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The Right to Information (RTI) Act is a law enacted by the Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens. It was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 13 October 2005. The RTI Act mandates timely response to citizen requests for government information. It applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is covered under a State-level law. The Act relaxes the Official Secrets Act of 1889 which was amended in 1923 and various other special laws that restricted information disclosure in India. In other words, the Act explicitly overrides the Official Secrets Act and other laws in force as on 15 June 2005 to the extent of any inconsistency. 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 computerize 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. The RTI Act specifies that citizens have a right to: request any information (as defined); take copies of documents; inspect documents, works and records; take certified samples of materials of work; and obtain information in the form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode.
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