Loopholes in Right To Information Act and whether it is a Fundamental Right or not?



In legal words, the Right to Information Act of the Parliament of India lays down the rules and procedures regarding citizens' right to information. Right to information is known as RTI. The government passed the Right to Information Act on 15th June 2005 and came into effect on 12th October 2005. The word information being used here is very well defined in section 2(f) which say information refers to any kind of material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars etc. and any information relating to any private body which can be accessed by public authority. In a democratic country like India, RTI plays an important role.

As it is very rightly said by Justice PN Bhagwati "Where a society has chosen toto accept democracy as its creedal faith, it is elementary that the citizens ought to know what their government is doing." 

Loopholes in Right To Information:

Not all institutions under RTI: One of the major issues is that RTI does not cover all the institutions, only those funded by government or are governmental institutions by nature are included in this.

Definition of Information: The definition of information, as prescribed by the Supreme court, is an important issue. The information for the purpose of this act refers to any information held by Public Information Officers or under his control. But in the case where Public Information Officer does not regulate any such information, the public authority is not obligated to provide any such information.

Rising Pendency of cases: The increasing number of appeals has acted as a significant hindrance in working of appellant commissions, especially Central Information Commission. This has resulted in increasing Pendency as well as an increase in waiting time for hearing of appeals.

Less awareness: As far as awareness about RTI is concerned, it is significantly less, particularly among the disadvantaged sections of society including OBC/SC/ST, remote areas population. Many states are not taking the necessary steps to promote the RTI Act.

Corporates not included: Corporate entities are not included in RTI Act. Apart from the factor that money utilised by the corporate sector is raised from the common public in the form of shares, debentures etc. and also a large number of private institutes are performing functions similar to the public sector. Example- Banking, Insurance etc.

Difficulties in applying: Under section 26 of the RTI Act government is required to publish and distribute users guide to make it easy for common people to understand the proceedings, but this has not been done in many states yet.

Is RTI a Fundamental Right:

The right to information has been recognised as a fundamental right under Part III of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in several cases. The RTI Act, 2005, simply provided an extended regime for enabling effective implementation of the fundamental right to information. While the appeals to the Commissions will be drastically affected by this decision, RTI activists have been through years of struggle to make a strong Act against great odds. Therefore, the response must be even more determined. Since RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, it is an implied fundamental right.

The first landmark pronouncement in this respect was made by Justice Mathew in             State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain (1975) 4 SCC 428 wherein he stated, "In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. Their right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can at any rate have no repercussion on public security".


We can say that RTI is only a powerful instrument to access public information. It puts common man in the same footing as that of MP, MLA, or any other member within the authority to seek accountability and transparency of the government's functioning. However, we can say that RTI is a remarkable piece of legislation. However, it still has a lot of issues and challenges in its executions and implementations, especially in remote areas.
The government and active involvement of civil societies can also play an essential role in its effective implementation. One such social group working for the Right to Information performance is "National Campaign for People's Right to India (NCPRI)". It is basically a group of committed and hard-working individuals who make our government more transparent and accountable. 
I want to pen down by saying that RTI plays a vital role in a democratic country like India for the citizens to know its government's functioning in a more transparent and precise way.