Country

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Name of law : The Right to Information Act
First adopted : 2009
Last modified : 01 January 1970
RTI Rating last updated : 01 January 1970

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 2
Scope 30 25
Requesting procedures 30 16
Exceptions 30 20
Appeals 30 23
Sanctions 8 6
Promotional measures 16 15
TOTAL 150 107

Introduction:
This is a fairly good law, emblematic of the generally strong approach to access to information that is found in most parts of South Asia. Chief among this law\'s strengths are a robust and well-empowered Information Commission and a strong set of promotional measures. The law also has a broad scope, although the blanket exemptions for police, security and intelligence services are problematic. This, and the lack of a broad public interest override, are the law\'s main weaknesses.
Right of Access

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1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 NO Not mentioned in the constitution.
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 NO Not found.
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 YES The Preamble of the Constitution: \"<...> Pledging that the high ideals of absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah, nationalism, democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate them selves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in the war for national independence, shall be fundamental principles of the Constitution; Further pledging that it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through the democratic process to socialist society, free from exploitation - a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens; Affirming that it is our sacred duty to safeguard, protect and defend this Constitution and to maintain its supremacy as the embodiment of the will of the people of Bangladesh so that we may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and cooperation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind; <...>\" 1 - Preamble 1 - Preamble




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 NO 4: \"Right to information. —Subject to the provisions of this Act, every citizen shall have the right to information from the authority, and the authority shall, on demand from a citizen, be bound to provide him with the information.\" Art 4 - only citizens.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES 2(f) : \"“information” includes any memo, book, design, map, contract, data, log book, order, notification, document, sample, letter, report, accounts, project proposal, photograph, audio, video, drawing, painting, film, any instrument done through electronic process, machine readable record, and any other documentary material regardless of its physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof in relation to the constitution, structure and official activities of any authority: Provided that it shall not include note-sheets or copies of note-sheets;\" 2(f) - expansive defintion.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES 2(f) : \"“information” includes any memo, book, design, map, contract, data, log book, order, notification, document, sample, letter, report, accounts, project proposal, photograph, audio, video, drawing, painting, film, any instrument done through electronic process, machine readable record, and any other documentary material regardless of its physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof in relation to the constitution, structure and official activities of any authority: Provided that it shall not include note-sheets or copies of note-sheets;\" 2(f) is an expansive definition, including raw data which implies the right to ask questions.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 Partially 2(b) : \" “Authority” means- (i) any organization constituted in accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (ii) and ministry, division or office established under the Rules of Business made under article 55(6) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (iii) any statutory body or institution established by or under any Act; (iv) any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund; (v) any private organisation or in stitution run by foreign aid in grant; (vi) any organisation or institution that undertakes public functions in accordance with any contract made on behalf of the Government or made with any public organisation or institution; or (vii) any organisation or institution as may be notified in the official Gazette from time to time by the Government;\" Constitution Article 48: \"The President. (1) There shall be a President of Bangladesh who shall be elected by members of Parliament in accordance with law. (2) The President shall as Head of State, take precedence over all other persons in the State, and shall exercise the powers and perform the duties conferred and imposed on him by this Constitution and by any other law. (3) In the exercise of all his functions, save only that of appointing the Prime Minister pursuant to clause (3) of article 56 and the Chief Justice pursuant to clause (1) of article 95, the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister; Provided that the question whether any, and if so what, advice has been tendered by the Prime Minister to the President shall not be enquired into in any court. (4) A person shall not be qualified for election as President if he- (a) is less than thirty-five years of age; or (b) is not qualified for election a member of Parliament; or (c) has been removed from the office of President by impeachment under this Constitution. (5) The Prime Minister shall keep the President informed on matters of domestic and foreign policy, and submit for the consideration of the Cabinet any matter which the President may request him to refer to it.\" Constitution Article 55: \"The Cabinet. (1) There shall be a Cabinet for Bangladesh having the Prime Minister at its head and comprising also such other Minister as the Prime Minister may from time to time designate. (2) The executive power of the Republic shall, in accordance with this Constitution, be exercised by or on the authority of the Prime Minister. (3) The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament. (4) All executive actions of the Government shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President. (5) The President shall by rules specify the manner in which orders and other instruments made in his name shall be attested of authenticated, and the validity or any order of instrument so attested or authenticated shall not be questioned in any court on the ground that it was not duly made or executed. (6) The President shall make rules for the allocation and transaction of the business of the Government.\" Constitution Article 56: \"Minister. (1) There shall be Prime Minister, and such other Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers as may be determined by the Prime Minister. (2) The appointments of the Prime Minister and other Ministers and of the Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers, shall be made by the President: Provided that not less than nine-tenths of their number shall be appointed from among members of Parliament and not more than one-tenth of their number maybe chosen from among persons qualified for election as members of Parliament. (3) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of Parliament who appears to him to command the support of the majority of the members of Parliament. (4) If occasion arises for making any appointment under clause (2) of clause (3) between a dissolution of Parliament and the next following general election of members of Parliament, the persons who were such members immediately before the dissolution shall be regarded for the purpose of this clause as counting to be such members.\" Constitution Article 59: \"Local Government (1) Local Government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies, composed of persons elected in accordance with law. (2) Everybody such as is referred to in clause (1) shall, subject to this Constitution and any other law, perform within the appropriate administrative unit such functions as shall be prescribed by Act of Parliament, which may include functions relating to- (a) Administration and the work of public officers; (b) the maintenance of public order; the preparation and implementation of plans relating to public services and economic development.\" 32: \"Inapplicability of this Act in case of certain organisations and institutions.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any provisions of this Act, this Act shall not apply to the or ganisations and institutions which are involved in state security and intelligence mentioned in the Schedule. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), this section shall not apply to such information that are pertaining to corruption and violation of human rights in the above-mentioned organisations and institutions. (3) On receipt of any request for information under sub-section (2), the concerned organisation or institution shall, subject to the approval of the Information Commission, provide the applicant with the requested information within 30 (thirty) days from the date of receipt of such request. (4) The Government if necessary may, in consultation with the Information Commission, amend the Schedule increasing or decreasing the number of organisations and institutions mentioned in the Schedule by a notification published in the official Gazette from time to time.\" Art 2(b) includes any body established by the constitution. Constitution Art 48 establishes the presidency. Const Art 55 establishes the cabinet. Const Art 56 establishes prime minister. Const Art 59 establishes local gov\'t institutions. The law also includes any body established under any other act or ordinance or receiving public funding or serving a public purpose - so this covers the archives and local institutions. Art 32 - general exemption for security organizations, intelligence organizations, and police: minus 3.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES 2(b) : \"“Authority” means- (i) any organization constituted in accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (ii) and ministry, division or office established under the Rules of Business made under article 55(6) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (iii) any statutory body or institution established by or under any Act; (iv) any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund; (v) any private organisation or in stitution run by foreign aid in grant; (vi) any organisation or institution that undertakes public functions in accordance with any contract made on behalf of the Government or made with any public organisation or institution; or (vii) any organisation or institution as may be notified in the official Gazette from time to time by the Government;\" Constitution Article 65: \"Establishment of Parliament (1) There shall be a Parliament for Bangladesh (to be known as the House of the Nation) in which subject to the provisions of this Constitution, shall be vested the legislative powers of the Republic: Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from delegating to any person or authority, by Act of Parliament, power to make orders, rules, regulations, bye-laws or other instruments having legislative effect. (2) Parliament shall consist of three hundred members to be elected in accordance with law from single territorial constituencies by direct election and, for so long as clause (3) is effective, the members provided for in that clause; the member shall be designated as Members of Parliament. (3) Until the dissolution of Parliament occurring next after the expiration of the period of ten years beginning from the date of the first meeting of the Parliament next after the Parliament in existence at the time of the commencement of the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 2004, there shall be reserved forty five seats exclusively for women members and they will be elected by the afore said members in accordance with law on the basis of procedure of proportional representation in the Parliament through single transferable vote: Provided that nothing in this clause shall be deemed to prevent a woman from being elected to any of the seats provided for in clause (2) of this article. (4) The seat of Parliament shall be in the capital.\" Art 2(b) includes any body established by the constitution. Const Art 65 establishes parliament.
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES 2(b) : \" “Authority” means- (i) any organization constituted in accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (ii) and ministry, division or office established under the Rules of Business made under article 55(6) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (iii) any statutory body or institution established by or under any Act; (iv) any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund; (v) any private organisation or in stitution run by foreign aid in grant; (vi) any organisation or institution that undertakes public functions in accordance with any contract made on behalf of the Government or made with any public organisation or institution; or (vii) any organisation or institution as may be notified in the official Gazette from time to time by the Government;\" Constitution Article 94: \"Establishment of Supreme Court (1) There shall be a Supreme Court for Bangladesh (to be Known as the Supreme Court of Bangladesh) comprising the Appeal late Division and the High Court Division. (2) The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief Justice, to be known as the Chief Justice of Bangladesh, and such number of other Judges as the President may deem it necessary to appoint to each division. (3) The Chief Justice, and the Judges appointed to the Appellate Division, shall sit only in that division, and the other Judges shall sit only in the High Court Division. (4) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the Chief Justice and the other Judges shall be independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.\" Constitution Article 95: \"Appointment of Judges (1) The Chief Justice and other Judges shall be appointed by the President. (2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge unless he is a citizen of Bangladesh and- (a) has, for not less than ten years, been a advocate of the Supreme Court; or (b) has, for not less than ten years, held judicial office in the territory of Bangladesh; or (c) has such other qualifications as maybe prescribed by law for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court. (3) In this articles, \"Supreme Court\" includes\' a Court which at any time before the commencement of the Second Proclamation (Tenth Amendment) Order, 1977, exercised jurisdiction as a High Court or Supreme Court in the territory now forming part of Bangladesh.\" Art 2(b) includes any body est by the constitution. Const Art 94 - 95 establishes judiciary.
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES 2(b)(iii) <“Authority” means->: \"any statutory body or institution established by or under any Act;\" 2(b)(iv) <“Authority” means->: \"any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund;\" 2(b)(iii) includes any body established under any other act or ordinance and 2(b)(iv) includes any org. run on gov\'t funds or with the help of the gov\'t exchequer.
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES 2(b) : \"“Authority” means- (i) any organization constituted in accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (ii) and ministry, division or office established under the Rules of Business made under article 55(6) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (iii) any statutory body or institution established by or under any Act; (iv) any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund; (v) any private organisation or in stitution run by foreign aid in grant; (vi) any organisation or institution that undertakes public functions in accordance with any contract made on behalf of the Government or made with any public organisation or institution; or (vii) any organisation or institution as may be notified in the official Gazette from time to time by the Government;\" Art 2(b) includes all constititional bodies and any body established under any other act or ordinance,
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES 2(b)(iv) <“Authority” means->: \"any private organisation or institution run by government financing or with aid in grant from the government fund;\" 2(b)(vi) <“Authority” means->: \"any organisation or institution that undertakes public functions in accordance with any contract made on behalf of the Government or made with any public organisation or institution; or\" Art 2(b)(iv) for gov\'t funding, 2(b)(vi) includes public functions.

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES 8(2): \"The request made under sub-section (1) shall include the following information, namely:- (i) name, address of the person making request, in applicable cases, his fax number and email address; (ii) correct and clear description of the information sought for; (iii) other related information so that the location of the information sought for may be easily found out; (iv) description of the modes how he wants to have the information, that is making inspection, having copy, taking note or any other approved method.\" Art 8(2) has a list of the info that must be provided, and this does not include reasons.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 YES 8(2): \"The request made under sub-section (1) shall include the following information, namely:- (i) name, address of the person making request, in applicable cases, his fax number and email address; (ii) correct and clear description of the information sought for; (iii) other related information so that the location of the information sought for may be easily found out; (iv) description of the modes how he wants to have the information, that is making inspection, having copy, taking note or any other approved method.\"
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 Partially 8: \"Request for Information.- (1) Under this Act a person may apply to the officer-in-charge requesting for information either in writing or through electronic means or through e-mail. (2) The request made under sub-section (1) shall include the following information, namely: - (i) name, address of the person making request, in applicable cases, his fax number and email address; (ii) correct and clear description of the information sought for; (iii) other related information so that the location of the information sought for may be easily found out; (iv) description of the modes how he wants to have the information, that is making inspection, having copy, taking note or any other approved method. (3) The request for information under this section shall be made in a form printed by the authority, or as the case may be, in prescribed format: Provided that if the form is not printed or is not easily available or if the format has not yet been prescribed, request may be made for information by inserting information mentioned in sub-section (2) on a piece of white paper, or in electronic form or through e-mail. (4) In the case of obtaining information under sub-section (1), the person making the request shall pay reasonable fees as may be prescribed by the officer- in-charge for such information. (5) The Government may, in consultation with the Information Commission, fix the fees for having any information by notification in the official Gazette, and, if necessary, may fix the price of information, or as the case may be, may exempt an individual or a class of individuals or any other class from paying such price. (6) Every authority shall prepare and publicise a list of information to be supplied free of cost upon an instruction of the Information Commission.\" Procedure is relatively clear - Art 8 allows electronic requests but not oral requests. Also requirement to use a prescribed form.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 NO Not listed in the act.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES 9(10): \"Where access to the record or a part thereof is required to be provided to a perceptual handicapped, the officer-in-charge shall provide assistance to him to enable him to access such information and such assistance shall deem to include any assistance which is required for such inspection.\"
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 NO Not mentioned.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 NO Not mentioned.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES 8(2)(iv) : \"description of the modes how he wants to have the information, that is making inspection, having copy, taking note or any other approved method.\" 8(2)(iv) allows requesters to state this preference, which officials are meant to follow. According to our expert, many agencies require that requesters obtain Court stamps to pay for this which limits the ability of some to exercise this choice. However, the Info. Comm. has issued rules countermanding this practice, so I won\'t deduct points.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 NO Not mentioned.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 Partially Art 9 Procedure for providing information: \"(1) The designated officer shall, on receipt of a request under sub-section (1) of section 8, provide the information to the applicant within 20 (twenty) working days from the date of receiving the request. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), if more than one unit or authority are involved with the information sought for, such information may be provided within 30 (thirty) working days. <...>\"
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 Partially 9(2): \"Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), if more than one unit or authority are involved with the information sought for, such information may be provided within 30 (thirty) working days.\" Art 9(2) limits the extension to 10 extra days, but with no requirement for notification.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES 8(4): \"In the case of obtaining information under sub-section (1), the person making the request shall pay reasonable fees as may be prescribed by the officer- in-charge for such information.\" Art 8(4) lists fees only for \"obtaining\" the information - this appears to mean that requests are free.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 YES 8(5): \"The Government may, in consultation with the Information Commission, fix the fees for having any information by notification in the official Gazette, and, if necessary, may fix the price of information, or as the case may be, may exempt an individual or a class of individuals or any other class from paying such price.\" 9(7): \"For determining the price under sub-section (6), the price shall not exceed the actual expense of providing information such as cost of printing electronic format or photocopying or print-out.\" 8(5) - fees can be centrally set. 9(7) limits fees to actual expenses incurred. 8(5) allows for waivers.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 Partially 8(5): \"The Government may, in consultation with the Information Commission, fix the fees for having any information by notification in the official Gazette, and, if necessary, may fix the price of information, or as the case may be, may exempt an individual or a class of individuals or any other class from paying such price.\" 8(5) allows for exemptions, but does not spell out for whom.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 YES 3(b) : \" the provisions of creating inpediment in providing information shall be superseded by the provisions of this Act if they become conflicting with the provisions of this Act.\"
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially 7(o) : \"any such information that is generated through technical or scientific experiment, and is expedient to keep secret for strategic or commercial reasons;\" 7(r) : \"any secret information of a person which is protected by law;\" 7(o) - info generated through research which is kept secret for \"strategic\" reasons. 7(r) any secret information of a person which is protected by law (overly broad)
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 Partially 7(p) : \"any such information pertaining to a purchase process before it is complete or a decision has been taken about it;\" 7(t) : \"any document including summaries to be placed before the Cabinet or, as the case may be, before the Council of Advisers and information relating to discussions and decisions of such meetings: Provided that after taking any decision by the Cabinet or, as the case may be, by the Council of Advisors, the reasons of taking such decisions and the basis upon which the decisions are taken may be disclosed: Provided further that the concern authority shall take prior approval from Information Commission for withholding information under this section;\" 7(p) - any information pertaining to a purchase process before it is complete or a decision has been taken about it; 7(t) any document including summaries to be placed before the Cabinet, or as the case may be, Council of Advisers and information relating to discussions and decisions of such meetings:
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 Partially 32: \"Inapplicability of this Act in case of certain organisations and institutions.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any provisions of this Act, this Act shall not apply to the or ganisations and institutions which are involved in state security and intelligence mentioned in the Schedule. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), this section shall not apply to such information that are pertaining to corruption and violation of human rights in the above-mentioned organisations and institutions. (3) On receipt of any request for information under sub-section (2), the concerned organisation or institution shall, subject to the approval of the Information Commission, provide the applicant with the requested information within 30 (thirty) days from the date of receipt of such request. (4) The Government if necessary may, in consultation with the Information Commission, amend the Schedule increasing or decreasing the number of organisations and institutions mentioned in the Schedule by a notification published in the official Gazette from time to time.\" Limited public interest override against the Art 32 general exemption for security services if the info involves corruption or human rights violations.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 NO No sunset clauses.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 YES 9(8): \"Where an officer-in-charge thinks that the request made for information under sub-section (1) of section 8 is appropriate, and such information has been supplied by a third party or a third party’s interest is involved in it and the third party has considered it as secret information, the officer-in-charge shall cause a notice to be served upon the third party with in 5(five) working days for written or oral opinion, and if the third party gives any opinion in response to such notice, the officer-in-charge shall take into consideration such opinion and make a decision in respect of providing information to the applicant.\"
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES 9(9): \"Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, no request for information may be totally rejected on the ground that it is associated with information that is not mandatory for publication, and the portion of the requested information which in not mandatory for publication and is reasonably separable form the portion shall be provided to the applicant.\"
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 Partially 9(5): \"Where the officer-in-charge fails to provide information within the time-frame as mentioned in sub-section (1), (2) or (4), it shall be presumed that the request for information has been rejected.\" Art 9(5) requirement for reasons.


Appeals

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Comments
36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 Partially 24: \"Disposal of appeal, etc.- (1) If Any person fails to receive information within the time specified in sub-section (1), (2) and (4) of section 9 or is aggrieved by a decision of the officer-in-charge may, within 30 (thirty) days from the expiry of such period or, as the case may be, from the receipt of such a decision, prefer an appeal to the appellate authority. <...>\" Procedure seems clear enough, but the timeframe is 30 days.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES 13: \"Powers and functions of the Information Commission.- (1) If any person files a complaint regarding any one of the following reasons, the Information Commission shall, subject to the provision of this Act, receive, inquire into and dispose of such complaint, namely:- (a) non-appointment of an officer-in-charge by any authority, or its refusal to accept a request for information; (b) refusal of any request for information; (c) a request for information has been left unattended of no information received within the time-limit specified under this Act; (d) if the applicant is asked for a fee or compelled to pay an amount of fee which he considers to be unreasonable; (e) if the applicant is provided with incomplete information or such information that appears to be misleading or false; and (f) any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining information under this Act. (2) The Information Commission may, on its own accord or upon a complaint, conduct an inquiry regarding the complaint raised under this Act. (3) The Information Commission, or as the case may be, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioners, may exercise such powers as a civil court may exercise under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) in respect of the following matters, namely:- (a) to issue summons to enforce the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or other things; (b) to examine and inspect information; (c) to receive evidence on affidavit; (d) to bring in any information from any office; (e) to issue summons for witnesses or documents; and (f) any other matter prescribed by rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained contrary in any other law, while inquiring after a complaint under this Act, the Information Commission or, as the case may be, the Chief Information Commissioner or the Information Commissioners may examine on spot any information relating to the complaint kept in the custody of any authority. (5) The Functions of the Information Commission shall be as follows namely:- (a) to issue directives for the preservation, management, publication, publicity of and access to information by authority; (b) to prescribe the procedure for applying for information from the authority and, as the case may be, to fix appropriate price of information; (c) to formulate guidelines and directives as to the preservation and implementation of the right to information of the citizens; (d) to consider the provisions recognized under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh or any other law for the time being in force in order to preserve the right to information and recommend to the Government for their effective implementation by indicating the impediments; (e) to identify the impediments against the preservation and implementation of right to information of the citizens and recommend to the Government for appropriate solution; (f) to conduct research on the agreements relating to the right to information and other international instruments and to recommend to the Government for their implementation; (g) to examine the similarities of the prevailing law relating to the maintenance and implementation of the right to information of the citizens and to make necessary recommendation to the Government or, as the case may be, to the appropriate authority in order to ensure their harmonization with the international instruments; (h) to advise the Government to ratify or sign any international instrument on right to information; (i) to conduct research on preservation and implementation of the right to information and to assist the educational and professional institution for conducting such research; (j) to publicize the issues relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information among different classes of citizens of the society and to increase their awareness about the right to information by publishing, disseminating or any other means; (k) to advise and provide assistance to the Government in order to make necessary laws and administrative directives for preservation and implementation of right to information; (l) to advise and provide assistance to the organizations or institutions working for the preservation and implementation of the right to information and to citizens in general; (m) to increase public awareness on right to information by conducting research, seminars, symposiums, workshops and similar other measures and disseminate the result obtained from the research; (n) to give the authority technical and other assistance with a view to ensuring right to information; (o) to establish a web portal for Bangladesh to ensure right to information; (p) to oversee the actions taken under any other law relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information;\" 25: \"Making of Complaint, disposal, etc.- (1) A person may lodge a complaint to the Information Commission for any of the following reasons namely:- (a) if he gets no information under sub-section (1) of section 13; (b) if he is aggrieved by the decision on his appeal under section 24; (c) if he gets no information within the time-limit mentioned in section 24 or, as the case may be, gets no decision about providing information. (2) A complaint may be lodged to the Information Commission at any time in respect of any matter mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section (1), and within 30 (thirty) days from the date of such decision or, as the case may be, the date of exceeding the time-limit in respect of any matter mentioned in clause (b) and (c) of sub-section (1). (3) If the Information Commission is satisfied that the complainant, for any reasonable cause, fails to lodge a complaint within the time limit as mentioned in sub-section (2), it may accept the appeal even after the expiry of that time. (4) If the Information Commission is satisfied upon an complaint or otherwise that any authority or, as the case may be, any officer-in-charge has failed to do an act or has done an act that was not necessary to do in accordance with the provisions of this Act, it may take action against such authority or, as the case may be, such officer-in-charge under this section. (5) On receipt of a complaint under sub-section (1) or if it is required to take an action under sub-section (4), the Chief Information Commissioner himself shall enquire into the complaint or delegate the duty to any other information Commissioner to enquire into the same. (6) The Chief Information Commission or, as case may be, the Information Commissioner, within 30 (thirty) days from the date of taking or receiving duty under sub-section (5), shall, after completing the enquiry into the complaint, prepare a decision-paper for the Information Commission. (7) The decision-paper mentioned in sub-section (6) shall be presented in the next meeting of the Information Commission, and it shall, on discussion in the meeting, take decision regarding the matter. (8) During the enquiry into any complaint under this section, the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge against whose decision the complaint is lodged, shall be given an opportunity to present arguments in support of his decision. (9) If a third party is involved in the complaint, the Commission shall also give such third party an opportunity to present his statements. (10) The Information Commission shall, in general, dispose of any complaint made under sub-section (1) with in 45 (forty five) days of receiving such complaint, but, in special cases, if it requires extended time to complete the enquiry and depositions of the witnesses, the complaint may be disposed of within such extended time: Provide that the time limit of disposing of a complaint shall not, in any way exceed more than 75 (seventy five) days inclusive of extended time. (11) At the time of taking decision under this section, the Information Commission shall have the following powers namely:- (a) to direct the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge to take the following steps which are necessary to take under the provisions of this Act, namely:- (i) to provide the requested information in a specific manner; (ii) to appoint an officer-in-charge; (iii) to publish any special information or special class of information; (iv) to being changes in the procedures to be followed by the authority in respect of preservation, management or publication of information; (v) to impart better training on right to information to the officers of the authority; (vi) to give compensation for any loss or damage; (b) to impose fines under this Act; (c) to keep the decision of the authority in force; (d) to reject any complaint; (e) to classify the information newly by the authority; (f) to interpret any matters relating to the nature, classification, preservation, publication, supply of information in the light of this Act. (12) Any decision passed under this section by the Information Commission shall be binding upon all concerned. (13) The Information Commission shall inform its decision to all concerned in writing. (14) The Information Commission shall take other steps in disposing of a complaint in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations.\"
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES 14: \"Selection Committee.- (1) A selection committee shall consist of the following 5 (five) members with a view to providing recommendation for the appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners, namely:- (a) a judge of the Appellate Division, nominated by the Chief Justice, who shall also be its Chairman; (b) the Cabinet Secretary of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; (c) one member from the ruling party and one from the opposition, nominated by the Speaker while the Parliament is in session; (d) one representative nominated by the Government from among the persons involved in the profession of journalism holding a post equivalent to the editor or a prominent member of the society related to mass communication. (2) The Ministry of Information shall provide necessary secretarial assistance to constitute the selection committee under sub-section (1) and to carry out the functions of such selection committee. (3) The presence of at least 3 (three) members shall constitute the quorum of the selection committee. (4) In order to appoint the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners, the selection committee shall, on the basis of the decision of the majority members present at the meeting, recommend 2 (two) names against each vacant post. (5) In the event of equality of votes in the selection committee, the Chairman shall have right to a second or a casting vote. (6) The selection committee shall prescribe the procedure of its meetings. (7) No act or proceeding of the selection committee shall be invalid merely on the ground of existence of any vacancy in or any defect in the constitution of the committee and no question shall be raised in this regard.\" 16: \"Removal of the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners.- (1) The Chief Information Commissioner and any Information Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the Supreme Court. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the President may remove the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner from their respective offices, if he- (a) is declared by a competent court to be insolvent; (b) engages himself in any post extraneous to his own duties during his term of office for remuneration; (c) is declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind; (d) is convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude.\" Art 14 deals with the appointments process. Art 16 protects tenure.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 Partially 21: \"Financial independence of the Information Commission.- (1) The Government shall, after due consideration of the Information commission’s requisition, allocate specified amount of money to defray its expenses and the Information Commission need not to take the previous approval of the Government to spend the money allocated against the approved and prescribed heads. (2) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to have prejudiced the rights of the Comptroller and Auditor General as mentioned in article 128 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.\" No mention of reporting to parliament, but Art 21 gives the info commissioner some financial independence.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 Partially 15(5): \"Subject to the provisions of this section, the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners Shall be appointed from amongst the persons with broad knowledge and experience in law, Justice, Journalism, education, science, technology, information, social service, management, or public administration.\" 15(5) requires expertise, but no prohibition on politically connected individuals.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES 13(3): \"The Information Commission, or as the case may be, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioners, may exercise such powers as a civil court may exercise under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) in respect of the following matters, namely:- (a) to issue summons to enforce the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or other things; (b) to examine and inspect information; (c) to receive evidence on affidavit; (d) to bring in any information from any office; (e) to issue summons for witnesses or documents; and (f) any other matter prescribed by rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.\"
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES Art 25(11)(I): \"At the time of taking decision under this section, the Information Commission shall have the following powers namely: a) to direct the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge to take the following steps which are necessary to take under the provisions of this Act, namely: (i) to provide the requested in formation in a specific manner; <...>\" 25(12): \"Any decision passed under this section by the Information Commission shall be binding upon all concerned.\"
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 YES 25(11)(a)(i) : \"to provide the requested in formation in a specific manner;\"
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 NO 29: \"Bar against filing suit.- No person shall, except preferring an appeal before an appellate authority or, as the case may be, lodging a complaint before the Information Commission under this Act, raise any question before any court for anything done or deemed to be done, any action taken or the legality of any order passed or any instruction made under this Act.\" No - Art 29
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 YES 26: \"Representation.- The parties to a complaint may present their statements before the Commission either personally or through a lawyer.\" Art 26 - no lawyer required. No mention of fees on IC website http://www.infocom.gov.bd/
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES 13: \"Powers and functions of the Information Commission.- (1) If any person files a complaint regarding any one of the following reasons, the Information Commission shall, subject to the provision of this Act, receive, inquire into and dispose of such complaint, namely:- (a) non-appointment of an officer-in-charge by any authority, or its refusal to accept a request for information; (b) refusal of any request for information; (c) a request for information has been left unattended of no information received within the time-limit specified under this Act; (d) if the applicant is asked for a fee or compelled to pay an amount of fee which he considers to be unreasonable; (e) if the applicant is provided with incomplete information or such information that appears to be misleading or false; and (f) any other matter relating to requesting or obtaining information under this Act. (2) The Information Commission may, on its own accord or upon a complaint, conduct an inquiry regarding the complaint raised under this Act. (3) The Information Commission, or as the case may be, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information Commissioners, may exercise such powers as a civil court may exercise under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) in respect of the following matters, namely:- (a) to issue summons to enforce the attendance of persons and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce the documents or other things; (b) to examine and inspect information; (c) to receive evidence on affidavit; (d) to bring in any information from any office; (e) to issue summons for witnesses or documents; and (f) any other matter prescribed by rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained contrary in any other law, while inquiring after a complaint under this Act, the Information Commission or, as the case may be, the Chief Information Commissioner or the Information Commissioners may examine on spot any information relating to the complaint kept in the custody of any authority. (5) The Functions of the Information Commission shall be as follows namely:- (a) to issue directives for the preservation, management, publication, publicity of and access to information by authority; (b) to prescribe the procedure for applying for information from the authority and, as the case may be, to fix appropriate price of information; (c) to formulate guidelines and directives as to the preservation and implementation of the right to information of the citizens; (d) to consider the provisions recognized under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh or any other law for the time being in force in order to preserve the right to information and recommend to the Government for their effective implementation by indicating the impediments; (e) to identify the impediments against the preservation and implementation of right to information of the citizens and recommend to the Government for appropriate solution; (f) to conduct research on the agreements relating to the right to information and other international instruments and to recommend to the Government for their implementation; (g) to examine the similarities of the prevailing law relating to the maintenance and implementation of the right to information of the citizens and to make necessary recommendation to the Government or, as the case may be, to the appropriate authority in order to ensure their harmonization with the international instruments; (h) to advise the Government to ratify or sign any international instrument on right to information; (i) to conduct research on preservation and implementation of the right to information and to assist the educational and professional institution for conducting such research; (j) to publicize the issues relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information among different classes of citizens of the society and to increase their awareness about the right to information by publishing, disseminating or any other means; (k) to advise and provide assistance to the Government in order to make necessary laws and administrative directives for preservation and implementation of right to information; (l) to advise and provide assistance to the organizations or institutions working for the preservation and implementation of the right to information and to citizens in general; (m) to increase public awareness on right to information by conducting research, seminars, symposiums, workshops and similar other measures and disseminate the result obtained from the research; (n) to give the authority technical and other assistance with a view to ensuring right to information; (o) to establish a web portal for Bangladesh to ensure right to information; (p) to oversee the actions taken under any other law relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information;\" Art 13 provides broad grounds for appeal.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES 25(6): \"The Chief Information Commission or, as case may be, the Information Commissioner, within 30 (thirty) days from the date of taking or receiving duty under sub-section (5), shall, after completing the enquiry into the complaint, prepare a decision-paper for the Information Commission.\" Art 25(6) has a clear procedure, including a timeline.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 NO Not mentioned in the law or on the IC\'s website.
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 YES 13(5): \"The Functions of the Information Commission shall be as follows namely:- (a) to issue directives for the preservation, management, publication, publicity of and access to information by authority; (b) to prescribe the procedure for applying for information from the authority and, as the case may be, to fix appropriate price of information; (c) to formulate guidelines and directives as to the preservation and implementation of the right to information of the citizens; (d) to consider the provisions recognized under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh or any other law for the time being in force in order to preserve the right to information and recommend to the Government for their effective implementation by indicating the impediments; (e) to identify the impediments against the preservation and implementation of right to information of the citizens and recommend to the Government for appropriate solution; (f) to conduct research on the agreements relating to the right to information and other international instruments and to recommend to the Government for their implementation; (g) to examine the similarities of the prevailing law relating to the maintenance and implementation of the right to information of the citizens and to make necessary recommendation to the Government or, as the case may be, to the appropriate authority in order to ensure their harmonization with the international instruments; (h) to advise the Government to ratify or sign any international instrument on right to information; (i) to conduct research on preservation and implementation of the right to information and to assist the educational and professional institution for conducting such research; (j) to publicize the issues relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information among different classes of citizens of the society and to increase their awareness about the right to information by publishing, disseminating or any other means; (k) to advise and provide assistance to the Government in order to make necessary laws and administrative directives for preservation and implementation of right to information; (l) to advise and provide assistance to the organizations or institutions working for the preservation and implementation of the right to information and to citizens in general; (m) to increase public awareness on right to information by conducting research, seminars, symposiums, workshops and similar other measures and disseminate the result obtained from the research; (n) to give the authority technical and other assistance with a view to ensuring right to information; (o) to establish a web portal for Bangladesh to ensure right to information; (p) to oversee the actions taken under any other law relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information;\" 25(11): \"At the time of taking decision under this section, the Information Commission shall have the following powers namely:- (a) to direct the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge to take the following steps which are necessary to take under the provisions of this Act, namely:- (i) to provide the requested in formation in a specific manner; (ii) to appoint an officer-in-charge; (iii) to publish any special information or special class of information; (iv) to being changes in the procedures to be followed by the authority in respect of preservation, management or publication of information; (v) to impart better training on right to information to the officers of the authority; (vi) to give compensation for any loss or damage; (b) to impose fines under this Act; (c) to keep the decision of the authority in force; (d) to reject any complaint; (e) to classify the information newly by the authority; (f) to interpret any matters relating to the nature, classification, preservation, publication, supply of information in the light of this Act.\"


Sanctions & Proteccions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES 27: \"Fines, etc.- (1) With reference to the disposal of any complaint or otherwise, if the Information Commission has reasons to believe that an officer- in-charge- (a) has refused to receive any request for information or an appeal without assigning any reasons; (b) has failed to provide information to the applicant or to make decision within the time-limit determined by the Act; (c) has refused to receive a request or an appeal with mala fide intention; (d) has provided wrong, incomplete, confusing and distorted information in place of the information that was sought for; (e) has created impediments in receiving information; then, the Information Commission may impose fine for per day 50 (fifty) taka from the date of doing such action by the officer-in- charge to the date of providing information, and such fine shall not, in any way, exceed more than 5000 (five thousand) taka. (2) The Information Commission shall, before imposing any fine under sub- section(1), give the officer-in-charge an opportunity of hearing. (3) If the Information Commission is satisfied that the officer-in-charge has created impediments in getting information of any citizen by any act under sub- section (1), than, it may, in addition to imposing fine under sub-section (2), recommend the concerned authority to take departmental action against the officer, treating his such act to be a misconduct, and may request the authority to inform the Information Commission about the action taken last in respect of this matter. (4) If any fine or compensation payable under this Act is not paid, it may be recoverable from the concerned officer through such procedures as are applicable for the recovery of a land revenue in accordance with the provisions of Public Demands Recovery Act, 1913 (Act IX of 1913).\" Art 27 allows fines to be imposed where an official fails in their duties under the act.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES 25: \"Making of Complaint, disposal, etc.- (1) A person may lodge a complaint to the Information Commission for any of the following reasons namely:- (a) if he gets no information under sub-section (1) of section 13; (b) if he is aggrieved by the decision on his appeal under section 24; (c) if he gets no information within the time-limit mentioned in section 24 or, as the case may be, gets no decision about providing information. (2) A complaint may be lodged to the Information Commission at any time in respect of any matter mentioned in clause (a) of sub-section (1), and within 30 (thirty) days from the date of such decision or, as the case may be, the date of exceeding the time-limit in respect of any matter mentioned in clause (b) and (c) of sub-section (1). (3) If the Information Commission is satisfied that the complainant, for any reasonable cause, fails to lodge a complaint within the time limit as mentioned in sub-section (2), it may accept the appeal even after the expiry of that time. (4) If the Information Commission is satisfied upon an complaint or other wise that any authority or, as the case may be, any officer-in-charge has failed to do an act or has done an act that was not necessary to do in accordance with the provisions of this Act, it may take action against such authority or, as the case may be, such officer-in-charge under this section. (5) On receipt of a complaint under sub-section (1) or if it is required to take an action under sub-section (4), the Chief Information Commissioner himself shall enquire into the complaint or delegate the duty to any other information Commissioner to enquire into the same. (6) The Chief Information Commission or, as case may be, the Information Commissioner, within 30 (thirty) days from the date of taking or receiving duty under sub-section (5), shall, after completing the enquiry into the complaint, prepare a decision-paper for the Information Commission. (7) The decision-paper mentioned in sub-section (6) shall be presented in the next meeting of the Information Commission, and it shall, on discussion in the meeting, take decision regarding the matter. (8) During the enquiry into any complaint under this section, the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge against whose decision the complaint is lodged, shall be given an opportunity to present arguments in support of his decision. (9) If a third party is involved in the complaint, the Commission shall also give such third party an opportunity to present his statements. (10) The Information Commission shall, in general, dispose of any complaint made under sub-section (1) with in 45 (forty five) days of receiving such complaint, but, in special cases, if it requires extended time to complete the enquiry and depositions of the witnesses, the complaint may be disposed of within such extended time: Provide that the time limit of disposing of a complaint shall not, in any way exceed more than 75 (seventy five) days inclusive of extended time. (11) At the time of taking decision under this section, the Information Commission shall have the following powers namely:- (a) to direct the authority or, as the case may be, the officer-in-charge to take the following steps which are necessary to take under the provisions of this Act, namely:- (i) to provide the requested information in a specific manner; (ii) to appoint an officer-in-charge; (iii) to publish any special information or special class of information; (iv) to being changes in the procedures to be followed by the authority in respect of preservation, management or publication of information; (v) to impart better training on right to information to the officers of the authority; (vi) to give compensation for any loss or damage; (b) to impose fines under this Act; (c) to keep the decision of the authority in force; (d) to reject any complaint; (e) to classify the information newly by the authority; (f) to interpret any matters relating to the nature, classification, preservation, publication, supply of information in the light of this Act. (12) Any decision passed under this section by the Information Commission shall be binding upon all concerned. (13) The Information Commission shall inform its decision to all concerned in writing. (14) The Information Commission shall take other steps in disposing of a complaint in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations.\" 27: \"Fines, etc.- (1) With reference to the disposal of any complaint or otherwise, if the Information Commission has reasons to believe that an officer- in-charge- (a) has refused to receive any request for information or an appeal without assigning any reasons; (b) has failed to provide information to the applicant or to make decision within the time-limit determined by the Act; (c) has refused to receive a request or an appeal with mala fide intention; (d) has provided wrong, incomplete, confusing and distorted information in place of the information that was sought for; (e) has created impediments in receiving information; then, the Information Commission may impose fine for per day 50 (fifty) taka from the date of doing such action by the officer-in- charge to the date of providing information, and such fine shall not, in any way, exceed more than 5000 (five thousand) taka. (2) The Information Commission shall, before imposing any fine under sub- section(1), give the officer-in-charge an opportunity of hearing. (3) If the Information Commission is satisfied that the officer-in-charge has created impediments in getting information of any citizen by any act under sub- section (1), than, it may, in addition to imposing fine under sub-section (2), recommend the concerned authority to take departmental action against the officer, treating his such act to be a misconduct, and may request the authority to inform the Information Commission about the action taken last in respect of this matter. (4) If any fine or compensation payable under this Act is not paid, it may be recoverable from the concerned officer through such procedures as are applicable for the recovery of a land revenue in accordance with the provisions of Public Demands Recovery Act, 1913 (Act IX of 1913).\" Art 25 allows for structural solutions, Art 27 allows for sanctions.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 YES 31: \"Protection of action taken in good faith.- No, suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, the Information Commissioners or any officers or employee of the Information Commission, or officer-in-charge of any authority or any other officer or employee there of it any body is affected by any information made public or deemed to be made public in good faith under this Act, or rules or regulations made there under.\"
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 NO A \"Whistleblower Protection Act\" was being drafted in 2010, but has yet to be enacted and it is uncertain whether RTI related activities will apply to the proposed law anyway.


Promotional measures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

Points

Article

Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 10: \"Designated Officer.- (1) Within 60 (sixty) days after commencement of this Act, all authorities existing prior to such commencement shall appoint a designated officer for each of the units for providing information according to the provisions of this Act. (2) Any authority established after the commencement of this Act shall, within 60 (sixty) days after such establishment, appoint a designated officer for each of the units for providing information according to the provisions of this Act. (3) If any authority establish any office after the commencement of this Act, it shall, within 60(sixty) days of such establishment, appoint a designated officer for each of the units for providing information according to the provisions of this Act. (4) All authorities shall inform the information Commission the names, designation, address and, in case where applicable, fax number and e-mail addresses of the designated officers appointed under sub-section (1), (2) and (3) within 15(fifteen) working days from the date of such appointment. (5) A designated officer discharging his duty under this Act may seek assistance from any other officer and the officer whose assistance is sought shall be bound to extend necessary help to the officer-in-charge. (6) If a designted officer seeks support from other officer under sub-section (5) and any provision of this Act is contravened due to failure of giving such assistance, then such other officer shall also be deemed to be the officer-in- charge for determining the liability under this Act.\"
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 13(5)(j) : \"to publicize the issues relating to the preservation and implementation of the right to information among different classes of citizens of the society and to increase their awareness about the right to information by publishing, disseminating or any other means;\"
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 6(3)(d) : \"particulars of the facilities ensuring right to information of the citizens, and the full name, designation, address, and, in cases where applicable, fax number and e-mail address of the assigned officer.\"
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 5(1): \"In order to ensure right to information under this Act, every authority shall prepare catalogue and index of all information and preserve it in an appropriate manner.\" 5(3): \"The Information Commission shall, by regulations, frame instructions to be followed by every authority for the preservation and management of information and all authority shall follow the instructions.\"
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 5: \"Preservation of information.—(1) In order to ensure right to information under this Act, every authority shall prepare catalogue and index of all information and preserve it in an appropriate manner. (2) Every authority shall, within a reasonable time-limit, preserve in computer all such information as it thinks fit for preservation in computer, and shall connect them through a country-wide network to facilitate access to information. (3) The Information Commission shall, by regulations, frame instructions to be followed by every authority for the preservation and management of information and all authority shall follow the instructions.\"
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 25(11)(a)(v) : \"to impart better training on right to information to the officers of the authority;\" 25(11)(v) allows the central authority to impose training programs, but this is only after deficiencies have been found.
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 30: \"Annual Report of the Information Commission.- (1) The Information Commission shall, by 31 March of every year, furnish an annual report of its functions performed during the previous year to the president. (2) In the report mentioned in sub-section (1), the following information shall be included, namely:- (a) the number of requests for information made to each authority; (b) the number of decisions for refusing requests for information to the applicants, and description of the provisions of this Act under which these decisions were taken; (c) the number of appeals preferred against the decisions of the officer- in-charge, and the result thereof; (d) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer by any authority; (e) the amount of money collected by each authority under the Act; (f) description of different activities taken by the authorities in implementing the provisions of this Act; (g) reform proposals received from different authorities relating to ensuring right to information of the citizens; (h) number of complaints received by the Information Commission; (i) description of the actions taken by the Information Commission in respect of the complaint received; (j) number of officers punished by the Information Commission and description of such punishments; (k) total amount of fine imposed and recovered by the Information Commission; (l) description of the regulations made and instructions issued by the Information Commission; (m) accounts of incomes and expenditures of the Information Commission; (n) any other related matters that the Information Commission thinks necessary to be included; (o) specific recommendations to take actions against those authorities that appear to be unwilling to follow the provisions of this Act. (3) After receiving the report under sub-section (1), the President shall cause the report to be laid before the Parliament. (4) The Information Commission shall publish and publicize its annual report submitted to the President under sub-section (1) on the mass media and website. (5) For preparing the report under this section, every authority shall give other related assistance to the Information Commission along with providing necessary information.\" This is not spelled out directly, but Art 30 requires the information commission to report annually on the actions of each public authority, and 30(5) requires each authority to furnish the info commission with whatever information they need to make their report - so these authorities really are reporting to the information commission.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 30: \"Annual Report of the Information Commission.- (1) The Information Commission shall, by 31 March of every year, furnish an annual report of its functions performed during the previous year to the president. (2) In the report mentioned in sub-section (1), the following information shall be included, namely:- (a) the number of requests for information made to each authority; (b) the number of decisions for refusing requests for information to the applicants, and description of the provisions of this Act under which these decisions were taken; (c) the number of appeals preferred against the decisions of the officer- in-charge, and the result thereof; (d) particulars of any disciplinary action taken against any officer by any authority; (e) the amount of money collected by each authority under the Act; (f) description of different activities taken by the authorities in implementing the provisions of this Act; (g) reform proposals received from different authorities relating to ensuring right to information of the citizens; (h) number of complaints received by the Information Commission; (i) description of the actions taken by the Information Commission in respect of the complaint received; (j) number of officers punished by the Information Commission and description of such punishments; (k) total amount of fine imposed and recovered by the Information Commission; (l) description of the regulations made and instructions issued by the Information Commission; (m) accounts of incomes and expenditures of the Information Commission; (n) any other related matters that the Information Commission thinks necessary to be included; (o) specific recommendations to take actions against those authorities that appear to be unwilling to follow the provisions of this Act. (3) After receiving the report under sub-section (1), the President shall cause the report to be laid before the Parliament. (4) The Information Commission shall publish and publicize its annual report submitted to the President under sub-section (1) on the mass media and website. (5) For preparing the report under this section, every authority shall give other related assistance to the Information Commission along with providing necessary information.\"