The Right to Information Act: RTI vs Right to Privacy vs Official Secrets Act (OSA)_00.1
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The Right to Information Act: RTI vs Right to Privacy vs Official Secrets Act (OSA)

The Right to Information Act- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Important aspects of governance– Citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

The Right to Information Act: RTI vs Right to Privacy vs Official Secrets Act (OSA)_50.1

 

The Right to Information Act

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The Right to Information vs Right to Privacy

  • In modern times when technological information breach is very common, the right to privacy and the right to information are both essential human rights.
  • Complementarity: both complement each other in holding governments accountable to individuals in a majority of the cases.
  • Conflicting areas: while RTI increases access to information, the right to privacy protects it instead.
  • When the question of harmonizing the contradicting rights arises, it should-
    • give justice to the larger public interest
    • advance the public morality

The Right to Information Act- Associated Challenges and Significance of the RTI Act

 

The Right to Information vs Official Secrets Act (OSA)

  • Background of OSA: It was enacted in 1923 by the British to keep certain kinds of information confidential, including, but not always limited to, information involving the affairs of state, diplomacy, national security, espionage, and other state secrets.
  • In case of conflict between RTI and OSA: Provisions of the RTI Act override those of the OSA.
    • Section 22 of the RTI Act: It states that its provisions will have effect notwithstanding anything that is inconsistent with them in the OSA.
    • Section 8(2) of the RTI Act: a public authority may allow access to the information covered under the OSA, “if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interest”.

 

The Right to Information Act: RTI vs Right to Privacy vs Official Secrets Act (OSA)_50.1

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