India

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  • 30 October 2014

    Indian Order Sparks Debate on Disclosing Requester Info

    The recent decision by the Indian government to post online the replies to right to information requests is generating debate over whether requester names should be disclosed. The instruction from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in an Oct. 21 memorandum did not directly address the disclosure of names issue, but those familiar with […]

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  • 23 October 2014

    Indian Ministries Told to Post Replies Online by Oct. 31

    All Indian government agencies have been told to post online their replies to Right to Information Act requests by the end of the month. The ministry overseeing the administration of the Indian RTI Act on Oct. 21 announced a new website feature that will allow placement of replies on the RTI Online system. Agencies were […]

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News Archive

  • 16 October 2014

    Report Paints Bleak Picture of Indian RTI Law at 10th Year

    A comprehensive and scathing report on the Indian Right to Information documents extensive weaknesses in the system and makes major recommendations for reform. The 150-page examination provides a detailed picture of dysfunction, including “huge” backlogs, an ineffectual appeals process, lack of compliance with orders and penalty awards, and weak records management. The research provides many […]

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  • 1 October 2014

    Indian Court Reverses Ruling on Requester Justifications

    The Madras High Court in India has reversed its ruling that justifications must be supplied for requests, saying that it had overlooked a contrary provision in the law. The Sept. 23 reversal deleted two paragraphs from its Sept. 17 ruling. (See previous Freedominfo.org report.) The court said:         2. In the said […]

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  • 25 September 2014

    Indian Court in Madras Says Requests Must By Justified

    The Madras High Court in India has ruled that applicants must give reasons for seeking information under the right to information act. The judgment was delivered by Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and K Ravichandrababu while hearing a challenge to the Central Information Commission direction to the High Court to provide certain information, according to news articles […]

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  • 16 September 2014

    New India Government Disappoints on Transparency

    By Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri The writers are social activists working on issues of transparency and accountability in governance. This commentary first appeared Sept. 12 in Indian Express. Achhe din, meaning good days, are coming was the slogan of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Indian general election, coined by BJP’s Prime Ministerial […]

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  • 4 September 2014

    Indian Group Asks Modi to Appoint Chief Commissioner

    The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has called for an end to the delay in appointing a new chief information commissioner. The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has postponed a decision “ostensibly because of the deadlock over leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha,” a letter to Modi notes, going […]

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  • 14 August 2014

    Indian CIC Backs Disclosure of Whistleblower Complaints

    India’s Central Information Commission (CIC) has supported the release of information about whistleblowers’ allegations, The decision came in a case in which Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for details of complaints against government servants received under the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informers (PIDPI) Resolution, also […]

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  • 7 August 2014

    Indian Water Resources Body Denies Access to Material

    The Water Resources Department in the Indian state of Kerala has ordered that documents and information related to inter-state water issues not be disclosed under the Right to Information Act, according to an article in the Deccan Chronicle and another in the Hindu. A July 22 departmental order cites Section 8 of the RTI Act. […]

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  • 31 July 2014

    Indian State Commissioner Imposes Fines on 4 Officials

    A state information commissioner in Andhra Pradesh is pushing for officials to comply with the Right to Information Act and imposing fines. Commissioner P Vijaya Babu at a press conference July 28 said he has asked the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh to require that officials respond to the applications, according to a report in […]

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  • 19 July 2014

    Indian CIC Decides to Give Priority to Senior Citizens

    The Indian Central Information Commission has decided to give priority to senior citizens for the resolution of pending right to information cases. The decision made in June was recently reported by Economic Times, without many details. The CIC website does not elaborate. Cases of senior citizens — defined as those being 65 on the date […]

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  • 7 July 2014

    Study Details Weaknesses in Indian RTI Implementation

    Tens of thousands of right to information appeals are pending in India, according to a comprehensive study published by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. More than 66,000 appeals and complaints cases were pending in the only six information commissions where data was available. The Central Information Commission had a total of 21,946 appeals and complaints […]

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  • 27 June 2014

    Kashmir Commissioner Urges Assembly to Follow RTI Law

    Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Information Commissioner G R Sufi has complained that the Legislative Assembly  is not following the Right to Information Act, according to a report by a newspaper. The Assembnly has not created a website to make required proactive disclosures, according to a June 8 article in Greater Kashmir by Dr Raja Muzzafar […]

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  • 20 June 2014

    Indian CIC Extends RTI to Cover Private Schools

    India’s Central Information Commission has ruled that the Right to Information Act applies to private schools. The CIC decided that RTI coverage is justified when private schools are governed by laws such as the Delhi Education Act that regulate the schools, including their salaries. The requester was a former school employee. The short decision, Ms. Sadhana Dixit Vs. Directorate […]

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  • 13 June 2014

    The diminution of RTI Act in Kashmir into ‘Right to Deny Information’ Act

    By Irfan Mehraj Mehraj is a staff writer for Authint Mail, where this article was published June 10. Faizan Hassan Khan is a young engineer whose search for truth has led him nowhere. For the last nine years, he has been fighting a lone battle against the University of Kashmir to know the circumstances that […]

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  • 5 June 2014

    Public Private Partnership Project documents becoming public in India

    By Venkatesh Nayak Nayak is Programme Coordinator of the Access to Information Programme at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has taken the progressive step of uploading concession agreements and progress reports about the Pubic Private Partnership projects (PPPs) under its jurisdiction through the Internet. The links to project […]

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  • 16 May 2014

    FOI Notes: RTI Movie in India, and some other stuff

    RTI the Movie: A movie, Angusam, with an RTI theme by a director using one name, Manukannan, has come out in India. One review says that “the seriousness of the issue gets diluted, what with the narration being jumpy and inconsistent, and the screenplay layered with romance, songs and sentiment.” A plot description says: Shiva […]

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  • 16 May 2014

    Report Backs RTI Exemption for India’s National Banks

    The “fragile” condition of India’s public sector banks requires urgent action, according to a new report, including an exemption from the right to information act. The 90-page report by a high-level committee includes numerous recommendations, such as lowering of the government’s holding in the several dozen banks to below 50 percent. The banks face a […]

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  • 29 April 2014

    Going for a World Record in India

    By Venkatesh Nayak Nayak is Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. Last year when the Central Government threatened to amend the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) to keep all political parties out of its ambit completely, many of you joined a nationwide signature campaigns to oppose the move. Thankfully, this […]

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  • 12 February 2014

    CIC Orders Six Parties to Comply With RTI Act

    India’s Central Information Commission Feb. 7 asked the six national parties to explain what they have done to fulfill a June 2013 CIC for them to comply with the Right to Information Act. The Commission asked the parties to provide details of their actions within four weeks, according to media reports such as one in […]

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  • 18 December 2013

    Indian Panel Advances Bill to Exempt Political Parties

    A committee of the Indian Parliament Dec. 17 recommended that political parties be exempted from the Right to Information Act. One member dissented as the six major political parties followed through on their plans to overturn the June ruling of the Central Information Commission (CIC) that political parties are covered by the RTI act as “public […]

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  • 14 October 2013

    Eighth Anniversary Prompts Reflections on Indian RTI Act

    The eighth anniversary of India’s Right to Information Act was observed with a mixture of frustration and celebration. Unquestionably, the 2005 sunshine law is being used, with an estimated 4 million people using the Act during 2011-12, the latest year for which all-India data is available, according to a report by the Commonwealth Human Rights […]

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  • 8 October 2013

    Indian Supreme Court Rules in Case Impacting RTI

    The Indian Supreme Court ruled Oct. 3 in case that may have implications for which nongovernmental organizations are “substantially financed’ by public funds and are thus covered by the Right to Information Act, Although analysts are just beginning to sort through the ruling, there are indications it might reduce coverage of the RTI Act and […]

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  • 16 September 2013

    Court Nullifies Appointment of Four AP Commissioners

    An Indian High Court Sept. 15 voided the appointment of four information commissioners in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Chief Justice Kalyan Jyothi Sen Gupta and Justice K.C. Bhanu ruled in a case filed by civil society activists K. Padmanabhaiah, Rao, V.B.J. Chelikani and N. Padmanabha Reddy. The petitioners challenged the appointment Feb. 6 […]

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  • 5 September 2013

    Indian Court Reverses Qualifications Decision

    The Indian Supreme Court Sept. 3 retracted most of its controversial ruling seeking to dictate the qualifications for membership on information commissions. The court had ruled that only retired judges or those having legal training could be appointed as information commissioners at the Central Information Commission and at the state level. Justices A.K. Patnaik and […]

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  • 5 September 2013

    Indian RTI Amendments Referred to Committee

    Legislation to exempt the political parties from coverage under the Indian Right to Information Act on Sept. 5 referred to a parliamentary standing committee for further consideration.   “The government has decided that there should be more discussion on this Bill. We will bring this Bill in Parliament in the Winter Session,” said V Narayanasamy, […]

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  • 27 August 2013

    Indian Parliamentary Panel to Review RTI Amendment

    A committee of the Indian Parliament will review proposed amendments to exempt political parties from the Right to Information Act. Getting committee consideration was a key demand of opponents of the bill, which is supported by all the major parties. “I have written to Speaker Lok Sabha (Meira Kumar) to refer the RTI Bill to […]

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  • 27 August 2013

    India Expands Scope of Online Request Portal

    India on Aug. 21 made possible the online filing of right to information requests in applications in all central ministries and departments. Previously the rtionline.gov.in portal was available only for 40 ministries, departments and commissions. The government launched the portal earlier this year. “The portal will now be open to entertain questions under the RTI Act […]

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  • 13 August 2013

    Indian Government Offers Bill to Exempt Parties from RTI

    Legislation was introduced Aug. 12 in the Indian lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha) by the United Progressive Alliance to exempt political parties from the Right to Information Act. The bill would a June 3, 2013, order of the Central Information Commission deeming India’s six national political parties to be “public authorities” under the RTI […]

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  • 2 August 2013

    Indian Cabinet Approves Bill to Exempt Parties from RTI

    The Indian Cabinet Aug. 1 approved proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act to nullify an order of the Central Information Commission making the six national political parties subject to the RTI law. The draft amendments are expected to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning on Aug. 5. The consensus among […]

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  • 31 July 2013

    Colonial Mindset Visible in RTI Responses

    By Raja Muzaffar Bhat The author is an RTI / Social activist and the founder of J&K RTI movement. Reach him at muzaffar.rti@gmail.com.  This article was originally published July 30 in Greater Kashmir. Background From the last nearly eight years I have been drafting applications under Right to Information Act (RTI) to seek information  from different […]

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  • 29 July 2013

    Indian Committee Says RTI Should Cover Cricket Board

    A special Indian committee constituted by the government has recommended that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be covered by the Right to Information Act if it wants to field the “Indian” cricket team. Retired Justice Mukul Mudgal, the chairman of a committee constituted to draft the Sports Development Bill 2013, […]

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  • 26 July 2013

    Court Blocks CIC Hearing About Indian Cricket Board

    A court order caused the Indian Central Information Commission to cancel a July 25 hearing on whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India should be declared a public authority subject to the Right to Information Act. The Madras High Court issued the order, according to a report by NDTV and another by ESPN. […]

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  • 24 July 2013

    Indian RTI Supporters Object to Planned Amendments

    A group of eminent citizens has objected to plans by the six major political parties to pass legislation exempting themselves from the Right to Information Act. A joint letter noted that the parties have not gone to court to challenge the June order of the Central Information Commission, but instead are making plans for a […]

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  • 24 July 2013

    Indian RTI activist Ends Hunger Strike in Goa

    Indian RTI activist Rajan Ghate on July 22 ended his six day hunger strike following assurances from Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over the appointment of state information commissioners. Ghate started his strike to demand that the state government appoint a Chief Information Commissioner as well as State Information Commissioners, posts unfilled for more than […]

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  • 19 July 2013

    Indian Activist on Hunger Strike in State of Goa

    An Indian right to information activist, Rajan Ghate, began a hunger strike July 16 to protest the failure to appoint a chief information commissioner and other commissioners in the state of Goa. Ghate received support July 18 from Vivek Velankar, a Maharashtra RTI activist, who visited him at Azad Maidan, according to an article in […]

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  • 16 July 2013

    Deadline Passes, Indian Parties Resist Compliance

    July 15 was the deadline for six Indian political parties to appoint information officers and begin complying with the right to information, but they have not, according to Indian newspapers. The Central Information Commissioner on June 3 gave the parties six-weeks to act, but since then most of the parties have supported the idea of legislation to […]

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  • 12 July 2013

    Indian Sports Ministry Seeks to Bring Cricket Under RTI

    The Indian Sports Ministry has launched a new effort to bring the Indian cricket board (BCCI) under the Right to Information Act. The ministry’s new draft National Sports Bill says only those federations coming under RTI can represent India in international competitions. A panel headed by retired judge Mukul Mudgal drafted the bill. The BCCI, […]

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  • 10 July 2013

    Indian Gov’t Still Planning to Overturn CIC Order

    Instead of filing a court appeal, the Indian government is continuing to consider at a legislative way to overturn a June 3 Central Information Commission ruling making political parties subject to the right to information law, Indian papers continue to report. “Highly-placed sources in the Law Ministry today said that the CIC order would not be challenged by […]

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  • 10 July 2013

    Indian CIC Rejects Request by Death Row Inmate

    The Indian Central Information Commission has held that the Constitution prohibits releasing to a death row convict the reasons for denial of his mercy request. A.G. Perarivalan, a death row convict in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, requested the advice tendered by the Council of Ministers to the president, according to an article in […]

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  • 1 July 2013

    Indian Parties May Seek Exemption From RTI Act

    The leading political parties of India reportedly have agreed to support an amendment that would exempt them from coverage under the right to information law. The political parties appear unified in their desire to overturn a controversial early June ruling by the Central Information Commission bringing them under the purview of the RTI Act. (See […]

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  • 7 June 2013

    Most Indian Parties Upset Over RTI Purview Ruling

    Most Indian political parties have reacted negatively to the Central Information Commission ruling bringing them under the right to information law. Expecting an appeal, one of the two plaintiffs, the Association for Democratic Reforms, June 5 filed in the Delhi High Court to preempt any stay of the CIC order without an opportunity to be […]

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  • 3 June 2013

    Indian CIC Says Political Parties Covered by RTI Law

    India’s Central Information Commission June 3 ruled that political parties are covered by the Right to Information law. The Commission in a 54-page decision said the six national parties receive substantial indirect funding from the central government and perform public functions, thus making them public authorities under the law. Unless overturned by a court, the […]

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  • 16 May 2013

    Indian Government Seeks Examples of Best Practice

    The Indian government has invited “write ups” describing best practices on implementation of Right to Information Act, with prize money. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said it will publish a compendium of best practices on the RTI being adopted by a government department or public authority. “The best 20 write-ups would be selected […]

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  • 10 May 2013

    Critics Fault Guidelines for Proactive Disclosure in India

    The Indian government’s recent guidelines on proactive disclosure are diluted, right to information activists said May 7.  Members of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) including Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey and Venkatesh Nayak said that the government had overlooked other recommendations from the government-sponsored task force that studied the issue. Not included were […]

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  • 3 May 2013

    India Close to Choosing Who Will Do Study of RTI Law

    The Indian government is close to choosing who will conduct a major review of the fight to information law. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has shortlisted 16 organizations for the “360 degree study,” according to a report, with the names, on the website of the RTI Foundation of India. The selected organizations have […]

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  • 26 April 2013

    India Issues Guidance on Doing Proactive Disclosure

    The Indian government has issued guidelines for the proactive disclosure of information, but missed a few key items, according to a leading Indian advocacy group. The guidelines were prepared the Department of Personnel and Training with advice from a task force. The goal was to enhance implementation of the proactive disclosure obligations under Section 4 of […]

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  • 21 April 2013

    Two Indian States to Issue Lists of Prisoners on Trial

    The chief information commissioner of the Indian state of Maharashtra has ordered the disclosure of the names of prisoners awaiting trial, so-called “undertrials,” who have served half or more of the maximum prison term specified for the charges they face. State chief information commissioner (CIC) Ratnakar Gaikwad directed the preparation of such a list under […]

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  • 19 April 2013

    Right to information? You are in queue!

    By Shailesh Gandhi Gandhi is a former commissioner at the central information commission. This article is reprinted with permission from GovernanceNow, where it was first run on April 17. “GovernanceNow is a multi-media initiative for participatory reportage and analyses related to governance of all institutions and processes that are vital to public life in India.” […]

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  • 17 April 2013

    Indian Court Stays Major Parts of Controversial Ruling

    The Indian Supreme Court on April 16 stayed a controversial decision ordering that retired or sitting judges be appointed to lead the Central Information Commission and state commissions. The order by Justices A. K. Patnaik and Arjan K. Sikri also stayed a directive from the Sept. 13, 2012, decision that would have required commissions to […]

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  • 12 April 2013

    Indian Department Opens Portal for RTI Applications

    A key Indian agency has opened a website for the submission of right to information requests and fees. The portal — http://www.rtionline.gov.in/ — has been created by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the agency which leads on the administration of the RTI law. The portal is not for use in filing requests for […]

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  • 7 March 2013

    World Bank Study Focuses on RTI Implementaton Issues

    Right to information laws “will accomplish little” in poor countries, according to the author of new World Bank study, “unless concerted efforts are made to address the broader enabling environment, and appropriate capacity building strategies are devised.”   The report by Anupama Dokeniya is based on individual research studies of implementation in eight countries: Albania, […]

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  • 18 February 2013

    Indian Women Not Using RTI Act Enough, Activists Say

    Women in India are not using the Right to Information Act as much as they should, according to persons quoted in an article on the subject by Partha Sarathi Biswas in the Indian Express. One indicator cited is the low registration in training classes sponsored by Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHDA). Former Central […]

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  • 4 February 2013

    Court Tells Indian State to Pick Info Commissioners

    The high court of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has ordered the government to seek applications in order to fill the 10 vacant posts of the State Information Commission, according to articles in the Daily Pioneer and the Jagran Post. Most of the positions have been vacant since August of 2010, resulting in a […]

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  • 1 February 2013

    Indian Court Denies State Commission Right to Appeal

    The Indian Supreme Court on Jan. 18 rejected as “frivolous” a petition from the Karnataka information commissioner challenging a Karnataka High Court order that overturning the commissioner’s decision, according to an article in The Deccan Herald. The order has “serious implications” for the RTI Act, wrote Shailesh Gandhi, who  served as Central Information Commissioner from […]

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  • 14 December 2012

    Indian Commission Rules Attorney General Exempt

    India’s Central Information Commission has ruled that the Office of the Attorney is not a public authority under Right to Information Act. The CIC order of Dec. 10 said the Attorney General’s position is unique because “he is standalone counsel of the Government of India.” “He renders legal advice to the Government of India which […]

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  • 6 December 2012

    No Support Discovered for Indian PM’s Views on RTI

    The Times of India asked the office of the prime minister to disclose the basis for PM Manmohan Singh’s October criticisms of the Right to Information Act, but has been told there are no such records, according to an article in the Times. Singh expressed concern over frivolous and vexatious RTI applications, infringement of personal […]

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  • 26 November 2012

    Indian Supreme Court to Review RTI Act Decision

    The Indian Supreme Court on Nov. 20 agreed to hear the government’s request that it review its Sept. 13 decision that among other things would require that information commissions be composed of retired judges. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) In agreeing to the review,  justices A.K. Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, “made it clear that its verdict […]

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  • 6 November 2012

    Indian CIC Orders Agency to Disclose Corruption Files

    India’s chief information commissioner, Satyendra Mishra, has ruled that even an agency exempt from the right to information law may not withhold information related to corruption by public officials or human rights violations. In his Nov. 2 order, Mishra mandated the Central Bureau of Information to provide requested information, subject to RTI Act exemptions, according […]

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  • 2 November 2012

    Indian Cabinet Withdraws Controversial RTI Proposal

    The Indian Cabinet Nov. 1 pulled back from a six-year-old proposal to dilute the Right to Information Act. The action was a relief to activists.  The main effect of the changes, planned back in 2006, would have been to restrict access to “file notings” – documents in which officials make comments about proposed policies. Withdrawing […]

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  • 29 October 2012

    Making Government Kiosks Hubs for RTI

    By Osama Manzar Osama Manzar is founder-director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chairman of the Manthan Award. He is a member of the working group for Internet proliferation and governance, ministry of communications and information technology. Follow him on Twitter @osamamanzar. There is only one way India can become a leading country in the 21st […]

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  • 15 October 2012

    Indian RTI Activists Object to PM’s Comments; Bill Planned

    Indian right to information activists have roundly condemned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent criticisms of the RTI law, but one major media outlet reports that the government is preparing amendments to change the law to prevent alleged misuse. “A senior bureaucrat” told The Times of India Oct 13 that amendments are in the works.  “After […]

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  • 12 October 2012

    Indian Government Appeals Controversial Court Ruling

    The Indian government has appealed a controversial Supreme Court ruling that that has roiled Indian information commissions by mandating more involvement of trained judges in the process. The announcement came Oct. 11, preceding an Oct. 12 speech by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the seventh anniversary of the RTI act at seventh Convention of Central […]

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  • 11 October 2012

    Indian CIC Orders Delhi to Enhance Assembly Info

    The Central Information Commission has ordered the Delhi assembly to provide more information about its proceedings. Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit directed the assembly secretariat to publish laws that pass on its website in Hindi and English and to consider providing live webcasts of assembly proceedings, according to reports in the Times of India and the Hindustan […]

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  • 1 October 2012

    Ruling Sows Confusion Among Indian Commissions

    More than a quarter of India’s 28 Information Commissions have halted work in the aftermath of the top court’s recent ruling that retired judges must be on commission panels, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. The Central Information Commission continues to hear cases as before, CHRI said. “However the State Information […]

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  • 14 September 2012

    Indian Court Says Judges Must Head Commissions

    The Supreme Court of India has ordered that all Chief Information Commissioners must be retired judges and that each case must be heard by a two-member bench, with one judicial member and one non-judicial member. The Central Information Commission (CIC), the final appellate authority for RTI Act, suspended hearings on Sept. 14, held an urgent […]

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  • 7 September 2012

    Jammu and Kashmir Moves Seen as Undercutting RTI

    The Jammu and Kashmir government in India on Aug. 30 passed new rules that critics say undercut the state right to information act. One main effect will be to reduce the information commission’s ability to require information from government departments, according to an article by Riyaz Wani in Tehelka. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said this […]

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  • 31 August 2012

    India to Promote RTI In Message to Children

    The Indian government has decided to promote the Right to Information Act to school children. A message will be displayed inside the back cover of some textbooks, according to direction from the National Council of Education, Research and Training. An estimated 10 million children will read: “The basic aim of the RTI Act is to […]

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  • 13 August 2012

    Word Limit Imposed on Indian RTI Requesters

    The Indian government has placed a limit of 500 words on the length of applications under the Right to Information Act and has established a new form for making appeals to the Central Information Commission. The new rule, issued July 31 by the Department of Personnel and Training, also requires that appellants or their representative […]

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  • 8 August 2012

    Roy Objects to Proposals to Amend State RTI Law

    RTI activist and National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy has written to the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, to protest proposed amendments to the RTI law. The state government in January proposed that applications being limited to a single subject and be less that 150 words. Alos applicants inspecting documents […]

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  • 3 August 2012

    Indian State Exempts Anti-Corruption Agency From RTIA

    The government of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Cabinet voted on July 31 to exclude the anticorruption agency Lokayukta from the scope of the Right to Information Act, according to Indian activists and media reports. “This is one of the many attacks being launched against the transparency regime by the very system which the […]

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  • 6 July 2012

    Roy Positive on Indian RTI Law, But Sees Challenges

    The Indian Right to Information Act “is a galvanizing force that has acquired a momentum that none of us saw coming, and which is going to be impossible to stop,” according to Aruna Roy, an instrumental force behind the law’s passage, who also outlined problems facing the law in a newspaper interview. “What we are […]

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  • 6 July 2012

    Are Qualified Commissioners Being Appointed in India?

    By Shonali Ghosal Ghosal is a correspondent with Tehelka where this article first appeared. Last month, on 9 June, Ratnakar Gaikwad, former chief secretary, Maharashtra, was sworn in as the state’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). Curiously, his appointment came just over a week after his retirement as chief secretary. This, after the post of CIC […]

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  • 2 July 2012

    Retiring Indian Commissioner Ghandi Says RTI Threatened

    Shailesh Ghandhi, who will retire June 6 as an Indian Information Commissioner, is warning of threats facing the right to information law. In an interview with  CNN IBN, Gandhi said, “I believe that so far the RTI Act has achieved far more than expected but there are serious threats most of us are not conscious […]

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  • 29 June 2012

    Indian CIC Elaborates on Access to Cabinet Papers

    India’s Central Information Commission has ruled that Cabinet documents should be disclosed after a bill had been offered in Parliament and that requesters do not need to wait until after Parliament acts. The Commission ordered the Department of Atomic Energy to produce the Cabinet note, papers and file notings relating to the Nuclear Safety Regulatory […]

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  • 21 June 2012

    Indian Court Says Presidential Donations Covered by RTI

    Donations made by the Indian president using public funds are covered by the Indian right to information law, the Delhi High Court held May 14. The court directed the President’s Secretariat to provide the information, rejecting objections that it would impinge on the president’s privacy. The court also ordered that the donations information be published online. […]

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  • 1 June 2012

    Indian Sports Minister Asks CIC to Open Cricket Board

    Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken has taken his campaign to bring the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) under the purview of the Right to Information Act to the Central Information Commission, according to media reports. “We have appealed to the CIC,” he told reporters May 31, according to The Times of India and The Hindu. It is not […]

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  • 21 May 2012

    India Makes Plans to Set Up RTI Call Center, Request Site

    The Indian government has requested proposals to establish a call center and web portal to allow citizens to make right to information requests by telephone and online. The Department of Personnel and Training May 14 sought requests from IT firms and call centers, according to media reports such as one in the Hindustan Times. The […]

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  • 10 May 2012

    Retired Officials Dominate Indian State Commissions

    Most Indian state information commissioners are retired civil servants and many posts are vacant, according to fact-filled critical report by the Access to Information Programme of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi. Also, less than half of the commissions have put some or all of their decisions online and their websites are […]

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  • 27 April 2012

    India’s CIC Clashes With Justice Over Use of RTI

    India’s Chief Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has written to the Chief Justice of India, S.H. Kapadia, to object to his recent comments critical of the right to information law. The chief justice was quoted as saying the law was “good” but was being misused to ask irrelevant and intrusive questions.  In his reply, Gandhi said: […]

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  • 27 April 2012

    Indian State Commission Pulls Bank Under RTI Law

    An Indian State Information Commission April 24 ruled that the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited is a public authority under the 2009 Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act. The bank was created by legislative act, is majority-owned by the government, has three government-appointed directors, and carries out instructions from the government, according to the […]

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  • 12 March 2012

    Reform Eases RTI Use by Indians Living Abroad

    India has made it easier for Indian citizens living abroad to seek online information from the government under the Right to Information Act. The banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, has allowed sale of electronic postal orders to Indian citizens living abroad through their credit and debit cards. “The facility will be used only […]

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  • 9 March 2012

    RTI Exemption Included in Indian Biotech Bill

    A controversial bill in India to ease regulation on biotechnology products includes an exemption from the right to information law. Debate over the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill (BRAI) primarily concerns issues such as the safety of genetically modified food crops, the proposed RTI exemption also is drawing opposition, including from the National Campaign […]

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