What are the roles of public authority under the RTI Act?

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What is meant by public authority?

Section 2(h) of Act defined what is meant by “public authority” referred in other sections of the Act. Section 2(h) states that

(i)any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted

 (a) by or under the Constitution;

(b) by any other law made by Parliament;

(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;

(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any body owned, controlled or substantially financed;

(ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;

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Roles of the Public Authority is broadly given under Section 4 of the Act.  Few obligations specified under Section 4 are given here.  They are; Every public authority should maintain all its records in proper format defined in Act and also required to ensure that all records computerized appropriately within reasonable time and subject.  Also stated that information available should publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act along with particulars of its organization, functions and duties.  The public authority also need to prepare the statement of the categories of documents held under its control; should maintain a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies constituted for the purpose of its advice on whether meetings of those boards; councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public.

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Public authority is also required to maintain details of information held by them in an electronic form.  It also required to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public.  Public Authority is mandated to provide reasons for its administrative or quasi-judicial decisions to affected persons.  It is the responsibility of every public authority to take steps to provide as much information on its own to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, through notice boards, newspapers, public announcements, media, broadcasts, including the internet.

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Adv. Anitha Gutti

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