RTI Act: History, Objectives, Features, Importance, Study Notes

By Ritesh|Updated : July 18th, 2022

The Right to Information Act is a very important act introduced in the constitution of India which allows every individual to seek and receive information related to any issue regardless of the boundaries. Right to information is a crucial topic from an exam point of view in UPSC Prelims and Mains.

In this article, we have provided details about the Right to Information Act, 2005. which is frequently seen in the news, making it an important topic for UPSC aspirants.

Table of Content

What is the RTI act 2005?

The Right to Information, or RTI Act 2005, is a fundamental right enshrined in article 19(1) of Part 3 of the Indian Constitution. In the Raj Narayan vs. Uttar Pradesh State case, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to information is a fundamental right and it is the citizen's right to know about the workings of the government.

The Right to Information is a tool to establish accountability and transparency in governance and is helpful in reducing corruption.

Download Right to Information Act Notes PDF

History of the Right to Information Act

The Right to Information Act was passed on June 15, 2005, and implemented on October 12, 2005. It is a legal right. The credit for Right to Information goes to Aruna Roy. The Right to Information Act, 2005, replaces the Freedom of Information Act, 2002. It also has a constitutional provision under article 19(1)a (which is the right to freedom of speech and expression) of the fundamental rights of the constitution. Sweden was the first country to implement the Right to Information Act.

Objectives of Right to Information

The Objectives of the Right to Information are as follows:

  • To establish good governance, that is Ramraj, by empowering the citizens of the country to question the government.
  • The RTI Act helps to promote transparency, accountability, and responsibility in the working of the government of the country.
  • The RTI Act is very fruitful in reducing corruption in the country and working for the benefit of the citizens in a better way.
  • The RTI Act also helps in changing the attitude of government officials toward ordinary citizens. RTI makes government officials more responsible for their duties.

Features of Right to Information

The Right to Information Act, 2005 has a total of 31 sections, 6 chapters, and two schedules.

  • Section 1. A short title is a Right to Information Act, 2005 and its extension, i.e., the whole country.
  • Section 2-Definitions
  • 2A-Appropriate government
  • 2(B)-Central Information Commission
  • 2(H)-Public Authority
  • 2(J)-Right to Information
  • 2(K)-State Information Commission
  • Section 8- Information which not comes under Right to Information.
    • Unity and integration
    • National Security
    • Sovereign
    • Relations with a foreign state
    • Commercial privacy
    • Parliamentary privileges
    • Individual Privacy
    • A Court of Contempt
  • Section 12-Formation of the Central Information Commission
  • Section 15-Formation of the State Information Commission
  • Section 18-Power of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioner (centre + state).
  • Section 19-Appeals to the Public Information Officer (within 30 days)
  • Section 20: Punishment
  • Section 24- Right to Information, which is not for some organizations (second schedule). There are 22 such organizations, such as DRDO, Para Military Force, IB, RAW, ED, etc.
  • Section 27-Centre and state governments can make laws regarding the Right to Information Act.

Importance of the Right to Information Act

RTI gave the opportunity to the common people to know about what is happening in the country by giving them the power to question the government about their work, schemes, etc.

  • RTI also helps farmers by providing them with solutions to their problems. like-soil problems, pest problems, etc.
  • RTI helps in solving the cases pending in the courts.
  • RTI empowers the information commission to be the highest authority of the country with the power to order any office in the country to provide information as per the provision of the act and also empowers the commission to punish for the violation of the RTI.
  • RTI also helps vulnerable sections of society by helping them to know their rights.

Need for RTI Act

The right to information is essential in today's world because it promotes transparency and accountability in government functions.

  • The weaker and vulnerable sections of society are also empowered by this Act, which gives them the power to seek information about the policies that are being run for them and from which they will benefit.
  • The RTI Act has already revealed major corruption, such as the Common Health Game Organization and the 2G spectrum scam.
  • Now government officials do not discriminate against citizens based on race, caste, or sex as they know if they do something which is against civil rights. He will take action, and this is possible just because of the RTI Act.

Process of filing the RTI

According to the Right to Information Act, any person may file a written request to the Public Information Officer (PIO), who is established by the authorities to seek the information.

  • The officer must give the information sought by the applicant and if he does not get the information, then he has the option to file a request in front of the state or Central Information Commission.
  • There is also a provision for a time limit in the Right to Information Act so that the process can be done quickly.
  • Different time limits are prescribed for different situations. -
  • When an applicant seeks information from any public information officer, then they must reply to the applicant within a time limit of 30 days, and for any application seeking information from assistant public information officers, then, in this case, the time limit is to provide information within 35 days.
  • The application can be transferred to another public information officer in 30 days.
  • Any applicant seeking information regarding corruption or any kind of violation of human rights, which are covered under schedule 2 of the RTI Act, must be given within 45 days with permission of the Central Information Commission.

Challenges of the RTI Act

Institutional Challenges- Recently, the RTI Amendment Act has been passed, which has questioned its independence like-

  1. Earlier, the power of the Chief Information Commission was at par with that of the Chief Election Commission, and the Information Commissioner was at par with the Election Commission, which has been amended, and now their power and service conditions will be decided by the central government.
  2. The tenure of the Information Commissioner will be decided by the Central Government, which means different Centre information commissions may have different tenures.
  3. They have a lower number of self-employees.

Amendment in Right to Information Act

Earlier the Chief Information Commissioner at the centre and state level was appointed for a 5-year term under the RTI Act of 2005. but according to the RTI Amendment Act 2019 now the tenure of the Chief Information Commissioner in the centre and state will be notified by the union government.

  • Earlier, according to the RTI Act of 2005, the salaries of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners will be equal to the salary of the chief election commissioner and the election commissioners but after the amendment now the central and the state Chief Information Commissioner and information commissioners salary, allowances, and other terms and condition of the employment Shall be done by the central government.
  • RTI 2019, Amendment Act removes the provision that at the time of appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners at the Central and the state level receiving a pension or any other retirement benefits for the previous government services. then their salary will be reduced by an amount equal to the pension.

RTI Act 2005 UPSC

RTI act 2005 UPSC topic is a must and unavoidable topic in the syllabus of UPSC. once you go through the right to information act 2005 study notes, you will come to know the relevance of the right to information act 2005 in Indian Polity.

To prepare the Right to Information Act, 2005 topic of political science relevant to the exam in detail download the NCERT Books for UPSC or the UPSC Books. Right to Information is an essential topic regarding UPSC prelims and mains exam as well.

The aspirants willing to appear in the IAS Exams this year can also get the UPSC syllabus and political science notes from here. Here the aspirants have also facilitated UPSC previous year's question papers and other ias study materials.

Download Right to Information Act UPSC Notes PDF

RTI Sample Questions

Question - Consider the following statements regarding RTI Act 2005

  1. Any citizen of India can request information.
  2. Rs 100 fees will be charged to people living below the poverty line for the information.
  3. Information should be provided by the PIO within a time limit of 60 days from the date of application.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct.

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 & 3 only
  3. 2 & 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer - A

Question - Consider the following statement regarding RTI Act, 2005.

  1. The formation of the Central Information Commission was established by the RTI Act.
  2. At the time when the national RTI Act came into force, nine states and UTs had already made similar laws.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 Nor 2

Answer - C

Other Important UPSC Notes
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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)G7 Summit
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FAQs on Right to Information Act

  • The Right to Information Act is enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of fundamental duties in part 3 of the Indian Constitution.

  • Right to Information is the right by which citizens may seek information about the government working or government documents.

  • Right to Information was implemented on 12 October 2005. which replaced the Freedom of Information Act, 2002.

  • The formation of the Central Information Commission deals with section 12 of the RTI, Act.

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