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Right to Information Bill passed into law

(CEHURDES/IFEX) - CEHURDES welcomes the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill by the Legislature-Parliament, unanimously approved on 18 July 2007.

The new law ensures: the right of every Nepali citizen to obtain any information from government bodies as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are operating with the support of the government, a foreign country or international NGOs.

As per the new law, a Nepali citizen is eligible to receive information within 15 days of submitting an application seeking the same. Imparting information has been made mandatory, the violation of which draws a fine of between Rs 1,000 (approx. US$15) and Rs 25,000 (approx. US$388) on the responsible official.

The new law also has a provision for a three-member National Information Commission to guarantee the right to information.

The new law, however, does not allow for the dissemination of information that poses a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, national and public security, or any information that might pose a threat to international relations, or hurt relations between castes and tribes, or affect the economic or monetary condition of the nation.

CEHURDES hopes that the new law will be effectively implemented to guarantee the fundamental right to information. CEHURDES believes that only an informed citizenry can form a solid basis for democratic development.

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