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Editorial of the Day (7th Feb): CBI Not Fully exempted under RTI Act

Context: Delhi High Court ruled that intelligence and security agencies are not exempt from RTI Act disclosure obligations when information relates to allegations of corruption and human rights violations.

About Right To Information (RTI) Act

  • Introduced: October 12, 2005
  • RTI stems from the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19.
  • It ensures that citizens have the information necessary to form informed opinions on government operations.
  • Aim: To foster transparency and accountability in government workings.
  • Procedural Framework: The Act specifies procedures for requesting information, the time frame for its delivery, the method of dissemination, application fees, and information exemptions.
  • Information Commissions: The RTI Act establishes the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions.
  • Public Information Officers: PIOs are tasked with providing information to individuals requesting it under the RTI Act.

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Important Sections

  • Section 4 of the Act: It calls for proactive disclosure of information by all authorities so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.
  • Exemptions: Section 8(1): National security, sovereignty, national eco interest, relation with foreign states, cabinet and other decision-making documents, trade secrets, personal privacy, law enforcement etc.
  • Section 24 of the RTI Act: It lists agencies that are exempt, which mainly include intelligence and security organisations.
    • However, even these organisations must provide information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations, subject to approval from the Central Information Commission.

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