RTI UPSC: Study Notes, Features, Right to Information Act 2005

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The RTI Act 2005 is a significant act introduced in the constitution of India, which allows every individual to seek and receive information related to any issue regardless of the boundaries. The Right to Information act was enacted by the Indian parliament to provide citizens with access to records held by the central and state governments. This act was passed by the parliament on June 2005, and it came into force in October 2005. The RTI Act 2005 provides a mechanism to develop and ensure accountability and transparency, in line with Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution.

RTI UPSC is a crucial topic from an exam point of view in Prelims and Mains. In this article, we have provided details about the features, objectives, importance, and amendments in the act, along with a direct link to download the Right to Information Act, 2005 study notes for UPSC exam preparation.

What is 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 Act was passed on June 15, 2005, and implemented on October 12, 2005. It is a legal right. The credit for this act goes to Aruna Roy. The RTI 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 RTI Act.

Right to Information Act, 2005 Study Notes

The RTI Act 2005 is a tool to establish accountability and transparency in governance and is helpful in reducing corruption. It replaced the Freedom of information act 2002 to set up a practical regime of the right to information for every citizen.

Download: Right to Information Act, 2005 Study Notes PDF

Objectives of RTI Act 2005

The Objectives of the Right to Information Act 2005 are as follows:

  • To establish good governance, that is Ramraj, by empowering the citizens of the country to question the government.
  • The RTI Act 2005 helps to promote transparency, accountability, and responsibility in the working of the government of the country.
  • It is very fruitful in reducing corruption in the country and working for the benefit of the citizens in a better way.
  • It also helps in changing the attitude of government officials toward ordinary citizens. RTI Act makes government officials more responsible for their duties.

Salient Features of RTI Act 2005

The RTI Act 2005 has a total of 31 sections, 6 chapters, and two schedules. Some salient features of the Right to Information Act are as follows:

  • Under its provision, any citizen of India may request information from a public authority. The required information needs to be replied to within 30 days.
  • The request for information on any issue from the public authority is required to be submitted to the Public Information officer at the centre or in the State.
  • The RTI Act encourages every government body to make their offices transparent by computerizing their records for the wide dissemination of the information to the public.
  • Jammu and Kashmir will not come under the RTI Act 2005. However, it has a separate 2009 Act.
  • The restrictions imposed by the Official Secrets Act 1923 were relaxed by this act.
  • The Act has established a three-tier structure for enforcing the right to information guaranteed under the Act. The three Levels are – Public Information Officer, First Appellate Authority, and Central Information Commission (CIC).
  • In case of non-receipt of information within 30 days, the individual requiring information may file an appeal. The Appellate Authority must reply within 30 days or in 45 days in exceptional cases.
  • The individual may file 2nd appeal within 90 days in case of non-supply of information.
  • The public authorities applicable under the RTI act are all Constitutional bodies at centre and state (Legislature, Executive, Judiciary), bodies/NGOs owned/financed by the government, and privatized public utility companies.
  • The public authorities excluded under RTI are agencies of the state specified through notification, Central Intelligence and Security Agencies.
  • The Central Information Commission shall consist of one Chief Information Commissioner and up to 10 Central Information Commissioners.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner will have a term of five years from the date of entering his office. She/ He shall not be entitled to reappointment to that post.
  • Section 8 deals with public authorities which have been granted an exemption under this act.

Importance of RTI (Right to Information Act)

RTI Act 2005 allowed 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.

  • The act also helps farmers by providing them with solutions to their problems like soil, pest problems, etc.
  • It helps in solving the cases pending in the courts.
  • It 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 RTI Act 2005 and also empowers the commission to punish the violation of the RTI.
  • It also helps vulnerable sections of society by helping them to know their rights.

Need for RTI Act 2005

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 RTI 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 2005 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 Right to Information Act.

Right to Information is a Fundamental Right

There are six fundamental rights included in the Indian Constitution under Articles 12 to 35, Part 3 of the Constitution. The Right to Information is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a), which is the right to freedom of speech and expression. It was implemented in 2005. All UPSC aspirants must prepare through RTI UPSC notes shared in this article to score well in the upcoming exam.

☛ Other Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution:

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 RTI Act 2005 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 2005

According to a recent study, only 36 per cent of people in rural areas and 38 per cent of people in urban areas have heard of the RTI Act. The other challenges of the Right to Information Act 2005 are as follows:

  • The participation of women in the act is not sufficient for a progressive and empowered society.
  • The data shows that around 45% of public information officers did not get any training while joining the post.
  • There has been a tendency of poor record-keeping practices by the central and state government offices. This violates section 4 of the RTI Act 2005.
  • The pendency of cases is a clear indication of the casual approach of the government towards RTI.
  • There is a lack of appropriate infrastructure and a huge deficiency in staff required for running Information Commissions.
  • The dilution of the whistle-blower protection act is a cause of concern.
  • The security and protection of RTI activists in the course of their work is a cause of concern.
  • The non-inclusion of the Judiciary and political parties creates suspicion in mind and creates a hurdle in the fight towards making the system more transparent and accountable.
  • The recent changes will create political patronage in the selection of Information Commissioners and will lead to the dilution of the main purpose of the RTI act.

Right to Information Act Amendment

Earlier, the Chief Information Commissioner at the centre and state levels were appointed for a 5-year term under the RTI Act 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 2005, the salaries of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners were 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 made by the central government.
  • RTI Amendment Act 2019 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 topic is a must and unavoidable topic in the IAS syllabus. Once you go through the Right to Information Act, 2005 study notes, you will come to know the relevance of the act in the Indian Polity section in the Prelims and Mains examinations.

RTI Act UPSC Questions

Check out the following questions on the Right to Information Act especially taken out from the UPSC previous year question papers to assist candidates in their preparation:

Question 1: Which of the following is NOT true regarding the Right to Information Act in India? – (a) It was enacted in 2005, (b) It promotes transparency and accountability in the government, (c) It applies to all states and union territories of India, (d) It covers only Indian citizens.

Answer: d) It covers only Indian citizens.

Question 2: The Central Information Commission is responsible for: (a) Implementing the RTI Act at the state level, (b) Hearing complaints and appeals regarding the act, (c) Enforcing penalties for non-compliance with the act, (d) Conducting awareness campaigns about the act.

Answer: b) Hearing complaints and appeals regarding the RTI Act.

Question 3: As per the RTI Act, the time limit for providing information to an applicant by a public information officer is: (a) 15 days, (b) 30 days, (c) 45 days, (d) 60 days

Answer: b) 30 days

Question 4: Which of the following information is exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act?

  1. Information related to national security.
  2. Information that may endanger the life or physical safety of an individual.
  3. Information that may impede the process of ongoing investigations.
  4. All of the above.

Answer: d) All of the above

Question 5: The first appeal against a public authority’s decision regarding the RTI Act should be filed with (a) The Central Information Commission, (b) The State Information Commission, (c) The High Court, (d) The District Court

Answer: b) The State Information Commission

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