Peoples’ Right to Information in India
The Right to Information Act, passed in 2005, guarantees the citizens of India the right to question their government, and ensures that people no longer have to rely solely on elections to hold public functionaries accountable. Every year, nearly 6 million information applications are filed across the country, making the RTI Act the most extensively used transparency legislation globally. National assessments have shown that a large proportion of these applications are filed by the poorest and the most marginalized.
The power of the RTI Act can be gauged by the great lengths to which institutions have gone to shield themselves from scrutiny under the law. Scores of citizens across the country have been threatened, attacked and at least 70 have been murdered for using the law to access information exposing corruption and abuse of power. The backlash has not been limited to attacks on users of the law. The legislation itself has not been spared. The latest attempt to subvert peoples’ right to information is the RTI Amendment Act, which undermines the autonomy of information commissions.
Anjali Bhardwaj has been closely associated with the Right to Information (RTI) movement in India since 2000 and is a Co-Convenor of the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI). The NCPRI played a pivotal role in campaigning for an effective RTI Act in India and since the passage of the law in 2005, has been working to ensure its effective implementation.
Anjali has been anchoring efforts to monitor the implementation of the RTI Act She has been closely involved with initiatives to carry out people led assessments of the implementation of various provisions of the law and has co-authored several national reports including, “Status of Information Commissions in India during Covid-19 Crisis” (2020), “Adjudicating the RTI Act: Analysis of orders of the Central Information Commission” (2019), “Report Card on the functioning of Information Commissions in India, 2018-19”, etc
She is associated with various rights based struggles in India and is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Right to Food Campaign and the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan.
Anjali Bharadwaj studied for an MSc degree at Oxford University and did her MA from the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.