Sunshine laws make the process transparent by making everything right from the board meetings, votes, records, any official communication available for public scrutiny. Came into existence in the year 1976, it is one of the many acts under the Freedom of Information Acts which is aimed at creating more transparency in the government processes.
According to this law all the meetings except for emergency meetings need to be brought into notice in advance. In states like Ohio they have a PRU (Public Record Unit) which keeps a track of all the meetings and other happenings.
Though according to this law most of the governmental decisions should be open for public access but there are certain exceptions to this as well which need not be disclosed, including:
1. Any information pertaining to nation’s defense.
2. Information which relates a person to a particular crime, eg. Information about Kasab.
3. Any information which is related to internal policies, rules and regulations.
4. Any kind of investigatory information which could harm the proceeding in a particular case.
5. Information which may lead to endangering the financial stability of an organization.
The basic purpose of this act is that it is the people of any country/ state who have the legitimate foundation of all the power and they are the drivers of the constitutional charter out of which the government is borne which in turn is people’s servant. The government being people’s servant is accountable for its actions which is taken on behalf of its master.
In India we have the RTI (Right To Information Act) which serves the same purpose. It was published on 15 th June 2005 and came into effect from October 2005. This act made PIO (Public Information Officer) who discloses all the information to the person wanting the information (petitioner) within 48 hrs/ 30 days, in case the information pertains to the life/ liberty of the person it should be disclosed within 48 hrs. This law has its chunks taken from some of the federal laws of the likes of the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc. which provided its residents of the right to any state activity.