Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance UPSC Notes | EduRev

Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

UPSC : Right to Information: Master Key to Good Governance UPSC Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


FIRST REPORT
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
JUNE 2006
Master Key to Good Governance
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Government of India
2nd Floor, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110 011
e-mail : arcommission@nic.in    website : http://arc.gov.in
1
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
Page 2


FIRST REPORT
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
JUNE 2006
Master Key to Good Governance
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Government of India
2nd Floor, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110 011
e-mail : arcommission@nic.in    website : http://arc.gov.in
1
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
FIRST REPORT
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
MASTER KEY TO GOOD GOVERNANCE
JUNE 2006
Page 3


FIRST REPORT
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
JUNE 2006
Master Key to Good Governance
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Government of India
2nd Floor, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110 011
e-mail : arcommission@nic.in    website : http://arc.gov.in
1
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
FIRST REPORT
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
MASTER KEY TO GOOD GOVERNANCE
JUNE 2006
PREFACE
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has been constituted to prepare a detailed blueprint
for revamping the public administration system. The Commission has been given wide terms of reference
covering all aspects of public administration. The Commission in its first report decided to analyze and
give recommendations on the freedom of information as the Right to Information Act has been enacted
recently and is a paradigm shift in administration.
The Right to Information Act is a path-breaking legislation which signals the march from darkness of
secrecy to dawn of transparency . It lights up the mindset of public authorities, which is clouded by suspicion
and secrecy. Openness in the exercise of public power – Executive, Legislative or Judiciary – is a culture,
which needs to be nurtured, with privacy and confidentiality being an exception. The right to information
will also be a powerful means for fighting corruption. The effective implementation of the Right to
Information Act will create an environment of vigilance which will help promote functioning of a more
participatory democracy.
James Madison once said, “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with
power that knowledge gives”. In India, the Official Secrets Act, 1923 was a convenient smokescreen to
deny members of the public access to information. Public functioning has traditionally been shrouded in
secrecy. But in a democracy in which people govern themselves, it is necessary to have more openness. In
the maturing of our democracy , right to information is a major step forward; it enables citizens to participate
fully in the decision-making process that affects their lives so profoundly.
It is in this context that the address of the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha is significant. He said
“I would only like to see that everyone, particularly our civil servants, should see the Bill in a positive spirit;
not as a draconian law for paralyzing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government -
citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our
people”. He further said, “ This is an innovative Bill, where there will be scope to review its
functioning as we gain experience. Therefore, this is a piece of legislation, whose working will be kept
under constant reviews.”
The Commission, in its Report, has dealt with the application of the Right to Information in Executive,
Legislature and Judiciary. The Judiciary could be a pioneer in implementing the Act in letter and spirit
because much of the work that the Judiciary does is open to public scrutiny. Government of India has
sanctioned an e-governance project in the Judiciary for about Rs.700 crore which would bring about
systematic classification, standardization and categorization of records. This would help the Judiciary to
fulfil its mandate under the Act. Similar capacity building would be required in all other public authorities.
The transformation from non-transparency to transparency and public accountability is the responsibility
of all three organs of State.
The Commission is benefited by the deliberations at the Colloquium organized by the National Judicial
Academy and inputs from various stakeholders. The Commission studied various laws on the subject
including of other countries; it studied relevant reports of various Commissions and Committees and held
several rounds of deliberations with State Governments. This Report, which gives practical recommendations
to bring in a regime of freedom of information, is an outcome of the above efforts. I am confident that the
implementation of this Report will usher in a new era of accountable and transparent administration.
(M. Veerappa Moily)
Chairman
Page 4


FIRST REPORT
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
JUNE 2006
Master Key to Good Governance
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Government of India
2nd Floor, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110 011
e-mail : arcommission@nic.in    website : http://arc.gov.in
1
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
FIRST REPORT
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
MASTER KEY TO GOOD GOVERNANCE
JUNE 2006
PREFACE
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has been constituted to prepare a detailed blueprint
for revamping the public administration system. The Commission has been given wide terms of reference
covering all aspects of public administration. The Commission in its first report decided to analyze and
give recommendations on the freedom of information as the Right to Information Act has been enacted
recently and is a paradigm shift in administration.
The Right to Information Act is a path-breaking legislation which signals the march from darkness of
secrecy to dawn of transparency . It lights up the mindset of public authorities, which is clouded by suspicion
and secrecy. Openness in the exercise of public power – Executive, Legislative or Judiciary – is a culture,
which needs to be nurtured, with privacy and confidentiality being an exception. The right to information
will also be a powerful means for fighting corruption. The effective implementation of the Right to
Information Act will create an environment of vigilance which will help promote functioning of a more
participatory democracy.
James Madison once said, “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with
power that knowledge gives”. In India, the Official Secrets Act, 1923 was a convenient smokescreen to
deny members of the public access to information. Public functioning has traditionally been shrouded in
secrecy. But in a democracy in which people govern themselves, it is necessary to have more openness. In
the maturing of our democracy , right to information is a major step forward; it enables citizens to participate
fully in the decision-making process that affects their lives so profoundly.
It is in this context that the address of the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha is significant. He said
“I would only like to see that everyone, particularly our civil servants, should see the Bill in a positive spirit;
not as a draconian law for paralyzing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government -
citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our
people”. He further said, “ This is an innovative Bill, where there will be scope to review its
functioning as we gain experience. Therefore, this is a piece of legislation, whose working will be kept
under constant reviews.”
The Commission, in its Report, has dealt with the application of the Right to Information in Executive,
Legislature and Judiciary. The Judiciary could be a pioneer in implementing the Act in letter and spirit
because much of the work that the Judiciary does is open to public scrutiny. Government of India has
sanctioned an e-governance project in the Judiciary for about Rs.700 crore which would bring about
systematic classification, standardization and categorization of records. This would help the Judiciary to
fulfil its mandate under the Act. Similar capacity building would be required in all other public authorities.
The transformation from non-transparency to transparency and public accountability is the responsibility
of all three organs of State.
The Commission is benefited by the deliberations at the Colloquium organized by the National Judicial
Academy and inputs from various stakeholders. The Commission studied various laws on the subject
including of other countries; it studied relevant reports of various Commissions and Committees and held
several rounds of deliberations with State Governments. This Report, which gives practical recommendations
to bring in a regime of freedom of information, is an outcome of the above efforts. I am confident that the
implementation of this Report will usher in a new era of accountable and transparent administration.
(M. Veerappa Moily)
Chairman
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances
Resolution
New Delhi, the 31
st
 August, 2005
No. K-11022/9/2004-RC. — The President is pleased to set up a Commission of Inquiry to
be called the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) to prepare a detailed
blueprint for revamping the public administration system.
2. The Commission will consist of the following :
(i) Shri Veerappa Moily - Chairperson
(ii) Shri V . Ramachandran - Member
(iii) Dr. A.P . Mukherjee - Member
(iv) Dr. A.H. Kalro - Member
(v) Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan - Member
(vi) Smt. Vineeta Rai - Member-Secretary
3. The Commission will suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable,
sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government. The
Commission will, inter alia, consider the following :
(i) Organisational structure of the Government of India
(ii) Ethics in governance
(iii) Refurbishing of Personnel Administration
(iv) Strengthening of Financial Management Systems
(v) Steps to ensure effective administration at the State level
(vi) Steps to ensure effective District Administration
(vii) Local Self-Government/Panchayati Raj Institutions
(viii) Social Capital, T rust and Participative public service delivery
(ix) Citizen-centric administration
(x) Promoting e-governance
(xi) Issues of Federal Polity
(xii) Crisis Management
(xiii) Public Order
Some of the issues to be examined under each head are given in the Terms of Reference
attached as a Schedule to this Resolution
4. The Commission may exclude from its purview the detailed examination of
administration of Defence, Railways, External Affairs, Security and Intelligence, as also
subjects such as Centre-State relations, judicial reforms etc. which are already being examined
by other bodies. The Commission will, however, be free to take the problems of these sectors
into account in recommending re-organisation of the machinery of the Government or of
any of its service agencies
Some of the issues to be examined under each head are given in the Terms of Reference
attached as a Schedule to this Resolution
5. The Commission will give due consideration to the need for consultation with the
State Governments.
6. The Commission will devise its own procedures (including for consultations with the
State Government as may be considered appropriate by the Commission), and may appoint
committees, consultants/advisers to assist it. The Commission may take into account the
existing material and reports available on the subject and consider building upon the same
rather than attempting to address all the issues ab initio.
7. The Ministries and Departments of the Government of India will furnish such
information and documents and provide other assistance as may be required by the
Commission. The Government of India trusts that the State Governments and all others
concerned will extend their fullest cooperation and assistance to the Commission.
8. The Commission will furnish its report(s) to the Ministry of Personnel, Public
Grievances & Pensions, Government of India, within one year of its constitution
(P .I. Suvrathan)
Additional Secretary to Government of India
Page 5


FIRST REPORT
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
JUNE 2006
Master Key to Good Governance
Second Administrative Reforms Commission
Government of India
2nd Floor, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110 011
e-mail : arcommission@nic.in    website : http://arc.gov.in
1
SECOND ADMISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS COMMISSION
FIRST REPORT
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
MASTER KEY TO GOOD GOVERNANCE
JUNE 2006
PREFACE
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has been constituted to prepare a detailed blueprint
for revamping the public administration system. The Commission has been given wide terms of reference
covering all aspects of public administration. The Commission in its first report decided to analyze and
give recommendations on the freedom of information as the Right to Information Act has been enacted
recently and is a paradigm shift in administration.
The Right to Information Act is a path-breaking legislation which signals the march from darkness of
secrecy to dawn of transparency . It lights up the mindset of public authorities, which is clouded by suspicion
and secrecy. Openness in the exercise of public power – Executive, Legislative or Judiciary – is a culture,
which needs to be nurtured, with privacy and confidentiality being an exception. The right to information
will also be a powerful means for fighting corruption. The effective implementation of the Right to
Information Act will create an environment of vigilance which will help promote functioning of a more
participatory democracy.
James Madison once said, “A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with
power that knowledge gives”. In India, the Official Secrets Act, 1923 was a convenient smokescreen to
deny members of the public access to information. Public functioning has traditionally been shrouded in
secrecy. But in a democracy in which people govern themselves, it is necessary to have more openness. In
the maturing of our democracy , right to information is a major step forward; it enables citizens to participate
fully in the decision-making process that affects their lives so profoundly.
It is in this context that the address of the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha is significant. He said
“I would only like to see that everyone, particularly our civil servants, should see the Bill in a positive spirit;
not as a draconian law for paralyzing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government -
citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our
people”. He further said, “ This is an innovative Bill, where there will be scope to review its
functioning as we gain experience. Therefore, this is a piece of legislation, whose working will be kept
under constant reviews.”
The Commission, in its Report, has dealt with the application of the Right to Information in Executive,
Legislature and Judiciary. The Judiciary could be a pioneer in implementing the Act in letter and spirit
because much of the work that the Judiciary does is open to public scrutiny. Government of India has
sanctioned an e-governance project in the Judiciary for about Rs.700 crore which would bring about
systematic classification, standardization and categorization of records. This would help the Judiciary to
fulfil its mandate under the Act. Similar capacity building would be required in all other public authorities.
The transformation from non-transparency to transparency and public accountability is the responsibility
of all three organs of State.
The Commission is benefited by the deliberations at the Colloquium organized by the National Judicial
Academy and inputs from various stakeholders. The Commission studied various laws on the subject
including of other countries; it studied relevant reports of various Commissions and Committees and held
several rounds of deliberations with State Governments. This Report, which gives practical recommendations
to bring in a regime of freedom of information, is an outcome of the above efforts. I am confident that the
implementation of this Report will usher in a new era of accountable and transparent administration.
(M. Veerappa Moily)
Chairman
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances
Resolution
New Delhi, the 31
st
 August, 2005
No. K-11022/9/2004-RC. — The President is pleased to set up a Commission of Inquiry to
be called the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) to prepare a detailed
blueprint for revamping the public administration system.
2. The Commission will consist of the following :
(i) Shri Veerappa Moily - Chairperson
(ii) Shri V . Ramachandran - Member
(iii) Dr. A.P . Mukherjee - Member
(iv) Dr. A.H. Kalro - Member
(v) Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan - Member
(vi) Smt. Vineeta Rai - Member-Secretary
3. The Commission will suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable,
sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government. The
Commission will, inter alia, consider the following :
(i) Organisational structure of the Government of India
(ii) Ethics in governance
(iii) Refurbishing of Personnel Administration
(iv) Strengthening of Financial Management Systems
(v) Steps to ensure effective administration at the State level
(vi) Steps to ensure effective District Administration
(vii) Local Self-Government/Panchayati Raj Institutions
(viii) Social Capital, T rust and Participative public service delivery
(ix) Citizen-centric administration
(x) Promoting e-governance
(xi) Issues of Federal Polity
(xii) Crisis Management
(xiii) Public Order
Some of the issues to be examined under each head are given in the Terms of Reference
attached as a Schedule to this Resolution
4. The Commission may exclude from its purview the detailed examination of
administration of Defence, Railways, External Affairs, Security and Intelligence, as also
subjects such as Centre-State relations, judicial reforms etc. which are already being examined
by other bodies. The Commission will, however, be free to take the problems of these sectors
into account in recommending re-organisation of the machinery of the Government or of
any of its service agencies
Some of the issues to be examined under each head are given in the Terms of Reference
attached as a Schedule to this Resolution
5. The Commission will give due consideration to the need for consultation with the
State Governments.
6. The Commission will devise its own procedures (including for consultations with the
State Government as may be considered appropriate by the Commission), and may appoint
committees, consultants/advisers to assist it. The Commission may take into account the
existing material and reports available on the subject and consider building upon the same
rather than attempting to address all the issues ab initio.
7. The Ministries and Departments of the Government of India will furnish such
information and documents and provide other assistance as may be required by the
Commission. The Government of India trusts that the State Governments and all others
concerned will extend their fullest cooperation and assistance to the Commission.
8. The Commission will furnish its report(s) to the Ministry of Personnel, Public
Grievances & Pensions, Government of India, within one year of its constitution
(P .I. Suvrathan)
Additional Secretary to Government of India
CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Part-I OFFICIAL SECRETS
Chapter 2 Official Secrets Act and Other Laws 4
2.1 Background 4
2.2 The Official Secrets Act 5
2.3 Governmental Privilege in Evidence 12
2.4 The Oath of Secrecy 17
2.5 Exempted Organisations 18
Chapter 3 Rules and Procedures 20
3.1 The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 20
3.2 The Manual of Office Procedure 21
Chapter 4 Confidentiality Classification 23
Part-II IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT
Chapter 5 Rights and Obligations 27
5.1 Rights and Obligations Under the Act 27
5.2 Building Institutions 27
5.3 Designating Information Officers and Appellate Authorities 29
5.4 Organising Information and Record Keeping 30
5.5 Capacity Building and Awareness Generation 33
5.6 Monitoring Mechanism 35
Chapter 6 Issues in Implementation 38
6.1 Implementation of the Act 38
6.2 Facilitating Access 38
6.3 Inventory of Public Authorities 41
6.4 Single Window Agency at District level 41
6.5 Subordinate Field Offices and Public Authorities 42
6.6 Application to  Non Governmental Bodies 43
6.7 Time Limit for Information Beyond 20 Y ears 44
6.8 Mechanism for Redressal of Public Grievances 46
6.9 Frivolous and V exatious Requests 47
Chapter 7 Application of the Right T o Information 50
Act to the Legislature and the Judiciary
Chapter 8 Removal of Difficulties 54
Conclusion 56
Summary of Recommendations 57
LIST OF ANNEXURES
Annexure-I(1) List of participants at the National Colloquium 70
Annexure-I(2) Recommendations of the Colloquium 74
Annexure-I(3) Questionnaire 83
Annexure-I(4) Case studies 96
Annexure-I(5) A Comparative Analysis of the Right to Information Act of different States 103
Annexure-I(6) A Comparative Analysis of International Laws on Freedom of Information 110
Annexure-V(1) List of States which have constituted Information Commissions 117
Annexure-V(2) Number of CPIOs/PIOs appointed by various Ministries/ Departments 118
Annexure-V(3) Responses of some Ministries/Departments about status of record-keeping 119
Annexure-VI(1) The Inverted T ree concept for maintaining inventory of the public authorities 120
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED
APIO Assistant Public Information Officer
BSF Border Security Force
CAG Comptroller and Auditor General
CIC Central Information Commission
CPIO Central Public Information Officer
CRPF Central Reserve Police Force
GOI Government of India
NCRWC National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution
NIC National Informatics Centre
NSA National Security Act
OSA Official Secrets Act
PGC Public Grievances Commission
PIO Public Information Officer
PRO Public Records Office
RTI Right to Information
SIC State Information Commission
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