Right to Information in the Context of Nepal

Facts, figures, data or details regarding a certain issue are known as information. A citizen’s right to obtain information, from public spaces, on subjects that are of public importance or is one’s own concern is known as right to information.

According to the Right to Information Act (2007), information means “any written document, material, or information related to the functions, proceedings thereof or decision of public importance made by a Public Body.” As per the same Act, right to information denotes the following:

  1. the right to ask for and obtain information of public importance held in the Public Bodies and this term shall also include the right to study or observation of any written document, material held in Public Body or proceedings of such Public Body.
  2. to obtain a verified copy of such document.
  3. to visit or observe the place where any construction of public importance is going on.
  4. to obtain verified sample of any material or to obtain information held in any type of machine through such machine.

Initially, Sweden had laid the foundation of right to information by introducing Freedom of Press Act in 1766. The Constitution of Nepal has provided the right to information as a fundamental right in its article-27. The article maintains that every citizen has the right to ask for and obtain information on subjects of public importance. Moreover, right to information has been maintained as a human right in article-19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Limitations of Right to Information

Pursuant to the Right to Information Act (2007), the information held by a Public Body on the following subject matters shall not be disseminated:
a. Which seriously jeopardizes the sovereignty, integrity, national security, public peace, stability and international relations of Nepal.
b. Which directly affects the investigation, inquiry and prosecution of a crime.
c. Which seriously affects on the protection of economic, trade or monetary interest or intellectual property or banking or trade privacy.
d. Which directly jeopardizes the harmonious relationship subsisted among various cast or communities.
e. Which interferes on individual privacy and security of body, life, property or health of a person.

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Responsibility of Public Bodies in Implementation of Right to Information

  1. to respect and protect the right to information of citizens.
  2. to effectively manage information.
  3. to classify and update information and make them public, publish and broadcast.
  4. to make the citizens’ access to information simple and easy.
  5. to conduct its functions openly and transparently.
  6. to update information.
  7. to provide appropriate training and orientation to its staffs.
  8. to provide public charter.
  9. to determine and specify effective cost, if applicable, for information.
  10. to provide compensation and to take corrective actions.

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