Thu. Oct 18th, 2018

Evolution and Development of the Right to Information Act in India

Abstract:-
The Constitution of India has been around for 68 years now, and has since been amended a number of times to accommodate the changing mind set of developing India, and the interpretation of this document, especially of the Articles related to Fundamental Rights has been diverse. One such interpretation in pretty recent times has been the Right To Information, which hasn’t been expressly stated in any portion, but can be derived from Article 19(1)(a)andArticle 21of the Constitution of India itself. We are all aware how “absolute power corrupts absolutely” and we can safely assume that it is not a mere philosophical phrase. The journey from a demand of information to it becoming a Bill to finally a lawful Right has been in phases – from resistance to disclose any information whatsoever, to state-level Right To Information Acts, to a roughly-made, protective of public authorities Freedom Of Information Act in 2002 and finally, arriving at what exists as the Right To Information Act today Having completed around 12 years in existence, it is notable is that it hasn’t been subjected to any amendments whatsoever. Here is an attempted analysis of the same.

Information empowers and enables people; pushes them towards exercising their legal, social, economic and political rights. Almost every society has recognised the same by way of putting in place the mechanisms for free flow of information and ideas so that people can access them whenever it is required without too many procedural, or otherwise, hassles.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, when bringing to light India’s first significant step towards anti-corruption – The Right To Information Bill, said:
“The passage of the Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance, an era of performance and efficiency, benefits of growth will flow to all sections of the society, eliminate the scourge of corruption, and will bring the common man’s concern to the heart of all processes of governance and fulfill the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic.”

The most accurate summation of the value of the spreading awareness among citizens and creating a culture of transparency and accountability so as to make the system of governance of a nation closer to impeccability would probably be the quote above. The World Bank document of 1992 on Governance and Development in its quest for ‘good governance’ identifies accountability as well as transparency and information to constitute two of the seven specific aspects of ‘governance’. Apart from this, we have had minds like Jeremy Bentham, Patrick Henry, Aruna Roy, Thomas Jefferson and the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, think alike on this issue, as evident from their publicly expressed views on the same. A comprehensive outlook on the Right to Information Act, 2005(India), a cutting edge legal issue – will most definitely result in the conclusion that only information could have been, is and will continue to be the pathway taken, on which prudent and responsible treading towards mutual compliance and thus, better governance fall.

Information is a potent tool for countering corruption. The visibility of deprived communities increases on the political map, and their interests can be realized. We indeed have taken giant leaps towards accessing information to the very core of its existence, but tracing this growth from stages of nothingness to the various perspectives on what we have today is important; quite similar to the importance of precedents in law, in general. A government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is the spirit and essence of a democracy and its accountability towards people cannot be explained better than those words of Abraham Lincoln.

In the mid-90s, while the weapon of secrecy was being used by the executive in governance to defeat the rightful claims of the governed, the judiciary destroyed this weapon in favour of an open, democratic and welfare form of governance.[1]The Constitution of India does not explicitly provide for a “right” to information as such, but it is one of the most effective judicial interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme Court. The context of its view is the Right to Freedom and Speech and Expression [Article 19(1)]and the Right to Life (Article 21). It has been so held that these include the right to acquire and disseminate information.

Tracing the growth of this particular legally enforceable claim will require an in-depth study of several issues that initially cropped up at the grass-root levels, and of several of similar nature that got the international circle of politics up and about so as to find means to fulfil the democratic obligations to provide information to the citizens when they would seek it, for whatever the reason may be, but primarily focusing on societal benefit in one way or the other.

International Roots
Information Rights have a long history of around 246 years, if the international front is taken account of.

1766 –World’s first Freedom of Information Act was issued in Stockholm on December 2, 1766.This law in Sweden established press freedom and those at stake included the government, courts, and parliament. Sweden’s constitution thus recognised that press freedom is contingent upon access to information. Anders Chydenius (1729-1803) was a Finnish enlightenment thinker and politician who played a crucial role in creating this new law, and gave the world an insight into the benefits of a transparent democracy. The English translation of his initial work was published in 2006; through it, the Anders Chydenius Foundation aimed to provide a brief introduction to the origins of FOI principle.[2]

1789– A part of the French Constitution, Declaration of Human and Civic Rights, has Article 14 stating that: “All citizens have the right to ascertain, by themselves, or through their representatives, the need for a public tax, to consent to it freely, to watch over its use, and to determine its proportion, basis, collection and duration. “Although this cannot be taken to be an assertion of a right to access information from those responsible to the public, there is a hint of a “right to know” of a French citizen as to where the taxes that he pays are being spent.

1946– The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in 1946, which in regard to Freedom to Information stated, “Freedom of Information is a fundamental right and is the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated. Freedom of Information implies the right to gather, transmit and publish news anywhere and everywhere without fetters. As such it is an essential factor in any serious effort to promote the peace and progress of the world.”[3]As it may be concluded, this did not lay enough emphasis on the public’s right to have such information, and so to demand it from the concerned authorities.

1948– The history of human rights has known The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a milestone. Representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world drafted it, and thus it carried the spirit of oneness in all its practical differences. Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (Resolution 217 A), it was accepted as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. For the first time, certain fundamental human rights which were to be universally protected were set out. UDHR expressly mentioned in its Article 19(2),”Everyone shall have the Right to Freedom of expression which shall include freedom to: seek, receive and impart information; regardless of frontiers – orally, in writing, or in print.”[4]

1966- United States of America enacted a federal law establishing the public’s right to obtain information from federal government agencies. Called the Freedom of Information Act, it is codified at 5 U.S.C., Section 552.”Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, associations, and universities.”[5]AfterPresident Lyndon Johnson’s initial reluctance to sign it, the Act did finally find its place in the United States of America.

The Watergate scandal took place in the 1970s, after which the Act was amended to force greater agency compliance. The amendment in 1996 allowed greater access to electronic information.

The Indian Scenario

In India, it all started with petitions of the press to the Supreme Court, relating to issues of enforcement of certain logistical implications of the right to freedom of speech and expression. Access to information was realised as being a key tool to fight corruption and wrongdoing, the public has a right to scrutinise the actions of its leaders and engage them into a full and open debate – the free flow information is a must for a society so diverse in its mind-sets. The Right To Information Act, 2005(India), has gradually become one of what are defined as “national movement” and has been an emphatic statement for such other rights-based legislations. Sections 4(1), 5(1), 5(2), 12, 13, 15, 16, 24, 27 and 28 of this Act came into force on 15thJune, 2005; and he remaining provisions found them being put forward for practical use on 12th October, 2005.

Interestingly, instead of the birth of representative democracy, it was its subsequent failures that gave birth and impetus to the transparency regime. There was an urge amongst the people to move towards participative democracy instead. On October 12, 2005, a person called Shahid Raza Burney submitted India’s first ever Right To Information application to a police station in Pune[6]and thus we entered the RTI age, formally. But before Mr. Burney could actually act and make use of his right, there had been a background of growth and development in the Indian arena of transparency of those answerable to the public.

Three kinds of stakeholders were a part of the struggle for a right to access information that was inherently the public’s but was kept from them, in the 1990s.

The rural poor’s basic economic rights and access to government schemes were a burning question and concern, and several movements with their all-powerful and impactful leaders strived to achieve the right to information for them. The relevance and importance of transparency came into the spotlight on a national platform when small, regional movements for these rights at the state levels brought to the forefront, how landless workers in rural areas were often cheated and not paid their full wages. The paymasters were government officials who claimed that the workers had worked for less days then they actually had, and the latter could not challenge the claim as access to the attendance register in which they had affixed their thumbprints every day they worked was denied to them, in the garb of them being “confidential government records”.

The second group comprised of activists working for the benefit of the society in conflict prone areas of India. They joined hands to fight for transparency in the system of governance, and for the human rights of various deprived individuals and groups. Their main argument was that their efforts to prevent felonious detentions, human rights abuses etc. were forestalled because they were denied access to the relevant information.
The third group of supporters were environmentalists. Concerned about the rapid destruction and degradation of the environment, they propagated their purview of the importance of access to the details of information regarding any developmental measures being taken, and its environmental impact.

Significant others in the fight for transparency were various professionals, especially journalists, lawyers, academics, and some retired and serving civil servants.

Freedom To Information Act, 2000 – A Step Towards The Greater Good:-

The Central Freedom of Information Act 2002 was passed in December 2002 and received the Presidential assent in January 2003.Some states, apart from the those already discussed above had their individual State Right To Information Acts by then – Goa (1997), Karnataka (2000),Delhi (2001), Assam (2002),Madhya Pradesh (2003)andJammu & Kashmir (2004)[7].

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) which had worked towards having finally given Rajasthan its own Right To Information Act in 2000, had also given a push to the birth of the National Campaign on People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), constituted in 1996 in New Delhi. The NCPRI aimed to provide active support to struggles for the right to information at the grass-root levels, and to lobby the Central government to enact and implement an effective access to information legislation. The Consumer Education and Research Council (CERC) in 1993, had proposed a draft RTI law based on a nationalised, Central level idea; following which, Justice P. B. Sawant headed the Press Council of India and they drafted a model law on the same to the Government of India in 1996, which was later updated and renamed the PCI-NIRD Freedom of Information Bill 1997. Unfortunately, this draft law wasn’t critically considered by the Government. Then, the Shourie Committee, a working group under the chairmanship of Mr. H. D. Shourie, was set up by the Central Government and given the mandate to formally prepare a draft legislation on freedom of information. Meanwhile, Mr. Ram Jethmalani, the then Union Minister for Urban Development, issued an administrative order enabling citizens to inspect and receive photocopies of files in his Ministry, in 1999. Yet again, very disappointingly, the Cabinet Secretary did not permit this order to come into effect.

The Freedom of Information Bill 2000 incorporated the Shourie Committee’s draft, but that somehow was even less satisfactory a Bill than the Shourie Committee’s initial one Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, in consultation with civil society groups discussed the 2000 Bill as was sent to the former, before submitting its Report in July 2001. The Government was urged to address the flaws in the draft Bill, as had been pointed out. The detriment of the final contents of the Bill was clearly a direct consequence of not considering any of those recommended amendments of the flaws. It was introduced in Parliament in 2002 just as it was, and was passed in December 2002. The Presidential assent for it was received in January 2003, and the Bill as finally stood as the Freedom of Information Act 2002. despite being passed by both houses of Parliament and having received presidential assent, this act was never notified and therefore never became effective. despite being passed by both houses of Parliament and having received presidential assent, this act was never notified and therefore never became effective.

The Change in Government, and What Followed:-
In May 2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress Party, came to power at the national level, displacing the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance government. The UPA government brought out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which promised, among other things, “to provide a government that is corruption-free, transparent and accountable at all times…” and to make the Right to Information Act “more progressive, participatory and meaningful”. The UPA government also set up a National Advisory Council (NAC), to monitor the implementation of the CMP. This council had leaders of various people’s movements, including the right to information movement, as members.

In the meantime, a public interest litigation case being pursued by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the NCPRI and Centre for Public Interest Litigation since 2002, tried to compel the Government to notify an effective law to provide Indians with access to information from public servants immediately. The case was heard by the Supreme Court on 20 July 2004. The Supreme Court’s Order set a deadline of 15 September 2004 for the Central Government to advise when the Act will be notified and if not, when interim Administrative Guidelines would be issued.

Seizing the opportunity, in August 2004, the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), formulated a set of suggested amendments to the 2002 Freedom of Information Act. These amendments, designed to strengthen and make more effective the 2002 Act, were based on extensive discussions with civil society groups working on transparency and other related issues. These suggested amendments were forwarded to the NAC, which endorsed most of them and forwarded them to the Prime Minister of India for further action. On 12 August 2004, the Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions finally released Draft Rules under the Freedom of Information Act 2002. CHRI issued a CHRI Press Release on the Draft Rules on 14 August, 2004. Some intense lobbying paid off and after a tense and pivotal meeting with the Prime Minister (arranged by a former Prime Minister, who was also present and supportive), in the middle of December 2004, the Government agreed to introduce in Parliament a fresh RTI Bill along the lines recommended by the NAC. Government of India introduced a revised Right to Information Bill in Parliament on 22 December 2004.

The issue that cropped up thereafter was that the 2004 Bill was applicable only to the central (federal) government, and not to the states, and several of the NAC’s recommendations had been disregarded. This omission was particularly significant as most of the information that was of relevance to the common person, especially the rural and urban poor, was with state governments and not with the Government of India. Consequently, there was a sharp reaction from civil society groups, while the government set up a group of ministers to review the bill, and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) referred the RTI Bill to the concerned standing committee of Parliament. Soon after, the NAC met and expressed, in a letter to the Prime Minister, their unanimous support for their original recommendations. Representatives of the NCPRI and various other civil society groups sent in written submissions to the Parliamentary Committee and many were invited to give verbal evidence. The group of Ministers, chaired by the senior minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, was also lobbied. these efforts were mostly successful and the Parliamentary Committee and Group of Ministers recommended the restitution of most of the provisions that had been deleted, including applicability to states. The Right to Information Bill, as amended, was passed by both houses of the Indian Parliament in May 2005, got Presidential assent on 15 June 2005, and became fully operational from 13 October 2005.

The journey of the Right To Information from a “Bill” to an “Act” may be divided into three phases.
PHASE 1-1975 to 1996- There were infrequent, irregular demands to public and private authorities for information, from various constituent social groups, coming to a crescendo in more focused ones in the mid-1980s. Grassroots movements in rural Rajasthan in the early 1990s were a major push. The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) was formed in 1996, and that culminated this phase. Various judicial orders in support of transparency were seen during this period.

PHASE 2–1996 to 2005- This phase is marked by the formulation of a draft RTI bill, spearheaded by the NCPRI. The subsequent processing by the government and the Parliament of the same is too, a bit of it. Rapid growth in size and influence of the RTI movement in India was seen, and as the National RTI Act was passed in 2005, this phase came to a close. This is also the period that sees a large number of countries across the world enact transparency laws.

PHASE 3–2005 to (present)- If we guide our focus on the time from the end of 2005 to the present, we will see that the consolidation of the act and on pushing for proper implementation has been taken up as the new challenge. Part of the effort has also been to afford protection to the RTI Act from any attempt to weaken it by those in power and being called “public” authorities. To push the boundaries of the RTI regime and make it deeper and wider in coverage, participation, and impact is a matter gaining rapid importance. The increasing efforts to look at the Constitutional perspective and newer applications bringing out loopholes in the form of relevant questions can be seen here.

It is to be noted again, that while the debate on a national law of Right to Information was raging in the nation, a few States started enforcing their own Right to Information laws. Here’s how several states, as mentioned above, went about it before the Central Legislation was declared officially operating, in 2002-

Goa: Having the fewest categories of exceptions, it has been noted as one of the most progressive state legislations for the Right To Information. Recognising the absolute necessity of supplying of information, it had the provision for urgent processing of requests pertaining to life and liberty, and an exclusive penalty clause for delays. Most importantly, it also applied to private bodies executing government works. The only recognisable negative point was this – it had no provision for pro-active disclosure by the government.

Tamil Nadu: It is notable that this Act provided for the provision of information to those asking for it within a period of 30 days from when it had been sought. At the time of its launch, all Public Distribution System shops in the state were asked to display details of stocks available, as according to the provisions of the legislation. All government departments also brought out citizens’ charters listing information on what the public was entitled to know and get.

Karnataka:
 12 categories of information being covered by some standard exception clauses were contained in this Act. Provisions for pro-active disclosure were limited, but it contained a penalty clause for delay in supply of information and provided for an appeal to an independent tribunal.

Delhi:
 The law was made along the lines of the Goa Right To Information Act. It contained the standard exceptions and provided for an appeal to an independent body. The establishment of an advisory body was also provided for, known as the State Council for Right to Information. Apart from bare minimum exceptions, the residents of the capital could seek any type of information after paying a nominal fee, from the civic body. The corporation had a month’s time to provide the same, failing which the concerned officials could be penalised. If the information was found to be false or had been subjected to deliberate tampering, a proof of the same could lead to the information-provider being fined.

Rajasthan: After five years of teetering, the Rajasthan Right to Information Act was finally passed in the year 2000. Focusing at the grass-root levels, village-based public hearings called Jan Sunwais were organised by the Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS). The aim was to give space and opportunity to the rural poor to proclaim their priorities, declare their grievances against the public authorities operating in the area, and suggest changes. The press, jurists and other such people were invited to these sessions. Jan Sunwais lead to the emergence of four major demands of these rural poor, those being: (1) Transparency of panchayat functioning; (2) accountability of officials; (3) social audit; and (4) redressal of grievances. The Bill was eventually passed, however, placed around 19 restrictions on the right of access to information. It had weak penalty provisions, and gave immense discretionary power to bureaucrats. It was the Jan Sunwais that exposed issues like corruption that suffused several panchayats, and also agitated extensively for the right to food after the revelation of hunger and starvation-related deaths in drought-ravaged districts.

Maharashtra: The voice from Rajasthan echoed in Maharashtra and following sustained pressure from social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, the Maharashtra Right to Information Bill was passed by the Maharashtra assembly. The Act not only brought government and semi-government bodies within its purview but also registered societies (including educational institutions), cooperatives, and state public sector units. Public Information Officers who fail to perform their duties may be fined up to Rs. 250 for each day’s delay in furnishing information. Wilfully providing incorrect and misleading information or information that was incomplete, the appellate authority hearing the matter may impose a fine of up to Rs. 2,000 on the Information Officer. He/she may also be subject to internal disciplinary action. There was also a provision for setting up of a council to monitor the workings of the Act at least once in every 6 months, on a public scale. The council was to comprise of members of the press, senior members of government, and representatives of NGOs. Exclusion clauses were reduced to bare minimum of ten.

Here’s a timeline-table elucidating upon this entire journey:-

1975 Supreme Court of India rules that the people of India have a right to know.
1982 Supreme Court rules that the right to information is a fundamental right.
1985 Intervention application in the Supreme Court by environmental NGOs following the Bhopal gas tragedy, asking for access to information relating to environmental hazards.
1989 Election promise by the new coalition government to bring in a transparency law.
1990 Government falls before the transparency law can be introduced.
1996 1) Formation of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information(NCPRI).
2) Draft RTI bill prepared and sent to the government by NCPRI and other groups and movements, with the support of the Press Council of India.
1997 1) Government refers the draft bill to a committee set up under the Chairmanship of H.D. Shourie.
2) The Shourie Committee submits its report to the government.
1999 A cabinet minister allows access to information in his ministry. Order reversed by PM.
2000 1) Case filed in the Supreme Court demanding the institutionalization of the RTI.
2) Shourie Committee report referred to a Parliamentary Committee.
2001 Parliamentary Committee gives its recommendations.
2002 1) Supreme Court gives ultimatum to the government regarding the right to information.
2) Freedom of Information Act passed in both houses of Parliament.
2003 Freedom of Information Act gets Presidential assent, but is never notified.
2004 National elections announced, and the “strengthening” of the RTI Act included in the manifesto of the Congress Party.
June 2004 Government sets up a National Advisory Council (NAC) under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.
August 2004 NCPRI sends a draft bill to the NAC, formulated in consultation with many groups and movements. NAC discusses and forwards a slightly modified version, with its recommendations, to the government.
December 2004 RTI Bill introduced in Parliament and immediately referred to a Parliamentary Committee. However, Bill only applicable to the central government.
Jan-April 2005 Bill considered by the Parliamentary Committee and the Council of Ministers and a revised Bill, covering the central and the state governments introduced in Parliament.
May 2005 The RTI Bill passed by both houses of Parliament.
June 2005 RTI Bill gets the assent of the President of India.
October 2005 The RTI Act comes into force.
2006 First abortive attempt by the government to amend the RTI Act.
2009 Second abortive attempt by the government to amend the RTI Act.

Lessons:-
The lessons learnt from this entire struggle to give more meaning to the Fundamental Rights – Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression[Article 19(1)(a)]and the Right to Life(Article 21)[9]may be summed up as follows:
·Grassroots mobilisation and building alliances
·Exploiting opportunities
·Flexibility and consensus
·Political mandates and transparency

Constitutional Perspective:-
Interpreting Article 19 (1)(a)of the Constitution of India:-
The right to free speech and expression is guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and the Right to Information may be linked to it pretty directly. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, in the S.P. Gupta case[10]observed that the right to express one’s thoughts is meaningless if it is not accompanied by related right to secure all information on mailers of public concern from relevant public authorities; people had the right to know about every public act, and the details of every public transaction undertaken by public functionaries.

The court, in Bennett Coleman and Company v. Union of India[11], observed that freedom of press indisputably meant the right of all citizens to speak, publish and express their views. The freedom of speech in turn included within its purview, the right of all citizens to read and be informed.

Again, in Express Newspaper v. Union of India, 1958, the court observed that the basic purpose of freedom of speech and expression is that members should be able to form their beliefs and communicate them freely to others. The fundamental principle involved in this is peoples’ right to know. Thus, the right to acquire information includes the right to access the sources of information.

In Ozair Husain v. Union of India[12], the Delhi High Court held that it is the customers’ fundamental right to know the composition of food products, cosmetics and drugs; otherwise their fundamental rights under Articles 19(1)(a), 21 and 25 of the Constitution will be violated.

Interpreting Article 21of the Constitution of India:-
The Supreme Court, in R.P. Limited v. Indian Express Newspaper[13], observed that people have a right to “know” in order to be able to take part in developmental schemes for a democracy.

In People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India[14], participatory governance was emphasised upon. The right to information was further elevated to the status of a human right which is necessary for making governance transparent and accountable.

In K. Ravi Kumar v. Bangalore University[15], the apex court held that the public authorities cannot deny completely any document on the ground of “confidentiality”
Thus, the Right To Information may be taken to be a basic right, to which citizens of a free country aspire, in the broad ambit of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

CONCLUSION
-The State of Implementation
Two nation-wide assessments of the impact of implementation of the RTI Act were done in 2008-09 by Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India with the help of an international accounting company; both the reports coming up in 2009. The following conclusions were drawn-
i. Awareness about the RTI Act was still very low, especially among rural population and among women.

ii. Public Information Officers who are supposed to receive their applications and provide them with information often harassed applicants, especially in the rural areas. In many cases the applicants had to visit the office more than once which mostly used to be a complete waste of time, in order to get their applications merely accepted. Instances of applicants being discouraged from filing RTI applications, threatened, and even physically attacked were pretty common.

iii. Government functionaries needed training as to how to respond to RTI applications, and on the need to significantly improve record management.

iv. One of the weak areas was the functioning of the information commissions. The back-log was huge, and growing. Appellants had to wait for months in order to get their matter heard and decided upon. Moreover, despite the fact that the RTI Act mandated that a penalty every time information is not provided within 30 days (without reasonable cause), very few penalties were actually being imposed. Some commissions imposed no penalties at all.

v. In between October 2005 to March 2008, there were an estimated two million RTI applications filed across the country, of which an estimated 400,000 RTI applications were filed from the rural areas, belying the impression that only the educated urban people used the RTI Act. Nearly 50% of the rural and 40% of the urban applicants were not even graduates, and the representation among applicants of the disadvantaged groups was in proportion to their population in India.[16]

The overall scenario is this – the RTI Act has been doing well in terms of the enthusiasm with which the public had taken to it, or the fact that between 50 and 60% of the applicants actually got the information asked for, and that for many of these it resulted in the ultimate objective being met, there was much to be done to improve the functioning of the government and the commissions.[17]

This Act has proven itself to be a milestone, to be etched in the legal history of India; the balance of power in India has been changing at a gradual pace – people, who are the asset and makers of a nation as a whole are finally rightfully getting a power that they deserved; and the government and other powerful entities are having to distribute and disclose the source of. To transform the nation from a representative democracy to a participatory one, where governments, and their functionaries at all levels, are directly answerable to the people for their actions and inaction, thus deepening the very roots of the strength of the largest democracy in the world. Actualizing this potential needs a much more concerted push in the next few years. There really is no time that can be wasted when the struggle is for power and control. Vested interests of those in power will push them will exploit the weakness of people if they do not stay together and keep making efforts to recapture power that is rightfully theirs.

End-Notes
[1]Sudesh Vasudeva, The Role of Judiciary in the Creation of a “Right To Information” in India,International Conference on Trends in Economics, Humanities and Management(2014) 1.
[2]Peter Hogg and Ors.,The World´s First Freedom of Information Act – Anders Chydenius´ Legacy Today(2nd edn,Anders Chydenius Foundation) 6.
[3](13/07/2017, 14:25),https://www.access-info.org/uncategorized/10819
[4](14/07/2017, 10:13), http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
[5](14/07/2017, 10:13),https://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-update-freedom-information-act-5-usc-sect-552-amended-public-law-no-104-231-110-stat
[6](13/07/2017, 14:25),http://www.sify.com/news/10-things-about-rti-act-that-completes-10-years-news-columns-pkflhegibifjb.html
[7]The Central Freedom to Information Act did not apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
[8]Shekhar Singh, The Genesis and Evolution of the Right to Information Regime in India” in India,51.
[9](17/07/2017, 12:00), http://lawmin.nic.in/olwing/coi/coi-english/coi-indexenglish.htm
[10]S.P. Gupta vs. President Of India And Ors,AIR 1982 SC 149
[11]1973 AIR 106, 1973 SCR (2) 757
[12]AIR 2003 Delhi 103, 101 (2002) DLT 229
[13]AIR 1989 SC 190
[14]AIR 2004 SC 1442: (2004) 2 SCC 476
[15]AIR 2005 Kant 21
[16](00:53, 18/07/2017), http://www.livelaw.in/8-years-of-right-to-information-act-in-india-an-appraisal/
[17]Shekhar Singh, The Genesis and Evolution of the Right to Information Regime in India” in India,74.

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