The Right to Information Act (2005) has been made to give the Indian citizens, the right to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities.
Information here means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.
Right to information here means the right to have access to such information and includes the right to- inspection of work, documents, records, taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records, taking certified samples of material, obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.
However this law exempts some sort of information like information , disclosure of which would affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law; which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property; received in confidence from foreign Government; which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person ; impede the process of investigation ; cabinet papers ; relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:
Put simply, as per the provisions of this act, a citizen who desires to obtain any information under this Act from a Public Authority under this Act, should apply to the Public Information Officer of the concerned public authority in the form of a written application (simple, precise and specific) in English or Hindi or in the official language of that local area along with the payment of the required application fee (exempted in case of BPL applicant). If the applicant is not able to apply in writing, he may seek the assistance of the Public Information Officer appointed under this Act, for doing so. In no case the applicant is required to give any reason for getting the information under this act. Normally, the needed information shall be supplied within 30 days from the receipt of application but if it concerns the life or liberty of a person, it shall be supplied within 48 hours. If the information is not received within the prescribed period an appeal can be filed before the appellate authority within 30 days.