The realization that right to information is a basic right dates back to 1948, when the universal declaration of human rights was passed. Article 19 of the UDHR declared that “everyone has right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any area and regardless of frontiers.” In India too, even before the passage of the RTI Act, the right to information has been seen as an essential part of the Right to freedom and expression. The supreme Court in a case involving people union of Civil Liverties and the Union of India had said, “ the right of the citizens to obtain information on matters relating to public acts flows from the fundamental right enshrined in Article 19(1)(a).
At the political level, however, the importance of right to information was recognized much later. A need to have separate law for the right to information was recognized in the conference of chief ministers on “effective and responsive government” held on 24th of May 1997. As a consequence, the Government of India appointed a working group to examine feasibility and need for right to information act, which ended in the passage of freedom of information Act, 2002 on 6th of January, 2003. However, due to various reasons, this Act could not be brought into existence by notifying its date of enforcement. Later on, it was felt that the freedom of information Act could be made more powerful by incorporating certain changes. As a result, right to information Act, 2005, was enacted on repealing freedom of information Act, 2002.