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Prakash Kardeley

5 July 2005

Of the 120 days left for the implementation of the national Right to Information Act, a hundred remain. What is the status now? A quick review:

Rules under the new law

1. We hear the ministry has framed rules already. These haven't been circulated for suggestions. Circulation is not mandatory, but after all this is a transparency law. It is expected that these would be circulated and suggestions sought, as was done the last time, in the case of FOI Act.

2. The National Council for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) has prepared rules based on inputs from various activists; these have been submitted to the ministry, but their status now is not known.

3. It is expected that the National Advisory Council will suggest some rules, since the NAC had piloted the draft of the bill in the first place, and submitted its suggested draft to the government - which formed the basis for the Act.

4. States have been given the liberty to frame their own rules. But it's unlikely that the states will do this before the national RTI Act has its own rules. States most probably would like to model their rules on the Central rules.

Constitution of Information Commissions

The panel - comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition, and a minister nominated by the PM - should have its first meeting, but there has been no report of this so far. It is not known if the PM has even nominated the Minister to be on this panel. The State Information Commissions appear too distant, considering that the Centre hasn't taken its first step towards forming the national commission (for Central matters).


The central government's position appears to be that the application of the national RTI Act to State matters is left to the decision of the States. But there is no explicit notification to this effect, to my knowledge. Some States say it is mandatory for them to apply the national law to their State matters (eg, Orissa.)

States having their own RTI laws

In Tamilnadu, the CM says the application of the national law to State matters is under examination.

In Karnataka, the government concedes the State law is weaker than the national one, and therefore will be repealed to make way for the national law applying to their State matters.

In Maharashtra, there is no official pronouncement yet. But moves are afoot to repeal the State law and adopt the national law. The reason appears to be some undertaking given by the State to the Centre at the time of the president's assent to the State law that it would be repealed once the national law is enforced.

In Delhi, the State law is contemplated to be amended to ‘make it consistent’ with the national law (by adding the dubious third party clause!). No clarification is available yet on whether both the Delhi State law and the national law will simultaneously be in force for State matters and if Delhiites will have a choice to use either.

Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Assam: no news so far.

States without their own RTI laws

Orissa is reportedly gearing up for adoption of the national law, and the government says it is being ‘forced'.

In Meghalaya, where a bandh was observed calling for an RTI law, the CM has previously indicated that he has been waiting for the national law. It is not clear whether the State initiated a process to adopt it now.

The national law does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir. A state law was passed there earlier but has not been operationalised because the rules have still not been framed (for the past more than a year). The State law is admittedly weaker than the new national law.



Prakash Kardeley
5 Jul 2005

Prakash Kardaley is a Pune-based journalist and RTI campaigner.

Citizen Direct is India Together's channel for publishing reports from citizens who have detailed information about specific civil society concerns and matters, by virtue of their participation, association, or independent observation. These reports are therefore as witnessed and understood by the authors themselves; India Together accepts no liability or responsibility for them.   More

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