The Right to Information Act was passed by the Indian Parliament in May 2005 and came into effect in October 2005. It covers all the departments, organisations of central and state governments and also includes NGOs that may substantially receive funding from the Government.

The RTI Act gives every citizen of India the right to ask for any information [excluding confidential information] from any government department without giving any reason. The information can be trivial or very crucial.

Each department must have an Information Officer assigned to receive such requests (a nominal fee can be charged [usually around Rs.10], photocopying charges may be paid extra) and the replies must be given within 30 days. If delayed or denied, you can appeal to a higher authority who has the right to impose fine on the offending officer.

For example, you can ask -

  • the Municipality - how much it spent on laying roads, who received the contract, on what terms etc

  • the Government - how did your area MLA spent his/her 2 crore budget for his/her constituency

  • the Electricity Department - what are its power cut times etc

  • the Ration Shop - its stock level etc

    The Act infact goes beyond mere asking for information. You can inspect works, inspect documents and so on. Used properly and responsibly, this Act allows citizens to receive services that he or she is entitled to. It also allows the citizens to keep a watch on how the public money is spent and how the government and its various bodies function.

    Please visit the following websites for more information on the Right to Information Act -

    Courtesy: -- National Consumer Help Line No. 1800 - 11 - 4000 (Toll free)
    Go Back Go Top Go Home