This Act is supposed to enable people to responsibly scrutinise government officials and legal processes. The Act emanates from what the Indian Constitution guarantees itself. Under Article 19 (1) (a) the Constitution guarantees every citizen freedom of speech and expression with certain restrictions. Logically to allow the exercise of freedom of speech and expression effectively the country needs an informed civil society.In 1975 itself the Supreme Court observed that in a responsible government as ours, where all the agencies of public service must be responsible for their conduct, there can be only few confidential matters. The people of the country have a right to know the details about the functionaries’ function. In this context, Supreme Court judgements have made it mandatory for candidates to disclose certain information while contesting elections.The RTI Act states that public authorities shall make known the particulars of facilities available to citizens for Public Information Officers. According to Section 7 of the Act within 30 days of the receipt of the request, either the information be provided on payment of fee if any or the request rejected and the reason(s) mentioned. If information sought for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within 48 hours. There is a provision for appeal within 30 days. The Information Commission can impose a penalty on the Public Information Officer amounting to Rs 250 each day delayed till the information is furnished.
This Act exempts certain intelligence and security organisations from its purview (Chapter VI). However, information on corruption and human rights violations are not excluded under this Section. Information on human rights violation is to be provided within 45 days.Thus this Act puts in place implementation mechanisms and processes. However, there are certain issues of bureaucratic and political cultures and secrecy which are used to centralised control of information. In the year 2006, the Central Government proposed certain amendments to the Act. It was interpreted by the Central Information Commission that the Act includes right to see file notings which show advices and opinions of bureaucrats on the concerned issue. However , the government argued that this right was not included in the Act in the first place. The Central Government is now ready to confer a limited right with regard to social sector expenditure and development projects only. Further, no information would be provided on ongoing matters.