A Great and Revolutionary Law? The First Four Years of India's Right to Information Act
Public Administration Review, Vol, 70, No.6, November/December 2010
32 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2009 Last revised: 5 Jul 2015
Date Written: March 12, 2010
India's Right to Information Act (RTIA), adopted in 2005, is among dozens of national laws recently adopted that are modeled on the United States' Freedom of Information Act. A large number of studies completed in 2007-2009 have examined challenges in implementing the law. Indian citizens filed about two million requests for information under the RTIA in its first two and half years. However, use of the law has been constrained by uneven public awareness, poor planning by public authorities, and bureaucratic indifference or hostility. Requirements for proactive disclosure of information are often ignored, and mechanisms for enforcing the new law are strained by a growing number of complaints and appeals. Nonetheless, RTIA advocates have demonstrated the transformative potential of the new law, and continue to press energetically for proper implementation. Public authorities and civil society organizations have developed innovations in practice that may be useful to other developing countries adopting similar laws.
Keywords: right to information, freedom of information, transparency, open government, India, implementation
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