ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Struggle for the Right to Information

Janne Ka Haq

The RTI Story: Power to the People by Aruna Roy with the MKSS Collective, New Delhi: Roli Books, 2018; pp xxiv + 375, ₹ 495.

 

Initiated by Anders Chydenius, a Finnish clergyman, the first right to information (RTI) law was passed on 2 December 1776 in Sweden. However, most countries around the world began enacting such laws, codifying the right of citizens to get information, in the last seven decades only. Merely 19 countries enacted such laws till 1995. Now, however, over 100 countries have laws recognising and codifying the citizens’ right to information. In India, the first clear statement recognising this right is credited to Justice Mathew in the Raj Narain case (State of Uttar Pradesh v Raj Narain 1975), wherein he stated,

In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. Their right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can at any rate have no repercussion on public security.

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Updated On : 11th Jan, 2019

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