RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT
RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT RTI ACT, 2005: In consonance with the judicial pronouncements for giving legal status to the right to information, the Government of India have enacted a specific law in May, 2005, known as “Right to Information Act, 2005”. The Act in its preamble says to provide for setting up of the practical regime of right to information for all citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to provide transparency and accountabilities in the working of every public authority. The Act has made provisions for Constitution of Centre Information Commission (CCIC) and State Information Commission (SIC) as the appellate authorities. The information includes any mode of information in any form of record, document etc. A time limit has been prescribed for obtaining information on payment of prescribed fee. The right to information covers inspection of work documents, record etc. and the Act provides for restriction for third party information. Sensitive information of notified intelligence and security organization is also prohibited. The penalty for refusal to receive an application for information or for not providing information is Rs.250/- per day (upto Rs.25,000/-). Haryana Government in Administrative Reforms has notified Haryana Right to Information Rules, 2005 (under Right to Information Act) vide notification dated 28.10.2005. These rules inter-alia provide/prescribed from the submission of application in Form A to the State Public Information Officer/State Assistant Public Information Officer along with a fee as specified in rule 5 of these rules, for obtaining information from PIOs/APIOs and its acknowledgment; Assessing and the quantum of fee and apprising the application – the fee to be deposited and the mode for depositing the same; procedure to be followed in deciding appeal by State Information Commission. Administrative Reforms Department, Haryana have issued instructions for effective implementation of the said Act. All Heads of Departments have been advised:- ? To give wide publicity to this Act; ? To take immediate steps to publish the document mentioned under Section 4(b)(i) to (xvii) of this Act. ? To modify existing Acts so that the new Act prevail; ? To designate PIOs/APIOs ? To prominently display the details of officers who have been notified as PIOs/APIOs and 1st Appellate Authority. ? A Monitoring Committee has been constituted to monitor the progress of implementation of Right to Information Act, 2005 under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary to Govt. Haryana. Section 4 (1) (b) of the Act, in particular, requires every public authority to publish following seventeen categories of information: (i) the particulars of its organization, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories/ of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formation of its policy or administration thereof. (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part of for the purpose of its advise, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allotted and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of receipts of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens, for obtaining information including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed; and thereafter update these publications every year; Haryana State Information Commission has been constituted to exercise the appellate powers conferred upon it and to perform the functions assigned under the provision of the Act. Sh. Naresh Gulati, IAS (Retd) has been appointed as Chief Information Commissioner. Further, S/Sh. M.R. Ranga, IAS (Retd), Premveer Singh, IAS (Retd.) Smt. Urvashi Gulati, IAS (Retd.), Maj. Gen. (Regd) Jagbir Singh Kundu, Sajjan Singh, IAS (Retd.) and Prahlad Rai Meena, IAS (Retd.) have been appointed as State Information Commissioner. The step for publishing the document mentioned under Section 4(b)(i) to (xvii) of this Act has already been taken by this Commission by writing letter to the Financial Commissioner & Principal Secretary to Govt. Haryana, Administrative Reforms Department, Chandigarh vide this Commission’s letter No.5094/SCDRC/AIII dated 27.07.2006 and also issued revised letter No.483/SCDRC/AIII dated 29.01.2010 which were also forwarded to all the Presidents, District Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora in the State of Haryana with a direction to place on notice board for information of general public and further it has placed on the notice board of the State Commission for the information of general public. Smt. Rekha Sharma, Member of this Commission has been appointed as 1st Appellate Authority, Sh. Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Secretary of this Commission has been appointed as State Public Information Officer and Sh. Prem Sagar Verma, Superintendent of this Commission has been appointed as Assistant State Public Information Officer. The said information has also been displayed on the notice board of this Commission. Similarly all the Presidents and Superintendents of the District For a in the State of Haryana are designated as State Public Information Officer and Assistant State Public Information Officer.