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Right to Information

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RTI in United States of America

The Constitution of United States of America has not spoken on the Right to Information but the Supreme Court of United States has read this into First Amendment and granted access to information where there is a tradition of openness to information in question and where access contributes to the functioning of the particular process involved.

  • Freedom of Information Act, 1966
  • Nine well defined exceptions
  • New York Times v US
  • Sunshine Act, 1977

RTI in England

  • In early days, thrust was not on 'information' but on 'secrecy'.
  • Freedom of Information Act, 2005
  • Official Secrets Act, 1911
  • Official Secrets Act, 1920
  • Official Secrets Act, 1939
  • Franks Committee recommendations on repealing Section 2 of Official Secrets Act, 1911 and its replacement with the Official Information Act.
  • Only 'Top Secret', 'Secret' and 'Defence Confidential' would be protected.
  • In 1993, the Government released a white paper on 'open government' and proposed a voluntary code of practice of providing information.
  • Local Government (Access to Information) Act, 1985 provided a legal right to information against local governments.

RTI in India

The Concept of Right to Information started with the States of Goa, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan enacting laws, in 1997, that ensure public access to information. Of course, this access is coupled with restrains and exemptions.

Following this, various groups and the Press Council of India pressed the Central Government for a similar law at the national level. The Freedom of Information Act, 2002 got the approval from the President of India on January 6, 2003. This law was repealed and the Right to Information Act, 2005 was brought in its place.

Recent Cases / Related Case / Case Law

  • Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India and Others v Cricket Association of Bengal and Another [(1995) 2 SCC 161]

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