RIGHT TO INFORMATION
IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Discuss the statutory limitations of the Right to Information.
Ans. According to Right to information Act certain information cannot be disclosed as it may affect the national interest f the country adversely.
■ Article 19(2) of the Constitution: The Right to Information (RTI) has been accepted as a fundamental right of citizens under Article 19(1) (a) The fundamental right can be limited only by reasonable restrictions under a law made for the purposes mentioned in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution.
The restrictions are meant for protecting sovereignty and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency and morality.
■ Non-disclosure Clause: Section 8 of the RTI Act, 2005- Non-disclosure clause of Section 8 of the RTI discharges public authorities from obligation to provide information to the citizens.
This section is general and can be interpreted in either of the following ways.
(i) Subsection (1) lists out certain specific exemptions to disclosure, namely, information that a citizen requests may not claim as a matter of right.
(ii) Sub-Section (2) provides for disclosure of even exempt information when public interest in disclosure outweighs harms to the protected interest.
(iii) Sub-Section (3) limits operation of seven out of the ten exemptions up to 20 years for a given set of records. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Exemption relating to national security, relations with foreign Government, Parliamentary and Legislative privileges and Cabinet documents apply for an indefinite period of time.
The complete text of section along with its provision given below:
There shall be no obligation to give any citizen,
(a) Information, disclosure of information which could prejudicially affect sovereignty and integrity of India; security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the state, relation with foreign state or information that may lead to incitement of an offence.
(b) Information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or disclosure of information which may constitute contempt of court.
(c) disclosure of Information which could cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature.IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
(d) Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, disclosure of which could harm competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
(e) Information available to a person in his/her fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is larger public interest warrants disclosure of such information.
(f) Information received in confidence from foreign governments.
(g) Information, the disclosure of which could endanger life and physical safely of any person or identity, source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.
(h) Information which could impede the process of investigation, apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
(i) Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Provided that decision of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof and the material on the basis of which decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken and the matter is complete or over;Provided that those matters, which come under the exemptions specified in this section, shall not be disclosed.
(j) Information, which relates to personal information, disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which could cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of an individual, unless they areCentral Public Information Officer or State Public Information officer or belongs to the appellate authority, as the case may be, as satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.
(k) Notwithstanding anything in Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section(1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs harms to the protected interests.
(1) Subjects to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which the request is made under section 6, shall be provided to any person making such a request.
Q. 2. Describe the meaning, objectives, role, and significance of Social Audit.
Ans. Social Audit can be described as verification of the implementation of a program/scheme and its results by the community with active involvement of primary stakeholder. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
It is done by comparing official records with actual ground realities, with the participation of the community in the verification exercise and declaring the finding on a public platform.
The social audit process goes beyond accounting for the money that has been spent to examine whether the money was spent properly.
It is a continuous process and performed jointly by the Government, Civil Society Organizations and citizens especially its beneficiaries.
Social Audit is necessary as on the basis of Social Audit planning, management and measurement of non-financial activities; and monitoring of the department’s operations can be carried out effectively.
Section 17 of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 states that the Gram Sabha would monitor the execution of work within the Gram Panchayat,conduct regular social audit of all the projects under the Gram Panchayat.
The major objectives of Social Audit are:
(a) Promote transparency and accountability in implementation of the government scheme/program IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
(b) Strengthen the democracy and institutions at the grass roots level
(c) Encourage people’s participation in effective implementation of the scheme/program.
(d) Provide a platform for local people specially beneficiaries of program to express their basic needs and grievances.
(e) Engage, inform, educate and empower local people specially beneficiaries of the program/scheme about their rights.
( f] Capacity building of persons participating in the social audit
(g) Strengthen the scheme/program by improving planning
Social Audit: Role
Social Audit enables to measure, report and improve the social and ethical performance of an organization thus promote transparency, accountability and people’s participation in government schemes/program.
In Social Audit, quantitative and qualitative inputs are publicly verified and a report is prepared and directions are suggested for developing further strategies for effective implementation of scheme/program.
The social audit encourages the citizens to claim their constitutional right to participate in governance; and improve accountability and performance.
Social Audit: Significance
The significance of social audit lies
■ By examining the effectiveness, usefulness and relevance of implemented scheme/program as it ensures that benefits is reaching to its mandated target group
It contributes in strengthening the accountability of the concerned authority
Its importance is evident in the decision of the Ministry of Rural Development (MORD) in consultation with the Controller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India, to notify the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Audit of Scheme Rules in 2011. Proper conduct of social audit has inspired the stakeholders to contribute effectively.
According to Second Administrative Reforms’ Commission (SARC) in its report state that it will be a useful supplement to surprise inspection on the part of the departmental supervisors and suggested that provisions for the Social Audit should be made a part of the operational guidelines of all schemes.
Social Audit in Selected SchemesAs Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and the National Food Security Act (NGSA) have provisions for conducting the Social Audit, the Government has issued guidelines for undertaking the Social Audit under other schemes such as ICDS, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), etc. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
For this purpose, legal and schematic provision is incorporated in the Panchayati Raj Acts of various states.
Some other states that have initiated the Social Audits in various schemes are:
- PMAY – Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh
- PDS – Karnataka
- MDM – Uttarkhand and Karnataka
- SBM – Telangana and Karnataka
- ICDS Telangana
- Stree Nidhi loans to SHCS – Telangana
- Tribal Development Society Program – Jharkhand
- Rural Drinking Water Scheme – Karnataka
Social Audit: Process and Significant Steps
Social Audit is a community driven process facilitated by community participation such as the Gram Sabha members in a village. It is planned in a series of steps.
Phase 1: Pre-Social Audit
In this phase all the preparatory activities such as selection of suitable village Social Animator (VSA); sensitization of community, NGOs and concerned Government Agencies; skill development for conducting VSA training and preparing reports and preparation of a calendar of Social Audit schedule for each Panchayat and Bocks are under taken.
Phase 2: During Social Audit
In this phase actual activities of Social Audit such as validation of the CSA committee members is undertaken. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The VSA committee conducts physical and oral verification of documents; and presents its report to the Gram Sabha.
Phase 3: Post-Social Audit
The findings of Social Audit are consolidated for sharing. Steps are taken to resolve all grievances in the Gram Sabha itself and any unresolved issue can be taken up in a public hearing (Jan Sunwai) or any other suitable forum.
Social Audit: Impact
Social Audit has Impacts as:
1. Study shows that the effective Social Audit ensures transparency and accountability in implementation of schemes/ programs.
2. It enhances community participation that results in effective implementation and ownership of the scheme/program.
3. The implementing agency becomes more accountable and community becomes more responsible for achieving the goals of schemes/program.
4. Joint efforts of the SAC members, officials and civil society groups and people’s participation speech up the implementation of the scheme/program to achieve the desired goals. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
5. Community acquires the right to control their resources.
6. Participatory democracy and governance are promoted.
In some states, ineffective Social Audit takes place which is due to corruption, lack of efforts and apathetic attitude of officials, poor record management and inadequate staff for social Audit etc.
Q. 3. Explain the powers and functions of the State Information Commission.
Ans. Power and Functions of the SCIC, its right to receive appeals and impose penalties are described in the Chapter V, Sections 18-20 of the RTI Act, 2005.
Chapter VI, Section 25 provides for monitoring and reporting about implementation of the provisions of the Act before each House of the State Legislatures, where there are two Houses; and where there is one House of the State Legislature before that House.
Power to Receive and Inquire into Complaint
According to Section 18 (1), SIC gets the power to receive and inquire about a complaint from person in the following circumstances:
(a) When an appellant is unable to submit the RTI application since no State Public Information Officers are appointed, or they refuse to take the RTI application.
(b) When information is denied by the SPIO.
(c) When information has not been provided in the time limit provided.
(d) When a fee moul than specified in rules, is charged.
(e) When appellant has been given incomplete, misleading or false information.
(f) In any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining access to record under this act. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Power of a Civil Court
Sub section (3) states that while inquiring into any matter under this Section, the State Information Commission shall have the same power as of civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in respect of the following matters:
(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or things.
(b) Requiring the discovery and inspection of documents.
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavit.
(d) Requisitioning any public record or copies thereof from any court or office.
(e) Issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents.
(f) Any other matter, which any be prescribed.
Access to Records
According to Sub-section (4) of this Act, the State Information Commission can examine any record, to which this Act applies, which is under the control of the public authority and no such record may be withheld on any grounds. Thus, no record can be denied to the Commission.
Appellate Jurisdiction of the Commission
The RTI has two tier mechanisms for appeal. Section 19 states that the power of entertaining appeal to the Commission.
Section 19(1) states if somebody does not receive a decision within the time specified or is aggrieved by the decision of State Public Information Officer they can first appeal within thirty days from the expiry or receipt of such decision.
Under Section 19(2), in case an appeal has been filed by third party, against an order made by a State Public Information Officer under section 11 to disclose third party information, the appeal by the concerned third party shall be made within thirty days from the date of the order. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Disposal of First Appeal
Sub-section 6 of the Section 19 describes that the first appeal under Sub-section (1) or (2) must be disposed of within 30 days or such extended period not exceeding a total of 45 days from the date of filing in writing with reason.
As per Section 19(3), if the appellant is not satisfied with decision of the first appellate authority s/he should file a second appeal to the State Information Commission within 90 days from the date on which the decision should have been made with the central information comission.
Power to Impose penalty
According to section 20, the State Information Commission is responsible for the implementation and effectiveness of the RTI Act. If the PIO has without reasonable cause: IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
(i) Refused to receive an application for information, or
(ii) Has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7, or
(iii) Denied the request for information, or
(iv) Knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, or
(v) Destroyed information, which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any maner in furnished the information.
Power of Monitoring and Reporting
Under Section 25 of the Act, the SIC exercises its jurisdiction over all State Public Authorities. It invites online quarterly returns from the Public Authorities (PAs) in a prescribed pro-forma to fulfill its mandate of preparation and forwarding of the Annual Report to Appropriate Government.
All Public Authorities are required to be registered with Commission under section 2
[h). According to Section 25 of the RTI Act, 2005, all PAs are required to submit quarterly returns to the commission.
Q. 4. Write a note on the role of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in the evolution of RTI.
Ans. In 1990, various people’s movements were led by the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) under the leadership of rights activists- Nikhil Dey, Anchi, Shanker Singh and Aruna Roy towards institutionalization of RTI.
RTI movement started in Devdungri in Central Rajasthan where people gathered to discuss social discrepancies and way to confront the local elite and the officials.
In the early 1990s, MKSS organized movement in Rajasthan demanding access to government information on behalf of the wage workers and small farmers who were denied rightful wages or drought relief benefits or distribution of rationed items under the public Distribution System. Later this movement spread across the country.
One of the innovations of the MKSS was the method of Jan Sunwaiis or Public hearings where detailed documents derived from official expenditure record were read aloud to the people of the village who gathered.
Before the existence of the RTI Act, it was very difficult to access official documents and not many Jan Sunwaiis could be organized.
The first Jan Sunwai by MKSS was held on 4th December 1994 in Kot Kirana in Pali District of Rajasthan demanding transparency in all development funds, ney in all dev a large portion of which was being misused by corrupt bureaucrats and government agencies.IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The MKSS exposed systemic corruption across Rajasthan. But no action was taken in this taken regard. So, MKKSS announced strike (DHARNA on 5th April, 1996 in the city of Beawar in Ajmer, Rajasthan.
This strike continued for forty days and became historic to demand the Right to Information. Local cadres of trade unions, bagpipers, local poets, cultural groups came for their support.
Even journalists, lawmakers and artists across the country visit Beawar. On this Occasion Prabhash Joshi wrote in Jansatta Newspaper, “Hum Jaanenge, Hum Jiyenge” (We will know, we will live) which became slogan of the RTI movement in India. Late it modified as “the right to know is the right to live”.
This protest ended on 16th May, 1996 on the appointment of a committee by the Rajasthan Government under Mr. Arun Kumar to look into the benefits and risks related to the free access to documents of the local administration.
This Beawer protest laid the foundation for the nationwide demand for a strong RTI legislation.
Q. 5. Examine the various stakeholders involved in the Right to Information.
Ans. Implementation f the Act showed that it has enhanced interaction between the people and the government and its agencies.
It has increased awareness about the right of citizens and highlighted openness and transparency as essential features of governance.
It spread a sense of accountability in official conduct and made public servants responsible for their actions and decisions. Public authorities and person with an interest in the Right to Information are:
(i) Government: Central Government has introduced Right to Information and set up basic institutional structure account to Right to Information Act.
The Department of Personnel and Training has been made the Nodal Department for the RTI implementation at the Central level.
Various State governments have also enacted RTI laws in some form or other and taken innovative initiatives this regard. Jankari Call Centre of Bihar Government is noteworthy in this regard.IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
(ii) Public Authority: Public authorities have designated officers as Public Information Officer (PIOS) who are responsible to provide information to information seeker under the RTI Act.
These officers send the application to the Public Information Officer of the public authority.
(iii) Information Commissions: Every Information Commission functions as an adjudicator and regulator.
The rule of law has to be established by the Information Commissioners. He has to be strong and work independently to reach to the common people.
(iv) First Appellate Authority: The independent and judicious examination of appeal by the first Appellate Authorities would lead to higher satisfaction to the appellants as this would reduce the chance of second appeals.
The information sought by an applicant should be supplied to him or rejected within the time mentioned under the act.
(v) Political Executive: Citizens expect transparency in the official work of their representatives. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
As the decision making processes open to public scrutiny, elected representatives show greater cooperation. They take responsibility for their decisions and use the public forum for their interest.
(vi) Bureaucracy: The bureaucracy should be genuine public servant delivering justice. Where government is committed to transparency, the civil servants become accountable for their function.
According to the Act, management of official records should be systematic and computerized to facilitate information seeker with the information.
(vii) Corporate Sector: If the application is filed by an employee of any Corporation, Association, Company or NGO bearing his name and that employee is a citizen of India, information may be supplied to him.
(viii) The Civil Society Organization (CSOs) has enhanced the reach and awareness of RTI among the masses. The CSO have contributed to the training of the PIOs and AAS and have made them aware of their duty and role under the RTI act.
(ix) Media: Media is considered the forth pillar of the State, besides executive, legislature and judiciary. Due to media right to information got a place in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. Legislation of RTI was drafted by the Press Council of India. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
It also created awareness at the mass scale. Journalists played double role – as the user of the RTI Act and monitoring and scrutinizing the implementation of the Act.
Due to the RTI camps sponsored by media people learnt to use RTI. Media can expose working f the government’s functionaries in case of any misuse of authority.
It can influence executive decisions in public interest. It can make awareness regarding the RTI Act by debates and discussions.
Q. 6. Explain the provisions involved in the removal of the Central Information Commissioner.
Ans. Sub-section (3) of section 14 (1) states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1) the President may by order remove from office the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner if he/she:
(a) Is adjudged an insolvent;
(b) Has been convicted of an offence which in opinion of the President involves moral turpitude;
(c) Engages during his/her term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of the office;IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
(d) Is in opinion of the President, unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body;
(e) Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his/her functions as the Chief Information Commissioner or an Information Commissioner.”
Suspension of the CIC or IC: The president of Indian has the power, by section 14(2), to suspend from office and if deemed necessary also to prohibit from attending office during the inquiry, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioner in respect, to whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court (regarding misbehavior or incapacity under sub-section (1)) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.
Q. 7. Discuss the concept of accountability.
Ans. Accountability encapsulates three elements, answerability – the need for justification of action; enforcement – the sanction that could be imposed if an action is found to be unsatisfactory; and responsiveness-the ability of those held accountable to respond to the demand made.
Accountability is an obligation of the people in power to explain publically about fulfilling the responsibilities vested in them which affect the public in their daily lives.
The action taken by them should be citizen friendly, just, fair, responsive, effective, ethical, reasonable and should stand for progress and betterment of the society.
Public accountability applies to all levels of governments, its systems and sub-systems. Accountability makes authority to explain intension, performance standards and results of their action taken. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
Public purpose requires public interest needs and public good demands that exercise of public power must be subjected to the benefits of the society as a whole. Power without liability of accountability is tyranny.
It can also be added that public power is always linked with responsibility. Power without responsibility is a norm of democracy and the rule of law ideals.
To ensure accountability, the RTI shall target mismanagement, abuse of discretion, corruption and other administrative malpractices.
RTI can be seen as a key to strengthen participatory democracy and to promote people-centric governance.
Q. 8. Write a note on record management.
Ans. Record Management: It is the process in which an organization:
(a) Determines what kind of information should be considered as records
(b) Determines how active documents become records should be handled while they are in use and determines how they should be collected.
(c) Determines the manner and period for which it should be retained.
(d) Performs records related tasks like disposing of expired records, and keeping and protecting records.
At the core of the right to information are records. Without an effective system for creating managing, storing records, implementation of RTI laws would be difficult.
It would be difficult to reply to applications within time limits set by the law, if the information requested cannot be located in a timely manner.
It will also undermine the law if information has been stored so badly that the records are no longer in a state to be inspected or copied.
To meet the RTI needs, it is essential to review if the records management system is functioning properly. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
This requires regular review of current records management processes not only collection and storage but also classification and archiving.
Best practice requires records that are created and managed in accordance with clear, well understood filing, classification and retrieval methods established by a public office as part of an efficient records management program.
Advantages of effective records management program:
- Provides effective performance;
- Protects the rights of the organization, employees and its customers;
- Provides statutory and regulatory requirements including archival, audit and oversight activities;
- Improve office efficiency and productivity;
- Supports and documents historical and other research;
- Allows easy retrieval of documents and information form records;
- Provides protection and support in litigation.
Q. 9. Does a cooperative society fall within a definition of “Public Authority”?
Ans. The Supreme Court held that Cooperative Society registered under the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act, 1969 does not fall within the definition of Public authority as they are not owned, controlled or substantially financed by the appropriate Government.
The Court held that the expression controlled which figures in between the words ‘body owned’ and ‘substantially financed’ means control by the appropriate government must be a control of a substantial nature and not mere ‘supervision or regulation.
Power exercised by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and other under the Cooperative Societies Act are only regulatory or supervisory in nature, which will not amount to dominating or interfering with the management or affairs of the society as to be controlled.
Q. 10. Write a note on the Bhoomi project.
Ans. Revenue Department of Karnataka has digitized and made its land records available online. IGNOU BPAE 141 Solved Free Assignment
The Bhoomi Project started to create a system that would prevent the inaccuracies that marred the manual system of maintaining land records.
It ensures that when the farmers request a record of rights, tenancy and crops, the information is current.
The software updates the land ownership details so there is no lag in the update method. It also allows official to add other information and monitor all pending work through email.