Legal Reasoning for CLAT, Passage- The Right to Information Act, 2005

Monday, April 19th, 2021

CLAT Gurukul

In modern constitutional democracies, it is axiomatic that citizens have a right to know about the affairs of the Government which, having been elected by them, seeks to formulate sound policies of governance aimed at their welfare. Democracy, therefore, expects openness and openness is a concomitant of a free society. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. But it is equally important to be alive to the dangers that lie ahead. It is important to realise that undue popular pressure brought to bear on decision-makers is Government can have frightening side-effects.
In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be 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. The 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.

 

The Right to Information (RTI) Act has been a powerful instrument in the hands of people to ensure transparency in the decision-making process. There are a number of cases where this right has been used by the people to get better civic facilities, cut down red-tape and delay in decision making and punish the corrupt. State governments have taken steps to come out with a public service charter that fixes time limits to the government departments for providing services to the people. This is expected to address a number of grievances of people arising from delayed delivery of public services which often lies at the root of corruption and inefficiency.

 

1. Which among the following is the most logical inference to the above passage?

(a) Inculcating participatory decision-making and citizen centric administration in an organisation will allow for better delivery of services.
(b) Each government organ is susceptible to corruption and to avoid this there must be complete transparency in all governmental processes.
(c) The availability and quality of civic services is the keystone of good governance and this is not possible unless the civil servants are held accountable through well written laws.
(d) Delayed delivery of services and corruption are only possible because of the flexibility and opaqueness of laws which allow the lawmakers to function with impunity.

2. Keshav appeared for the Board Examination. When he got the mark sheet, he was disappointed with his marks. He thought that he had done well in the examination but his answer-books were not properly valued and that improper valuation had resulted in low marks. Therefore, he made an application for inspection and re-evaluation of his answer-books. Board rejected the said request. If this is true, then, based on the author’s reasoning in the passage above:

(a) Request deserves to be rejected. Board ensures complete fairness and uniformity to eliminate the chances of subjectivity.
(b) If the request is accepted then it will create confusion and chaos, subjecting its elaborate system of examinations to delay and disarray.
(c) Opening the copies to public scrutiny would interfere with its effective and efficient functioning.
(d) Copies should undergo proper inspection and re-evaluation. The right to information is a cherished right. Releasing the copy for scrutiny will bring in transparency and accountability.

 

3. It is witnessed neither the Central Government nor the State Government are filling the vacancies for the appointment of Commissioners in a timely manner. As a result, the functioning of RTI Act is stifled. It is leading to huge backlogs of appeals and complaints in many Commissions across the country. What, according to the author, would be the effect of not filling the vacancies:

(a) Vacancies will not have any impact on the effectiveness of the RTI.
(b) Vacancies can have a debilitating impact on the proper implementation of the RTI.
(c) Vacancies can be set off by managing the dockets of RTI cases. Management of the cases is the key.
(d) Vacancies need to be maintained otherwise speedy resolution of cases can have frightening side-effects on the Government.

 

4. Parliament has passed The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill which seeks to give the government powers to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners. Based on the inference drawn, what should be the author’s stand on the amending Act:

(a) Amending Act will be supported because it is aimed at streamlining functioning.
(b) Amending Act will not be supported because the right to know is an integral part of the Right to life.
(c) Amending Act will be supported provided the government formulates the rule expeditiously.
(d) Amending Act will not be supported because it may undermine the law and the government can hire and fire independent information commissioners.

 

5. The Official Secrets Act and National Security Act is sought to be repealed. Both the Acts contain the provisions relating to official secrets. These statutes are time tested legislations securing India’s sovereignty and Integrity. If this is true, then, based on the author’s reasoning in the passage above:

(a) Repealing Acts will be opposed because both the Acts are significant instruments in maintaining the external and internal security.
(b) Repealing Acts will be supported because the right to know and information will become an absolute right thus advancing the democratic goals.
(c) Repealing Acts will be supported because the RTI Act is paramount with respect to any security legislation.
(d) Repealing Acts will be opposed because it may undermine the security of the Nation and RTI is not an absolute and unhindered right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLAT Gurukul

1. Ans. (a) Option (a) is the correct choice. Option (b) is incorrect as there is no implication that all governmental actions require absolute transparency in the passage. Option (c) is incorrect because of the phrase ‘this is not possible’ as there may be other ways to achieve the same. Option (d) incorrectly singles out flexibility and opaqueness of laws but there could be other institutional reasons for delays as well.

 

2. Ans. (d) Given answer encompasses the substance of the Right to information. Paragraph 4th mentions “The Right to Information (RTI) Act has been a powerful instrument in the hands of people to ensure transparency in the decision-making process.” Going by the reading of this line the only appropriate option is choice (d).

 

3. Ans. (b) Central idea of the passage is that the steps are to be taken to strengthen the RTI. It is axiomatic that vacancies in any institution lead to arrears and backlog. Therefore, only sound choice is option (b).
4. Ans. (d) Central idea of the passage is that the steps are to be taken to strengthen the RTI. It is given that through the Amending Act there is conferred huge power in the government. Government may abuse the same. Therefore, only sound choice is option (d).

 

5. Ans. (d) Option (d) is the correct choice. Option (d) correctly identifies the idea from the line mentioning that “The 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.”