RIGHT TO INFORMATION – A BOON OR BANE?
~ Yashika Manchanda
Precisely, Right to Information Act, 2005 is an act through which any citizen can seek information about anything which is legible to share from the public authorities. It was enacted to promote transparency and accountability in the working of the public authorities. As per the Law, an RTI has to be replied within 30 days and in any case relating to Right to Life and Liberty, the time stated is 48 hours. The RTI is our fundamental right implicit in Article 19. Additionally, it's anything but not an expensive tool by any stretch of the imagination, the charge is just rupees 2 for every page and rupees 10 to be paid with the application for court fees stamp. If the seeker falls under BPL category, at that point there is no charge at all which makes this available to both – the rich and the poor. There is no limit to the number of questions which can be asked. A couple of states in our nation has a standard with respect to constraint of an RTI to certain number of words however if an RTI is to be filed to look for information from the Central Government then there is no restriction neither in words nor in questions.
How it is a bane then?
There are individuals who have filed exceptionally huge RTIs as there is no restriction with respect to number of questions and number of pages which an RTI can contain. Already, an RTI contained more than 600 pages and to answer it inside 30 days is a troublesome task for the authorities. Additionally, individuals began utilizing RTI as a covert agent instrument for the Government. There is always some data which should not be shared with the general public. Furthermore, there are penalties on the authorities if an RTI isn't replied inside the timeframe indicated. The penalty can be rupees 250 to maximum 25,000 per day. In spite of the fact that, there are exceptions which are referenced under the Act, a few people some way or another figure out how to utilize it as an instrument to hamper the procedures of an authority.
In my opinion, this is one of best Acts instituted in our nation yet putting trouble on the authorities isn't ethically right. A Judgment additionally referenced that an RTI ought not be utilized as surveillance tool. As Judicial Supremacy is principal and RTI ought not conflict with it. The administration has provided a way to exercise our rights, so we ought not misuse that. An RTI is extremely useful tool as it very well may be utilized to look for information from a private authority like if an individual needs to look for an information from any private bank then an RTI can be documented to the RBI as RBI is the banker of the banks. Similarly, this can be utilized with some other private bodies. Misuse of something like this isn't right. The Government has also given us a way to document an RTI online with a simple procedure which makes it very much useful in this lockdown period as well and furthermore there is no need to go physically to file an RTI. So this sort of simple, available and beneficial tool ought not be misused by any stretch of the imagination.