The Right to
Information Act (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for
setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens” and
replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002. The Act applies to all
States and Union Territories of India except Jammu & Kashmir. Under the
provisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “public
authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”)
which is required to reply rapidly or within thirty days.
The RTI and
whistle blowing has been identified with some differences with respect to
information and disclosure connected there with. Firstly, RTI is a reactive
approach, whereas whistle blowing is a proactive as well as reactive approach.
The applicant for RTI requests for the required information within the
definition of information provided in Right to Information Act. Most of the
information is exclusive in nature. But there are no such inclusive and
exclusive factors for information disclosure in whistle blowing. The whistle
blower considers such
information for disclosure which majorly harms the public health and safety.
RTI provides perfect platform for whistle blowing. Many RTI activists have been
threatened to death. Some of the noted RTI activists who lost their life are
Amit Jethwa, Satish Shetty, Datta Patil, Sola Ranga Rao, Vitthal Gite, Lalit
Kumar Gupta, Kameshwar Yadav, Vishram Laxman, Sasidhar Mishra & Venkatesh.
Both RTI activists and whistle blowers are victimized for their act. Both need
protection. The whistle blowers protection Act does not include the provision
to protect RTI activists for their RTI disclosures (G Sampath 2014) Secondly, all RTI activists can be
considered as whistle blowers but, all whistle blowers are not mainly being
called RTI activists. The RTI activists are those always fighting against
corruption. They can be noted very frequently in the media too. Whereas the
whistle blowers are among the common public, who unexpectedly fight against the
wrongful act in their work place. Some of the noted whistle blowers are
Satyendra Dubey, Shanmugham Manjunath. They are usually and preferably anonymous
fighters. The RTI activists use the formal mechanism as mentioned in the
process of RTI Act for getting the information, whereas the whistle blowers get
information informally by their observation. The information obtained by RTI
applicant is secondary, whereas the information obtained by whistle blower
usually is primary. Therefore, RTI can be defined as getting formal information
through formal means and ending with mostly informal or even with formal
disclosures. Whistle blowing can be defined as knowing informal information
through informal means and ending with formal or informal disclosures. Both RTI
Act and Whistle Blower Protection Act seek the identity of applicant and
informant as in case of RTI and whistle blowing respectively.