RIGHT TO INFORMATION
(RTI) is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens” and replaces the erstwhile Freedom of information Act, 2002. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen of india may request information from a “public authority” (a body of Government or “instrumentality of State”) which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.
The RTI process involves reactive (as opposed to proactive) disclosure of information by the authorities. An RTI request initiates the process.
Each authority covered by the RTI Act must appoint their Public Information Officer (PIO). Any person may submit a written request to the PIO for information. It is the PIO’s obligation to provide information to citizens of India who request information under the Act. If the request pertains to another public authority (in whole or part), it is the PIO’s responsibility to transfer/forward the concerned portions of the request to a PIO of the other authority within 5 working days. In addition, every public authority is required to designate Assistant Public Information Officers (APIOs) to receive RTI requests and appeals for forwarding to the PIOs of their public authority. The applicant is required to disclose his name and contact particulars but not any other reasons or justification for seeking information.
The CENTRAL COMMISSION OF INDIA (CIC) acts upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information.
PROCEDURE FOR REQUEST OF INFORMATION -:
The Act prescribes a simple procedure to obtain information. Though some public authorities have their own formats, there is no compulsion to stick to the prescribed format
Identify the department you want information from. Some subjects fall under the purview of State governments or local authority such as the municipal administration/panchayat, while others are handled by the Central government
On a sheet of white paper, write out the application by hand, or type it, in English, Hindi or the official language of the area. You can also ask the public information officer to put it in writing
Address the application to the State/Central Public Information Officer. Write the name of the office from which you seek information, and the complete, correct address. Clearly mention ‘Seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005’ in your subject line
State your request in the form of specific, detailed questions, and mention the period/year your request falls into. Ask for documents or extracts of documents, if required. To obtain documents, the applicant has to make a payment of Rs. 2 per page
Pay Rs. 10 to file the plea. This can be done in the form of cash, money order, bank draft or a court fee stamp. The stamp should be affixed to the application. Applicants below the poverty line (BPL) need not make the payment but have to attach a copy of the BPL certificate along with the application
Provide your full name and address, contact details, email address and sign the application clearly. Put in the date and the name of your town
Take a photocopy of the application and keep one with you for future reference. Send your application by post or hand it in personally to the department concerned. Don’t forget to get an acknowledgement
The law mandates that information be provided in 30 days. If this does not happen, you can file an appeal. The first appeal should be addressed to ‘The Appellate Authority’ with the name of the department and the address. The appellate authority is mandated to revert in 30 days from the date of receipt of the appeal. If the Appellate authority fails to reply, further appeals lie with the Information Commission, the Chief Information Commissioner, State/Central Information Commission.