The Right to Information Act is a law enacted by the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens”. The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir – which is covered under a State-level law. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen (excluding the citizens within J&K) may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality 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 publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 13 October 2005. Information disclosure in India was hitherto restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.
Definition of Public AuthorityAny authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted -
* by or under the Constitution;
* by any other law made by Parliament;
* by other law made by State Legislature;
* by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Govt, and includes any –
* body owned , controlled or substantially financed,
* Non Govt, organization substantially financed, directly , indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government.