• What is Right to Information (RTI)?

RTI is an initiative taken by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to the citizens for quick search of government information.

• Who can file RTI?

Any person who is a citizen of India can apply for RTI. He can file an application whenever he wants to seek information regarding any government organization, or its any ongoing program, any public authority, etc.

• What is information?

According to section 2(f) of The Right To Information Act, 2005, “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data materials held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.

• Procedure to file an RTI.

1. One should identify what information he needs to know. It should be noted that the information should fall into the definition of “information” defined under section 2(f) of the RTI act.

2. Try to gain information about which department of the government, public sector enterprise has his related information.

3. Visit to fill the application.

4. One has to register himself on the portal first by filling up details, email id and mobile number.

5. Send the application to the concerned Public Information Officer by filling up the form in the online portal. For this the central government has designated various post offices across the country as APIOs where one can deposit an RTI request for appeal to the related government public authority.

6. Write/type one’s question on a sheet of paper. Online one can type his/her question in 3000 words but if it exceeds more than that, one can attach a supporting document. {SECTION 6 (1) RTI Act}

7. One must submit application fees. ( mostly rs 10)

Note- no fee is applicable if the person belongs to BPL (Below poverty line).

The application filed through this web portal would reach electronically to the nodal officer of concerned Ministry/Department, who would transmit the RTI application electronically to the concerned CPIO.

• Time limit within which the information should be provided?

The information has to be provided or refused within the time of 30 days

  • but very few information like information regarding the life and liberty of an individual has to be provided within 48 hours {Sec 7(1)}.

  • It takes 35 days if the information sought from APIO (Sec 5(2)),

  • 40 days where third party information is involved (Sec 11(3)) and

  • 45 days where information pertaining to allegations of corruption or human right violations from intelligence and security organizations (Sec 24(4)).

• What to do when RTI request is rejected?

RTI Appeal can be filed when one’s RTI request has been canceled by the Public Information officer (PIO). According to section 19(1) of the RTI Act, appeal can be filed to the senior officer of the concerned authority against the decision of the PIO within 30 days. The denying of information is very specific. There is some information which is sensitive in nature for example information related to armed forces. Exclusions are allowed under the law listed under Sec 8(1), Sec 9, Sec 24(1) & (4).

• Steps for filing RTI First Appeal

1. For submitting First appeal application, click on 'submit first appeal' option. This screen contains various guidelines for using RTI online portal.

2. Applicant has to enter registration number, email ID and security code in the form.

3. Upon clicking the submit button, online RTI first appeal form will be displayed. The applicant can then select reason for filing appeal application from 'ground for appeal' dropdown field.

4. Text for RTI first appeal application should be upto 3000 characters. If the text is more than 3000 characters, then the application can be uploaded in supporting document field. (As per RTI Act, no fee has to be paid for first appeal).

5. On submission of the application, a unique registration number would be issued, which may be referred by the applicant for any references in future.

• Need to file RTI and examples? Every citizen has the right to question the government. For example, every citizen pays taxes to the government. From a beggar to an IAS officer pays sales tax whenever a purchase has been made. So he/she has the right to know where his/her money is been spent.

There are many examples of RTI requests.

1. One can ask about the reason of delay of his passport issuance from the department.

2. Daily action taken by the authority in a passport application.

Many scams where put up in spotlight after some documents obtained from the RTI applications were revealed. For example THE ADARSH HOUSING SOCIETY SCAM, 2G SCAM, COMMONWEALTH GAMES - DIVERSION OF DALIT FUNDS, INDIAN RED CROSS SOCIETY SCAM.

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