Title: Universal’s Handbook on The Right to Information Act 2005
Author: P K Das
Publisher: Universal Law Publishing Co
Price: Rs 350
Pages: 460+xvi pp
Genre(s): Law/Bare Acts
Reviewed by: FN http://fn.goa-india.org
Another of those compiliations, on India’s relatively new Right to Information Act, ironically, filling in a gap of not-so-easy-to-access official information on this topic. This is a thicker version of other “bare acts” (as the plain-text of the law is called), and contains a lot of details and parallel laws.
Apart from the Right to Information Act of 2005 itself, it contains laws like the Official Secrets Act of 1923, the Public Records Act of 1993, the Freedom of Information Act of 2002, Supreme Court judgements on the Right to Information, varied State laws (including Goa’s) on the RtI, related rules, and more.
It’s comprehensive, neatly printed, and fairly slickly produced. After a 14-page brief introduction, it goes straight to the laws. A large chunk of the book is devoted to the Supreme Court’s and High Courts’ decisions on the RtI.
One section that strikes you as being particularly useful is the ‘specimen forms for obtaining informations’ (sic).
But overall, this seems a rather lawyer-focussed book… or, at best, one meant at the ‘serious information activist’. If you believe that you need to understand the logic of this law and related laws, then it might be worth an investment. It makes you wonder though why such useful information couldn’t be made available via, say, cyberspace … still an elitist media in a country like India maybe … but at least one that connects a scattered-but-growing number of people across the length and breath of the country (and beyond)!