of the Act at the end of every year and forward it to Government.
  • Government to cause a copy of such report to be laid before each House of Parliament or State Legislature. (Section 25)
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