Venkatesh Nayak | @

Venkatesh Nayak

Venkatesh Nayak is the Programme Coordinator at Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.


Right To Informtion

Highest Judicial Office Under RTI Purview: An examination of the Positives and Creative Tensions in the Constitution Bench’s Opinions

Leaving the facts of the three cases aside, the common and individual opinions penned by the Justices clarify several interpretational matters for the benefit of both the seekers and holders of information.

November 14,2019

Cabinet note on 10% quota law cannot be disclosed under RTI: Social Justice Ministry

On January 17, 2019, three days after the 10% Quota amendment came into force, the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment issued an Office Memorandum (OM) detailing the criteria for excluding persons who would not be eligible to lay claim to the 10% reservation of seats and posts. Interestingly, this OM is labelled: "For Internal Circulation Only" and cannot be located on the Ministry's website. However, it is included in multiple OMs issued by other Ministries and Departments to entities under their charge for identifying posts that may be reserved under the 10% quota law.

February 11,2019

Computers intercepted, transparency interrupted: MHA's CPIO refuses information

Under The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act), the MHA has refused to disclose the reasons and materials such as file notings which formed the basis for issuing this order. Even more shocking is the MHA's refusal to treat as a valid query. the request for reasons for not complying with the duty of proactive disclosure of all relevant facts and reasons that underpin the order.

February 3,2019

My RTI story: Defence Ministry to disclose joint operational doctrines

After seven years since I sought the information under the RTI Act, the CIC has directed the HQ-IDS to make the complete text of these doctrines public within 15 days. Whether HQ-IDS will comply with the CIC's direction and disclose the Joint Doctrines or challenge that decision in the Delhi High Court remains to be seen.

October 5,2018

Right To Informtion

Charging GST on fees under RTI Act is illegal

All public authorities under the RTI Act, whether within the public or the non-government sector are prohibited from charging GST for providing information under the RTI Act. he GST Act's exemption will directly apply to the duties that PIOs perform under the RTI Act.  This exemption will apply to First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) also who are government servants, wherever the State RTI Rules empower them to charge appeal fees. Therefore, it would be brazenly illegal to charge GST for providing access to information or deciding first appeals under the RTI Act.

September 4,2018

Transparency and Accountability

Whither political transparency?

Enquiries through the Right to Information Act have become a powerful facilitator of accountability of state institutions by the citizens of India. Recent developments have indicated however that the State Bank of India has been dodging pertinent information related to electoral bonds.

August 18,2018

Transparency and Accountability

RTI Amendment Bill 2018: A flawed approach

The latest draft of the RTI Amendment Bill 2018 reflects a discriminatory approach towards a statutory body such as the Information Commission. There appears to be an uncanny intention on behalf of the Centre to acquire overarching powers to decide the salaries and tenures of the Information Commissioners. The proposed Bill has also been critiqued for being violative of various Constitutional provisions, especially that of Article 14.

August 1,2018