International Day for Universal Access to Information observed on September 28

The 74th United Nations General Assembly proclaimed on 15th October 2019 that 28th September 2020 would observe the International Day for Universal Access to Information. 2020 edition of the day is  focusing on the right to information in the times of crisis. It is celebrated to showcase the advantages of statutory and constitutional policies in order to provide public access to information.

Key facts

  • The day is commonly called as the Access to Information Day.
  • It was designated by the UNESCO General Conference, initially.
  • The day was inaugurated in November 2015.
  • This day was first observed on 28 September 2016.
  • Since 2002, the day had been recognized as International Right to Know Day.

Right to Information in India

Right to Information (RTI) is governed by the Right to Information Act, 2005 I India. It replaced by Freedom of Information Act, 2002. Key features of the act include-

  1. Definition- It means the right to access information held by public authority. Information includes inspection of work, documents, records, taking extracts, notes or copies of documents or records and obtaining information from electronic devices.
  2. Under the RTI Act, any citizen of India can request information from a “public authority”  which is required to reply within 30 days.
  3. The Act also have provision for public authority to computerize their records in order to proactively publish certain categories of information.
  4. The act provides appointment of Information Commissioners
  5. The authorities under the act are called quasi-judicial authorities.

The RTI is a fundamental right of every citizen of India. The act was enacted to consolidate the fundamental right of  ‘freedom of speech’ under Article 19. RTI is implicit in the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression thus it is an implied fundamental right.