Legal Foundations of Right to Information: An Overview
The Right to Information (RTI) has acquired global attention as an important and critical component of the so-called “Third Generation” of human rights.1 While the modern notions of human rights can be considered to be the products of Western Christian civilisation2, the evolution of human rights actually took place in the West in the context of an adversarial relationship between the State and the individual.3 Right from the Magna Carta through the American Bill of Rights to the Fundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution, human rights were envisaged as Constitutional guarantees to protect the individual’s rights against State action. Interestingly, this conceptual postulate is diametrically opposite to what was posited in the ancient Indian political philosophy. It was stated in the “Neethi Shastra” that the source of strength to the weak and the underprivileged was the King or the State: “durbalasya balo rajah”. There is the need for a paradigm shift from the syndrome of State as an oppressor to the State as a protector and facilitator of human happiness. In the present era of globalisation, nothing can be more relevant for such an attitudinal change than the right to information—a shift from the regime of secrecy to the regime of transparency.
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Volume (Year): I (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
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