Right to Information (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information. It replaced the erstwhile Freedom of Information Act, 2002. Under the provisions of RTI Act, any citizen of India may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. In case of matter involving a petitioner’s life and liberty, the information has to be provided within 48 hours. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. Every day, over 4800 RTI applications are filed. In the first ten years of the commencement of the act over 17,500,000 applications had been filed.
In India, the organisation called Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan was instrumental in the passage of RTI Act. Aruna Roy is the mastermind behind the RTI Act 2005. RTI is a legal right for every citizen of India. The authorities under RTI Act 2005 are called quasi-judicial authorities. This act was enacted in order to consolidate the fundamental right in the Indian constitution ‘freedom of speech’ . Since RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19 of Indian Constitution. It is an implied fundamental right because if one does not know the facts, one cannot speak freely.