FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

  • Added the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. The ten fundamental duties given in Article 51 A of the Constitution can be classified as:
    i. Duties towards self
    ii. Duties concerning the environment
    iii. Duties towards the state
    iv. The duties towards the nation.
  • The eleventh fundamental duty, which states that every citizen ‘who is a parent or guardian, to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years’ has been added by the 86th constitutional amendment in 2002.

Right to Information 

Right to Information (RTI) ACT, 2005

  • RTI Act, 2005 was passed by the Parliament on 15 June 2005 which re-pealed the Freedom of Information Act 2002. 
  • RTI Act, 2005, came into force on 12 October 2005. 
  • Right to Information Act, 2005 is to extend to whole of India except in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • RTI confers upon the citizen of India the legal right to seek any information regarding public work, public record, document, memos, contracts, reports, data, and any other matter of public importance from the public authority within prescribe time limit through the stipulated procedure of depositing specified amount of fee and writing application to the appropriate authority. 
  • Public authority means anybody or institution of self-government established or constituted by the state legislature, anybody setup by the government by notification and any NGO substantially owned or financed by the government. 
  • The public authorities are required to appoint public information officers to provide information to the people within thirty days of the submission of application. > Information on certain matters and from certain agencies are being excluded from the purview of RTI. These are as follows: 
    i. Information regarding file noting. 
    ii. information disclosure that would prejudicially affects the sovereignty and integrity of India and the security, strategic or economic interest of the state in relation with any foreign state. 
    iii. Information from securities and intelligence agencies, information regarding privilege of parliament and legislative assemblies, information that has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute the contempt of court.

Central Information Commission 

  • Right to Information Act, 2005, provide that the central government is to constitute a body to be known as the Central Information Commission (CIC) to exercise power on it and to perform the function mentioned under this Act.
  • The headquarters of the ClC is to be at Delhi and CIC may with the previous approval of the central government establish the offices at other places.

Appointment

The Chief Information Commissioner and the information commissioners are to be appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:

  • The Prime Minister who is to be chairman of the committee.
  • The leader of opposition in Lok Sabha.
  • A union cabinet minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

Qualifications, Term of Office And Condition Of Service

  • The Chief Information Commissioner and the information commissioners are to be people of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration, and governance.
  • The CIC and ICs should not be the members of parliament or member of the legislative of any state or UT, as the case may be or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing profession.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner is to hold office for a term of five years or up to sixty-five year from the date on which he enters upon his office and is not eligible for a reappointment.
  • Every Information Commissioner is to hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years which ever is earlier and not to be eligible for reappointment as such information commissioner though he could be the Chief Information Commissioner.
  • The CIC and ICs before entering upon their office are to subscribe before the President an oath or affirmation according to the form set up in the Act.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner and the information commissioners may at any time by writing under his hand addressed to the President resign from his office. Besides, the Chief Information Commissioner or an information commissioner may be removed in the manner specified under the Act.
  • The salaries and allowance payable to and other terms and conditions of services of:
    i. The Chief Information Commissioner is to be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner
    ii. The information commissioner is to be the same as that of the election commissioner.

State Information Commissions

  • The Rights to Information Act, 2005 mentions that every state government is to constitution a body to be known as the information commission to exercise the powers conferred on and to perform the function assigned to it under the RTI Act.

Appointment 

The state chief commissioner and the state information commissioner are to be appointed by governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of: 

  • The chief minister who shall be the chairperson of the committee. 
  • The leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly. 
  • A cabinet minister is to be nominated by the chief minister. 

The state chief information commissioner is to supervise and manage the affairs of the state information commission and is assisted by the state information commissioners. 

Qualification, Terms of Office, and Conditions of Service 

  • The state information commissioner and state information commissioner are persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration, and governance. 
  • The state chief information commissioner or a state information commissioner are not to be a member of parliament or member of state legislative assembly of any state or UT or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or profession. 
  • The state chief information commissioner and information commissioner are to hold office for five years or up to an age of sixty-five years. 
  • The state chief information commissioner and state information commissioner are required to take oath before the governor. 
  • The salaries and allowance payable to and other terms and conditions of services of the state information commissioner is to be same as that of an Election Commissioner and of the state information commissioner same as that of the chief secretary of the state government.
  • The state chief information commissioner or a state information commissioner may resign from his office by writing under his address to the governor and can be removed from his office by the order of the governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court on a reference made to it by the Governor has reported that the grounds are valid. 

Powers and Functions of the Information Commissions 

The Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission are empowered to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person who could not get information from any public authority due to a reason of no appointment of PIO in that organization. 

  • If the made request by any person for information has been turned down by public authority. 
  • If the information seeker could not get the information within the time limit specified under RTI. 
  • If the demanded fee by the public authority for providing the information is unreasonably high. 
  • If the information seeker thinks that he or she has been provided incomplete, misleading or false information.
  • In respect of any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to records under this Act. 
  • The central public information officer or the state public information officer as the case may be is to be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him. Burden of proving shall be upon the information officers. 
  • No suit is to be laid against any person for anything done in good faith. 
  • The provisions of this Act are to have effect not with-standing anything inconsistent therewith contained in Official Secrets Act, 1923. 
  • The Right to Information Act has been continuously used by the active and aware members of the civil society to expose corrupt practices in the administration and misappropriations of the funds sanctioned for the execution of public welfare schemes. 
  • Mrs Aruna Roy, a social activist and winner of Magsaysay Award is actively associated with the task of popularizing Right to Information Act among the common masses of the country.
  • Arvind Kejriwal won the Magsaysay Award for popularizing Right to Information Act among the people.