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This section consists of legal resources relating to Right to Information in South Asia. It includes principles, constitutions, acts, rules, regulations, bills, draft rules and regulations, case laws, analysis of bills, rules, regulations and discussions, disclosure policy.......

The right to information (RTI) is recognized universally as a basic human right that every individual must have by virtue of being born human. Internationally, RTI received recognition as a human right for the first time in 1948 through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since then several global and regional human rights treaties require States Parties to guarantee their peoples access to information held by governments and public bodies. RTI was initially viewed as a “first generation human right”- a civil liberties issue. However RTI is increasingly becoming a crucial factor for the enjoyment of rights identified as “second generation of rights”, such as access to food, water, shelter, education and health. In recent years RTI has become an essential feature of group rights (also known as the “third generation of rights”) of women, children, migrant workers and people with disabilities. RTI is an indispensable tool for ensuring sustainable development and combating corruption

Several intergovernmental institutions have issued declarations and statements which contain references to FOI/RTI. In this section you will find a compilation of such documents issued at the international level and in South Asia.

In this section you will find details about the constitutional status of RTI in South Asian countries. The Constitutions of Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan contain specific references to RTI as a fundamental right of their peoples. In countries like Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka the Courts have read RTI into other fundamental rights (the bold part should be hyperlinked to case laws) guaranteed by the respective Constitutions. So RTI is a deemed fundamental right in these countries. Please click on the name of the country to find out the constitutional status of RTI.

In this section you will find the text of the RTI laws and the attendant Rules and Regulations implemented in the countries of South Asia. Absence of the name of a South Asian country implies absence of an RTI law. Please visit FOI/RTI Bills section to access Bills or draft legislation pending in such countries.

In this section you will find RTI/FOI Bills pending in South Asian countries. RTI Bills have been tabled in the respective Parliaments or are under the consideration of government/civil society in the Maldives and Pakistan. The Bill in Pakistan seeks to replace the FOI Ordinance. Draft RTI Bills are being debated within civil society in Afghanistan and Bhutan.

While the RTI Act laws down the broad provisions relating to the seeking and obtaining of information, Rules and Regulations contain detailed procedures for implementing them. In this section you will find draft RTI Rules and Regulations that are pending adoption in South Asian countries.

FOI/RTI Case law

In this section you will find critiques of FOI/RTI Bills, draft Rules and Regulations prepared in South Asia. You will also find commentaries on and analyses of important decisions and judgements of courts, Information Commissions and Ombudsmen in South Asian countries.

Several intergovernmental institutions have established their offices to carry out a range of programmes and activities to improve development and governance in South Asia. As these bodies have diplomatic immunity they have no obligation to provide information to citizens under any FOI/RTI law of any country. Nevertheless, several such international bodies have instituted policies for disclosing information about their functioning in order to promote accountability. In this section you will find the full text of the disclosure policies specific to intergovernmental institutions functioning in South Asia.

Several international organisations have developed basic principles that must underpin regime of transparency and people’s access to information. In this section you will find a compilation of best principles on RTI. A progressive RTI law must be informed by these best practice principles.

Avishek Goenka, the writ petitioner and also an RTI activist filed a writ petition accompanied with the prayer that the authority should not insist upon the detailed address of the applicant when he files an RTI application. He apprehends that interested parties would cause a threat to the activist and also places emphasis that in the past where there have unfortunate incidents caused to the activists. Thus, the petitioner prayed that merely mentioning a Post Box number for the purpose of contacting the applicant should be enough for the purpose of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).  The 2-judge bench of the Court, including the acting Chief Justice, ruled that disclosing a Post Box number should be adequate for the purpose of Section 6(2) of the RTI Act which requires an RTI applic...Read more
Posted By : Amrita Paul