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Online Course

Right to Information and Good Governance

NPTEL and National Law School of India University via Swayam

Overview

Transparency and Access to Information, is pivotal to the functioning of a democracy. In the Information Age, access to data, reports, documents, etc are sine qua non of every Individual. This course seeks to provide a comprehensive learning on the Right to Information, dealing with its multiple facets from a constitutional perspective to be a Statutory right, and thereby its evolution as an executory right through administrative and judicial process. While the Right to Information Act 2005, being a Central legislation, allows State Governments to make Rules for its implementation. It attempts to create a practical regime for the exercise of the Fundamental Right to know and establishes a mechanism within the Government to facilitate the same, in an alternate to judicial enforcement. The Act also attempts to bring in transparency and accountability in the working of ‘public authorities’. The interpretation of the Act has seen interesting developments, such as, which Institutions are accountable to provide information under the definition of ‘Public Authority’? Whether information can be provided to non-citizens? What is the content of the ‘right to Information’? What kind of information is exempted? Increasingly, the Courts have been called upon to interpret various provision of this Act, hence the case law development have contributed enormously to the jurisprudence of transparency law in India. The Course will aim to trace the legal development of the RTI and compare the development of the ‘right of information’ in comparative jurisdictions such as Sri Lanka USA and UK.
INTENDED AUDIENCE :Under-graduate Students, NGOs, Social Activists,Beneficiaries of Government Services, Advocates, Public Information Officers, Legal Advisors, Information Commissioners, Judges, etc.
PREREQUISITES :UG
INDUSTRIES SUPPORT :1. All Departments and Ministries of the Government.
2. All Public Sector Undertakings
3. All Public Authorities as defined in the RTI Act
4. All Public Universities and bodies owned and controlled and substantially financed by the Government.
5. All non-governmental organisations substantially financed by the Government.

Syllabus

COURSE LAYOUT

Week 1 : History and Background to RTI
Week 2 :
  • Legislating RTI
  • Official Secrets Act and RTI
  • Role of NGOs and activist in RTI
  • Mis-use of RTI
  • Important SC and HC judgments in RTI
Week 3 :Constitution and RTI
Week 4 :Salient Features of RTI-1
Week 5 :Salient features of RTI-2
Week 6 :Powers and Functions of Information Commission
Week 7 :Public Authority
Week 8 :Exempted Information
Week 9 :RTI & Its interface
  • Public Records Act
  • Whistleblower Protection Act
  • Judiciary and RTI
Week 10 :
  • Ecological perspective on RTI
  • Lessons from RTI: Sakaala: Public Service Guarantee Act
Week 11 : RTI: A comparative perspective
  • Comparative Constitutional and Comparative FOI regime
  • RTI in Srilanka
Week 12 : How to Draft RTI Application and Appeals: Do it yourself

Taught by

Prof. Sairam Bhat

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