ISSN (O) : 2584-1378

RTI ACT 2005

AUTHOR'S NAME: Shivvendra Singh
INSTITUTION - Lucknow University



The Indian Constitution is the flexible yet dignified mother law governing our country. It has certain provisions in line of empowering citizens through information crucial to the functioning of instruments of governance and put government more accountable towards its citizens. Citizens have a constitutional right to information about how their government functions. This is known as the right to information. The Act is viewed as a significant step in the right direction towards reducing corruption in government operations.


According to Indian Constitutional Article 19(i), the right to knowledge is a basic right. The RTI Act, which was passed by the government in 2005, provides the essential basis for enforcing this fundamental right. Since then, individuals and the media have frequently utilized this act to expose public corruption, the accountability of various government entities involved in transactional commerce, and the advancement of public works.

The RTI Act applies to all public institutions, agencies, and authorities that are funded or operated by the government. The Act also mandates that governments and agencies provide individuals with information requests with a timely response.

Primary objectives of RTI Act are:

  1. Citizens shall ask questions to its governments
  2. containing corruption in various govt. departments
  • Transparency and accountability in functioning of government
  1. Evolve citizens into better informed stakeholders of democracy to keep vigil in government machineries.

Main Provisions under RTI Act, 2005:

Section 2(h): Public authorities mean all authorities and bodies under the union government, state     government or local bodies. The civil societies that are substantially funded, directly or indirectly, by the public funds also fall within the ambit of RTI”

Section 4 1(b): Government has to maintain and proactively disclose information.”

Section 6: Prescribes a simple procedure for securing information.”

“Section 7: Prescribes a time frame for providing information(s) by PIOs.”

Section 8: Only minimum information exempted from disclosure.”

Section 8 (1) mentions exemptions against furnishing information under the RTI Act.”

Section 8 (2) provides for disclosure of information exempted under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 if the larger public interest is served.”

Section 19: Two-tier mechanism for appeal.”

Section 20: Provides penalties in case of failure to provide information on time, incorrect, incomplete or misleading or distorted information.”

Section 23: Lower courts are barred from entertaining suits or applications. However, the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India and high courts under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution remains unaffected.”

Significance of RTI Act:

  • Empowers citizens to inquire about secrecy and power abuse in government.
  • Information commissions set up under the act at central & state levels through which access of information provided.
  • Around 60 lakhs applications received every year under RTI act.
  • Information about policies , decisions and actions taken by government ensures citizens for its intent towards governance .


When the RTI Act was first passed in 2005, it generated a lot of excitement in the community. Media outlets and informed individuals sought information with the assistance of RTI activists, which put a lot of pressure on the government. As people looked for information that may reveal governmental malfeasance, such as corruption and abuses of human rights. Also people questioned the highest echelon of country offices. These situations prompted Government to do the amendments as per its suitability and caged the vast scope of RTI in limited and restricted provisions.

  • Political parties are no longer considered public authorities under the RTI Amendment Bill 2013 and are no longer covered by the RTI Act.
  • More attempts on the lives of whistleblowers may result from the draught provision for 2017 that allows for case closure in the event of the applicant’s demise.
  • The RTI Amendment Act of 2018 seeks to provide the federal government the authority to set the terms and wages of state and federal information commissioners, whose positions are statutorily protected under the RTI Act. The change lessens CIC’s independence and autonomy.
  • DPDB bill 2023 proposed to amend RTI act sec 44(3) to restrict the granular information including personal information from public disclosures.


RTI act in present form has been heavily criticized from various sectors of our society including Judiciary as it diluted the principle intent of the Act for which it was envisaged from the beginning,

  1. Poor record keeping by bureaucracy results in delayed or no information as the punishments for such acts has been ignored in amendments
  2. Government lethargy in running the offices of commissions evident in its staffing and resources.
  • Due to weak provisions for whistleblowers safety, very few come forward to become RTI activist or understand the Act in its totality for public welfare.
  1. Government tendency to hide or reluctance in public disclosure of information lead to pile up of applications like bins
  2. The Act does not provide authority to commissioners to enforce their decisions taken for the information sought in RTI applications
  3. Official secrets act 1923, restricts free flow of information on the personnel involved on various government schemes and actions taken for implementation.

Latest example of helplessness of RTI act shown when a application seeking details of PM cares fund set up for covid-19 pandemic donations by PM office is denied by stating that PM care fund is not a public authority. Similarly Government offices declining crucial information request by citizens dents the goal of the RTI act and put it into poor state of just being a law with no jurisprudence in terms of practicality.


As we understand today RTI act 2005 failed to achieve its actual and total objectives for which it was drafted by then political leadership for the transparent and accountable governance in public eyes.The law do help in creating some awareness among citizens for their fundamental right of right to information. But to utilize its full potential it should be implemented with the open mind and structured, planned and empowered act is needed to deal with the situations arisen out of the loopholes presented in Act. As observed by Delhi High Court that misuse of the RTI Act has to be appropriately dealt with; otherwise the public would lose faith and confidence in this “sunshine Act”.

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