The Right toInformation Act (RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide forsetting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens” andreplaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002. The Act applies to allStates and Union Territories of India except Jammu & Kashmir. Under theprovisions of the Act, any citizen may request information from a “publicauthority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”)which is required to reply rapidly or within thirty days.The RTI andwhistle blowing has been identified with some differences with respect toinformation and disclosure connected there with.
Firstly, RTI is a reactiveapproach, whereas whistle blowing is a proactive as well as reactive approach.The applicant for RTI requests for the required information within thedefinition of information provided in Right to Information Act. Most of theinformation is exclusive in nature. But there are no such inclusive andexclusive factors for information disclosure in whistle blowing.
The whistleblower considers suchinformation for disclosure which majorly harms the public health and safety.RTI provides perfect platform for whistle blowing. Many RTI activists have beenthreatened to death. Some of the noted RTI activists who lost their life areAmit Jethwa, Satish Shetty, Datta Patil, Sola Ranga Rao, Vitthal Gite, LalitKumar Gupta, Kameshwar Yadav, Vishram Laxman, Sasidhar Mishra & Venkatesh.Both RTI activists and whistle blowers are victimized for their act. Both needprotection.
The whistle blowers protection Act does not include the provisionto protect RTI activists for their RTI disclosures (G Sampath 2014) Secondly, all RTI activists can beconsidered as whistle blowers but, all whistle blowers are not mainly beingcalled RTI activists. The RTI activists are those always fighting againstcorruption. They can be noted very frequently in the media too. Whereas thewhistle blowers are among the common public, who unexpectedly fight against thewrongful act in their work place. Some of the noted whistle blowers areSatyendra Dubey, Shanmugham Manjunath.
They are usually and preferably anonymousfighters. The RTI activists use the formal mechanism as mentioned in theprocess of RTI Act for getting the information, whereas the whistle blowers getinformation informally by their observation. The information obtained by RTIapplicant is secondary, whereas the information obtained by whistle blowerusually is primary. Therefore, RTI can be defined as getting formal informationthrough formal means and ending with mostly informal or even with formaldisclosures. Whistle blowing can be defined as knowing informal informationthrough informal means and ending with formal or informal disclosures.
Both RTIAct and Whistle Blower Protection Act seek the identity of applicant andinformant as in case of RTI and whistle blowing respectively.