Evolution of Right to Information & its Current Controversies

  • Srijani Chakrabarty
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  • Srijani Chakrabarty

    Student at Ramaiah College of Law, Bangalore, India

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Named word of the year by Webster’s Dictionary in 2003, “transparency” might well prove to be the word of the last decade and a half. In the two hundred and thirty years from 1766 when the first transparency law was passed in Sweden, till 1995, less than twenty countries had such laws. In the fifteen years, from 1995 to 2010, nearly sixty additional countries have either passed transparency laws or set up some instruments to facilitate public access to institutional information. In the South Asian Region, the state of Tamil Nadu, in India was the first to pass a freedom of information law way back in 1997. Though the law was essentially weak and ineffective, it was soon followed by somewhat more effective laws in many of the other states. Globally, it has been argued that the major impetus to transparency has been the growth of democracy. This article attempts to describe the genesis, evolution of the RTI regime in India, within the global and regional context. It describes the events leading up to the coalescing of the RTI movement in India and its current controversies. It goes on to list the challenges before the RTI movement, identifies its allies and opponents, and discusses the strategies adopted, and the resultant successes and failures. Based on all this, it attempts to draw out lessons that might be learnt from the Indian RTI movement. The paper ends with a summary of the findings of two nation-wide studies recently conducted to assess the implementation of the RTI Act in India and suggests an agenda for action, aimed at strengthening and deepening India’s RTI regime. Clearly, transparency is an idea whose time has come.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 3, Issue 6, Page 151 - 158

DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLSI.111193

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