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This article is written by K Maria Yoshitha of 5th Semester of Amity Law School, Noida


The rapid advancement of digital technology has transformed the way information is transmitted, accessed, and shared. This has significant implications for the Right to Information (RTI) in India, which aims to promote transparency and accountability. This research paper explores the intersection of digital data transmission and the RTI Act, focusing on the challenges, legal frameworks, and opportunities. The paper examines the applicability of the RTI Act to digital data, analyzes judicial precedents, and explores the role of the government and regulatory bodies. It also addresses the challenges of privacy and technological barriers and provides recommendations to enhance digital data transmission rights while upholding the right to information. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse on ensuring effective access to information in the digital era.

Keywords: Digital data transmission, Right to Information Act, RTI, transparency, accountability, digital technology, access to information, legal framework, privacy, technological barriers, government, regulatory bodies.

I. Introduction
The widespread use of digital technology in recent years has completely changed how information is shared and accessed. Information sharing practises have been significantly impacted by the development of digital platforms like the internet, social media, and online databases [1]. The increased reliance on digital data transmission has changed communication methods and sped up information exchange on a global scale. Today, people, businesses, and governments rely heavily on digital platforms for a variety of activities, such as communication, conducting business, and accessing public information [2]

The Indian government passed the Right to Information Act, 2005, which is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that gives citizens access to information held by public authorities. The RTI Act encourages transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in governance while acknowledging that access to information is essential for a democracy to function. It gives citizens a legal framework for requesting and receiving information from public bodies and departments of government. A culture of transparency and the ability for citizens to hold public authorities accountable for their actions have been fostered by the RTI Act Major questions about how to effectively exercise the right to information in the digital age are raised by the intersection of digital data transmission and the RTI. Analyzing the difficulties and possibilities that digital platforms present for accessing and disseminating information is crucial as they become an increasingly important part of information exchange. On the one hand, digital data transmission has the potential to improve the openness, usability, and effectiveness of public information dissemination. On the other hand, it presents particular difficulties like the veracity, dependability, security, and privacy of digital data

Legal, technological, and policy viewpoints must all be considered in a multifaceted analysis to fully comprehend the effects of digital data transmission on the RTI. It entails assessing pertinent constitutional clauses, laws, and precedents that influence the right to information in the context of digital technology. Additionally, learning from other jurisdictions’ practises and experiences in managing digital information and ensuring access to it can offer insightful information for creating successful strategies.

This research paper aims to shed light on the evolving landscape of information access and the difficulties and opportunities it presents by exploring the intersection of digital data transmission and the RTI. In order to ensure that citizens can effectively exercise their right to information in the digital era, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing discussion about how to adapt the RTI framework to the digital age. 

II. Understanding Digital Data Transmission

Digital data transmission is the process of transferring data over digital networks and by using electronic devices. It entails the transfer of digitally stored information from one source to another, including text, images, audio, and video. With the development of technology, a number of digital data transmission methods have been developed, including the internet, email, instant messaging, file sharing, and cloud storage. Each mode has unique traits, protocols, and infrastructure that make it possible to exchange data efficiently and quickly between various places and gadgets.[3]

The speed, volume, and accessibility of information have all changed dramatically as a result of technological advancements in data transmission. Faster and more dependable data transmission has been made possible by the growth of digital infrastructure, including high-speed internet connections and sophisticated telecommunications networks. This has transformed communication techniques and made massive amounts of data transfer in real time possible.

Cloud computing and storage solutions have emerged as a result of the revolution that digitization has brought about in data processing and archiving. Cloud-based services provide scalable and adaptable data storage options, enabling remote access and data sharing for people and businesses. Furthermore, improvements in data protection during transmission have been made possible by advancements in encryption and security technologies, guaranteeing the confidentiality and integrity of transmitted information[4].

These technological developments in data transmission have an impact that goes beyond practicality and effectiveness. They have changed how information is disseminated, making a vast array of digital content, like news, scholarly articles, and public records, instantly accessible. However, these developments have also sparked worries about data security, privacy, and the digital divide, underscoring the necessity for strong legal and regulatory frameworks to protect both individuals’ and society’s rights and interests.

III. The Right to Information Act, 2005

The Indian Parliament passed the Right to Information Act in 2005 to encourage accountability and transparency in government. Citizens now have the ability to access information that is held by public authorities thanks to a landmark law. The Act sought to empower citizens by giving them access to information about government decisions, policies, and actions. It was the result of a long-standing demand for transparency and accountability in how the government operated.
Several goals of the RTI Act are essential to a democratic society. These include promoting transparency in the operation of public authorities, increasing public participation in decision-making processes, and holding the government accountable for its deeds. Empowering citizens by ensuring their right to access information is one of these. The Act aims to foster a culture of openness and accountability in government and contribute to the overall growth and progress of the nation by giving citizens the tools to access information.[5]

All central, state, and local government departments, ministries, public sector organisations, and other public authorities are subject to the RTI Act. This includes governmental entities, institutions, and groups that receive significant funding from the government either directly or indirectly or that are governed by it. To ensure transparency and accountability at various levels of governance, the Act covers a wide range of entities.[6]
Citizens have the right to access information that is held by public authorities thanks to the RTI Act. [7]This includes any information in any form relating to the operation of public authorities, including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, and reports. The Act enables citizens to request information on decisions, policies, and other public interest issues made by the government. To strike a balance between transparency and other valid concerns, some categories of information, such as sensitive personal information and information that could harm national security, are excluded from disclosure[8]

IV. Digital Data Transmission and the RTI Act

A. Access to information in the digital era
Information is now transmitted, stored, and accessed in completely different ways thanks to the development of digital technology. While it has created new opportunities for information sharing and dissemination, it has also created difficulties for ensuring that digital data is accessible. For people requesting information under the RTI Act, problems like data privacy, security, and the sheer volume of digital information present difficulties. Digital data transmission does, however, provide opportunities for information to be accessed more quickly and effectively, promoting greater accountability.
The use of the right to information is significantly impacted by digital data transmission. By enabling citizens to request and receive information in digital formats, it has increased the range of information that can be accessed. This has improved information flow and given citizens more power to influence decision-making processes. However, it also brings up concerns regarding the structure and accessibility of digital data, as well as the requirement to guarantee the veracity and integrity of such data[9].

B. Challenges and issues in accessing digital data under the RTI Act

The RTI Act was enacted before the widespread use of digital technology, and its provisions may need to be interpreted and applied in the context of digital data transmission. This includes determining the scope of information that can be requested in digital format, the procedures for accessing digital information, and the responsibilities of public authorities in providing such information. Courts have played a crucial role in interpreting the RTI Act provisions and resolving legal challenges related to accessing digital data under the Act.[3]
While the RTI Act upholds the right to access information, certain restrictions and limitations apply to the disclosure of digital information. These restrictions may include the protection of personal information, national security considerations, and intellectual property rights. Public authorities must balance the right to information with other legitimate concerns to ensure a fair and reasonable access regime for digital data.[10]

V. Judicial Interpretation and Precedent
Numerous cases involving RTI Act access to digital information have been heard in Indian courts over the years. The Supreme Court held in one significant case, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) v. Aditya Bandopadhyay that answer sheets from exams held by public authorities fall under the definition of “information” and may be requested under the RTI Act[11]. The Central Information Commission v. Girish Ramchandra Deshpande case also clarified the rules for disclosing personal data held by public authorities
The right to information in the context of the digital age has been significantly impacted by these precedent-setting rulings. They have reaffirmed the RTI Act’s broad application to digital information and emphasized the value of accountability and transparency in the digital age. These decisions have helped to shape the body of law that protects public access to digital information and upholds the RTI Act’s democratic tenets.[12]

A. The judiciary of India’s key tenets and decisions
The RTI Act’s provisions pertaining to the transmission of digital data have been interpreted by the Indian judicial system. For instance, the Supreme Court clarified in R.K. Jain v. Union of India (2013)[13] that public authorities must provide information in the format that the applicant requests. The court ruled that, if possible, electronic records should be provided in the format in which they are kept, or in the format that is easiest for the applicant to access.

The RTI Act’s reach and application in the digital age have been influenced by a number of court decisions. The Delhi High Court ruled in Ashutosh Kumar Mishra v. Central Bureau of Investigation that digital forensic reports fall under the definition of “information” under the RTI Act and must be made public unless specifically exempted by the Act (2019[14]). Similar to this, the Supreme Court emphasized the value of maintaining digital records and making sure they are accessible under the RTI Act in Namit Sharma v. Union of India.[15]

B. Impact of these decision on the right to information in the context of digital technology
The court rulings have had a big influence on how the RTI Act allows people to access digital data. They have established precedents for the disclosure of digital records, clarified citizens’ rights to access digital information, and made sure that public authorities uphold their duties to provide information in digital formats. These choices have strengthened the right to information in the context of the internet.

Under the RTI Act, the judiciary has a significant influence on the rights to digital data transmission. Courts have offered direction on how to access digital information, balance the right to information with other legitimate concerns, and ensure transparency in the digital age through their interpretations and decisions. In the context of digital data transmission, the judiciary’s active participation has been crucial in upholding the values of accountability and democracy.

VI The Function of Government and Regulatory Agencies

The RTI Act places a duty on the government to guarantee access to digital data. Public authorities are required by the RTI Act to provide information in a form that is simple for the applicants to use. This includes distributing information via online resources, CDs, or email in digital formats. The proactive disclosure of information in electronic formats is emphasized in Section 4(4) of the RTI Act, ensuring greater ease of access and dissemination.[16]
To encourage digital access to information under the RTI Act, the government has launched a number of initiatives and developed policies. For instance, the government’s “Digital India” campaign aims to make India into a society and knowledge economy that is empowered by technology. It entails initiatives to digitize public records, create online information access portals, and increase the accessibility of information in electronic formats.

The protection of digital data transmission rights by regulating bodies, in order to monitor and control digital platforms and data transmission procedures, regulatory organisations like the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are essential. They are in charge of creating the rules, regulations, and standards that will guarantee the safety, privacy, and accuracy of digital data transmission. The 2011 Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, for instance, offer safeguards for securing personal data during digital transmission.[17]

 Government and regulatory agencies working together to ensure accessibility of digital data
Under the RTI Act, government and regulatory agencies collaborate to guarantee digital data accessibility. They participate in stakeholder discussions, consultations, and public-private partnerships to create frameworks and strategies for promoting openness and accessibility of digital data. These coordinated initiatives seek to close the informational rights to information gap created by technological advancements.
Therefore, it is critical to assess the success of government programmes and directives for the release of digital data under the RTI Act. This evaluation involves looking at the information provided in digital formats in terms of accessibility, completeness, and timeliness. The evaluation also takes into account how easy it is to use online portals and interfaces to access digital data. The evaluation should also focus on evaluating the government’s online efforts to increase accountability and transparency. This includes assessing the efficiency of procedures like online complaint systems, electronic tracking of information requests, and open participation in decision-making. In order to improve accountability and transparency in the digital transmission of information, the assessment aims to pinpoint gaps and make recommendations for remedial action.

VII Challenges and Solutions

A. Data protection and privacy issues with digital data transmission

  • In the digital age, balancing the right to privacy with the right to information
    Concerns about data protection and privacy are brought up by the interaction between digital data transmission and the right to information. The right to access information and the right to privacy must coexist in harmony. This necessitates strong legal frameworks and mechanisms that safeguard personal information, guarantee informed consent, and safeguard people’s right to privacy rights when information is transmitted digitally.
  • Legislative frameworks and security measures for preserving privacy in digital transmission
    Comprehensive data protection laws, like the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, [18]are being proposed to address privacy concerns by regulating the gathering, storing, and processing of personal data. These frameworks seek to establish unambiguous rules and principles for handling personal information in the digital space while guaranteeing people’s control granting individuals control over their data and imposing duties on data controllers and processors.

B. The impact of technological obstacles on information access

  • Difficulties with accessibility in the context of digital data platforms and formats
    The effective access to digital information can be hampered by technological barriers such as restricted access to digital infrastructure, connectivity issues, and a lack of digital literacy. To overcome these obstacles, it is essential to close the digital divide and guarantee equal access to technology and internet connectivity. It is important to make efforts to provide underserved communities and people with limited access to technology with digital infrastructure and training programmes.[19]
  • Ways to bridge the digital divide and enhance digital literacy
    To enable people to effectively access and use digital information, it is crucial to promote digital literacy and awareness. Digital literacy can be improved through educational initiatives, skill development programmes, and public awareness campaigns. Additionally, in order to provide affordable and accessible digital technologies and connectivity, bridging the digital divide requires collaborative efforts from the government, civil society organisations, and private stakeholders.

C. Proposals for improvements to the RTI Act’s rights to digital data transmission

  • Reforming policy to improve access to digital information
    The RTI Act’s policy framework for digital data transmission should be strengthened through reforms. Specifically addressing digital formats, encouraging proactive disclosure of information in electronic formats, and streamlining the process of accessing digital information are a few examples of provisions that could be included. Further improvements can be made to the processes for responding to requests for digital information and settling disputes over the transmission of digital data.
  • Improving the RTI Act’s application and enforcement in the digital sphere
    It is important to make efforts to improve the RTI Act’s application and enforcement online. This entails educating public servants on the management of digital information, creating specific departments to deal with requests for digital information, and ensuring prompt and effective responses to such requests. Enhancing accountability mechanisms, such as routine audits and monitoring of digital data transmission procedures, can also aid in ensuring adherence to the RTI Act’s requirements.

VIII Conclusion:

In conclusion, this research paper has shed light on the intricate relationship between digital data transmission and the Right to Information (RTI) in India. The evolution of digital technology and its impact on information dissemination have created new challenges and opportunities for exercising the right to information.

The analysis of the RTI Act has revealed its significance in promoting transparency and accountability in the digital era. However, accessing digital information under the Act comes with its own set of challenges. Interpretation of the Act’s provisions, restrictions, and limitations on accessing digital data, and the legal framework surrounding digital data transmission have all been discussed in detail. The examination of landmark judgments and the role of the Indian judiciary have highlighted the evolving nature of the right to information in the digital context. The impact of judicial decisions on accessing digital data and the judiciary’s role in shaping digital data transmission rights have been critically evaluated.

Furthermore, the paper has explored the role of the government and regulatory bodies in ensuring access to digital data under the RTI Act. The evaluation of government initiatives and policies, along with the responsibilities of regulatory bodies, has provided insights into enhancing digital data transmission rights. Privacy concerns, technological barriers, and possible reforms have been discussed as key challenges and solutions in the context of digital data transmission and the RTI Act. Balancing the right to information with the right to privacy, addressing accessibility challenges, and implementing policy reforms have been identified as essential steps to improve digital data transmission rights.

In conclusion, this research paper emphasizes the significance of ensuring effective digital data transmission rights for the RTI Act. It underscores the need for continuous research, policy considerations, and reforms to adapt to the evolving challenges and opportunities in this dynamic landscape. By doing so, we can strengthen transparency, accountability, and the exercise of the right to information in the digital age.


1. The Right to Information Act, 2005, No. 22, Acts of Parliament, 2005.

2. Constitution of India, art. 19(1)(a), art. 21, art. 51A.

3. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) v. Aditya Bandopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497.

4. Girish Ramchandra Deshpande v. Central Information Commission, (2012) 3 SCC 522.

5. R.K. Jain v. Union of India, (2013) 14 SCC 794.

6. Ashutosh Kumar Mishra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2019) 10 SCC 741.

7. Namit Sharma v. Union of India, (2013) 10 SCC 383.

8. Information Technology Act, 2000, No. 21, Acts of Parliament, 2000.

9. Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, Bill No. 373 of 2019.

10. Press Council of India, “Norms of Journalistic Conduct” (2010).

11. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, “Digital India” (2015).

12. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966).

13. UNESCO, “Recommendation on Access to Information” (2015).

14. United Nations General Assembly, “Resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age” (2013).

15. Digital Rights Management and Access to Information: a developing country’s perspective By Denise Rosemary Nicholson at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Denise-Nicholson-4/publication/228541794_Digital_Rights_Management_and_Access_to_Information_a_developing_country’s_perspective/links/02bfe50c9d112c1593000000/Digital-Rights-Management-and-Access-to-Information-a-developing-countrys-perspective.pdf

16. Fang, Z. (2002). E-government in digital era: concept, practice, and development. International journal of the Computer, the Internet and management10(2), 1-22.

[1] Tariq Banday, M. and M. Mattoo, M. (2013) social media in e-Governance: A Study with Special Reference to India. Social Networking2, 47-56. doi: 10.4236/sn.2013.22006.

[2] Shonhe, L., & Jain, P. (2017). Information Dissemination in the 21st Century: The Use of Mobile Technologies. In N. Mnjama, & P. Jain (Ed.), Information and Knowledge for Competitiveness (pp. 425- 447). Gaborone: Department of Library and Information Studies-University of Botswana.

[3] Wireless digital data transmission by C. Jastrow, S. Priebe DOI:  10.1049/el.2010.3509

[4] Sandeep K. Sood,

A combined approach to ensure data security in cloud computing,

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Volume 35, Issue 6,

2012, Pages 1831-1838, ISSN 1084-8045, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnca.2012.07.007.

[5] M. M. Ansari, Impact of Right to Information on Development: A Perspective on India’s RecentExperiences, (22/03/2021;1.35pm), cic.gov.in/CICIntlEvents/ICMALectureAtUNESCO-15052008.pdf

[6] Constitution of India, Art. 19(1)(a), No. 42, Acts of Parliament, 1950 (India).

[7] https://thinkindiaquarterly.org/index.php/think-india/article/view/9837

[8] The Right to Information Act, 2005, §2(f), No. 22, Acts of Parliament, 2005 (India).

[9] The Right to Information Act, 2005, section 4.

[10] The Right to Information Act, 2005, sec 8, No.22, Acts of Parliament, 2005 (India).

[11] Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) v. Aditya Bandopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497.

[12] Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. Central Information Commissioner & Ors.

[Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 27734 of 2012 (@ CC 14781/2012]

[13] R.K. Jain v. Union of India, SLP(C)No.22609 of 2012
[14] Ashutosh Kumar Mishra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2019) W.P.(C) 4164/2020 & CM 14996/2020

[15] Namit Sharma v. Union of India, ((2013) 1 SCC 745))

[16] Section 4(4) of RTI act

[17] Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, “Digital India” (2015), available at: https://www.digitalindia.gov.in/.

[18] the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019,

[19] Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011.


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