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Nepal Monitor: The National Online Journal

Bill on the Right to Information 2063

Except for information that is detrimental to public interest, all information belongs to public domain, says the Bill on Right to Information 2063 (2006).


The task force headed by former secretary of the Judicial Council Kashi Raj Dahal has submitted a draft bill on Right to Information to Minister of State for Information and Communication Dilendra Prasad Badu. Among other things, the 17-point bill calls for active information dissemination by public offices on matters of public interest, protection of whistleblowers, provision of an information department and an information officer, etc.

The following is an nofficial Translation of the draft Bill on Right to Information 2063 (2006):


Bill on Right to Information - 2063 (2006)

CHAPTER-ONE

Bill on Demanding and Receiving Information
Preamble:
Whereas It has been expedient to make the legal provision to protect and promote the right to information conferred- by the constitution of the kingdom of Nepal 2047, guaranteeing that each Nepali citizen has the right to demand and receive information on any matter of public importance, except legally provisioned things to keep secret and thereby to make public activities transparent and accountable,
The House of Representatives has made this act.

1. Short Title and Commencement::
(i) This act is named "Right to Information Act 2006"
(ii) Section 6 of this act will be instantly active and other provisions will be active inside the kingdom of Nepal and also Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad since the 120th day of its publication in Nepal Gazette.
2. Definitions:
In this act, unless the subject or context otherwise requires;
A) "Public Institution" shall denote the following institutions:
1) Ministry, secretariat, and the subordinate offices of Nepal Government,
2) Parliament and its subjected committees, and secretariats,
3) Supreme Court and subordinate courts.
4) The constitutional and other institutions provisioned in the constitution of the kingdom of Nepal 2047, except mentioned in sub-section 1, 2 and 3.
5) Special Court and tribunals constituted under existing law,
6) Nepalese Army,
7) Nepal Police and Armed Police,
8) Local bodies constituted under the Local Self-Governance act (2055),
9) The commission, corporation, board of authority, incorporation, foundation, board, center, council, committee and organized Institutions of the similar nature constituted under the prevailing laws or by Nepal Government.
10) Other institutions running with the grant from Nepal government.
11) Organized institutions with full or partial ownership of Nepal government..
12) The national or international non-government organizations constituted under the prevailing laws.
13) The public institutions prescribed by the Nepal Government through the notice published in Nepal Gazette time to time.
B)"Information" shall denote any publicly important notice related with activities constituted by public institution, their procedures, decisions or their relative notice.
C)"Document" shall denote any transcribed documentation and it also denotes any printed or reusable audio or visual matter collected or recorded by means of any machine.
D)"Chief Executive" shall denote the head of the public institution.
E)"Information Officer" shall denote the person determined by public institution to give information in pursuant to this act.
F)"Third Party" shall denote the individual related with the information - except the individual demanding information and the institution to deliver the information.
G)"Prescribed" or "as prescribed" shall denote the prescribed or as prescribed in the Rules as promulgated under this act.

CHAPTER-TWO
Provisions Relating to Information
3. Right to Information:
(i) Each Nepali citizen shall have the right to demand and receive information on any matter of public importance except the matters mentioned in Section 11.

4. Provision on Information Dissemination:
(1) It shall be the duty of the public institution to provide information to every citizen demanding information on any matter of public importance remaining under Section 11.
(2) Public institutions shall have to keep up-to-date information by listing and annexing it on the subjects as follows:
a) Organization's structure and nature.
b) Organization's duty, right and responsibility.
c) Number of personnel
d) Job description of the personnel.
e) Decision making Official.
f) Decision making process.
g) Detail description of currant and past activities
h) Full name, designation and responsibilities of the Information Officer
i) List of concerned act, rule and regulation, guidelines and procedure
j) Up-to-date description of income and expenditure
k) Other descriptions as prescribed.

5. Responsibility of Public Institution Providing Information:
It shall be the duty of the chief executive of the concerned institution or the other officials keeping information of concerned institution to provide the information updated according to the sub-section (2) of the Section(4) of this Act to the 'Information Officer'.

6. Provision of Information Officer:
Each public institution should manage Information Officer to disseminate public information in its office within one month of the commencement of this Section.

7. Functions, Duties and Rights of the Information Officer:
(1) The information officer should keep the received information up-to-date.
(2) It shall be the duty of the information officer under this Act to provide information after proceeding over application of any citizen demanding information.
(3) It shall be the responsibility of Information Officer to provide information of public importance to individuals demanding it with the objective of informing general public through publication and broadcasting.
(4) The Information Officer may demand all the updated information in regards to institution he is working.

8. Application to Be Given for Receiving Information:
Any individual desirous to receive information under this Act have to apply to the related Information Officer in prescribed pattern.

9. Proceeding over Application:
(1) Under the application in pursuant to Section (8), the Information Officer should immediately provide the full and true information to the applicant as demanded. The applicant should be immediately informed about the reasons if demanded information could not be provided immediately due to the nature of the information and such information should be provided within 21 days since the day of receipt of the application.

But, notwithstanding anything contained in this sub-Section, the information related with defense of human life should be provided within 24 hours.
(2) The Information Officer should clearly notify the applicant the reasons if there is no possibility to provide information pursuant to Section 11.
(3) The Information Officer may send the application demanding information to the concerned institution within three days and notify the same to the applicant if he considers the information demanded is related with the institution other than his.
(4) The concerned institution should proceed in pursuance of sub-section (1) and (2) if it receives application in pursuance of sub-section (3).
(5) Up to the limit possible, the information demanded by the applicant should be provided in the format demanded. But the information could be provided in other appropriate format if giving information on the exact format demanded creates unfavorable impact at the source (document) and the reasons should be notified to the applicant.
(6) The person dissatisfied with the Information Officer for not providing or refusing to provide information within the prescribed time may complain to the chief executive disclosing the particulars within seven days since the date of not receiving the information or the day of notification of rejection of information.
(7) In pursuance of complaint of the sub-section (6) the chief executive shall investigate the matter within seven days and if he considers that appropriate he may order the information officer either to provide the information to the applicant or to notify the impossibility of providing the information to the applicant. .
(8) The Information Officer should immediately provide information subject to the order received in pursuant to the sub-section (7).

10. Fees to Receive Information:
To receive information under this Act the applicant should pay the fee determined based upon cost at the related institution.


CHAPTER- THREE
Provision on Denial of Information
11. Information that can be denied
Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Act, the public institution can deny to provide information on following matters:
a. Matters creating adverse effects on Nepal's sovereignty, integrity, foreign relation, scientific or economic strategy and national security,
b. Matters adversely affecting public peace and order,
c. Matters adversely affecting the affection among different tribes ,ethnicities and sects,
d. Matters related with investigation to control crimes or to maintain peace and order and related information and notices thereof,
e. Matters decided to keep undisclosed by the Nepal Government or matters prescribed to be kept undisclosed by law or matters received by any institution under conditions keep undisclosed or information on matters received by Nepal government from foreign government under condition to keep undisclosed,
f. Matters which can affect in inappropriate profit or loss to any person, firm or company,
g. Matters related with criminal offences being investigated and not decided about the trial to be started or not,
h. Matters disclosing the third party's secrecy on business, profession or intellectual property,
i. Matters proceeded pursuant to prevailing laws but not finally decided ,
j. Matters related with opinions, consultations, and discussions before reaching on decision,
k. Matters not to be published publicly due to public morality and etiquette,
l. Matters of personal secrecy according to prevailing laws,
m. Matters publicized through publication, broadcasting or any other medium,
n. Matters related with anyone's personal character- except in cases when question is raised on personal character,
o. Matters that could be taken into action for contempt or libel of court,
p. Matters that may threaten any individual's life,
q. Information related with those matters, records of which are ceased in pursuant to prevailing laws.


CHAPTER- FOUR
Punishment and Appeal
12. Provision on Appeal & Procedure:
1. person dissatisfied with the decision of chief executive pursuant to sub-section (7) of Section (9) may appeal at the related Appellate Court within thirty five days of the decision been made.
2.While proceeding and deciding appeal in pursuance of sub item (1) the Appellate Court Should adopt the procedure according to the Summary Procedural Act - 2028.
13.Punishment:: The Appellate Court can impose the chief executive fine upto Rs. 10,000 if he is found him for not providing information without reasonable cause, disagreeing to inform or founding him giving misinformation and the court may order the chief executive to provide information to applicant within prescribed time..


CHAPTER- FIVE
Miscellaneous
14. Could Apply to Correct Information:
1. Any individual, considering any matter of information at the public institution wrong can apply with the evidence to the related chief executive to correct it.
2. The Chief executive shall conduct necessary investigation after receiving application in pursuant to sub-section (1) and if the information is found incorrect as informed that shall be corrected as necessity and applicant shall be notified thereof.

15. Immunity for functions with Good Intention:
The chief executive shall not be liable for any punishment for any functions/activities in pursuance of this Act with good intention.

16. Will be in accordance to this Act:
Matters mentioned under this act shall be in accordance to this Act and others shall be in accordance to prevailing laws.

17. Right to Make Regulation:
The Nepal government may promulgate necessary rules to execute the objective of this Act.


Posted by Editor on November 24, 2006 9:14 AM