Law on Right to information | Censored Information | Process of receiving information

Law on Right to information

To protect the fundamental rights of the people Information Act is epoch-making. The unobstructed flow of information and to establish the rights of the people, a bill was passed in the National Parliament on 30 March 2009 in this regard. After that, on 5 April 2009, the reverend President consented to this law. For establishing the people's rule, this information act is essential to establish the rights of the people. So, all the citizens should know this law.

'Information' refers to any souvenir, book, design, map, data, order, circulars, document, sample, letters, report, statement of account, project proposal, film, audio-video, drawings, any instrument made of electronic process, machine-readable documents and physical structure and informative matter or xerox of it irrespective of their characteristics. These are related to the organization, structure and official activities of any authority. However, an official note or xerox copy of the official note is not included in this category.

'Right to Information' means the right to receive information from any authority. Under this law, eery citizen is entitled to receive information from any authority. Upon request from any citizen, the authority is bound to give information. To ensure the right to information, every authority must preserve a list of data and information contents properly.

Censored Information

According to the law on the Right to information, the citizens of Bangladesh have the right to know about different institutions' information. But the authority is not bound to give some information. They are -

1) information posing threats to security, integrity and sovereignty of Bangladesh; 

2) matters relating to foreign policy by which relations with foreign countries or international, regional organizations can be developed;

3) Secret information received from the foreign governments;

4) any information that might harm third party's intellectual property;

5) any information that might harm any individual or organization;

6) any information that might increase crimes hampering the enforcement of existing laws;

7) any information that might hamper the judgement of criminals or endanger the security of the people; 

8) any information that might encroach upon the privacy of individuals;

9) any information that might threaten one's life or physical security; 

10) any secret information provided by any individual that helps law enforcing agencies;

11) information on any sub-judice matter and on which the court;

12) any information about the matter under investigation which can hamper investigation if revealed;

13) any information that might hinder the investigation process influences the arrest and punishment of the criminals;

14) any information regarding compulsion of publishing anything within a definite time limit;

15) Technical or scientific research outputs that need to be kept secret for strategic and commercial reasons;

16) any information relating to the purchase-related activities before completing the purchase activities;

17) any information that might violate the special rights of Members of Parliament (MPs);

18) any secret information on any individual protected by laws;

19) any advanced information concerning exam question papers and marks given.

Process of receiving information

Any person may ask the concerned authority to provide information in writing or by sending an e-mail. In that request, the points that need to be included are:

1) Requester's name, address, fax and e-mail numbers if applicable;

2) A correct and clear statement of the information requested;

3) to locate the requester wants to get it.

In other words, the requester must mention how he/she wants to get information, such as by a visit, receiving a xerox copy of a note, taking notes, or any other approved methods.

After receiving the request placed by a requester, the concerned officer will have to provide it in not more than 20 days. If the information asked for involves one or more than one unit or authorities, in that case, information has to be provided in not more than 30 days. Suppose the assigned authority fails to provide information within that stipulated time.

In that case, he/she has to apprise the requester of the reasons for the inability to give information within 10 working days after the application's submission date.

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