By Bhaskara Sharma 9 Minutes Read


Facts about[i] a person, situation or event, etc. or communication/receiving of knowledge is information.[ii]


Information refers to the data that is accurate, specific, and organized, and when presented with a context that gives meaning and relevance, this data helps in increasing understanding and enhancing knowledge. Information is a very crucial element. Any communication that takes place around the globe, through documents, emails, phone calls, messages, etc. Information is something that affects the decision, behavior, or outcome.

For example, if a computer manufacturer receives Information that, the demand for their product is increasing, based on this information the company may plan the business accordingly and take steps like increasing production of goods or expanding the business.


From domain to domain the usage of the word information differs. The word information, in law, usage is related to –

  • An official criminal charge presented, usually by the prosecuting officers of the state, without the interposition of a grand jury – The distinguishing characteristic between an information and an indictment is that an indictment is presented by a Grand Jury, whereas information is presented by a duly authorized public official. The purpose of the information is to inform the accused of the charge against him so that the accused will have an opportunity to prepare a defense. Thus, Information refers to an accusation or criminal charge brought by the public prosecutor without a grand jury indictment. 
    • A criminal charge, made by a public official under oath before a magistrate, of an offense punishable summarily – According to American law[iii] information is tantamount to an indictment, in that it is a sworn written statement that charges that a particular individual has done some criminal act or is guilty of some criminal omission.
    • The document containing the depositions of witnesses against one accused of a crime – The purpose of an information is to inform the accused of the charge against him, so that the accused will have an opportunity to prepare a defense.

This information must state the alleged crimes in writing and must be delivered to the defendant at the first court appearance If the accusation is for a felony, there must be a preliminary hearing within a short period in which the prosecution is required to present enough evidence to convince the judge holding the hearing that the crime or crimes charged were committed and the defendant is likely to have committed them. If the judge becomes convinced, the defendant must face trial, and if the judge does not, the case against the defendant is dismissed[iv].

An accusation or complaint made in writing to a court of competent jurisdiction, charging some person with a specific violation of some public law. It differs in nothing from an indictment in its form and substance, except that it is filed at the discretion of the proper law officer of the government, ex officio, without the intervention or approval of a grand jury. In French law, the term information is used to signify the act or instrument which contains the depositions of witnesses against the accused.[v]

Information have for their object either to punish crime or misdemeanor, and these have, perhaps, never been resorted to in the United States or to recover penalties or forfeitures, which are quite common. For the form and requisites of information for a penalty,

In summary proceedings before justices of the peace, the complaint or accusation, at least when the proceedings relate to a penalty, is called information, and it is then taken down in writing and sworn to.

As the object is to limit the informer to a certain charge, so that the defendant may know what he has to defend, and the justice may limit the evidence and his subsequent adjudication to the allegations in the information, it follows that the substance of the particular complaint must be stated and it must be sufficiently formal to contain all material averments.

The word Information is also associated with F.I.R (First Information Report), F.I.R is a term used in Criminal law practices, when a cognizable criminal offence is committed, the receiving of knowledge about the crime by police and preparing a report of same is F.I.R. And for Non-Cognizable offences we use Non-Cognizable Report in-place of FIR. This information receiving puts the police into action, hence is very important to start the process of investigation.

According to the Right to Information Act 2005, citizens can request for information from state or central government departments and offices. Information is a piece of knowledge that needs to be furnished to the applicant upon receiving an application and such request should be processed in a timely way as stipulated under the Right to Information Act.

In accordance to the Information Technology Act 2000, “information” means data, message, text, images, sound, voice, codes, computer programs, software and data bases or micro film or computer-generated micro fiche.

Below are some Historic usage of the term-

  • 1937 -The word Information was used about television broadcast signals. 
    • 1944 -Used about punch-card operating systems.
    • 1953 -About DNA in the blood.
    • 1958 -Used as information technology (coined in “Harvard Business Review”)

Some usage in a sentence –

  • Of course, she knew BOB well enough now to know he didn’t like people to hand out information about him.
    • Getting information about him from ALEX is too much work.
    • We don’t always get timely information ourselves.
    • With information, we will distribute better.
    • So far, she seemed to be his best source of information, anyway.


Originates 1350–1400 in Middle English: instruction, teaching, a forming of the mind. In Medieval Latin, Latin: idea, conception. The root word is Inform.

[iii] The Free Dictionary [Internet]. “information”. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2, The Gale Group, 2008 [cited 11 Jun. 2020]. Available from:
[iv] The Free Dictionary [Internet]. “information”. Collins Dictionary of Law, W.J. Stewart, 2006 [cited 11 Jun. 2020]. Available from:
[v] Lee A. Bygrave, Information Concepts in Law: Generic Dreams and Definitional Daylight, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 35, Issue 1, Spring 2015, Pages 91–120,

Bhaskara Sharma

Pursuing BA-LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. I find peace in wandering through the new roads and capturing those moments through my camera. To keep myself creative I do content creation in the form of pictures and videos (photography and cinematography), I find pleasure in meeting and finding the best in people. Apart from my work, I also take great pleasure in listening to music, playing Lawn Tennis and enjoying travelling to different countries.

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