Time to cheer on Right to Information Day when it has come to notice that India has 4th Strongest RTI laws in the world. This report is available on 28th September which has been declared by UNESCO to be celebrated all over the world as “International Day for Universal Access to Information”. India as been ranked 4th in the world having strongest RTI Act. This has been done by a website rti-rating.org.
The website however states
India has long been recognized as one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to access to information, but its failure to top this ranking is demonstrative that global standards of the right to access have advanced considerably since India’s law was first passed.
The top two reasons for India considered as lower in ranking are due to “blanket exceptions in Schedule 2 for various security, intelligence, research and economic institutes” and “not allowing access to information held by private entities which perform a public function“.
On analysis of the details it is also found that India has scored less on not only exemption reasons, but also on imposing less sanction. Here are the other major factors which are matter of concern in so far as RTI Act is concerned. In these matters India has scored lesser.
There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).
There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).
A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is only given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information.
A system is not in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied.
There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).
Do you have any suggestion for improvement on RTI Act, do join the discussion here at our forum:
The popular myth – “RTI is meant for developed countries while developing countries have other urgent issues of poverty, hunger, poor levels of basic services like education and health” stands disproved once again. – States The Governance Now