There are a host of issues for law students to do research in respect of the RTI Act, 2005
Internship with RTI Foundation
The RTI Foundation has been working in the field of right to information since 2011 and has earned a name for itself as being a leading platform for legal work related to RTI Act, 2005. We have been receiving many requests from law students who wish to do online internship under the aegis of this foundation. Unfortunately, our experience has been that many students are not clear of the basic objectives of writing a research paper, which leads to their not being considered by us. This note is intended as an aid for students to enable them to apply properly.
Before applying to us, a student should consider the following:-
- WHAT is the topic falling within the realm of the RTI Act, 2005 or Transparency which is of interest to the Intern?
- HAS there been any previous work on the issue? If yes, please have a look at it.
- WHAT makes the topic or, approach to the chosen topic, distinct? Are you likely to add any new insight to the issue? There is little point in reproducing the work of others.
- HOW would the paper be of use to the society / lawyers / any other group?
- WHEN do you wish to do it? The time frame for the study in terms of hours/ days needed should be clearly defined.
- WHAT help does the Intern expect from us?
HOW TO CHOOSE A TOPIC
Most interns have the format of writing the paper in mind but are clueless about the issue which should be taken up for research. Principally, the topic could be factual or opinionated which is a classification based on the preponderance of whether facts dominate or not. Some Interns may opt for a combination of the two. Essentially, a topic should be one which is of interest to the student and in respect of which he may do effective work given the constraints of time and resources. For a summary discussion, a few possible topics which can be taken up are listed below:-
A. DIFFERENT PROVISIONS OF THE RTI ACT, 2005
- Preamble of RTI Act – What does it say, its importance, comparison with preamble of other acts / constitution, interpretation of terms used, its use in various judgments, its impact etc.
- Information – Definition under the RTI Act, terms used in the definition, OMs issued by DoPT, what is not covered under the definition of RTI Act etc.
- Right to Information – What does it mean, which rights are covered under the definition, Description of the terms, Inspection of an ongoing process under RTI, Compilation of information, Redressal of grievance etc.
- Public authority – Definition under the RTI Act, use of other provisions of law to define a public authority, an examination of important orders and judgments, specific sectors like Education, co-operative society, PPP Model, etc.
- Impact of RTI on PPP Model of development
- Record maintenance under RTI Act, 2005 – Period for which records are to be maintained, Record maintenance policy, Different approaches to deal with missing records, How record keeping can be improved etc.
- Voluminous information – What is section 7(9), When can it be used, Can information be denied using this section, Information required to be provided suo-motu, Inspection of records etc.
- Section 4 – Importance, Which are the provisions, current state of affairs, How to ensure implementation of section 4
- Exemption sections – Each sub section or part even of it can be picked up starting with its definition, explanation of the terms used in the provision, situations where they can be used, common errors committed.
- Enforcement of an order passed under RTI Act
- Penalty under RTI Act – What is penalty, On whom is it imposed, Under what conditions can it be imposed, Who is empowered to impose penalty, What is the need for penalty provision, Its current status – use or disuse, Some important case laws etc.
- Compensation under RTI Act can be given a treatment similar to Penalty (above) highlighting the differences
- Overriding effect of RTI Act – Conflict with other laws, Relation with laws which by itself permits disclosure etc.
- Organisations exempt from the purview of the RTI Act – Which are the organisations beyond the purview of RTI, Under what conditions can the information be sought, Significant case laws
- Powers of the Information Commission and the manner in which it has been used
- Other provisions of RTI Act like who can file a RTI Application (Citizen), Life and liberty provision, How the power of Information Commission to give recommendation has been used, Appointment of Information Commissioners,
B. CONTROVERSIES REGARDING RTI ACT, 2005
Certain current issues in news like:-
1. Conflict between the concept of Privacy and Transparency
2. Amendment in RTI Act, 2005
3. Killing of RTI Activists
4. Misuse of RTI Act, 2005
C. GUIDING ISSUES REGARDING RTI ACT, 2005
1. What can be done to make RTI Act more effective?
2. How is the RTI Act of India doing in comparison with the similar Transparency Acts of other countries?
3. Impact of RTI act on Corruption / Development
4. How would the Intern like to use RTI / suggest ways of using it for increasing transparency and accountability?
5. Detailed analysis of any particular use of RTI Act which is noteworthy for its impact
D. PRACTICAL USES OF RTI ACT, 2005 FOR THE CITIZENS
Possible use of RTI Act in various sectors like :-
a. Municipal Corporation,
b. Developmental project,
g. Income Tax,
E. ANALYSIS OF THE IMPORTANT HIGH COURT AND SUPREME COURT CASES
HOW TO APPLY
A student may apply online for Internship.
- In case of five year course, only the third to fifth year students may apply.
- In case of three year course, the second and third year students may apply.
- While applying for internship, a student should submit his CV.
- The applications should be accompanied by a scanned copy of a certificate from the Principal /Dean /Procter of the Institution that he/she is a bonafide student of the Law College.
- A student may choose any topic which is of interest to him / her which need not be restricted to the suggestions listed above. We would encourage students to consider new topics related to Accountability and Transparency.
- Application should be submitted alongwith a note between 100-250 words highlighting the Basic Objectives as outlined above.
- On the basis of above submissions, approval would be granted to the Intern which may take upto 2 weeks.
- All correspondence should be made by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .The subject may be mentioned as Internship.
- Upon completion of the internship, a certificate shall be given to the Intern.
- No stipend shall be paid to the Intern. In case of an exemplary paper, an honorarium may be considered.
- All approved research papers shall be published on the website along with the photograph of the Intern. The RTI Foundation reserves the right to use such content in any manner it deems fit.
An Online internship offers flexibility of working hours and gives a real time exposure to the issues faced in the field of right to information. It sensitises a student to the real difficulties in the field and helps him/her in evolving as a better professional. We would be happy to be part of the development process of the deserving law students.
We hope that the above write up would be of use to the students in taking up research work not only with us, but also with other organisations.