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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

Alasdair S. Roberts

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy

Date Written: March 12, 2010

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Alasdair S., A Great and Revolutionary Law? The First Four Years of India's Right to Information Act (March 12, 2010). Public Administration Review, Vol, 70, No.6, November/December 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1527858

Alasdair S. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
6175999029 (Phone)

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